Press Room

5 UC alumni entrepreneurs win opportunity to pitch at venture summit

The University of California today (Jan. 16) announced the five finalists of its new “I am a UC Entrepreneur” contest for alumni.

The finalists, selected by a panel of prominent investors, have won the opportunity to pitch their startups to more than 600 business leaders and venture capitalists at the third annual 2018 Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation (GCVI) Summit, held in Monterey, Calif., from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

Following the GCVI pitch sessions, contest sponsor Future Planet Capital will also select one finalist to take part in the second annual Future Planet Awards that will take place at Global Corporate Venturing’s symposium in London in May 2018.

These alumni entrepreneurs were chosen for their unique innovation and creativity from a pool of contestants representing all 10 UC campuses:

  • Jude Calvillo (UCLA alumnus) is the co-founder of Hyperthesis, a startup working to streamline how social and behavioral science research is conducted by reinventing the scholarly search engine.
  • Heather Hochrein (UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara alumna) is the CEO and co-founder of EVmatch, a peer-to-peer network for electric vehicle charging that helps drivers easily find and reserve charging stations anywhere they go.
  • Brian Soo (UC San Diego alumnus) is the founder of Lume, a startup that enables users to create high-quality video content on the go via a mobile phone case with interchangeable lens attachments, audio and storage capabilities.
  • Michael Urner (UC Merced alumnus) is the CEO and co-founder of Tergis Technologies, a company developing new medical devices to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections.
  • Sophia Yen (UCSF, UC Berkeley alumna) is the CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, a subscription medication delivery service working to streamline the way women manage their reproductive health.

Christine Gulbranson, UC senior vice president for innovation & entrepreneurship, and UC chancellors representing the alma maters of the finalists congratulated the alumni entrepreneurs in a video message.

Mentors providing one-on-one coaching to the five finalists in preparation for their finale pitch at GCVI are:

  • Barbara Burger, president of Chevron Technology Ventures
  • Vitaly Golomb, partner and global startup evangelist at HP Tech Ventures
  • Francis Ho, vice president, Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center, and managing director and head of digital health at Samsung Catalyst Fund
  • Jeremy Kranz, SVP, head of Technology Investment Group, GIC
  • Charlie Fiechter, managing member, Greenleaf-TNX Management

The “I am a UC Entrepreneur” contest for UC alumni was launched in October to highlight the innovation and creativity of the UC community. UC invited alumni entrepreneurs and startup leaders to submit pitch videos and materials explaining their vision and strategy. An associated campaign was launched in 2016 to highlight the impressive work of the university’s student, faculty and staff entrepreneurs.

“The UC community is full of entrepreneurs creating groundbreaking products and revolutionary companies,” said Gulbranson. “These finalists embody the bold range of innovative and forward-looking projects that our alumni are undertaking.”

The “I am a UC Entrepreneur” campaign for UC alumni is supported by Future Planet Capital (FPC), a global innovation fund.

“Disruption is key to Future Planet’s mission of delivering impactful solutions to the world’s greatest challenges,” said FPC Executive Chairman Douglas Hansen-Luke. “These five finalists are excellent examples of how innovation in health, transport, software and IT are creating the next technological revolution, and we look forward to working with them.”

For more information about the campaign, alumni entrepreneur contest, and innovation driven by the UC system, visit http://entrepreneurs.universityofcalifornia.edu/