Free Ventures (UC Berkeley)

Team Members: Jeremy Fiance, Sam Kirschner, Alex Mandel, Sahana Rajasekar, Arushi Saxena

School: UC Berkeley

Sam Kirschner (left), Jeremy Fiance (right)

Sam Kirschner (left), Jeremy Fiance (right)

Free Ventures is UC Berkeley’s first student-initiated non-profit startup accelerator, meant to catalyze the development of young entrepreneurs to innovate and create high-impact, sustainable ventures. Free Ventures is a key part of an innovation movement that involves changing the culture amongst the student body from focusing all of their energy on classes to a world where the things learned in the classroom can translate into real world products and services. They intend to do this by giving young entrepreneurs access to student consulting, mentorship, funding, and a more intensive accelerator program for students that show a higher potential of success. Initially they plan to implement a pilot program of roughly five passionate student teams that will be given mentors, project deadlines, and seed funding all wrapped up in 10 weeks. The pilot will help them to build an initial infrastructure, which they will use as a platform to build on. This organization will work along current leaders on campus to help accelerate Berkeley’s already talented student body into a more creative, free thinking group of students with a higher potential to pursue their passions and create meaningful ventures.