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Demo your tech onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2019

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Alisyn Malek, California, Events, General Motors, LinkedIn, Populus.ai, Regina Clewlow, san jose, Smithsonian, stanford, TC, TC Sessions: Mobility 2019, Transportation, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

Moving anything or anyone from point A to point B will never be the same, thanks to the rapid evolution taking place in mobility technology. And if you’re ready to demo your mobile-focused early-stage startup tech to this community’s top influencers, there’s no better place to do it than onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2019.

More than 1,000 of mobility’s top tech makers, founders, investors, engineers and researchers and will descend on San Jose, Calif. on July 10 to learn, teach, share and connect. This is your chance to show the community what you’ve got — submit your application to demo today.

We’re preparing a day-long intensive event that features world-class speakers, interviews, panel discussions, workshops, demos and, of course, networking. We’re not kidding around when we say world-class. Here are just two of the incredible speakers that will step onstage to share their vision, their journey and the lessons they learned along the way:

  • Alisyn Malek, COO and co-founder of May Mobility, an autonomous vehicle company, comes with serious bona fides. The former head of the innovation pipeline at General Motors, Malek also spent time as an investment manager at GM Ventures. Among other notable achievements, she’s been recognized as a top 10 female innovator to watch by Smithsonian in 2018 and named a top automotive professional under 35 to watch by LinkedIn in 2015.
  • Regina Clewlow is the CEO and co-founder of Populus AI, a data platform that helps cities manage the future of mobility. She brings more than a decade of transportation experience, during which she served as a research scientist and lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Before founding Populus, Clewlow was the director of business development and strategy at RideScout, and she was named a 40 Under 40 by Mass Transit magazine and the San Francisco Business Times.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2019 focuses on one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving tech categories on the planet, and this is your opportunity to place your early-stage startup smack dab in front of the people with the potential to take you and your business to the next level. Apply to demo your tech and join us onstage on July 10 in San Jose, Calif.

Startup Demo packages are also on sale. Demo packages include three (3) tickets and a table space in the exhibition hall for just $1,575. Book your Startup Demo Package here.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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UC Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg and Michael I. Jordan will discuss AI at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI April 18

Posted by on Mar 14, 2019 in Anthony Levandowski, articles, Artificial Intelligence, cofounder, colin angle, editor-in-chief, Events, marc raibert, Robotics, TC, TC Sessions: Robotics + AI, TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2019, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

We’re just over a month out from our TC Sessions: Robotics + AI event at UC Berkeley on April 18. We’ve already announced a number of marquee guests for the event, including Marc Raibert, Colin Angle, Melonee Wise and Anthony Levandowski. Today we’ve got another exciting panel to unveil and, as an FYI, our early-bird sale ends Friday!

This is our third robotics event, but it’s the first time artificial intelligence has shared the spotlight. Today we’re revealing that two of UC Berkeley’s top names in the space will be sharing the stage to discuss the role of AI in society for a panel titled “Artificial Intelligence: Minds, Economies and Systems that Learn.”

The pair of professors will be discussing how AI grew to become one of modern society’s most ubiquitous and wide-ranging technologies. The panel will also explore where the tech will go from here.

Ken Goldberg is a professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley. He has co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers on automation, robotics and social information. He is the editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering and co-founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Michael I. Jordan is the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley. His work touches on a wide range of topics, including computer science, AI and computational biology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Early-bird ticket sales end tomorrow, Friday. Book your tickets today and save $100 before prices increase.

Students, grab your discounted $45 tickets here.

Startups, make sure to check out our demo table packages, which include three tickets, for just $1,500.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Only 3 days left to save on TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019 tickets

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Andy Wheeler, Artificial Intelligence, Events, google ventures, managing partner, marc raibert, orbital insight, robot, Robotics, TC, tc sessions robotics 2019, TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019, TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2019, Technology, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

We can’t wait to see all of you at TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI, which takes place April 18 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. That’s still slightly more than a month away, but your opportunity to buy an early-bird ticket — and save $100 — disappears in just three short days. When that day arrives, the admission price goes up to $329. Why spend more than necessary? Go buy your early-bird ticket right now.

This is the first time we’ve rolled AI into the robotic mix, and it makes perfect sense. Our day-long intensive event highlights the top leaders and the most innovative startups in these two converging and rapidly evolving fields. You’ll hear from — and rub elbows with — the most influential makers, researchers, founders and investors in robotics and AI. Here’s a quick sampling of the programming you’ll enjoy.

Investing in robotics is a wild ride, and no one knows that better than Helen Liang, founding and managing partner of FoundersX Ventures, and Andy Wheeler, a general partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures). They’ll grace our stage to share their insight and experience. Liang, who also serves as founding president at Tech for Good, has invested in 20 early-stage robotics and AI startups. Wheeler focuses on bringing early-stage tech to market and has invested in Carbon, Farmer’s Business Network, Abundant Robotics and Orbital Insight.

If you wonder how and when robots will become a part of the construction crew, join Noah Ready-Campbell (Built Robotics) and Saurabh Ladha (Doxel AI) as they discuss whether robots can help us build faster, smarter and for less.

Who doesn’t love an awesome robot demo? Don’t miss Marc Raibert’s presentation, The Best Robots on Four Legs. He’ll demo SpotMini, Boston Dynamic’s latest creation, and talk about what it takes to bring a robotic product to market.

We still have a few surprises up our non-robotic sleeve, so keep checking our event agenda for the latest updates.

We’re expecting more than 1,000 people to attend this immersive event, and if you really want to stand out and connect with dream makers and game changers, consider buying a demo table. The price, $1,500, includes three attendee passes.

You’ll find comradery, connection and opportunity at TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI. And if you buy an early-bird ticket, all that goodness will cost $100 less. You have just three days left to save. Buy your ticket today.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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4 days left to save on tickets to TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in aria insights, Artificial Intelligence, cybernetics, Events, peter barrett, playground global, robot, Robotics, TC, tc sessions robotics 2019, TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019, TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2019, TechCrunch, Technology, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

When you love anything and everything related to robots and artificial intelligence, the only thing better than going to TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI is saving $100 on the price of admission. But our $249 early-bird price flies the proverbial coop in just four days, on March 15, so buy your ticket now and keep that Benjamin in your wallet where it belongs.

Our day-long immersive program — which takes place at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on April 18 — includes robot demos, workshops and interviews with the leading founders, investors, researchers and technologists in the field. We expect more than 1,000 attendees, which makes TC Sessions: Robotics + AI an outstanding opportunity to learn, share, network and build community.

What kind of programming can you expect? Excellent question. For starters, Alexei Efros from UC Berkeley and Hany Farid from Dartmouth College will address a crucial issue at the crossroads of artificial intelligence, reality and public trust. Don’t miss their presentation entitled, “This Reality Does Not Exist: Trust in an Age of Synthetic Media.”

If you love drones, you’ll love the conversation with DroneSeed’s Grant Canary, Aria Insights’ Laura Major and DJI’s Arnaud Thiercelin. They’ll discuss how people are using drones to stop poachers, deliver packages and inspect pipelines. They’ll also drone on — pun totally intended — about what’s coming next.

Come prepared for our investor Q&A session with Peter Barrett (Playground Global), Hidetaka Aoki (Global Brain) and Helen Liang (FoundersX Ventures). This is your chance to ask questions of some of the greatest investors in robotics and AI.

We’ve packed a lot of programming into our agenda, and we’ll be announcing special guests and adding a few more names to our schedule over the next few weeks. Be sure to check back for updates.

If you really want to make an impression and place your early-stage startup in front of the top influencers in robotics and AI, why not buy a demo table? Bring your posse, because the price includes three attendee passes.

TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI takes place at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on April 18, 2019. Student tickets cost a mere $45. As for the rest of you, don’t delay. You have only four days left to buy an early-bird ticket and save $100. Go get ‘er done!


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Colin Angle will be speaking at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI April 18 at UC Berkeley

Posted by on Mar 7, 2019 in Anthony Levandowski, Artificial Intelligence, colin angle, Events, helen greiner, iRobot, marc raibert, Melonee Wise, robot, Robotics, rodney brooks, Roomba, TC Sessions: Robotics + AI, TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019, TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2019, terra, uc-berkeley, United States | 0 comments

Earlier this week, we added Anthony Levandowski to a growing list of headliners that already includes Marc Raibert, Melonee Wise and Ken Goldberg. We’re back with one more headliner to add to our already packed schedule for April 18’s TC Sessions: Robotics + AI event at UC Berkeley (p.s. Early-Bird ticket sales end next week).

We’re excited to announce that iRobot co-founder and CEO Colin Angle will be joining us onstage in April.

Angle co-founded iRobot 28 years ago, alongside fellow roboticist Rodney Brooks and Helen Greiner. In 2002, the company struck robotics gold with the launch of the first Roomba. The device became the first truly successful home robot and has since gone on to become the best-selling vacuum in the U.S.

Earlier this year, iRobot announced the upcoming release of Terra, the company’s first venture into lawn care. Angle will join us to discuss the creation of a home robotics ecosystem and the 10 years of research and development that went into creating its new lawnmower.


The Early-Bird ticket sale ends next week! Book your $249 early-bird ticket today and save $100 before prices go up. Student tickets are just $45 when you book here.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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An insider’s peek at TC Sessions: Robotics & AI

Posted by on Feb 26, 2019 in Affectiva, anca dragan, Andy Wheeler, Artificial Intelligence, Canvas Technology, Events, Fetch Robotics, human robot interaction, Melonee Wise, peter barrett, playground global, Robotics, Softbank, TC, TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI, TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI 2019, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

We are not quite ready to announce the agenda for TechCunch’s April 18 robotics and AI show at UC Berkeley, but anyone who has been watching the speaker announcements is bound to be just a bit excited. Here’s a quick sneak peek at the soon-to-be-announced agenda.

Robotics & AI investor panel

For founders eager to know what’s on investors’ minds, there is an all-star robotics and AI investor panel that includes Peter Barrett from Playground Global, Helen Liang from FoundersX Ventures, Andy Wheeler from GV and Hidetaka Aoki from Global Brain. Not only will a TechCrunch editor grill these investors onstage, but there will be a separate and longer Q&A session where attendees can ask questions to figure out where VCs are focusing their funds.

AI – Understanding the unfathomable world

For anyone trying to fathom the nearly unfathomable world of AI, there is a remarkable session featuring, respectively, Dartmouth and UC Berkeley professors Hany Farid and Alexei Efros, who are two of the world’s leading authorities on the use of AI and computer vision to create live video of things that, well, never happened. Their work was featured in a remarkable New Yorker piece (“In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?”)

The future of human & robot interaction

In the robotics field, one of the toughest frontiers is human-robot interaction, which brings together just about every aspect of AI and robotics. UC Berkeley’s Interact Lab leader Anca Dragan, Affectiva co-founder Rana el Kaliouby and SoftBank Robotics HRI lead Matt Willis will convene for a panel discussion focused on the state of HRI today and where breakthroughs will come tomorrow.

Building a robotics startup

Building a startup is always a big theme at every TechCrunch event, and no less so when the subject is robotics, a notoriously unforgiving category for founders. Melonee Wise is CEO of five-year-old Fetch Robotics, which has raised $48 million. Manish Kothari is president of SRI Ventures and former director of SRI’s robotics program. Nima Keivan is the CTO and co-founder of four-year-old Canvas Technology, which has raised $15 million. Wise and Keivan will discuss how they got this far, and Kothari will share lessons he learned guiding many robotics founders forward. They will be available for audience questions in a separate Q&A after their session on the main stage.

These sessions should get us about halfway through… the morning! There is so much more we have yet to announce, including speakers, demos, workshops and more. And for the first time, we’ll also unfold CrunchMatch at this show, our highly successful app-based system to help attendees network and set up meetings. No one will have trouble finding interesting, like-minded folks to meet.

Early-bird tickets will stay on sale for only two more weeks. Book your $249 ticket today and save $100 before prices go up. Students, get a major discount with student tickets going for only $45 — book here.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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How students are founding, funding and joining startups

Posted by on Feb 6, 2019 in Accel, Accel Scholars, Alumni Ventures Group, Amanda Bradford, Artificial Intelligence, Bill Gates, boston, coinbase, Column, CRM, CrunchBase, distributed systems, Dorm Room Fund, Drew Houston, Dropbox, editor-in-chief, Energy, entrepreneurship, Facebook, Finance, FiscalNote, Forward, General Catalyst, Graduate Fund, greylock, harvard, Jeremy Liew, Kleiner Perkins, lightspeed, Mark Zuckerberg, MIT, Pear Ventures, peter boyce, Pinterest, Private Equity, Series A, stanford, Start-Up Chile, Startup company, Startups, TC, TechStars, True Ventures, Ubiquity6, uc-berkeley, United States, upenn, Venture Capital, venture capital Firms, Warby Parker, Y Combinator | 0 comments

There has never been a better time to start, join or fund a startup as a student. 

Young founders who want to start companies while still in school have an increasing number of resources to tap into that exist just for them. Students that want to learn how to build companies can apply to an increasing number of fast-track programs that allow them to gain valuable early stage operating experience. The energy around student entrepreneurship today is incredible. I’ve been immersed in this community as an investor and adviser for some time now, and to say the least, I’m continually blown away by what the next generation of innovators are dreaming up (from Analytical Space’s global data relay service for satellites to Brooklinen’s reinvention of the luxury bed).

Bill Gates in 1973

First, let’s look at student founders and why they’re important. Student entrepreneurs have long been an important foundation of the startup ecosystem. Many students wrestle with how best to learn while in school —some students learn best through lectures, while more entrepreneurial students like author Julian Docks find it best to leave the classroom altogether and build a business instead.

Indeed, some of our most iconic founders are Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, both student entrepreneurs who launched their startups at Harvard and then dropped out to build their companies into major tech giants. A sample of the current generation of marquee companies founded on college campuses include Snap at Stanford ($29B valuation at IPO), Warby Parker at Wharton (~$2B valuation), Rent The Runway at HBS (~$1B valuation), and Brex at Stanford (~$1B valuation).

Some of today’s most celebrated tech leaders built their first ventures while in school — even if some student startups fail, the critical first-time founder experience is an invaluable education in how to build great companies. Perhaps the best example of this that I could find is Drew Houston at Dropbox (~$9B valuation at IPO), who previously founded an edtech startup at MIT that, in his words, provided a: “great introduction to the wild world of starting companies.”

Student founders are everywhere, but the highest concentration of venture-backed student founders can be found at just 5 universities. Based on venture fund portfolio data from the last six years, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UPenn, and UC Berkeley have produced the highest number of student-founded companies that went on to raise $1 million or more in seed capital. Some prospective students will even enroll in a university specifically for its reputation of churning out great entrepreneurs. This is not to say that great companies are not being built out of other universities, nor does it mean students can’t find resources outside a select number of schools. As you can see later in this essay, there are a number of new ways students all around the country can tap into the startup ecosystem. For further reading, PitchBook produces an excellent report each year that tracks where all entrepreneurs earned their undergraduate degrees.

Student founders have a number of new media resources to turn to. New email newsletters focused on student entrepreneurship like Justine and Olivia Moore’s Accelerated and Kyle Robertson’s StartU offer new channels for young founders to reach large audiences. Justine and Olivia, the minds behind Accelerated, have a lot of street cred— they launched Stanford’s on-campus incubator Cardinal Ventures before landing as investors at CRV.

StartU goes above and beyond to be a resource to founders they profile by helping to connect them with investors (they’re active at 12 universities), and run a podcast hosted by their Editor-in-Chief Johnny Hammond that is top notch. My bet is that traditional media will point a larger spotlight at student entrepreneurship going forward.

New pools of capital are also available that are specifically for student founders. There are four categories that I call special attention to:

  • University-affiliated accelerator programs
  • University-affiliated angel networks
  • Professional venture funds investing at specific universities
  • Professional venture funds investing through student scouts

While it is difficult to estimate exactly how much capital has been deployed by each, there is no denying that there has been an explosion in the number of programs that address the pre-seed phase. A sample of the programs available at the Top 5 universities listed above are in the graphic below — listing every resource at every university would be difficult as there are so many.

One alumni-centric fund to highlight is the Alumni Ventures Group, which pools LP capital from alumni at specific universities, then launches individual venture funds that invest in founders connected to those universities (e.g. students, alumni, professors, etc.). Through this model, they’ve deployed more than $200M per year! Another highlight has been student scout programs — which vary in the degree of autonomy and capital invested — but essentially empower students to identify and fund high-potential student-founded companies for their parent venture funds. On campuses with a large concentration of student founders, it is not uncommon to find student scouts from as many as 12 different venture funds actively sourcing deals (as is made clear from David Tao’s analysis at UC Berkeley).

Investment Team at Rough Draft Ventures

In my opinion, the two institutions that have the most expansive line of sight into the student entrepreneurship landscape are First Round’s Dorm Room Fund and General Catalyst’s Rough Draft VenturesSince 2012, these two funds have operated a nationwide network of student scouts that have invested $20K — $25K checks into companies founded by student entrepreneurs at 40+ universities. “Scout” is a loose term and doesn’t do it justice — the student investors at these two funds are almost entirely autonomous, have built their own platform services to support portfolio companies, and have launched programs to incubate companies built by female founders and founders of color. Another student-run fund worth noting that has reach beyond a single region is Contrary Capital, which raised $2.2M last year. They do a particularly great job of reaching founders at a diverse set of schools — their network of student scouts are active at 45 universities and have spoken with 3,000 founders per year since getting started. Contrary is also testing out what they describe as a “YC for university-based founders”. In their first cohort, 100% of their companies raised a pre-seed round after Contrary’s demo day. Another even more recently launched organization is The MBA Fund, which caters to founders from the business schools at Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford. While super exciting, these two funds only launched very recently and manage portfolios that are not large enough for analysis just yet.

Over the last few months, I’ve collected and cross-referenced publicly available data from both Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures to assess the state of student entrepreneurship in the United States. Companies were pulled from each fund’s portfolio page, then checked against Crunchbase for amount raised, accelerator participation, and other metrics. If you’d like to sift through the data yourself, feel free to ping me — my email can be found at the end of this article. To be clear, this does not represent the full scope of investment activity at either fund — many companies in the portfolios of both funds remain confidential and unlisted for good reasons (e.g. startups working in stealth). In fact, the In addition, data for early stage companies is notoriously variable in quality, even with Crunchbase. You should read these insights as directional only, given the debatable confidence interval. Still, the data is still interesting and give good indicators for the health of student entrepreneurship today.

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures have invested in 230+ student-founded companies that have gone on to raise nearly $1 billion in follow on capital. These funds have invested in a diverse range of companies, from govtech (e.g. mark43, raised $77M+ and FiscalNote, raised $50M+) to space tech (e.g. Capella Space, raised ~$34M). Several portfolio companies have had successful exits, such as crypto startup Distributed Systems (acquired by Coinbase) and social networking startup tbh (acquired by Facebook). While it is too early to evaluate the success of these funds on a returns basis (both were launched just 6 years ago), we can get a sense of success by evaluating the rates by which portfolio companies raise additional capital. Taken together, 34% of DRF and RDV companies in our data set have raised $1 million or more in seed capital. For a rough comparison, CB Insights cites that 40% of YC companies and 48% of Techstars companies successfully raise follow on capital (defined as anything above $750K). Certainly within the ballpark!

Source: Crunchbase

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures companies in our data set have an 11–12% rate of survivorship to Series A. As a benchmark, a previous partner at Y Combinator shared that 20% of their accelerator companies raise Series A capital (YC declined to share the official figure, but it’s likely a stat that is increasing given their new Series A support programs. For further reading, check out YC’s reflection on what they’ve learned about helping their companies raise Series A funding). In any case, DRF and RDV’s numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as the average age of their portfolio companies is very low and raising Series A rounds generally takes time. Ultimately, it is clear that DRF and RDV are active in the earlier (and riskier) phases of the startup journey.

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures send 18–25% of their portfolio companies to Y Combinator or Techstars. Given YC’s 1.5% acceptance rate as reported in Fortune, this is quite significant! Internally, these two funds offer founders an opportunity to participate in mock interviews with YC and Techstars alumni, as well as tap into their communities for peer support (e.g. advice on pitch decks and application content). As a result, Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures regularly send cohorts of founders to these prestigious accelerator programs. Based on our data set, 17–20% of DRF and RDV companies that attend one of these accelerators end up raising Series A venture financing.

Source: Crunchbase

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures don’t invest in the same companies. When we take a deeper look at one specific ecosystem where these two funds have been equally active over the last several years — Boston — we actually see that the degree of investment overlap for companies that have raised $1M+ seed rounds sits at 26%. This suggests that these funds are either a) seeing different dealflow or b) have widely different investment decision-making.

Source: Crunchbase

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures should not just be measured by a returns-basis today, as it’s too early. I hypothesize that DRF and RDV are actually encouraging more entrepreneurial activity in the ecosystem (more students decide to start companies while in school) as well as improving long-term founder outcomes amongst students they touch (portfolio founders build bigger and more successful companies later in their careers). As more students start companies, there’s likely a positive feedback loop where there’s increasing peer pressure to start a company or lean on friends for founder support (e.g. feedback, advice, etc).Both of these subjects warrant additional study, but it’s likely too early to conduct these analyses today.

Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures have impressive alumni that you will want to track. 1 in 4 alumni partners are founders, and 29% of these founder alumni have raised $1M+ seed rounds for their companies. These include Anjney Midha’s augmented reality startup Ubiquity6 (raised $37M+), Shubham Goel’s investor-focused CRM startup Affinity (raised $13M+), Bruno Faviero’s AI security software startup Synapse (raised $6M+), Amanda Bradford’s dating app The League (raised $2M+), and Dillon Chen’s blockchain startup Commonwealth Labs (raised $1.7M). It makes sense to me that alumni from these communities that decide to start companies have an advantage over their peers — they know what good companies look like and they can tap into powerful networks of young talent / experienced investors.

Beyond Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures, some venture capital firms focus on incubation for student-founded startups. Credit should first be given to Lightspeed for producing the amazing Summer Fellows bootcamp experience for promising student founders — after all, Pinterest was built there! Jeremy Liew gives a good overview of the program through his sit-down interview with Afterbox’s Zack Banack. Based on a study they conducted last year, 40% of Lightspeed Summer Fellows alumni are currently active founders. Pear Ventures also has an impressive summer incubator program where 85% of its companies successfully complete a fundraise. Index Ventures is the latest to build an incubator program for student founders, and even accepts founders who want to work on an idea part-time while completing a summer internship.

Let’s now look at students who want to join a startup before founding one. Venture funds have historically looked to tap students for talent, and are expanding the engagement lifecycle. The longest running programs include Kleiner Perkins’<strong class=”m_1196721721246259147gmail-markup–strong m_1196721721246259147gmail-markup–p-strong”> KP Fellows and True Ventures’ TEC Fellows, which focus on placing the next generation’s most promising product managers, engineers, and designers into the portfolio companies of their parent venture funds.

There’s also the secretive Greylock X, a referral-based hand-picked group of the best student engineers in Silicon Valley (among their impressive alumni are founders like Yasyf Mohamedali and Joe Kahn, the folks behind First Round-backed Karuna Health). As these programs have matured, these firms have recognized the long-run value of engaging the alumni of their programs.

More and more alumni are “coming back” to the parent funds as entrepreneurs, like KP Fellow Dylan Field of Figma (and is also hosting a KP Fellow, closing a full circle loop!). Based on their latest data, 10% of KP Fellows alumni are founders — that’s a lot given the fact that their community has grown to 500! This helps explain why Kleiner Perkins has created a structured path to receive $100K in seed funding to companies founded by KP Fellow alumni. It looks like venture funds are beginning to invest in student programs as part of their larger platform strategy, which can have a real impact over the long term (for further reading, see this analysis of platform strategy outcomes by USV’s Bethany Crystal).

KP Fellows in San Francisco

Venture funds are doubling down on student talent engagement — in just the last 18 months, 4 funds have launched student programs. It’s encouraging to see new funds follow in the footsteps of First Round, General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins, Greylock, and Lightspeed. In 2017, Accel launched their Accel Scholars program to engage top talent at UC Berkeley and Stanford. In 2018, we saw 8VC Fellows, NEA Next, and Floodgate Insiders all launch, targeting elite universities outside of Silicon Valley. Y Combinator implemented Early Decision, which allows student founders to apply one batch early to help with academic scheduling. Most recently, at the start of 2019, First Round launched the Graduate Fund (staffed by Dorm Room Fund alumni) to invest in founders who are recent graduates or young alumni.

Given more time, I’d love to study the rates by which student founders start another company following investments from student scout funds, as well as whether or not they’re more successful in those ventures. In any case, this is an escalation in the number of venture funds that have started to get serious about engaging students — both for talent and dealflow.

Student entrepreneurship 2.0 is here. There are more structured paths to success for students interested in starting or joining a startup. Founders have more opportunities to garner press, seek advice, raise capital, and more. Venture funds are increasingly leveraging students to help improve the three F’s — finding, funding, and fixing. In my personal view, I believe it is becoming more and more important for venture funds to gain mindshare amongst the next generation of founders and operators early, while still in school.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for student entrepreneurship in 2019. If you’re interested in digging in deeper (I’m human — I’m sure I haven’t covered everything related to student entrepreneurship here) or learning more about how you can start or join a startup while still in school, shoot me a note at sxu@dormroomfund.comA massive thanks to Phin Barnes, Rei Wang, Chauncey Hamilton, Peter Boyce, Natalie Bartlett, Denali Tietjen, Eric Tarczynski, Will Robbins, Jasmine Kriston, Alicia Lau, Johnny Hammond, Bruno Faviero, Athena Kan, Shohini Gupta, Alex Immerman, Albert Dong, Phillip Hua-Bon-Hoa, and Trevor Sookraj for your incredible encouragement, support, and insight during the writing of this essay.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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This light-powered 3D printer materializes objects all at once

Posted by on Feb 1, 2019 in 3d printers, 3d printing, Berkeley, Gadgets, Hardware, holograms, holography, Science, TC, uc-berkeley | 0 comments

3D printing has changed the way people approach hardware design, but most printers share a basic limitation: they essentially build objects layer by layer, generally from the bottom up. This new system from UC Berkeley, however, builds them all at once, more or less, by projecting a video through a jar of light-sensitive resin.

The device, which its creators call the replicator (but shouldn’t, because that’s a MakerBot trademark), is mechanically quite simple. It’s hard to explain it better than Berkeley’s Hayden Taylor, who led the research:

Basically, you’ve got an off-the-shelf video projector, which I literally brought in from home, and then you plug it into a laptop and use it to project a series of computed images, while a motor turns a cylinder that has a 3D-printing resin in it.

Obviously there are a lot of subtleties to it — how you formulate the resin, and, above all, how you compute the images that are going to be projected, but the barrier to creating a very simple version of this tool is not that high.

Using light to print isn’t new — many devices out there use lasers or other forms of emitted light to cause material to harden in desired patterns. But they still do things one thin layer at a time. Researchers did demonstrate a “holographic” printing method a bit like this using intersecting beams of light, but it’s much more complex. (In fact, Berkeley worked with Lawrence Livermore on this project.)

In Taylor’s device, the object to be recreated is scanned first in such a way that it can be divided into slices, a bit like a CT scanner — which is in fact the technology that sparked the team’s imagination in the first place.

By projecting light into the resin as it revolves, the material for the entire object is resolved more or less at once, or at least over a series of brief revolutions rather than hundreds or thousands of individual drawing movements.

This has a number of benefits besides speed. Objects come out smooth — if a bit crude in this prototype stage — and they can have features and cavities that other 3D printers struggle to create. The resin can even cure around an existing object, as they demonstrate by manifesting a handle around a screwdriver shaft.

Naturally, different materials and colors can be swapped in, and the uncured resin is totally reusable. It’ll be some time before it can be used at scale or at the level of precision traditional printers now achieve, but the advantages are compelling enough that it will almost certainly be pursued in parallel with other techniques.

The paper describing the new technique was published this week in the journal Science.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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This box sucks pure water out of dry desert air

Posted by on Jun 8, 2018 in Berkeley, Gadgets, GreenTech, Hardware, Science, uc-berkeley, Water | 0 comments

For many of us, clean, drinkable water comes right out of the tap. But for billions it’s not that simple, and all over the world researchers are looking into ways to fix that. Today brings work from Berkeley, where a team is working on a water-harvesting apparatus that requires no power and can produce water even in the dry air of the desert. Hey, if a cactus can do it, why can’t we?

While there are numerous methods for collecting water from the air, many require power or parts that need to be replaced; what professor Omar Yaghi has developed needs neither.

The secret isn’t some clever solar concentrator or low-friction fan — it’s all about the materials. Yaghi is a chemist, and has created what’s called a metal-organic framework, or MOF, that’s eager both to absorb and release water.

It’s essentially a powder made of tiny crystals in which water molecules get caught as the temperature decreases. Then, when the temperature increases again, the water is released into the air again.

Yaghi demonstrated the process on a small scale last year, but now he and his team have published the results of a larger field test producing real-world amounts of water.

They put together a box about two feet per side with a layer of MOF on top that sits exposed to the air. Every night the temperature drops and the humidity rises, and water is trapped inside the MOF; in the morning, the sun’s heat drives the water from the powder, and it condenses on the box’s sides, kept cool by a sort of hat. The result of a night’s work: 3 ounces of water per pound of MOF used.

That’s not much more than a few sips, but improvements are already on the way. Currently the MOF uses zicronium, but an aluminum-based MOF, already being tested in the lab, will cost 99 percent less and produce twice as much water.

With the new powder and a handful of boxes, a person’s drinking needs are met without using any power or consumable material. Add a mechanism that harvests and stores the water and you’ve got yourself an off-grid potable water solution.

“There is nothing like this,” Yaghi explained in a Berkeley news release. “It operates at ambient temperature with ambient sunlight, and with no additional energy input you can collect water in the desert. The aluminum MOF is making this practical for water production, because it is cheap.”

He says there are already commercial products in development. More tests, with mechanical improvements and including the new MOF, are planned for the hottest months of the summer.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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