Before Students Have a Start-up, “The House,” a Start-up Institute, Provides Support

Tracey Lien reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “Most Bay Area venture capital firms keep an eye on local colleges so they can fund campus start-ups before they take off.

“The House, a new ‘start-up institute,’ wants to get in even earlier.

“Cal alumni Cameron Baradar and Jeremy Fiance set up shop this week in a 7,000-square-foot space across the street from UC Berkeley to support Cal students and faculty before they even have a start-up.”

The article explained that, “The House, which stands separate from the House Fund — a $6-million venture capital fund Baradar and Fiance announced in April — will help students and faculty turn their research and ideas into companies by identifying business opportunities, putting founders in touch with legal and financial resources, offering access to advisors and mentors, and also providing a place to work.”

Today’s article added that, “‘There’s a need for a new type of organization at the intersection of start-ups and universities that is purpose-built for a university setting,’ said Baradar, a 23-year-old Orange County native.

“According to Baradar, start-up accelerators that work with company founders for three months simply aren’t built for universities, where students spend two to six years on campus.

The House is a flexible alternative, Baradar said, where students and faculty can apply to be part of the program and get the support they need without the pressure of launching a business, securing funding or following an arbitrary timeline. The services are offered free — no strings attached.”

The L.A. Times article also pointed out that, “Even if companies coming out of the House don’t end up being funded by the House Fund, [Erez Cohen, an advisor to the House who founded and sold his mapping start-up, Mapsense, to Apple last year] believes the program will be a boon to the Cal start-up community.

“‘When I was a PhD student, I didn’t have any sense of what Silicon Valley was like, what it meant to raise money or have a demo,’ he said. ‘A program like this would have helped me a lot.'”

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