CITRIS Foundry | Incubator
CITRIS Foundry is the University of California accelerator for founders building deep technology startups. We bring extensive experience at the leading edge of university-driven innovation and entrepreneurship to guide startups and institutional partners in bridging the gap from lab to market.
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Uniquely situated across multiple UC campuses, the CITRIS Foundry is ideally positioned to help new generations  of innovators and entrepreneurs bridge the gap from lab to market and actualize rigorous, validated solutions to society’s biggest challenges. The Foundry’s Incubator offers guidance, education, and a home-base to de-risk entrepreneurship for early-stage founders, especially supporting those who have been historically marginalized, allowing innovators to confidently identify pathways to success and reach the next stage of development and investment for their emerging technology venture.

  • We support emerging technology teams working across every sector to deploy their innovations within the following social impact areas: health, energy, crisis response, education, environment, equity and inclusion, infrastructure, information verification and validation, public and social sector, and agriculture and food.
  • California’s robust innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem both statewide and within the UC system is primed for activities that level the playing field for diverse founders and promote accessible, equitable entrepreneurship.
  • We support entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, especially people of color, women and other groups that have been historically underrepresented in tech. We believe that diverse and inclusive teams identify and solve challenges that may otherwise get overlooked and a multitude of perspectives and experiences create more innovative and informed technology solutions.


Innovation & Entrepreneurship Skills Building

  • Guided workshops to de-risk your business and build your entrepreneurship skillset 
  • Open office hours from local experts in VC, legal, IP, banking, grants and more
  • Hand-matched mentors from top University of California & Silicon Valley experts in their fields
  • Facilitated peer-to-peer networking
  • Curated calendar of events, speakers series, networking, and skills building opportunities

Network Nodes & Co-Working Spaces

  • Over 3,500 sqft of co-working space and conference rooms across 4 UC campuses (Berkeley, Merced, Davis, Santa Cruz)
  • Opportunities to connect with entrepreneurial ecosystem present on your campus
  • Facilitated cross UC campus networking and mixers

Research Infrastructure & Business Resources

  • Research & prototyping facilities specific to each campus
  • Legal, banking, and IP guidance
  • Up to 100k in AWS Credits
  • GOEngineer SolidWorks licenses and software support
  • Content specific workshops


Technology + Product

  • Is your core idea feasible?
  • Does your technology work? 
  • Are the highest-risk aspects of your product solvable?

Organization + Funding

  • Has your team gathered the necessary skills to get to a team or user operated prototype? 
  • Is there a scalable business with a plan to fund required milestones?

Market + Industry

  • How do you define your market? 
  • Do you understand its value chain and your place within it? 
  • Do you have a path to reach your target market? 




Team Size | You are a team of 2 – 5 founders and have technical expertise in proposed venture’s core innovation.  


Type of Innovation | Your project is based on an innovation in the discipline of information technology, biological or physical sciences, or other engineering field. 


Readiness Level | Your venture has raised no more than $500,000 in debt or equity funding from non-governmental sources at the time of application.  


Affiliation | One founding team member must have one of the following affiliations with one of the CITRIS UCs (Davis, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Merced) or LBNL: current graduate student, undergraduate student, post-doc, faculty, staff, recent alumni, visiting scholarship.


Passion for Implementation | You have a strong desire to see your innovation actually implemented in the market and will stop at nothing to make real impact. You are excited to grow personally and professionally, to develop new skills and concepts to best support your chosen venture.


Emerging Technology & Expertise | Your proposed project is on the cutting edge of technology innovation or your project’s technology has never been implemented in the complex system you’ve identified. Your team’s background and technical expertise are uniquely suited for deploying your innovation. 


Participation & Engagement | You are eager to utilize the resources available to you through this program and our mentors, coaches, and support are critically necessary to set your venture up for success and meaningful impact.


Online Application | Our current cohort application is closed but please join our interest list.


Deliberation | Our incubator is open for applications twice a year for Fall and Spring. 


Interviews | Video interviews will be conducted through Zoom will consist of a 30-minute meeting focused on learning about your team and innovation. 


Orientation | Once you are accepted, you will be invited to an online orientation for onboarding and more! 


Equity & Compensation | Our incubator asks for teams to provide a 1.5% equity stake in their companies to the University of California in exchange for University support and resources. There is a cash payment alternative for teams where providing equity isn’t feasible.


Intellectual Property | All projects with IP developed outside of UC own that IP, regardless of affiliation with CITRIS Foundry. Ownership of IP developed during program and conducted utilizing specific UC Berkeley lab facilities will be treated on a case by case basis depending on user facility agreement. 


Incorporation | Legal incorporation of project prior to application is not required. CITRIS Foundry has several resource options to support incorporation during the program.


Time Commitment | Attend workshops 3x/month, Foundry Forum 1x/month, leverage expert office hours 3x/month, network with peers on an ad-hoc basis.