Applications for our batch program are closed, and will reopen in August 2018 to recruit founders for our Fall '18 Batch XI. Please subscribe to our newsletter and like our Facebook page to stay tuned for upcoming office hour sessions with the Free Ventures team if you would like feedback or advice on a project/startup you are working on, as well as be the first to know when our applications open.
the Internal Team
Our program is fully student-run with the support of an amazing network of resource partners, venture capital firms, and thought leaders from the Valley. FreeV team members receive an unparalleled exposure to Berkeley's leading startups and cultivate the skillset of a venture investor through the process of selecting founders, operating the accelerator, and managing portfolio companies and partner relations.
If you're interested in empowering talented Berkeley students to keep building and creating, we'd love to meet!
Apps will re-open in September 2018
The Free ventures accelerator
Free Ventures is a semester-long, highly individualized accelerator program where student-run startups receive workspace, resources to scale, class units, need-based funding, and mentorship from thought leaders in the Valley and our range of resource and venture partners.
Our program is open to startups across industries with at least one founder currently enrolled as a student. Batches often feature undergraduates, MBAs, and PhD researchers.
Batch X will take place from February through April 2018.
Batch XI Apps will open in August 2018
Frequently asked questions:
How is Free Ventures internal different than working for other incubators?
As the Berkeley's only nonprofit incubator program run by students, for students, internal team members receive a truly unparalleled exposure to Berkeley's leading startups. On a daily basis we develop the skillset of a venture investor and know-how to effectively start up through the process of selecting founders, operating the accelerator, and managing portfolio companies and partner relations. More importantly, as a non-profit we aren't pressed for returns or exits, and instead follow a mission-driven approach that sets us apart from our peers. Hence, our team members own high-impact roles with the ability to affect change not only in our portfolio companies, but across the broader Berkeley startup community.
While other incubators maintain full-time staff or faculty, our members of our small student team run the entirety of our incubator program. Hence, we perform work usually reserved for partners or managing directors in industry, and receive unfiltered exposure to the Valley's leading venture capitalists, startup founders, and service providers, in addition to leaders in the Berkeley ecosystem and beyond. We cultivate relationships with top undergraduate and graduate student groups, and are directly involved in supporting the growth and operations of each our our batch companies, who frequently include MBAs, PhDs, and some of Cal's brightest undergrads tackling problems across industries including neuroscience, drones, IoT, VR, AI, real estate, bioengineering, FinTech, and renewable energy, to name a few.
What do members of the internal team do?
Members are organized across four teams: mentorship, sponsorship, curriculum, and internal initiatives. As a new member you will choose a team to join as an associate, receive structured training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively contribute, and shadow an experienced team member to get up to speed with the FreeV program. You will also choose a batch company to directly assist during the program and begin attending our sessions to develop your network and gain exposure to our companies from day one. Once a part of the team, members stay involved throughout their time in college and have the flexibility to switch teams and craft a role around their preferred are of impact or learning. Given the individualized nature of our program, FreeV internal team members also frequently befriend founders in the batch and remain in touch long beyond the program to assist the next stage of the company's growth, be it related to fundraising, traction, or a new venture.
What does Free Ventures look for in a candidate?
We seek undergraduates across academic backgrounds (all majors are encouraged to apply) who are passionate for supporting startup founders, hungry to learn and get their hands dirty, and self-starters who will commit to growing Free Ventures' impact in the coming years. While open to all years, we optimize for underclassmen (freshman and sophomores) due to their ability to learn from their time in the program and capacity to give back as a senior team member in the coming years.
What is the recruitment timeline for Spring '18?
Applications for our internal team are due midnight, February 23. Selected applicants will be invited to a 20-minute interview with two FreeV team members on either Tuesday (2/27) or Wednesday (2/28), after which final round candidates will be chosen and briefed on the final round deliverable and interview process, to take place on Friday (3/9) in one-hour time slots.
Have a question not answered above? Check to see if we answer it on our program page, and if not feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.