Spring Demo Days Highlight Berkeley Entrepreneurs

Final exams and anticipation of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement address weren’t the only campus events on students’ minds this this May.

With over 1500 students enrolled in entrepreneurship courses each semester (and counting) and many hundreds of alumni working at the helm of budding startups, many in the Berkeley community spent the months of April and May rehearsing their pitches and clearing their calendars for bi-annual showcases of UC Berkeley’s most promising up-and-coming startups.

As the semester came to a close, student- and alumni-entrepreneurs showed the world what they’ve been building.

For startups participating in four of UC Berkeley’s startup incubators and accelerators, May was the month to showcase their innovations in medical hardware and software, education technology, sustainability, 3D printing, gaming, and more – reminding each of us that the value of a Berkeley education isn’t restricted to what happens in the classroom.

Here’s a run-down of the season’s demo day events, and of the teams building tools and services to create a positive impact on people's lives and the world.

Delta Prize Finals 
The season began in late-April, as the three Delta Prize finalist teams presented on their ideas and progress before a panel of judges and an audience of over 100 students. For the last three months, the three finalist teams have participated in an acceleration and mentorship program focused on growth, completing for a share of the $15,000 prize. To win the Delta Prize, a great pitch isn’t enough. Instead, teams are judged on their progress reaching self-determined milestones set by each finalist team at the beginning of the program. Caseforge walked away with this year’s Delta Prize for their progress in developing a customized, 3D printed case that will eliminate motion during MRIs.

  • Caseforge is a patented, customizable case eliminates motion during MRIs and guaranteeing placement consistency across treatment settings during radiotherapy. Delta Prize Winner
  • ChemiSense creates advanced air quality monitors that provide actionable insights on all the major components that make up air pollution. Delta Prize Finalist
  • Choice is a digital marketing marketplace to connect companies with freelancers for their search, content and growth marketing efforts. Delta Prize Finalist


Now in its 18th year, the 2016 LAUNCH competition attracted nearly 150 entries. 21 finalist teams participated in a three-month accelerator program that included two live bootcamps and several online sessions covering everything from business model design and startup law, to customer support and pitching investors. After an intense day of demos and pitching at the semi-final round, the program culminated with final pitches for an audience of 300 and a panel of judges including leading VCs as well as LAUNCH alum Keith Eadie MBA ‘08, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at TubeMogul – a company whose rapid growth and 2014 IPO makes it one of LAUNCH’s greatest success stories. This year, LAUNCH crowned five winners, awarding a total of $85,000 in cash and prizes. 

  • LiftEd is an iPad app that enables educators to measure students’ academic & behavioral performance on personalized learning goals, analyze learning trends to make real time adjustment to teaching methods, and ultimately share progress on-demand with school districts and parents. Grand Prize Winner ($30,000 plus $15,000 in legal services form WilmerHale).
  • Butterfly Medical has developed a novel dilation device to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that affects nearly all men as they age. The device provides a cost-efficient alternative to surgery for patients who fail or do not tolerate drug treatment. Second Prize Winner ($15,000).
  • Dost or “Friend” in multiple languages, is a mobile platform that aims to break the cycle of illiteracy by empowering moms to deliver early literacy experiences to their kids. Second Prize Winner – Social Entrepreneurship Track ($15,000).
  • Innovein is targeting the core cause of vein disease with a first-of-its-kind  prosthetic valve. Audience Choice Winner ($5,000).
  • Players’ Lounge* is a social video gaming startup that provides gamers with a platform to play their favorite sports games for cash and prizes. Third Prize Winner (six months of free work space at WeWork).
  • Angilytics provides sensor-based solutions to revolutionize hypertension management.
  • BHESTmedical is developing new, efficient ways to reduce the incidence of durotomies during revision spinal surgeries, increasing surgical performance while decreasing surgical expense.
  • Biome Life is the authoritative source for the general public to learn about the microbiome (the hundred trillion bacteria in the gut).
  • Byte gives employees in mid-sized offices access to fresh, prepared food round-the-clock.
  • CaseConnects will provide probation officers a less time-intensive, more user-friendly system to manage large caseloads and better serve their clients. 
  • ExoNav combines real-time sensor inputs with our crowdsourced trajectory map to make driving safer and more efficient.
  • Feasible uses ultrasound to improve the way batteries are made, tested, and managed.
  • Helpful Village is an online platform for senior citizens, enabling quality living and autonomy for seniors who want to stay in their own homes and neighborhoods as they age.
  • InstaViser was founded by Olympians to connect aspiring athletes to world-class athletes and coaches.
  • Qidza is a mobile platform that helps parents track their baby's developmental milestones
  • Renklilkoy provides survivors of domestic violence in Turkey with the tools to achieve economic independence, providing skills training and workforce lobbying, and employing survivors to manufacture and sell specialty jams – a high-margin product common in Turkish homes.
  • RocketReach provides the world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date index of professional contact information.
  • SolFox provides residential solar companies with data analytics tools, using data analytics to accelerate the solar revolution, and helping residential solar companies reduce their customer acquisition costs.
  • Spred is building a platform to connect small business to overseas suppliers.
  • The Food Bikery sells food bikes, a low-capital, low-footprint alternative to a food truck that can be used by food entrepreneurs to efficiently and profitably enter the mobile food market.
  • uCella is a unique smart home product that automates parcel tracking and receiving, and manages all online purchases for online shoppers.


Free Ventures Demo Day
On Monday, May 2nd, five startup teams demoed their products for a panel of judges including Khosla Ventures partner Ari Zilka ‘97, Foundation Capital partner Joanne Chen ’07, serial entrepreneur and investor Mar Hershenson, big data investor Jim McLean MBA ‘87, serial entrepreneur Craig Walker ’88, JD ’95, and Free Ventures co-founder Jeremy Fiance ‘14. Created by students and for students, Free Ventures provides student teams with micro-grants, course units to work on their startups, and mentorship from alumni-entrepreneurs who have volunteered to guide startups on their way. Many FreeV startups go on to compete for the Delta Prize and LAUNCH prizes, and to participate in UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck accelerator program and others across the Bay Area – all before graduation!

  • Diced is a grocery delivery service that makes it easy to cook meals at home. For $42 a week, they provide 6 recipes along with the ingredients to cook each recipe.
  • OpThrift helps people purchase like-new high-end products from sites like Craiglist and eBay.
  • Pavlov is a simple interface to build and manage enterprise machine intelligence applications.
  • Sunlytics is a mobile application that generates industry-grade shading analysis reports for solar installers.
  • TileWorks is an overhead transportation system that revolutionizes commercial storage by using an innovative trackless grid layout adaptable to any commercial ceiling.

SkyDeck Demo Day
Closing out the season, SkyDeck hosted its third demo day on Thursday, May 19th. The downtown Berkeley penthouse space was packed to capacity with over 100 attendees from across the venture capital and technology sectors. The 19 presenting startups that represent the extreme talent and cutting-edge innovation typical of UC Berkeley’s SkyTeams – market-ready startups taking the final leap from UC Berkeley incubators into positions of growth and survival in their markets.

  • Arch aims to create sustainable global infrastructure by empowering diverse innovators to build and deploy robust connected devices.
  • Axlehire provides same-day delivery services for e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers that demand reliability and exceptional customer service.
  • CinderBio uses the most extreme microbes on Earth to make a new class of ultra-stable enzyme formulations for industrial application.
  • Cocoon Cam’s wellness camera is an all-in-one proprietary camera that detects heart rate, respiration, and skin temperature at a distance, by analyzing video in real time on the cloud- without any sensors attached to the body.
  • Dray Technologies is an on-demand B2B platform for the trucking industry that connects Shippers with Carriers, thus eliminating the need for a traditional freight broker.
  • First Derm* is a mobile app that provides users personalized dermatology information. Users take pictures of their skin problem and send them to dermatologists for a medical opinion in under 24 hours.
  • Hitmap*, a marketplace that helps retailers find and select other retail locations–offering predictive sales for that locale in a friendly, easy-to-use online platform.
  • Hopsy is an online marketplace featuring the best local craft breweries in your region, and delivering draft beer directly to your doorstep.
  • Inteliclinic is an engineering studio specializing in biological signal processing systems and artificial intelligence technologies.
  • LiftEd is a tablet app that helps education professionals accurately measure and reliably report progress for the 6.5 million students (preK-12) with disabilities in the US.
  • Lioness* builds tech-enabled women’s health products that empower women to live the life they want to live. Their first product is a smart vibrator that helps women learn more about their own bodies, aiding in initial understanding, communication with partners, and guidance through life transitions like post-pregnancy and menopause.
  • Mentive’s educational marketplace turns any of the world’s best online courses into a structured and social learning experience, improving students results by 12X.
  • Nventi* is innovation, simplified – Its data driven platform enables innovators to navigate their ideas, collaborate, and succeed.
  • Outcomes.com* helps healthcare providers bring patient-centered outcome measurement and real-time population management to everyday clinical practice.
  • PCS has developed heated and cooled office chair technology, providing local individual thermal comfort for occupant satisfaction and reduced energy consumption.
  • San Draw develops the world’s first desktop silicone 3D printer featuring FAM technology, a patent-pending 3D printing technology enabling our machine to print full-color objects with adjustable hardness.
  • Stroll Health enables ambulatory clinicians to make personalized, value-based referrals by processing each patient through our intelligence algorithm using millions of healthcare data to show out-of-pocket costs for each location and service in real time.
  • The Town Kitchen delivers chef-crafted lunch while providing young people (ages 16-25) with entrepreneurial training, fair-wage employment and access to college course credit.
  • Valitor, Inc. is a biotechnology company with a mission of reducing the pain associated with many biotech drugs.

*Indicates Berkeley Founders’ Pledge member company. The founders of these companies have made a commitment to Berkeley from the earliest days of their startups, and pledged to give back when they can.