Highlights from Berkeley SkyDeck’s virtual demo day – TechCrunch

With 17 startups taking part, Berkeley SkyDeck’s Demo Day isn’t the biggest cohort we’ve seen by any stretch. The assortment of firms is, nonetheless, outlined by a variety of focuses, from pioneering diabetes therapies to retrofitting autonomous trucking, curated by the SkyDeck’s small group and a variety of advisors.

Founded in 2012, the accelerator is concentrated on growing early-stage firms tied to the University of California system. Applicants have to be affiliated with both one of many 10 UC faculties or their nationwide laboratories in Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos. Notable alumni embody micromobility unicorn, Lime, and supply robotics agency, Kiwi.

In 2020, SkyDeck — together with a lot of the remainder of the world — went virtual.

“While flight restrictions did cause some international founders to pull crazy hours from our home countries to participate in the sessions, virtual sessions allowed additional members of our teams to participate that would otherwise not have been able to do so,” the accelerator’s organizers mentioned in a TechCrunch put up final yr. “We are also hearing chatter that Demo Day will be larger than ever before because virtual events are much more scalable.”

The 17 startups presenting at present have been whittled down from 1,850 candidates, based on the accelerator. Being a member of the cohort includes six months of launch  help from SkyDeck, coupled with up $105,000. “In six months, you’re going to pitch on stage at demo day, to an institutional investor in your industry,” Executive Director Caroline Winnett tells TechCrunch.

Here’s a better have a look at six highlights from this Demo Day.

Image Credits: EndoCrine Bio, Inc.

Building on applied sciences developed within the stem cell analysis labs of UCSF, EndoCrine is trying to commercialize a greater option to uncover and develop medicine. Specifically, the startup is hoping to enhance diabetes remedy past normal insulin injections.

“EndoCrine’s proprietary human stem cell-derived islet platform revolutionizes the drug discovery and development process, saving years of time and millions of dollars usually spent by pharma companies,” CEO Gopika Nair mentioned in an announcement supplied to TechCrunch. “Our innovative solution opens an exciting era of personalized medicine in diabetes.”

The firm says SkyDeck helped it take the earliest steps out of the lab and into startup mode.

Image Credits: NuPort Robotics Inc.

NuPort Robotics is among the many most mature of the 17 startups included right here. In truth, in mid-March, the startup signed a partnership with Canadian Tire and the Ontario authorities, as a part of a $three million funding in an autonomous middle-mile trucking resolution.

Rather than constructing autonomous trucking from scratch, NuPort’s resolution is designed to retrofit semis with autonomous applied sciences.

“This results in operational cost reduction by eliminating the need to replace their existing fleet and yields a safer, more efficient and sustainable transportation system,” CEO Raghavender Sahdev tells TechCrunch.

Image Credits: The Hurd Co.

The Hurd Co.’s purpose is straightforward: cut back the environmental affect of clothes firms by serving to to take away timber from the method. Specifically, the corporate creates cellulosic fiber pulp from agricultural byproducts. This is designed to bypass tree-based agrilose, which is used within the manufacturing of all kinds of materials, together with rayon.

“Apparel brands are scrambling for new, low-impact fabric that will allow them to meet their ambitious sustainability goals,” CEO Taylor Heisley-Cook tells TechCrunch. “We completely eliminate trees from the supply chain with a hyper-efficient process that dramatically reduces brands’ impact on the environment.”

The firm says its course of makes use of half the water and considerably much less power than normal processes. The technology was developed by Hurd’s CTO, Charles Cai.

Image Credits: Humm

I gained’t lie, that is the one within the batch I’ve probably the most questions on, having seen a variety of firms declare their wearables can improve reminiscence.

Here’s what CEO Iain McIntyre has to say: “It’s ideal for activities that depend on memory, like reading, problem solving or multi-tasking. The Humm patch uses tACS (transcranial alternating stimulation) and in clinical research studies, the Humm patch saw a measurable (+~20%) improvement against placebo.”

It’s an attention-grabbing underlying technology, and the advisors — which embody a variety of college professors within the sciences — actually see industrial potential. There are some lingering questions round tACS.

Quoting Scientific American from January: “The potential therapeutic effects of tACS on memory, food craving and other neural processes have been tested in dozens of studies in the past. Questions have been raised about whether this method actually exerts any meaningful changes in the brain, however.”

Definitely curious about seeing extra about this one and maybe taking it for a spin when the product ships, later this yr.


As far as elevator pitches go, Publica might have the most effective one of many present. “Publica is Shopify for Digital Content.” Essentially, the corporate needs to be a direct conduit between content material creators and customers.

“Publica is a service that enables authors and content creators to have their own custom storefront to share, market and sell e-books, audiobooks and any other types of digital content with no intermediaries,” CEO Pablo Laurino tells TechCrunch. “In the era of D2C and marketplaces, Publica helps authors and content to achieve that on their own storefront, offering authors complete control over their brand and ownership of the relationships.”

The system helps creators make their very own personal digital storefront to promote all kinds of merchandise, together with audiobooks and e-books. The website is already up and working, with greater than 1,200 shops created by 250 shoppers.

Image Credits: Serinus Labs

Serinus is growing a warning system for detecting failure in lithium-ion batteries.

Per CEO, Hossain Fahad, “Battery safety is the biggest challenge in the EV industry today. Serinus Labs’ proprietary LiCANS technology provides early warning signals to prevent catastrophic battery failure in electric vehicles.”

The tech makes use of gasoline sensing to detect early traces of vented gases that happen previous to battery failure.

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