BERKELEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UC Berkeley SkyDeck, the global hub for entrepreneurship and a leading accelerator, today announced the close of SkyDeck Fund II. Oversubscribed at $60 million in commitments, Fund II is nearly three times larger than Fund I and features a diverse set of returning and new investors including leading venture capital firms within Silicon Valley. The SkyDeck Fund is the dedicated fund of Berkeley SkyDeck, University of California, Berkeley’s largest accelerator. The SkyDeck Fund has consistently performed in the top quintile of investment funds and, to date, has helped founders in over 30 countries and from seven of the nine University of California schools raise more than $1.7 billion in funding. The SkyDeck accelerator will be hosting its next Demo Day on April 6, 2022.
“We are deeply gratified by the response to our Fund II, as it validates our vision to support highly capable founders within the UC system and abroad who are ready to see their big ideas grow,” said Chon Tang, Founding Partner, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund. “Our first fund allowed us to introduce incredible global talent and ideas to the investment community here in Silicon Valley and we are excited to continue to build our reputation as the ultimate source for discovering and nurturing startup talent from Berkeley and from around the world.”
Berkeley SkyDeck hosts over 300 global and UC-affiliated startups per year across three programs. Its Accelerator (Cohort) program is its most exclusive, reserved for global founders and UC affiliates on the cusp of raising their first significant funding round. Between 20-25 startups are chosen to participate in the six-month program, which includes $200,000 in financing alongside 1:1 support, highly-curated content, $750,000 worth of free and discounted resources, and access to SkyDeck’s unsurpassed network of UC Berkeley alumni, faculty, and advisors. The program, open to startups in all industries, also includes specialized tracks in biotech, chip, aerospace, and crypto.
“Berkeley SkyDeck offers an opportunity for startups that does not exist anywhere else. Namely, the chance to leverage the network and resources of one of the world’s top universities while also enjoying the benefits of a dedicated investment fund and direct access to the biggest venture capitalists in the tech industry,” said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director, UC Berkeley SkyDeck. “This model has proven hugely successful for our founders and we are excited that Fund II will allow us to support more Berkeley founders and bring more talented startups and exciting innovation from around the world to Berkeley and the Silicon Valley community.”
Recent Berkeley SkyDeck alumni include DeepScribe, which recently raised $30 million, led by Nina Achadjian at Index Ventures, to become the first widely accepted application of voice + AI in healthcare applications; Prophecy, a low-code platform for data engineering that raised a $25 million Series A led by Insight Partners; battery performance company Coreshell, which raised $12 million led by Trousdale Ventures, Industry Ventures, and Helios Capital Ventures; and AI training data platform SuperAnnotate, which raised $14.5 million led by Base10 Partners.
Originally from Armenia, the founders of SuperAnnotate were computer science PhDs from top European institutions who found it challenging to access the Silicon Valley ecosystem. "Berkeley SkyDeck has been an integral part of growing our company,” said Tigran Petrosyan, co-founder and CEO of SuperAnnotate. “They helped introduce us to an impressive pool of talent and connected us to some of our first customers. Their introductions to Prof. Pieter Abbeel, (director of the Berkeley Robot Learning Lab, co-founder of Covariant.ai) and Prof. Trevor Darrell (founder of Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Lab and Berkeley Deep Drive) led to them joining our Advisory Board where their deep expertise in Machine Learning and Computer Vision has proven integral to our development. Without Berkeley SkyDeck, we would not have had access to the highly ranked investors who participated in our seed and Series A rounds."
Applications for the next batch of cohorts recently closed, with interviews currently underway. New portfolio companies will be selected by mid-April and the program will begin in May 2022.
About Berkeley SkyDeck
Berkeley SkyDeck is a leading accelerator and the global hub for entrepreneurship. As UC Berkeley’s largest and most prominent accelerator, SkyDeck combines hands-on mentorship with the vast resources of its research university. SkyDeck is the only accelerator of its kind that offers the value of a dedicated investment fund alongside the resources and network of a top university. To date, SkyDeck startups have raised more than $1.7 billion in aggregate. Participating startups have access to SkyDeck’s 415 advisors, 70 industry partners, and a network of more than 510,000 UC Berkeley alumni. For more information, see skydeck.berkeley.edu.