Startup Marketplace Fellows is back! We connect UC Berkeley grad students with top faculty and researchers for multidisciplinary, 40-hour projects to be completed any time during the school year (preferably by end of April).
Typical teams include students from Berkeley Haas (FT, EW & EMBA), the joint MBA/MPH program, M.Eng., I-School, and the Masters of Translational Medicine (MTM).
We’re partnering again with UCSF, UCB and Berkeley Labs. New partners include NASA Ames Research Center.
What’s in it for you? Great startup experience and a fancy title (UCSF Startup Fellow, Berkeley Labs Startup Fellow, etc.) upon successful completion of the project. Top teams will be selected to pitch on LAUNCH Demo Day @ the Expo. Some students have gone on to join teams/companies after project completion, but there are no guarantees or expectations.
What types of projects? Biotech/Healthcare/Medtech, Blockchain, Environment & Crew/Life Support Systems, Nanofabrication, and Power Generation and Storage. Stages range from early-stage faculty projects to companies prepping for fundraising to funded companies preparing to launch.
Get involved! Fill out the form by 2/26 and we’ll start contacting you with suggested team assignments in ~1-2 weeks. Most teams include at least two disciplines (some with up to four), so this is a great opportunity to connect with your peers across campus.
To sign up please complete the form Linked Here
Inductive Monitoring System
David Iverson (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. The Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) software provides a method of building an efficient system health monitoring software module by examining data covering the range of nominal system behavior in advance and using parameters derived from that data for the monitoring task. This software module also has the capability to adapt to the specific system being monitored by augmenting its monitoring database with initially suspect system parameter sets encountered during monitoring operations.
Surface Attached BioReactor (SABR) for Microbial Cell Cultivation
Leslie Bebout (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. The Surface-Adhering BioReactor (SABR) transports nutrients to microorganisms without using a pump. Instead, evaporation and the cohesive property of water are exploited to pull the nutrient medium through the device, with a high degree of control, on an as-needed basis. It eliminates the hydrodynamic shear stress on the cells and decreases the working volume of water needed for cultivation by a factor of 25 compared to planktonic bioreactors.
Pancreatic Insulin-Producing Cell Generation
Gopika Nair (UCSF Stem Cell Biologist)
Project Description: I have invented a process to generate fully functional mature pancreatic insulin-producing cells from stem cells. These lab-grown organoids display dynamic insulin secretory responses to glucose very similar to islets isolated from the human body and can also cure diabetes in mice (published in Nature Cell Biology, 2019). These lab-grown organoids can be used as surrogates for human tissue for drug discovery, toxicity analysis, and personalized medicine. In short, our platform can be used as an ex vivo human model for de-risking candidates for clinical trials and for the development of novel first-in-class therapeutics. Our platform would greatly reduce drug failure rates further down and save millions of dollars.
Project: Customer discovery interviews through NSF I-Corps to validate/invalidate customer segments and determine their top associated value propositions. As with many platform technologies, it is difficult on the surface to determine how to prioritize customer segments for a go-to-market strategy. The team will work directly with the inventor to conduct and synthesize information gleaned in customer discovery.
Multivalent protein conjugate generation
Wesley Jackson (National Institute of Health)
Project Description: Valitor is developing a pipeline of biologic therapies that harness polymer biophysics to generate superior biotechnology therapies. Our core technology is based on multivalent protein conjugates (MVPs) that can enable unprecedented efficacy and safety profiles to meet the specific pain-points of several large-market indications. We have identified several target indications where our products are positioned to become best-in-class therapies. In addition, we are also able to leverage our platform technology through partnerships that could extend the patent life of known therapeutics and enable the development of existing assets for new clinical indications. We are seeking a business development team that can assist in evaluating the impact and addressable market size of the products currently in our pipeline, as well as to explore additional indications where our technology is likely to make a substantial impact.
Project: We need the team to conduct customer discovery interviews to help narrow down the optimal customer segments for a go-to-market strategy. This will involve customer discovery with clinicians, ecosystem players, and potential industry partners in order to understand their needs, priorities, and associated value proposition. We are requesting a final deliverable that prioritizes these segments and a recommendation for which of our potential future products should be prioritized using our current development funds.
Prasad Shirvalkar (MD, PhD – UCSF)
Project Description: Assist with customer discovery and assessing corporate interest for licensing to major neuromodulation device manufacturers focused on pain therapies. The Pain Neuromodulation Lab at UCSF has developed technology using electroencephalography (EEG) to identify personalized neural signatures of pain relief, optimize neurostimulation parameters and predict spinal cord stimulation (SCS) success in candidate patients. Our product is the first personalized treatment prediction tool for chronic pain based on an objective measure of pain. Our brain-based algorithms are aimed at increasing long-term analgesic efficacy for SCS by providing more accurate device programming and predicting which patients could benefit. Other applications in the pharmaceutical or neuro-tech space could also license or acquire this technology for precision pain medicine.
Nick Merrill (Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity)
Project Description: Using new “proof of stake” blockchains, we can provide returns on capital averaging 10% in cryptocurrency-denominated terms, and potentially many thousands of percentage points in US dollar-denominated terms. Currently, institutional and retail investors have trouble getting exposure to this market, as staking coins requires specialized hardware and knowledge. We aim to provide a platform for investing in a “staking portfolio” using only US dollars.
Project: We need help in conducting customer discovery interviews with (1) institutional investors and (2) accredited retail investors to validate/invalidate our hypotheses around their needs/priorities and associated value propositions. The team will go through the three-evening NSF I-Corps course and work directly with the inventor to conduct/synthesize interview results. Some platforms that reach similar customer segments: Prosper, Fundrise, LexShares and Upstart (the latter is only open to institutional investors).
Ultra-thin and electrically conductive suspended titanium nitride membranes
Michael Elowson (Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab)
Project Description: Our invention is a free-standing membrane made of titanium nitride that is only several nanometers thick, and fabricated using highly scalable methods. This “ultra-thin” membrane is unique in that it is 1) an electrically conductive ceramic, 2) composed of only one material, and 3) fabricated using highly scalable methods. There are currently no competing reports with that combination of features. Such membranes are often used in microelectronic, lab-on-chip, and sensing applications. The ability to substitute current membrane materials with an electrically conductive one may open up new functionalities and improve performance. For example, the membrane itself can be integrated into a larger microelectronic circuit. The invention has been reduced to practice in its basic form, and is being validated for use as electron-transparent windows in transmission electron microscopy. Currently, we are in discussion with LBL’s Intellectual Property Office to patent the invention.
Project: Customer interviews through I-Corps program to validate/invalidate customer segments and determine their top associated value proposition. Market/competitor research to understand where ultra-thin membranes are currently used, and whether introducing electrical conductivity or greater customizability in membrane material/thickness is highly desirable. Potential customer segments include: TEM labs, MEMS, microelectronic sensors, lab-on-chip, fluid filtration, tynodes, etc.
ENVIRONMENT AND CREW/LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse
Michael Flynn (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. The process is a unique approach to water, solids, and atmosphere recycle and reuse. The membrane water wall concept includes a system for membrane-based water, solids, and air treatment functions that is embedded into the walls of inflatable or rigid habitat structures (e.g., ISS). It provides novel and potentially game-changing mass reuse and structural advantages over current mechanical life support hardware.
Soil Remediation With Plant-Fungal Combinations
Kenneth Cullings (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. This process applies to the remediation and restoration of soils contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl wastes, etc. The selection of the most effective combination of plants and fungi can determine efficacy in the removal of pollutants from the environment. Ectomycorrhizal (EM) mediated remediation of phenolic-based contamination through the use of specifically adapted soil and enzyme utilizes plant/fungal combinations that are specifically adapted to conditions created by phenolic application to soils and abilities of ectomycorrhizal fungi to oxidize these compounds.
Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes & Contaminated Water Treatment
Michael Flynn (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. NASA has invented an innovative method to grow algae, clean wastewater, capture carbon dioxide to ultimately produce biofuel. The invention consists of floating flexible plastic enclosures, and photo-bioreactors with semi-permeable membranes. Deployed in the marine environment, the gradient between the freshwater inside the system and the saltwater outside drives forward osmosis. The water removed through semi-permeable (forward osmosis) membranes is cleaned as it is released into the marine environment. The second related project is a system and associated method that provides a contaminant treatment pouch, referred to as a urine cell or contaminant cell that converts urine or another liquid containing contaminants into a fortified drink, engineered to meet human hydration, electrolyte and caloric requirements.
Spacecraft Atmosphere CO2 Capture via Deposition
Darell Jan (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. The technology addresses future CO2 removal and life support system needs using a completely different technical approach than currently employed on the ISS. Instead of using a sorbent, this technology utilizes cooling to directly freeze CO2 out of the atmosphere. Specifically, it involves forcing a phase change of CO2 from the cabin atmosphere by solidifying it onto a cold surface.
POWER GENERATION AND STORAGE
Graphene Composite Materials for Supercapacitor Electrodes
John Hogan (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. NASA has developed an electrode composite material capable of both high energy density and high power density relative to conventional batteries. This innovation develops electrode composite materials that combine graphene with a metal oxide nanocomposite of manganese oxide and cobalt oxide. Applications include electric automobile power sources and sustainable energy among others.
Compliant electrode and composite materials for piezoelectric wind and mechanical energy conversions
Chris McKay (NASA, Ames Research Center)
Project Description: Assist the inventor with understanding commercialization potential and completing customer discovery. NASA researchers have invented a system, method, and device for improving the performance and increasing the lifespan of small form factor, thin-film electrode, piezoelectric devices capable of interacting with the wind to provide power to wearable devices and stretchable electronics.