Home Industry Berkeley SkyDeck offers startups access to additive manufacturing

Berkeley SkyDeck offers startups access to additive manufacturing

Berkeley SkyDeck, a global center for entrepreneurship, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, UC Berkeley‘s interdisciplinary center for learning and creating at the intersection of design and technology. The partnership will provide select companies with access to the Jacobs Institute’s extensive hardware and product prototyping facilities.

This partnership marks a significant step in fostering interdisciplinary collaboration within the UC Berkeley ecosystem to provide entrepreneurs and startups with access to extensive resources. The hardware startups selected from the SkyDeck Accelerator program will receive special “Entrepreneur Maker Passes” that will give them access to the Jacobs Makerspace and its state-of-the-art 3D printers, laser cutters for acrylic, wood and metal, electronics and textile labs, and other tools.

“The quality of a startup’s prototypes can make all the difference when working to secure funding. With the Jacobs Institute’s investments in both tooling and talent now available to selected companies, SkyDeck will now be able to service hardware startup founders and their engineers,” said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director of Berkeley SkyDeck. “SkyDeck cannot wait to see what ideas our founders can now bring to life – all without leaving the Berkeley campus.”

“The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation was designed as an interdisciplinary hub bringing together design methodology, technological innovation, and societal impact to tackle the biggest problems of today and tomorrow, unlike anything universities have done before. Working with SkyDeck allows us to expand our mission to a brand-new set of users,” added Eric Paulos, Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute. “This is an exciting example of Berkeley’s various capabilities and resources coming together in a unique way to support entrepreneurs on a critical part of the product development process.”

The collaboration not only provides startups with access to cutting-edge equipment in close proximity to their headquarters at SkyDeck, but also enables significant cost savings and speeds up the prototyping process considerably. With the support of the Jacobs Institute’s in-house design consultants, startups can iteratively design and refine their prototypes.

“After working with the team at the Makerspace I was able to reduce the costs for a mold down from $40,000 to under $7,000 and the price per unit from $6 to $0.69,” said UC Berkeley alumni, Alex James Eyeman. “If I had not known what I could learn only at the Jacobs Makerspace, my small business could have never gotten started.”

“Adapting a research technology for a harsh and complex field takes a lot of prototyping and tests and requires a hands-on understanding of design for manufacturing. The SpaceCAL project was created to test a new type of 3D printing in space environments, and working with JIDI allowed us to be hands-on with our designs and quickly learn from our mistakes to create the perfect experiment,” said Taylor James Waddell, SpaceCAL Suborbital Project Principal Investigator; PhD, Mechanical Engineering.

This partnership is a powerful illustration of how UC Berkeley’s combined skills and resources come together in a unique way to support entrepreneurs in a critical part of the product development process. It provides an unprecedented opportunity for startups to turn their ideas into reality while interacting with the Jacobs Institute student community.

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