Last week, we formally announced the launch of our Accel Scholars program, in partnership with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at UC Berkeley.

Despite the fact that Cal has produced more venture-backed companies than any other university, among them Apple, Cloudera, Doordash, Flexport, Liveramp, Machine Zone, Nextdoor, VMWare, and Warby Parker, there has long been a perception that it produces engineers and not founders. Historically, the venture community has spent little time on campus, opting instead for light touch campus ambassador programs or summer engagements.

We want to change this with Accel Scholars. We see an unmet need at Cal, and a huge amount of untapped potential. We’ve kicked off our inaugural year with 25 incredible scholars. Over the course of the school year we will be providing personalized mentorship and career guidance,  bootstrapping their professional network with engineering and product leaders from leading  companies, and teaching them a curriculum of practical industry-related subjects such as fundraising, networking, career tradeoffs, rebounding from failure, and more.

As a Cal EECS grad myself, I’m invigorated to launch this first-of-its-kind program to put boots on the ground and spend time building authentic, meaningful relationships with a cohort of exceptional students.

Go Bears!