Tech

Dennis Wafula

UC Berkeley launches blockchain accelerator for startups

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) recently announced the launch of a new blockchain-focused accelerator, the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator for blockchain startups.

According to the official announcement published on Jan 28, the goal of the Xcelerator will be to support early stages of blockchain based projects by providing knowledge and connections to industry experts. It also aims to provide resources to founders and entrepreneurs in the industry. 

The Xcelerator is partly sponsored by venture capital between Berkeley Engineering’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Blockchain at Berkeley and the Haas School of Business.

While commentating on the new accelerator, Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu, the founder, and director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology stated:

“Currently, there is a lot of hype in the space, but we believe that this new accelerator will give innovators the tools they need to separate hype from reality and pursue ideas that solve pressing business problems and create valuable new ventures.”

Reportedly, the program is open to projects from around the globe and will run for 12 weeks. Through the Xcelerator, UC Berkeley’s network of serial entrepreneurs, faculty, seasoned investors, alumni, and capable students will mentor and advise selected companies to guide them through the program and prepare them for demo day. The demo day will be held at the end of the program. Selected companies will also receive access to office space, funding and partnership resources.

Gloria Zhao, president of Blockchain at Berkeley explained that a lot of students are making an impact in the blockchain space. He stated, “With such a nascent technology as blockchain, we see that a lot of subject matter experts and people making an impact in the blockchain space are students.”

UC Berkeley also notes that its Entrepreneurship Center has launched a host of new labs devoted not only to blockchain, but also to innovation in data science, artificial intelligence, and sustainability.

Last year, UC Berkeley formed a partnership with Ripple’s global University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) to host a fintech and the blockchain industry spring speaker series at the Haas School of Business. Ripple has also helped in funding research projects and with the development of cross-departmental courses.

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