Originally published on Cal Alumni Association
SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s start-up accelerator program, is housed on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Berkeley. All four walls of the 10,000 square-foot penthouse have floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up a 360-degree view. This is where Cal’s fledgling entrepreneurs come for free office space and guidance while preparing to launch their product or service. They have six months to a year up here with SkyDeck, and then it’s time to jump out of the nest.
Look to the east, through those windows, at the Cal campus. For generations, the world’s top public research university has been know for its tough academic standards and its idealistic youth. But Cal, which has watched its share of state funding shrink over the years, is looking to SkyDeck as perhaps one way to help survive intact into the future.
Look to the west at San Francisco, where over the past several years, venture capital firms have moved up from the Peninsula to the city and surrounding area. Even the system-wide University of California, headquartered in Oakland, recently created a venture fund. Start-ups, accelerators, and incubators are rising throughout the area, creating a powerful hub of entrepreneurial activity.
Right here, between the Cal campus on one side, and a world full of possibilities on the other, lies SkyDeck. An accelerator—unlike an incubator.