UC Santa Cruz tech incubator offers convenient access to Silicon Valley

SVLink offices in Silicon Valley
Startups accepted into SV-Link will get access to office space, conference rooms, as well as business training for one year.

A new program from the University of California, Santa Cruz, offers campus and other UC entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch their startup companies from its Silicon Valley Campus.

SVLink, managed by the Office of Industry Alliances and Technology Commercialization (IATC), will offer support for up to 27 companies at 3175 Bowers Ave., Santa Clara. IATC is accepting online applications, which will be reviewed on a monthly basis, starting on March 15, 2018. Priority will be given to companies connected to UC Santa Cruz and to the rest of the University of California, though anyone is welcome to apply. Applications will continue to be accepted until all the slots are filled.

“SVLink provides UC faculty, staff, students, and alumni the opportunity to launch their startup company in the heart of the Silicon Valley,” Assistant Vice Chancellor Mohamed Abousalem said. “Helping innovative research ideas and technologies created at the University of California reach the public is part of our mission as a public university.”

The program was partially funded with the $2.2 million UC Santa Cruz received from California Assembly Bill (AB) 2664, which provided one-time funding to further innovation and entrepreneurship efforts at the University of California and the surrounding communities.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of UC Santa Cruz staff and faculty members.

Michael John, program director for Games and Playable Media, said the program is an exciting new resource for computational media graduate students located both in Santa Cruz and in the Silicon Valley campus.

“Many of our students graduate with entrepreneurial ambitions, but few resources to help them get off the ground. The combination of location, mentoring and connection to the local Silicon Valley community is a big leg up for these graduates,” John said. “Additionally, as the population of students studying in the Silicon Valley campus continues to grow, the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurial graduates across technology industries will provide valuable connections between alumni and students.”

Startups accepted into SV-Link will get access to office space, conference rooms, as well as business training for one year. The startups, which must be registered as a C-corporation, will need to sign a three-year promissory note for the rent of the office space. Those with ties to UC Santa Cruz are eligible for a $10,000 loan to fully cover the business training. Entrepreneurs affiliated with UC are eligible for a $3,000 loan and UC entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups are eligible for a $5,000 loan.

The business coaching includes monthly one-on-one mentor sessions about business development; monthly one-on-one mentoring sessions with investors, experts, and company founders; a monthly speaker series featuring investors, startup founders, and corporate executives; and much more.

UC Santa Cruz opened its new Silicon Valley Campus in 2016. The campus is home to professional masters programs, Silicon Valley-facing research, Silicon Valley Extension, and now SVLink. The 90,000-square-foot academic building supports UC Santa Cruz’s ambitious growth plans for the region, including developing a stronger connection and greater interaction between faculty, students, and Silicon Valley industry.