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.
International founders are subject to mandatory tax withholding. Having a US-based Haas student on the team will simplify the award process.
Ten $5,000 seed grants will be awarded in December and the other ten in May.
The Application Deadline for Spring 2020 has ended.
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.
The application for Spring 2020 has now ended. Application for Fall 2020 will be made available in November.
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 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.
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