UC Irvine entrepreneur

Credit: University of California/Sarah Brandenburg

A still from UC Irvine student winner Sarah Brandenburg's video, in which she describes her startup, MyMechanic.

Nineteen UC entrepreneurs will get a chance to meet and pitch some of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists next month at a special lunch hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano and Christine Gulbranson, UC’s senior vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The winners were chosen randomly from more than 340 students, faculty and staff who recorded personal videos from their offices, labs, dorms and video recording parties this past winter and submitted them to the “I am a UC Entrepreneur” campaign.

On May 5, this lucky group will lunch with Napolitano, Gulbranson and VC leaders Brook Byers, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB); Josh Green, of Mohr Davidow Ventures; and Brendon Kim, of Samsung NEXT.

“These 19 entrepreneurs represent the talent, diversity and passion that makes UC an entrepreneurial powerhouse,” Gulbranson said. “The ‘I am a UC Entrepreneur’ campaign showcases their unique stories, as well as the breadth and depth of UC’s entrepreneurial efforts across more than two dozen incubators and accelerators across the system.”

Gulbranson encourages everyone to keep sharing their inspiring stories on the “I am a UC Entrepreneur” campaign site (https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/entrepreneurs). Students, faculty, staff and postdocs who submit a 30-second video sharing what makes them an entrepreneur will still receive a “UC Entrepreneur” T-shirt for sharing their stories. For all of our UC alumni who are entrepreneurs, Gulbranson says, “Stay tuned! Their campaign will be launched soon!” 

Entrepreneurs from each campus will be represented at the May 5 lunch. Click on the names below to see the winning #UCEntrepreneur videos.

UC Berkeley

Student: Pedro Espinoza, SmileyGo

Faculty/Staff: Ivar Kruusenberg, Powerup Energy Technologies

UC Davis

Student: Zain Budhwani, Japa

Faculty/Staff: Bob Coates, SenseTerra

UC Irvine

Student: Sarah Brandenburg, MyMechanic

Faculty/Staff: Christopher Heylman, Velox Biosystems


Student: Miles Anthony, Flux Chargers

Faculty/Staff: Brennan Spiegel, My Total Health

UC Merced

Student: Hridaya Patel

UC Riverside

Student: Josh Burns, Smart Probes

Faculty/Staff: Maurizio Pellecchia

UC San Diego

Student: Brandon Magpayo, CampusLive

Faculty/Staff: Anita Bandrowski, SciCrunch

UC San Francisco

Student: Leon Chung, FutureDental

Faculty/Staff: Steve Hetts, ChemoFilter

UC Santa Barbara

Student: Jacob Levine, OrganicMatters

Faculty/Staff: Kollbe Ahn, ACatechol

UC Santa Cruz

Student: Brian Vallelunga, Miza

Faculty/Staff: Robin Hunicke, Funomena