State innovation funds supported hundreds of startups

Student with computer

The University of California announced that a $22 million investment from the State of California to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship across the UC system has supported more than 500 new startups and existing companies, helped launch at least 47 new products and enabled companies to attract $3.7 million in additional investments.

“Assembly Bill 2664 funds have been and will be used as a catalyst to bring together resources on campuses and within local communities to develop entrepreneurial skills and to help commercialize new products and technologies,” said Christine Gulbranson, UC’s senior vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship.

With its share of funding, UC Santa Cruz developed a multifaceted innovation and entrepreneurship program to support technology commercialization, creative entrepreneurship in the arts and social sciences, and experiential education and training for students, faculty, staff, and the neighboring community. Called the Support Program for Longterm Innovation, Commercialization & Entrepreneurship (SPLICE) and managed by the Office of Research’s Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization (IATC) Office, the program consists of:

  • a wet-lab incubator;
  • a Santa Cruz business accelerator;
  • an expanded entrepreneurship training program for students focusing on social enterprise;
  • a Silicon Valley incubator/accelerator;
  • a proof-of-concept grant program to help commercialize UCSC science and engineering technologies;
  • an Arts Division entrepreneurial training, mentorship and creative internship program; and
  • a program to commercialize student games.

“By pushing UCSC innovations from campus out to the community, SPLICE is bringing value and economic development through sustainable entrepreneurship, job creation and improved quality of life in the community,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Mohamed Abousalem.

In a report sent to state officials, UC provided an update on the range of activities supported by AB 2664 funds across UC’s ten campuses. Early results show that the state funds are having an overwhelmingly positive impact:

  • AB 2664-funded programs supported nearly 400 existing companies and supported entrepreneurs in the formation of another 127 startup companies.
  • At least 47 products were launched with the support of AB 2664 programs, ranging from footwear made with sustainable materials to smartphone applications for managing campus parking.
  • Startups leveraged their experience and funding from AB 2664 programming to attract at least another $3.7 million in additional investments, helping them bridge gaps to commercialization.
  • AB 2664 funds enabled UC campuses to add over 38,000 square feet of space for UC researchers and entrepreneurs to work on their projects in 2017, attracting 1,200 more users of those spaces than in the previous year.
  • More than 3,600 members of the UC community attended networking, pitch events and entrepreneurial education workshops supported by AB 2664 funds, an increase of some 1,700 participants from the previous year.

UC also leveraged Assembly Bill 2664 to raise $11.1 million in matching funds from corporate and philanthropic sources, with more fundraising to come. As of Nov. 2017, campuses have received over $5.5 million in matching funds, with another $5.6 million committed.

AB 2664, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion, was authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and signed in fall 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Through the bill, each of UC’s 10 campuses received $2.2 million in one-time funding in Jan. 2017 to invest in infrastructure, incubators and entrepreneurship education programs.

In 2013, Napolitano launched the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative to leverage the scale and diversity of the UC system to build an even more vibrant entrepreneurial culture. For more information about innovation at UC, including UC’s new contest for alumni entrepreneurs, visit

For more information on the SPLICE program or the IATC Office, email or call 831–459–5415.