Free Ventures is a startup launchpad for Berkeley students, providing resources and a framework to build ideas for products or services into companies.

 

THE FREE VENTURES STORY

We are a program run by students, for students. Our founders have gone on to become Forbes 30 Under 30, build companies that are changing the world, and continue to develop the college startup scene by creating The House. Free Ventures has been an instrumental part of Berkeley’s startup ecosystem in its formative years, helping it to develop into the most robust college startup scene in recent years. In the process we’ve built the most comprehensive pre-seed program for Berkeley startups, tailored to each team’s specific needs and purely pro-bono.

Each day our team actively works with our venture capital sponsors, resource partners, The House, Dorm Room Fund, and other groups to build the strongest community of Berkeley founders, providing startups with a full stack of resources to guide them from ideation to investment. We have helped our 40 alumni teams raise over $25 million from top firms such as Y Combinator, Greylock, KPCB, and SVAngel. Collectively they’ve gone on to tackle problems in VR, drones, IoT, neuroscience, AI, real estate, and renewable energy, to name a few.

 

We provide our teams with...

2 ACADEMIC UNITS Students receive two units in Computer Science while participating in FreeV, thereby enabling them to invest more time into their company while working toward their degree. We work through Berkeley's DeCal program, and you can view our course page at decal.org.

2 ACADEMIC UNITS

Students receive two units in Computer Science while participating in FreeV, thereby enabling them to invest more time into their company while working toward their degree. We work through Berkeley's DeCal program, and you can view our course page at decal.org.

FUNDING We fund our teams to provide student startups with finanical support (up to thousands of dollars on needs-base) for their project. We call them micro grants, made to alleviate students' finanical concerns during the development of their startup with no strings attached.

FUNDING

We fund our teams to provide student startups with finanical support (up to thousands of dollars on needs-base) for their project. We call them micro grants, made to alleviate students' finanical concerns during the development of their startup with no strings attached.

MENTORSHIP Each project team is assigned a mentor with project specific background from either industry or academia. These mentors ensure each team maintains a productive development timeline and provide critically important real world experience.

MENTORSHIP

Each project team is assigned a mentor with project specific background from either industry or academia. These mentors ensure each team maintains a productive development timeline and provide critically important real world experience.

WORKSHOPS Our workshops are lead by industry or academic experts and they are designed to provide information that tracks the development of each team's progress and premptively answers any questions that may arise. Topics range broadly and include design, product managment, funding, and legal incorporation.

WORKSHOPS

Our workshops are lead by industry or academic experts and they are designed to provide information that tracks the development of each team's progress and premptively answers any questions that may arise. Topics range broadly and include design, product managment, funding, and legal incorporation.

COMMUNITY Free Ventures provides students access to a variety of contacts from industry, academia, and the student community. This network can be tapped to provide technical expertise, funding advice, legal services, amongst other wisdom and help. Get plugged in to the network you need to succeed.

COMMUNITY

Free Ventures provides students access to a variety of contacts from industry, academia, and the student community. This network can be tapped to provide technical expertise, funding advice, legal services, amongst other wisdom and help. Get plugged in to the network you need to succeed.

WORKSPACE Students will be provided a dedicated space to meet with their team members and work. For students with needs for specific resourses (e.g. hardware development equipment), Free Ventures will work to secure the required resources through collaboration with other university entities.

WORKSPACE

Students will be provided a dedicated space to meet with their team members and work. For students with needs for specific resourses (e.g. hardware development equipment), Free Ventures will work to secure the required resources through collaboration with other university entities.

Our Mission

We believe a university ecosystem is the ideal place to start up, and Cal is one of the best. But there's still a huge need for a strengthened community on campus to bring students together to tackle meaningful challenges.

Three years ago we founded Free Ventures with the vision of eliminating students' excuses for not pursuing a project or startup. We gave students course units to work on their startups, provided small amounts of capital, and brought in alumni entrepreneur mentors to guide them on their way. We supported brilliant students in turning an idea or project into a scalable business, and in doing so sparked venture-backed businesses that would not otherwise exist.

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We envision a world where Berkeley students spend less time on class projects and more time on building tools that create a positive impact on people's lives and the world. By connecting students with the right resources, motivation, and support, students can be empowered to build more, and do more.