Pejman Mar Ventures Launches Inaugural UC Berkeley $250K Startup Challenge

Students and alumni from UC Berkeley will help create the big companies of tomorrow, and today Pejman Mar Ventures launches an inaugural $250K Startup Challenge to find and help grow the next big startup at UC Berkeley.
The winning company will become part of the Pejman Mar Ventures portfolio and will receive seed funding, join the startup community, and gain access to the fund’s mentoring, network, resources, and if they’d like, office space in downtown Palo Alto.
“We are thrilled to connect with the UC Berkeley community to build a bridge between their incredible talent and untapped startup potential and Silicon Valley,” said Pejman Nozad, Managing Partner of Pejman Mar Ventures. “This $250K Startup Challenge is the first of its kind, and we know that UC Berkeley students and alumni are uniquely positioned to build the technologies and platforms of tomorrow.”
Judy Wade, UC Berkeley Foundation Trustee Member, added that, “Berkeley students and alumni have the academic rigor and technical talent to build the next big startups, and the resources, network, and mentorship of becoming a Pejman Mar Ventures portfolio company will bridge the academic world with one of the best early stage funds in Silicon Valley.“
“The creativity and technical talent we’ve seen from UC Berkeley students and alumni, as well as the teamwork of the faculty and campus have created the foundation for a strong continued relationship,” said Mar Hershenson, Managing Partner of Pejman Mar Ventures. “We see our founders and entrepreneurs thrive as they work with us to build their companies, tackle challenges, and create the platforms and products of the future.”
As a Pejman Mar Ventures portfolio company, the winning startup, which must have at least one founding member who is a UC Berkeley student, faculty or recent alumni, will receive:
Funding: Pejman Mar Ventures will award $250K for 10% of the company via equity seed financing, and will designate part of their ownership as a gift to UC Berkeley.
Mentors: The chosen company will work very closely with the Pejman Mar Ventures investment and operating team. In addition to scheduling regular check-ins with the partners, they will have access to the fund’s extended network and mentors.
Events: Founders will also have the opportunity to attend exclusive events, including intimate fireside chats with iconic visionaries. Previous speakers include John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga; and Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!.
Community: Community is the cornerstone of the culture at Pejman Mar Ventures, and the chosen company will join the Pejman Mar Family and interact with other founders in the fund’s portfolio on a regular basis.
Optional Office Space: The chosen team has the option to work out of Pejman Mar Ventures hacker space downtown Palo Alto for up to 9 months, where they will have regular touch points with other Pejman Mar Ventures founders and partners. Although the use of the space is optional, it is always open to the team for use.
Applicants apply online at through a written application and short video introducing the team. Applications are due by October 1st, 2015 and the winning team will be announced by October 30, 2015.
About Pejman Mar Ventures
Pejman Mar Ventures redefines what it means to be a portfolio company by turning founders into family. We’ve built an environment and community where we not only share knowledge, resources, and networks, but we also work together to navigate obstacles, create pivoting strategies, and invest in our companies each step of the way.
Pejman Mar Ventures is an early stage, $50M seed fund based in Palo Alto. Historically we have seeded companies now collectively worth over $25B including Dropbox, Lending Club, Doordash, Danger, ZenPayroll, Guardant Health, Soundhound, and more. The fund and Pejman Mar Ventures community are designed to work very closely with early stage companies coming out of top schools. In the past 18 months, Pejman Mar Ventures has funded 7 companies in which the founders were either current students, or recent graduates, from top schools including Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and will invest in students or alumni from UC Berkeley in Fall 2015.