For Founders

UC Berkeley hosts startup competitions that offer cash prizes. Best of all, this seed money often comes with no strings attached.

Bear Trap Competition

Big Ideas@Berkeley

Big Ideas@Berkeley is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Although the exact number of awards changes year to year, during last year’s contest, Big Ideas selected 37 teams as winners, and gave each winning team an award ranging from $1000 to $10,000. The average prize award across categories typically amounts to $5000.

LAUNCH The UC Berkeley Startup Competition (LAUNCH) is one of the foremost events for University-affiliated early stage startups. It provides entrepreneurs with the best possible resources – including education, networking, team creation, mentorship and over $60,000 in new venture financing – to help turn innovative ideas into real businesses.

GSVC The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) is an innovative program led by the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley in collaboration with 12 partner schools and organizations in the America, Asia, Europe and Africa. The competition offers $50,000 in funding and aims to foster a new generation of business leaders that values the social as well as the profit potential of business.

For Venture Capitalists

Interested in working in venture capital? If so, UC Berkeley has a competition for you too.

VCIC UC Berkeley Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) gives students the opportunity to act as investors in early stage companies – evaluating business ideas, watching company pitches, conducting due diligence, and negotiating investments – all with real entrepreneurs. You’ll learn the ins and outs of valuing companies, constructing a term sheet, and be evaluated by a number of high profile Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists. No prior finance experience is necessary.