Getting funded is one of the more stressful parts of being an entrepreneur. While bootstrapping and relying on initial revenue are possible avenues, many founders turn towards VC funding early to give themselves time and runway to fully focus on building their business. Pre-seed and seed-stage VC funds such as Arrow Capital aim to provide founders with the initial capital they need to get their startups off the ground.
Additionally, it is undeniable that Berkeley is home to a wealth of incredible talent and innovation. The future is being dreamed up and built in every corner of campus. Yet many Berkeley startups struggle to get VC funding or aren’t aware of the resources available to them.
To counter this problem, Arrow Capital teamed up with Berkeley SkyDeck this semester to host the first-ever Get Funded @ Berkeley event, a chance for Berkeley startups to pitch directly to a group of student-focused VC funds. Arrow and SkyDeck were joined by The House, Contrary Capital, Dorm Room Fund, Rough Draft Ventures, and Bee Partners in coordinating this event.
To be selected to pitch at Get Funded, the startups had to first make it through a very competitive application process. The startup applications we received were incredibly diverse, spanning a range of different industries and including founders from many schools across campus, including College of Letters & Science, Berkeley Haas, College of Engineering, College of Environmental Design, College of Chemistry, and College of Social Welfare. These teams all included founders who are current or former UC Berkeley undergraduates, grad students, post-docs or faculty members.
Ultimately, a total of 20 Berkeley teams from across campus were invited to present a 10 minute pitch to representatives from each of the participating VC funds in the SkyDeck boardroom on the evening of Tuesday, Feb 26. The funds were also joined by special guest Berkeley Haas dean Ann Harrison. They proposed innovative solutions to major world and industry problems, including identifying neurological diseases through eye-tracking, reducing aircraft delays and turnaround time, rapidly and accurately detecting flu pathogens, and bringing affordable, non-invasive STD tests to the market.
Arrow Capital was very impressed by the caliber of teams and startups who pitched at Get Funded and looks forward to reaching out to several of them to initiate discussion of potential funding. Additionally, Arrow Capital strongly encourages all startups, regardless of if they were selected for Get Funded, to apply directly to Arrow.
Looking forward, the hope is that Get Funded will become either a semesterly or annual event for Berkeley startups to take advantage of. There are great ideas emerging in all corners of campus all the time, and Arrow Capital looks forward to helping put them on the path to getting funded.