Berkeley SkyDeck startups raise $32 million in funding in the midst of coronavirus pandemic shutdown
The last we covered UC Berkeley SkyDeck was back in March when the startup accelerator announced it biggest cohort from 11 countries, startups will collaborate remotely. Today, UC Berkeley SkyDeck announces that in the past six months, including the COVID-19 shelter-at-home period, seven of its recent cohort startups successfully raised seed rounds. Together the startups raised approximately $32 million.
Founded in 2012, UC Berkeley SkyDeck, the startup accelerator of the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley). It’s the only accelerator that provides funding for its startups via a public-private partnership, providing returns directly back to UC Berkeley via the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, a dedicated investment fund supported by top institutional VCs like Sequoia and Mayfield. Participating startups have access to SkyDeck’s 250 advisors, 50 industry partners, and a network of more than 510,000 UC Berkeley alumni. Since its founding, SkyDeck alumni companies have raised $1.2 billion in venture capital.
Commenting on the funding, Chon Tang, Founding Partner, SkyDeck Fund, said: “This is a remarkable trend we are observing right now with the funding of this group of SkyDeck startups.” He added, “Coronavirus has changed our lives and priorities in fundamental ways, making it challenging for startups to meet customers and investors in person. By prevailing and getting above the noise level to actually close funding deals, our startups have proved that they have important technologies that demand attention, no matter what else is going on in the world.”
Investors came from Open Ocean, Point Nine Capital, Flint Capital, SPARX Group and other angel investors. The companies which raised funds come from all sectors including AI and ML, robotics, fintech, medtech and more.
Some of the startups which successfully closed funding rounds:
- Coreshell – creating the future of rechargeable batteries with nanolayer coating technology to facilitate electric transportation and renewable energy storage
- MindsDB – open source ML and AI making it easier for developers to use neural networks to gain predictive insights that allow companies to make better business decisions
- iDentical – drill-free 3D-printed dental implants that are lower cost and more accessible
- SuperAnnotate – AI-powered end-to-end image annotation platform for data scientists and labeling teams
- ThinkCyte – a biotech company using advanced optics, ML and biotechnology to develop novel cell therapies, drug discovery and clinical diagnostic platforms
“Raising funds has given us a real advantage in the market place against bigger companies which are less able to be agile,” said Jonathan Tan, CEO, Coreshell. “We can take advantage of our bootstrapped and lean company culture to come out better than ever after being able to raise during the pandemic.”
In the current SkyDeck cohort, international startups come from Armenia, Canada, Chile, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Russia, and Taiwan. Among the startups which received funding is SuperAnnotate AI, founded by Tigran Petrosyan and Vahan Petrosyan from Armenia.
“SkyDeck has tapped into our powerful global network to help our startups connect with investors. Our network matters now more than ever. It’s very difficult to build a network and relationships with everyone shut in. We can provide these connections,” said Caroline Winnett, SkyDeck Executive Director.