Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator


A partnership between Berkeley Engineering's Sutardja Center Blockchain X-Lab, Blockchain at Berkeley, Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative & Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program

 Made possible in part through generous support of the Berkeley X-Lab Fund


Administered through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, Berkeley Engineering

Selected teams to receive -

  • Funding up to $200k per team
  • SCET Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship and Blockchain at Berkeley training
  • Mentorship with notable blockchain and startup advisors
  • Network connections to Silicon Valley venture and funding expertise


 Ikhlaq Sidhu

Currently, serves as Chief Scientist & Founding Director at the UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. A world-class expert in "real-life" technology innovation and leadership. Invented seminal technology used in internet communications today (75 patents). Academically trained, yet highly applied. Developed Data-X, a framework for rapid digital transformation. He co-created the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (for students) and the Berkeley Method of Innovation Leadership(for technical leaders). Created the Entrepreneurship & Technology area at the #1 public university in the world. Serves on many advisory boards. Recognitions include the IEEE Major Innovation Award for 2018, Berkeley IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award in 2009, 3Com Inventor of the Year Award in 1999.

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Chief Scientist, Xcelerator & SCET;  IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award

 Kartik Mehrotra

Working towards building a decentralized ecosystem for the internet of things.

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Xcelerator Program Director &         X-Fund GP

Head of Bus Development, IOTW

Luke Kowalski

Luke Kowalski is recognized for his loyalty and pragmatism, but he also excels in his ability to work across disciplines. He has executed projects involving legal issues (antitrust, IP, audits, litigation), acquisitions (due diligence, integration, or divestitures), technical standards (document formats), government affairs (EU/USA trade, IP reform, repatriation), and even managed functions like physical security, user interface design and accessibility. He currently serves as a vp in the corporate architecture group at Oracle reporting to one of Larry Ellison’s EVPs. Before coming to Oracle, he worked for various startups in technical, design, and business roles, as well as for Netscape's Server and E commerce divisions. He holds several patents and professional certifications, serves as an ISO representative for US through ANSI and lectures frequently at conferences and universities. His educational background includes advanced degrees from UTA, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University. He is currently teaching a blockchain challenge lab at UC Berkeley.


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Co-Director Blockchain X-Lab & Instructor Blockchain Challenge Lab,  VP Corporate Architecture Group, Oracle

Jocelyn Weber

Over 20 years experience in education, technology product development, business development, corporate partnerships and marketing. Engineering degree from UC Davis. Strong interpersonal, leadership and management skills with a demonstrated strength in working across organizations to meet learning and business objectives.

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Director, Labs & Professional Programs, Sutardja Center

Avneet Saini

Avneet Saini began with consulting and business development and is now the Blockchain at Berkeley Accelerator Lead.

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Accelerator Advisor & Lead for Blockchain at Berkeley

 Liam DiGregorio

Head of business development for the largest student-run blockchain organization focussed on education, R&D, and Consulting. Lead business consultant for building an MVP for Ford. In charge of project timeline completions and helping companies determine the best approach to integrating blockchain to increase efficiency and solve trust problems associated with business practices.

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Accelerator Advisor & Head of Business Development, Blockchain at Berkeley

 Karin Bauer

Experienced Program Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Corporate Social Responsibility, Sales, Market Research, Organizational Development, and Analytics. Strong program and project management professional with a Ph.D. focused in Philosophy and Religion, Concentration in Asian Comparative Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies.

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Accelerator Advisor & Program Manager, Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative

Alexander Fred Ojala

Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Teaching, Emerging Technologies, Sustainability, and Compassion. AI, Data Science, and Blockchain expert. Instructor at UC Berkeley, the #1 Public University in the world. I consult and lecture for industry leaders around the world. Passionate about making technologies useful and maximizing the utility of innovations.

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Technical Program Manager, Xcelerator;  Co-Instructor, Applied Data Science


 Laura Tyson

As an economist, policy-maker, professor, and former dean, Laura Tyson has long been a leading champion of ways to re-think the role of business in society.

Tyson is professor of business administration and economics, and a former dean, at the Haas School of Business and London Business School. An expert on trade and competitiveness, she served as Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and later as Director of the White House National Economic Council. She was the first woman to serve in these two positions. In the years since, she helped Berkeley Haas become a pioneer in what is now the booming field of corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. As a an advisor and board director for both Fortune 500 corporations and major non-profit organizations, Tyson has spent much of her career working for positive social change in the for-profit sector, non-profit sector and public sector.

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Accelerator Advisor & Director, Berkeley Haas Institute for Business & Social Impact

 Gloria Zhao

Blockchain at Berkeley consists of Consulting, Design, Education, and R&D departments that each produce projects to contribute to the blockchain space. We also have an Internal and External department, responsible for fulfilling the functional tasks of the organization such as creating a lively social community and engaging with companies.

The organization has a high standard for output but is fully run by students, which means we face the unique challenge of incentivizing our members to do work without paying them and managing students with an academic schedule and priorities.

As president, my main role is to set the vision and expectations for the overall organization, manage department heads to facilitate cohesion and productivity, and lead the executive board in making decisions. I also represent the organization in public events and speak with people who are interested in working with us.

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Accelerator Advisor, President, Blockchain at Berkeley

 Sanil Rajput

Sanil is a Business Administration and Computer Science double major, as well as the Executive Vice President of Blockchain at Berkeley's External department. Prior to managing External, Sanil served as a Project Manager for B@B's consulting department. Sanil brings to the table a strong background in product growth and startup development.

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Accelerator Advisor & Head of External, Blockchain at Berkeley

 Rhonda Shrader

Rhonda is delighted to be back at Haas (MBA ’96) where she launched a transition from science to business. After a valuable stint in strategy and operations consulting, she founded or was an early stage team member of start ups in retail, behavioral health, non-profit and big data. She served as a long time mentor for UCSF’s Idea to IPO course, is an active advisor for NASA spinoff BrainAid, and recently lead the winning teams for both the Health Tech Forum Codeathon and the San Francisco MedHack 2.0 Hackathon.

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Accelerator Advisor & Executive Director, Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship


 Dean Patrick

As an advocate, developer, and investor in blockchain-based digital assets, I recognize the potential of distributed ledger technology to profoundly impact the world. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have stormed onto the global financial stage, offering investors a better way to capture the value generated by protocol-stacks, as opposed to merely the applications that sit atop them (go here for an often cited introduction to this thesis: A new generation of blockchain-fueled entrepreneurs has emerged: data-storage, record keeping, identity, corporate governance, banking systems, even global monetary policy all sit squarely in their sights. That said, maintaining a healthy level of skepticism is rational to avoid repeating the hard-learned truths of the dotcom era.

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Accelerator Advisor & X-Fund GP,
Industry Fellow

David Chang

Mr. David Chang is CEO of Blocknology Capital, a technology investment bank, also a founder of Blockchain Fund Global Alliance (BFGA), a global platform dedicated to institutional & HNW investors in blockchain industry, and China Cryptoeconomy Lab. Mr. Chang was Vice President at JP Morgan Asset Management, Managing Director at Corporate & Investment Bank of BNP Paribas, Member of Management Committee and Head of International Business at Guotai Asset Management and also managed hedge fund investment for Canada’s largest family. Mr. Chang holds B.A. in Mathematics and B.S. in Computer Science, M.S. in Computer Science, and PhD candidate in Computer Science, all from Cornell University.

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Accelerator Advisor & X-Fund GP,
VP of Shanghai Blockchain Assoc, Hyperchain Advisor

 Tess Hau

Tess Hau is the founder of Tess Ventures. She is an entrepreneur and venture capital investor. She is based out of Palo Alto, California and travels all over the world to meet business contacts. The startup she founded while in undergrad was acquired, and since then she has empowered entrepreneurs globally with access to capital at all stages and adding value. She is an advisor to various startups in the Stanford University ecosystem, Silicon Valley, South-East Asia, Canada and China. She now also helps bridge family offices from Asia who wish to establish a fund/tech venture division in Silicon Valley.
She helps startups cross border expansion into China and the U.S. She is a friend and advisor to various VC Funds and was an advisor to the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing. She was COO of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Greater Chinese Business Club, and is an Honorary Advisor for each new-coming GSB class.
People call her a “Platinum Connector” as she authentically enjoys cultivating quality relationships. She finds herself always thinking “How can I help that person?”

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Venture Partner


 Shomit Ghose

Shomit’s data-centric vision of the future has helped lead ONSET’s investments in software. Prior to entering venture capital, he was a startup software entrepreneur with a career of operating excellence spanning 19 years. Shomit’s startup roles included three highly successful IPOs as SVP of Operations at Tumbleweed Communications; VP of Worldwide Services at BroadVision; and software engineer at Sun Microsystems. He was also CEO and board member of ONSET portfolio company, Truviso, for two years leading to its acquisition by Cisco Systems.

At ONSET since 2001, Shomit has represented ONSET on the boards of Adara, HyperGrid, Imanis Data, Pancetera (acquired by Quantum), Polymorph, Truviso, Vidder and Vindicia (acquired by Amdocs.) In his private life he has been committed to coaching girls’ sports for many years in softball, high-level club soccer, and club and high school varsity and junior varsity lacrosse.

At the age of 15, Shomit was awarded two academic scholarships to the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a degree in Computer Science. He serves on the advisory boards of UC Berkeley College of Engineering’s Sutardja Center, Innovation Center Denmark’s ScaleIT program, and the Lundbeck Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship Program.

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Accelerator & Fund Advisor,
Industry Faculty

Ronen Kirsh

Ronen is the co-founder of Blockchain at Berkeley, the first blockchain university ecosystem. He has been advising Fortune 500 companies such as Airbus, BMW, and BDO and help blockchain start-ups to build communities and implement crypto-economic models. Today, Ronen is launching Dekrypt Capital, the premier blockchain investment firm for privacy-preserving protocols and early-stage ventures. The fund mentor and invest in teams developing novel solutions to address the core issues of scalability and privacy in decentralized applications.

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Industry Specialist, Blockchain at Berkeley

Dawn Song

Dawn Song is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Her research interest lies in deep learning and security. She has studied diverse security and privacy issues in computer systems and networks, including areas ranging from software security, networking security, database security, distributed systems security, applied cryptography, to the intersection of machine learning and security. She is the recipient of various awards including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the MIT Technology Review TR-35 Award, the George Tallman Ladd Research Award, the Okawa Foundation Research Award, the Li Ka Shing Foundation Women in Science Distinguished Lecture Series Award, the Faculty Research Award from IBM, Google and other major tech companies, and Best Paper Awards from top conferences. She obtained her Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining UC Berkeley as a faculty, she was an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University from 2002 to 2007.

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UC Berkeley Professor, Division of CS/EECS

Da Hongfei

Da Hongfei is the founder of NEO, a blockchain platform for distributed apps. He is also the founder and CEO of Onchain, a blockchain development company for enterprise and institutions. Both projects are headquartered in China and were the first blockchain development projects based in China.

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NEO Founder, Onchain CEO, Lab Mentor
Twitter / Reddit

Zeyu Zheng

Zeyu is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research at UC Berkeley. Zeyu recently earned a Ph.D. in management science and engineering and a Ph.D. minor in statistics from Stanford University. Previously, he earned a masters degree in economics from Stanford, and a B.S. in mathematics from Peking University. His research interests include simulation, data analytics, stochastic modeling, statistical learning and inference, and financial technologies.

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Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley IEOR


Anthony DiPrinzio

I am a Senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Political Economy with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship & Technology. Currently I am Co-President of Blockchain at Berkeley (B@B).

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Blockchain Advisor
Past President Blockchain at Berkeley

Xcelerator Interns

Helen Tang

As a leader, a listener, and a learner, I take every opportunity to use my skills to brighten my world, mainly through the lens of my current studies: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science + Business Administration. Current interests include project management, app development, and consumer/market analysis.

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Blockchain Xcelerator Intern, MET UC Berkeley

Program Structure

Education & Mentorship

  • Weekly Speaker Sessions on 3 Tracks - Technology; Blockchain Industry & Entrepreneurship
  • Office Hours with Xcelerator advisors, mentors & industry experts
  • Networking opportunities with Silicon Valley & UC Berkeley leaders & resources
  • Weekly Pitch Sessions
  • One-on-one meetings with blockchain & technology investors


  • Investment from X-Fund of up to $200K USD*
  • Partnership resources (e.g. cloud, software)
  • Access to office space at UC Berkeley & resources
  • Potential additional investments from partner funds
  • Access to leading blockchain projects and resources for mentorship & partnerships


*Dependent on team's performance and mutually agreed upon terms

Spring 2019 Batch program dates - March 18 to May 10

Xcelerator Partners & Supporters

of SCET IEOR, Berkeley Engineering
of SCET IEOR, Berkeley Engineering
Founded by Berkeley Alumni
Named Partner
Named Partner
Optimus Logo
Founded by Berkeley Alumni & Sponsor
IOTW - Partner

Click HERE to visit Blockchain at Berkeley.

Connect with us HERE to stay in touch and tell us how your organization could become involved as speakers, partners or mentors!