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View from Chou Hall at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, January 2019

I work with dozens of very early stage startups each year. One in ten succeed seemingly effortlessly. Most of the others will probably fail, but that’s what the odds predict. Some don’t fail quickly, though. Many struggle for years, hustling for the attention of investors and customers, but they never quite get it. I know startup CEOs who think if only they work a little harder, craft just the right pitch, perfect their feature set, or network better, success will come. What they don’t realize is the problem is not with their work ethic, their product, or networking skills — it’s with their customer. …

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Berkeley Haas LAUNCH 2019

Over the past few years I’ve read more than a thousand fundraising presentations and heard hundreds of live pitches from seed-stage life science companies.

In 2017 and 2018 I chaired the Medical Device and Digital Health screening committee for Life Science Angels. Each year, the committee receives about 200 applications, and from there (with tremendous help from our LSA Fellows) we invite 40 companies to pitch live, in search of the five companies that we recommend for seed-stage investment.

I am also the advisory chair for the Bio Track at UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck. Companies accepted to SkyDeck’s accelerator cohort receive a $100k investment (in addition to curriculum, mentoring, office space, and a huge demo day). Coincidentally this vertical also gets about 200 applications each year, to fill a handful of spots (that’s just the Bio Track — the rest of SkyDeck gets many times more). …


Darren Cooke

IP Attorney and Investor | UC Berkeley SkyDeck | Faculty for NSF I-Corps and Berkeley Haas LAUNCH | Life Science Angels

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