Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship – A Quick Recap


January 19, 2017


This past week, the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship wrapped up its signature week-long bootcamp, capping off a week characterized with mesmerizing presentations from both speakers and students from a variety of professional fields, majors and countries. Key note speakers such as Dr. Vivienne Ming, Anne Fletcher, Alex Mehr (CEO & Founder of Zoosk, Mentor Box), Shomit Ghose (Onset Ventures), Buddy Burke (Apple) and Connor Landgraf (Eko Devices) shared their experiences covering a range of topics from ideation, execution & design, funding & pitching, but more importantly inspired a number of students and mentors to pursue their ideas and make them ‘their true purpose’ as entrepreneurs.

With 140 students from UC Berkeley and the SCET’s Global Partner universities, 24 groups of students presented a range of ideas reflecting a transition in mindset and discovering the potential of their businesses. Ideas ranged from the realm of social entrepreneurship, to talent rediscovery and training, bug-feedback, green-energy & climate change among many others. Judges Ikhlaq Sidhu, Abhas Gupta and Jeremy Fiance awarded Team ReLoop [Jiimy, Zuhayeer, Sachin & Ravi] as winners of the Bootcamp, while Team Acuity and Team Nanobiotec finished runners up during final presentations.

ReLoop’s idea was based on the problem that it’s hard for people who build apps to get contextual feedback from their customers and seniors – feedback is mostly in the form of emails or texts that may not provide much use. To deal with the problem, the team developed a drop in feedback SDK that integrates into platforms easily; the solution also provided data analytics, and was validated at early stage startups such as Kale-Kam at the House. With little competition from the likes of Instabug and MixPanel, ReLoop’s idea presented a viable, scalable solution for developers around the world to gain and react to user feedback. ReLoops Presentation can be viewed here.

Team ResponseLoop with Professors Ikhlaq Sidhu & Gigi Wang, and SCET Partner Erik Pena from Silicon Valley Bank
Team ReLoop with Professors Ikhlaq Sidhu & Gigi Wang, and SCET Partner Erik Pena from Silicon Valley Bank

Runners up Acuity and Nanobiotec also boasted game-changing ideas. Acuity tried to tackle the very relevant problem of bringing mothers back to the work-force by providing a customized online learning platform that gave mothers course paths and a socially motivating community as they attempted to rejoin the workforce after extended breaks. With a market of 33m mothers looking to return to the workforce in the US, Acuity’s platform provided great insight into increasing employment and making the most of the education and experience that mothers receive and can bring to the workforce. Nanobiotech, whose UFMG student was last month granted a patented platform in partnership with Bayer, hopes to combine nanotechnology together with genetic engineering in an innovative pesticide to solve an agricultural problem (of soybean rust) that has posed large pharmaceutical companies with the problem of decreasing efficacy. The company plans to use Brazil’s infrastructure to launch its pesticide there before targeting the USA agricultural market. [Acuity Presentation] [Nanobiotec Presentation]

This article features three finalist teams and their ideas, but also contains a number of links that can be used to view BMOE talks, presentations & challenges.

Pearls of Wisdom Panel, Moderated by Gigi Wang

How I Wasted $64m in Crazy Experiments, by Alex Mehr

“BMoE bootcamp allowed me to experience incredible things by implementing not only critical information on entrepreneurship but also other vital lessons on teamwork and resilience to continuously work on something through numerous nights. The 4.5 days I spent listening to great speaker speak and communicating with other bright students have become unforgettable memories.” – Jay Choi

“BMOE offered a wealth of resources from bringing in experienced venture capitalists to provide feedback and organizing insightful talks from industry professionals which gave us a good grasp on how to pursue starting a company. We’d like to thank the mentors who were extremely helpful especially when we were fine tuning our final pitch.” – Sachin Kesiraju (Team ReLoop)

“Thanks to BMOE, I know I’m an entrepreneur. As European students we really appreciated our experience at BMOE because it taught us American entrepreneurship and encouraged us to dream big.” – Sunethri Manthena, visiting student, HEC

Such was the level of enthusiasm and motivation that on the closing day, Dr. Vivienne Ming and some students stayed back till 4pm, with Dr. Ming answering questions and speaking with students about ideas, challenges and inspiring moments in her life for well over 3 hours after the bootcamp ended.

The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp is a 5-day intensive workshop offered the week before instruction every semester. To learn more about the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship click here. View other courses offered by the SCET.