The marquee entrepreneurship event at UC Berkeley (more)
Catalyzes ventures that create and measure both social and financial returns (more)
Allows students to apply the art and science of venture investing (more)
Overview of Startup Competitions
The Lester Center supports three premier startup competitions at Berkeley-Haas:
LAUNCH: the UC Berkeley Startup Competition is one of the foremost events for University-affiliated early stage startups. Founded in 1999, the UC Berkeley Startup Competition has become a leading Bay Area event and one of the nation’s top startup competitions. LAUNCH brings together entrepreneurs, students and alumni from across the greater UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco communities. Each fall, entrants organize teams through sponsored networking events, classes, and on their own in order to submit brief executive summaries shortly after returning from the campus winter break in January. Accepted competitors then refine their venture ideas and presentations, which are later judged by Bay Area venture capitalists to determine the semi-finalists, finalists, and ultimately, the Competition winners. Throughout it all, teams are matched with entrepreneurial mentors who provide guidance and help in iterating on their venture ideas.
The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. Founded by MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the GSVC has evolved into a global network supported by an international community of volunteer judges, mentors, and student organizers, and a partnership of premier business schools and universities in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The GSVC culminates each year in April at the Global Finals and Conference in Berkeley, gathering teams and professionals from around the world for a day of learning and networking. In 2015, GSVC received over 500 entries from close to 40 countries. Previous years’ finalists include Husk Power, Revolution Foods, and d.light design.
The Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is, in essence, a “reverse business plan competition.” Student teams assume the role of venture capitalists and evaluate and “fund” investment opportunities. Real entrepreneurs who are currently seeking funding present their startups to the VCIC teams, while the teams are judged by experienced venture capitalists. The Competition is open to all UC Berkeley graduate students interested in trying their hand at being a venture capitalist for a day. There is strong interest in the Competition each year, with an average of 30 teams applying to compete for just six spots. . Winners of the UC Berkeley round go on to compete in the regional finals at Santa Clara University. Regional winners progress to the national finals at the University of North Carolina, where a Haas team took the national title in 2005. VCIC ® is a trademark of the University of North Carolina.
Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley
From 2005 to 2014, the Lester Center hosted the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley in collaboration with Intel. The challenge has been discontinued, but information about past challenges is available on this page.
Year after year, these competitions have helped to identify and promote promising startup ideas through the education and exposure afforded by the Competitions’ events, mentors and judges.