Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship

Startup Seed Funding


In Brief:

The Haas Student Seed Fund and Sega Sammy Fund provides $5,000 grants and office space to early-stage startups involving current Haas students. The grants are intended for use in prototype development and customer discovery activities. These awards provide critical funding for high risk, high reward projects that best embody the Berkeley Haas Defining Principle to Question The Status Quo.


As a leader in the greater UC Berkeley entrepreneurship ecosystem, Berkeley Haas will grant special consideration to cross-disciplinary projects involving team members from other campus departments. Teams must have at least one current Berkeley Haas student (MBA or undergrad). Faculty, staff, and external partners may only play an advisory role.

Grantees will post a 60-90 second “lessons learned” for public viewing as well as a single paragraph written status report due six months after the end of the award. The teams must also agree to respond to brief bi-annual surveys for two years post-award.


Ten $5,000 seed grants will be awarded in December and the other ten in May.

The Application Deadline for Spring 2020 is May 5, 2020 at 11:59pm. 

Applicants must submit general information plus a single page Executive Summary containing the following elements: problem, solution, market overview, customer interview results (number of interviews and summary conclusions), team (names and current UCB student affiliations) as well as use of funds.

If the startup results from class work, a single page Faculty recommendation will also be required.

Teams may be required to interview and these will be scheduled within one week of the application deadline.

Grantees will be selected by a committee comprised of Faculty and Institute for Business Innovation leadership along with investors and leaders from the Berkeley entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Reminder: the grants are non-dilutive, with no equity required.

Grants are a one-time award. Awardees can apply again for other companies, but not the same company.

Application for Spring 2020 will be available here in April. Deadline is May 5, 2020 at 11:59pm.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Who is eligible to apply for the grants?

Teams and companies with at least one current Haas student (MBA or undergrad, all programs).

If I receive a grant, will I receive additional support and mentoring?

Totally up to you and your team — BHEP is always happy to work with Founders and their teams to connect with alums in our network for mentoring and support.

Can I apply with students from other schools on campus?

Yes, applications with students from other departments on campus are highly encouraged! We also encourage cross-UC collaboration such as UCSF, UC Davis, etc.

Will receiving a grant exclude me from competitions like Big Ideas @Cal, GSVC and LAUNCH?
How about accelerators and other programs like Skydeck and CITRIS Foundry?

No, as long as you comply with funding limits for the specific competitions and programs.

Can I apply for a grant if I’m an international student on a student visa?

Yes.  Grants can be awarded to international students, regardless of visa status.

Will receiving a grant impact my financial aid status?

No. Because the grants are being used for research purposes and expenses, they do not impact financial aid in any form.

Will I receive the grant as a lump sum?

Yes, successful grantees will receive a lump sum to be paid to one of the Haas students on the team for distribution to team members, payment of expenses, etc.

Do you take equity?

No. The grants are non-dilutive and your only obligation after receiving a grant is to post a 60-90 second “lessons learned” for public viewing as well as a single paragraph written status report due six months after the end of the award. Your team must also agree to respond to brief bi-annual surveys for two years post-award.

Who will evaluate and select grant awardees?

BHEP/IBI leadership, selected entrepreneurship faculty and other program partners will comprise the selection team.

Are grants awarded to for-profit companies only?

No, non-profit and social impact teams and companies are encouraged to apply…we want to support the best ideas, period.

What kind of space will I have access to?

During your semester as a Seed Fund recipient, you will have access to shared office and hot desking space in downtown Berkeley on Addison St. There’s also a shared conference room and even a kitchen! Right now the space is available M-F during working hours, but we are working to get weekend and after hours access as well.

Past Recipients:

Spring 2019:
glowup. – David Tao
NeuroGuard Annam Quraishi
QOLiFly – Andrew Blute
CallistoGiles Templeman
LifeWorkDavid Corfield
ExVivoGen – Santiago Freyria
DirectJon Lam
Vested – Viram Shah
SuiteSocialJennifer DeAngelis
YouRefugeNeeraj Goyal

Fall 2018:
Mother Matcha – Samantha Tannor
MINWO – Melanie Akwule
WOMG – Lourdes Amayo
Urban Miles – Ludwig Schoenack
Grido – Tushar Misra
81cents – Jordan Sale
Oki – Luofei Chen
Twentyeight Health – Amy Fan
Beyond Pink – Marisa Mitchell
BlitzIQ – Justin Duan

Spring 2018:
Bear Founders – Jeremy Allen Hammer
Jomo – Cori Land
d.rect – Christian Keil
Hiven – Sundaresan Subramanian
NearFarms – Somiran Gupta – Ludwig Schoenack
Knowdeon – Atanas Christov Bakalov
boxlet – Ishan Sharma
UjU – Daniel Shepard
Polyledger – Dmitriy Berenzon

Fall 2017:
Celestek Beacon – Andrew Shacker
Cryptonite – Dustin Seely
Deal Engine – Alexandro Jara Hernandez
Giving Fund – Samantha Penabad
Imago – Federico Alvarez del Blanco
Legumes + Leaves – Sarah Mitchell Yates
Onederful – Karen Yee
Ping Inc. – Kourosh Zamanizadeh
Social Filter – Sal Parsa
VOTY – Kathryn Tess Peppers

Spring 2017:
Bluem – Jeremy Allen Hammer
Clear Step – Sara Nomanbhoy
HomeFluent – Chijioke Emenike
KNO2 – Stephanie Nemec
Locus – Anuj Patel
Mavenform – Kevin Wu
Necesito Doc – Leon Rodriguez
Peace Saffron – Sal Parsa
Pinpoint – Alex Zekoff
You3Dit – Huey-Ya Lori Chen

Fall 2016:
AndaBar – Alex Levy
Liverty – Alvaro Silberstein
Sierra BlueFlame Woodworks – Adam Pugh
HomeSlice – Anna Roumiantseva
InnoWaste – Yi Lin Pei
OmSchool – Emily Tsay
Oishii Farm – Hrioki Koga
Ikanos – Luigi Rodrigues
Lyme.Dot – Shannon Herline
Flourish – Pedro Moura
Markt (formerly EveryFarm) – Lizz Niemeyer

Spring 2016:
Peer Play – Alejandro Maldonado
Planet Murple – Emily Yao
Mules for Schools – Luis Bellon
TeAlchemy – Shubhika Taneja
SocialForce – Susanne Schoeneberg
Bitcoin Umbrella – Chadwick Strange
Human Capital Fund – Eddie Gandevia
SmileyGo – Pedro Espinoza
Paradigm Shift – Matthew Cobos
Together-Green – Carrie Gladstone

Fall 2015:
CaringDr – Linda Chow
Clima – Saharnaz Safari-Sanjani
Wizer – Liyu Wang
D! – Shahidah Abdul Rashid
Living Foods – George Roche
Mentor Room – Dante Alvarado-Leon
LiftEd – Andrew Hill
Dost – Sneha Sheth
Farmcation – Grace Lesser
Sidekick – Hansen Lui