UCD named global strategic partner for UC Berkeley accelerator

Tom Flanagan, University College Dublin
Tom Flanagan, University College Dublin

SkyDeck offers launchpad to Silicon Valley

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24 March 2021 | 0

University College Dublin (UCD), through NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, has been selected as a global strategic partner by Berkeley SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s start-up accelerator programme.

SkyDeck’s global strategic partners are universities and accelerators from around the world who help identify top start-ups to participate in the SkyDeck accelerator. UCD is SkyDeck’s only Irish global strategic partner.

SkyDeck, which has been named by Forbes as one of the top five US university accelerators, hosts nearly 300 start-ups a year through its two main accelerator programmes, the Cohort (or Accelerator) Programme and the HotDesk (or Incubator) Programme.

Approximately twenty start-ups are selected to take part in a Cohort Programme which runs twice a year and lasts six months. The participants are chosen after an interview stage with shortlisted start-ups following a highly competitive application process.

As a global strategic partner UCD can nominate one start-up directly to the interview stage of both annual Cohort Programmes.

Tom Flanagan, UCD director for enterprise & commercialisation, said: “Silicon Valley is a fantastic location to launch a company with its high concentration of investors willing to back exciting early-stage start-ups, and an enterprise ecosystem keen to adopt new technologies.

“As a strategic partner NovaUCD is now looking forward to nominating a start-up from our community, with deep intellectual property and international ambitions, to proceed to the interview stage for SkyDeck’s Autumn 2021 Cohort Programme. If selected, the nominated UCD start-up will benefit from the excellent programme and significantly accelerate its growth and ability to scale globally.”

“As an accelerator with global reach, Berkeley SkyDeck is looking forward to this collaboration with UCD to bring talented Irish start-ups to our programme,” said Caroline Winnett, executive director of Berkeley SkyDeck. “Innovative founders come from all over the world and SkyDeck has become increasingly well known as a launchpad into Silicon Valley.”

Simon Factor, senior manager, new ventures at NovaUCD, said: “The SkyDeck partnership creates a bridge for UCD start-ups to get a foothold in the US West Coast, accessing office space, local market knowledge and venture capital. For many UCD deep tech start-ups, the US market is the first and most important export market. This partnership provides a potential bridge into Silicon Valley for NovaUCD companies.”

Start-ups participating in the Berkeley SkyDeck Cohort Programme are matched with advisors and receive a $105,000 investment from the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, a dedicated investment fund supported by top institutional VCs such as Sequoia and Mayfield.

They also take part in the BAM (Berkeley Acceleration Method) programme, SkyDeck’s proprietary and practical experience-based acceleration programme designed by industry thought leaders. In addition, participating start-ups have access to SkyDeck’s network of more than 350 advisors, 50 industry partners, and UC Berkeley’s alumni network. They also pitch at a SkyDeck Demo Day where they can present to almost 1,000 qualified investors.

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