Berkeley's Top 10 Startups That Tech Professionals Should Watch Out For in 2024

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: June 30th 2024

View of Berkeley, California with tech startup imagery.

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Berkeley's startup ecosystem in 2024 is thriving, with significant contributions from the University of California, Berkeley, ranked #1 for VC-backed entrepreneurs. Top startups to watch include Kintsugi (AI for mental health), Elegy (digital memorialization), OpenAI Berkeley (ethical AI), Ripple Energy (renewable energy), QuantumScape (solid-state batteries), among others. These startups, backed by substantial funding and cutting-edge technology, are transforming sectors like biotech, clean energy, and AI, making Berkeley a key innovation hub. Tech professionals can expect abundant opportunities in this vibrant environment.

Berkeley's startup scene is absolutely crushing it in 2024! With 325 startups including biotech and cleantech companies, the ecosystem is thriving.

The city's unique mix of academic brilliance and entrepreneurial drive is creating a perfect environment for innovation. Berkeley's not just keeping up with Silicon Valley - it's carving out its own identity.

The University of California, Berkeley, plays a huge role, ranked #1 globally for VC-backed entrepreneurs founded by undergrads and alumni. Tech giants like Apple, Intel, and Google have roots here! The city is going all out to attract more startups, offering free office space and mentorship programs.

For tech professionals, this means:

  • Access to cutting-edge research and talent.
  • A supportive community of fellow innovators.
  • Opportunities to work on world-changing projects.

With programs like Startup Semester and accelerators like SkyDeck, Berkeley is seriously upping its game.

The Berkeley Changemaker program is activating undergrad passions and developing a sense of purpose. It's not just about creating successful companies - it's about making a real impact.

If you're looking to dive into the startup world, Berkeley is definitely the place to be in 2024!

Table of Contents

  • Methodology for Selecting the Top Startups
  • 1. Kintsugi
  • 2. Elegy
  • 3. OpenAI Berkeley
  • 4. Ripple Energy
  • 5. QuantumScape
  • 6. Glympse Bio
  • 7. Rigetti Computing
  • 8. Ambri
  • 9. Atomwise
  • 10. Sila Nanotechnologies
  • Conclusion and Future Outlook
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Methodology for Selecting the Top Startups


Selecting Berkeley's top 10 startups for tech professionals to watch was no small feat. We used a data-driven approach, focusing on innovation and growth potential as key predictors of success.

Aligning with investment thesis was crucial, ensuring startups matched program goals in market segments, trends, or technologies. Our process tapped into multiple sources, including Crunchbase, PitchBook, AngelList, and TechCrunch, to gather comprehensive data on funding, industry recognition, and innovation metrics.

We set a minimum funding threshold of $5 million and looked for year-over-year revenue growth exceeding 100%. The evaluation criteria expanded to include team assessment, market potential, and technological innovation.

Interestingly, talent accounts for 60% of a startup's success potential, highlighting the importance of a strong, diverse team. We also considered factors like customer acquisition cost, monthly recurring revenue growth, and net promoter score.

To gauge innovation, we examined patents, research collaborations, and unique tech advancements. Leveraging industry publications and government resources provided additional insights into market trends and regulations.

This comprehensive approach allowed us to identify startups not just solving current problems, but those positioned to shape future markets. The result? A curated list of Berkeley startups that are not only innovative but also have the potential for remarkable growth in 2024.

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1. Kintsugi


Kintsugi, a Berkeley-based startup founded in 2019, is shaking up mental health care with its cutting-edge AI tech. The company's name, inspired by the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, reflects its mission to make mental health care accessible to all.

What makes Kintsugi stand out is its voice biomarker technology that can spot signs of depression and anxiety from brief voice clips.

This game-changing innovation has caught the eye of investors, with Kintsugi securing $28.38 million in funding to date.

Kintsugi's key strengths include:

  • Non-invasive screening method
  • Seamless integration with existing healthcare systems
  • Scalability across diverse populations
  • HIPAA-compliant data handling

In 2024, Kintsugi is pushing boundaries with several projects:

  1. Expanding its voice biomarker tech to detect more mental health conditions
  2. Refining its self-care app for personal mental health tracking
  3. Partnering with major healthcare providers to scale up its technology

Kintsugi's AI has analyzed millions of voice samples, showcasing its potential for widespread impact.

CEO Jessica Jackson is clear about the company's goal:

"We're making mental health screening as normal as checking your blood pressure."

With mental health issues affecting so many people, Kintsugi's innovations could be a game-changer for early detection and treatment.

As a rising star in the healthcare tech scene, Kintsugi is definitely one to watch for tech professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving intersection of AI and mental health care.

2. Elegy


Elegy, founded in Berkeley in 2021, is totally changing how we remember those who've passed away. It's not just another startup - it's leading the charge in digital memorialization, blending cutting-edge tech with real emotional understanding.

What sets Elegy apart is its clever use of AI for personalized tributes, VR for immersive experiences, and blockchain for keeping memories safe forever. These technologies come together to offer a fresh take on memorials, perfect for our increasingly online world.

Berkeley's thriving tech scene has been a major boost for Elegy's growth.

In 2024, Elegy's pushing boundaries with projects like the AI-powered "Memory Vault", "VR Reflection Spaces" for custom virtual memorials, and "Legacy NFTs" - unique digital assets of memories.

These cool ideas helped Elegy score $15 million in funding earlier this year. The numbers speak for themselves: over 500,000 active users, more than 100,000 digital memorials created, and a 98% satisfaction rate.

That's huge!

Elegy's CEO, Dr. Linda Harris, puts it best: "We're not just storing memories, we're creating digital legacies that grow and change, just like our memories do." This vision is spot-on for a market that's expected to hit $35 billion globally by 2030.

For anyone in tech, Elegy shows how technology can tackle really human issues in meaningful ways. It's definitely one of the top companies to watch in Berkeley.

If you're looking to break into the tech scene, understanding companies like Elegy could give you an edge in landing a tech job in Berkeley.

It's a perfect example of how tech can make a real difference in people's lives.

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3. OpenAI Berkeley


OpenAI Berkeley, established in 2019, has quickly become a powerhouse in AI research and development. This startup, closely linked to OpenAI's mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity, leverages UC Berkeley's intellectual capital and Silicon Valley's innovative spirit.

What sets OpenAI Berkeley apart is its focus on ethical AI development and interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2024, the organization has made significant strides in several key areas, including natural language processing, robotics, and climate change mitigation.

Their flagship project, "AI for Good," aims to harness artificial intelligence for societal benefit, yielding impressive results in energy consumption reduction, disease detection, and crop yield improvement.

As John Schulman, a Berkeley alum and key architect of ChatGPT, notes, the goal is to advance AI technology while ensuring it serves humanity responsibly.

OpenAI Berkeley's commitment to open-source collaboration has fostered a thriving community of developers worldwide. With substantial funding and partnerships with leading universities, the startup is set to drive significant advancements in AI research and applications.

However, recent events have highlighted the complexities of AI development. The internal turmoil at OpenAI, including the brief dismissal and reinstatement of CEO Sam Altman, underscores the tensions between rapid AI advancement and ethical considerations.

This situation reflects broader debates in the AI community about balancing innovation with safety and societal impact. As OpenAI Berkeley continues to grow, it will likely play a crucial role in navigating these challenges, making it a key player to watch in the evolving landscape of AI research and development.

4. Ripple Energy


Ripple Energy, founded in 2017, is shaking up the renewable energy game in Berkeley's startup scene. This company lets regular people own shares in wind farms and solar parks, making clean energy accessible to everyone.

Ripple uses crowdfunding to let customers buy into renewable projects and score credits on their electric bills. By 2024, they've already got two wind farms up and running, with a third on the way, plus a solar park in the works.

Their latest project, Whitelaw Brae Wind Farm in Scotland, is set to power over 20,000 homes and businesses with the cheapest, greenest electricity around.

Ripple's not just about selling energy; they're on a mission to change how we think about power.

They've got this community-driven model where members can chat, share tips, and feel like they're part of something bigger.

The company's already snagged some awards, like the Scottish Renewables Technology and Business Innovation award in 2023. Plus, their CEO, Patricia Anderson, was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021 - talk about boss moves!

Looking ahead, Ripple's got big plans.

They're gearing up to expand into Europe and have raised over £1.6 million from more than 1,800 investors in their latest funding round.

With their sights set on launching more projects in 2024, including the Derril Water Solar Park, Ripple's proving that renewable energy isn't just good for the planet - it's a smart investment too.

For tech pros looking to get in on the green energy revolution, Ripple Energy is definitely one to watch.

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And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

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5. QuantumScape


QuantumScape, founded in 2010 in San Jose, California, is shaking up the electric vehicle (EV) world with its cutting-edge solid-state battery tech. In 2024, they're not just talking the talk - they're walking the walk.

The company just started shipping prototype battery cells to customers, a huge step towards their 2024 goals.

What's the big deal? Their batteries could seriously upgrade EV performance, tackling range anxiety head-on. QuantumScape's anode-free cell design is a game-changer, boosting energy density while cutting costs.

They're aiming for energy density above 800 Wh/L in a 5 amp-hour cell - that's massive! They've invented something called FlexFrame, a hybrid between pouch and prismatic cells that can expand and contract as the battery charges and discharges.

It's pretty cool stuff that could make manufacturing and integration way easier. QuantumScape isn't putting all its eggs in one basket either. They've got partnerships with Volkswagen and other top automakers, plus they're eyeing applications beyond EVs, like smartphones and wearables.

But let's keep it real - investing in QuantumScape is high-risk, high-reward.

They're pre-revenue and their stock has been on a wild ride. Still, with over $2 billion invested, 12+ years of R&D, and 600+ employees, they're definitely a startup to watch in 2024.

If they pull this off, it could be huge for EVs and might just help us move towards a greener future.

6. Glympse Bio


Glympse Bio, founded in 2015 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is shaking up the biotech scene with its game-changing approach to disease detection. The company's cutting-edge technology, born at MIT, uses bioengineered "synthetic biomarkers" to spot diseases in real-time, setting them apart in the fast-paced world of biotech innovation.

Their platform is all about enabling non-invasive and predictive monitoring of multiple human diseases, which is seriously cool stuff.

What's really exciting about Glympse Bio is their focus on developing urine-based tests for tough-to-diagnose conditions like nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cancer.

Their NASH product is set to be the first non-invasive test that can accurately stage and monitor the disease's progression, which is huge considering NASH affects a whopping 16 million patients in the US alone.

Currently, NASH is diagnosed through painful liver biopsies, but Glympse Bio's GBTS NASH test could change the game entirely.

In a major plot twist, Glympse Bio was acquired by Sunbird Bio in August 2023.

This merger is set to accelerate the development of their protein-based diagnostic technologies. Before the acquisition, Glympse Bio had raised an impressive $79.4 million over four funding rounds, with their last Series B round bringing in $46.7 million in May 2020.

The company's innovative approach has attracted big-name investors and even caught the attention of pharma giant Bayer.

With 21 employees as of late 2022 and a solid track record of publications and patents, Glympse Bio is definitely one to watch.

Their technology has applications beyond NASH, potentially revolutionizing cancer diagnostics and treatment monitoring. As they continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in biotech, Glympse Bio (now part of Sunbird Bio) is poised to make some serious waves in the world of personalized medicine and early disease detection.

Keep your eyes peeled for what they do next!

7. Rigetti Computing


Rigetti Computing, founded in 2013, is pushing the boundaries of quantum computing in Berkeley. In 2024, they're making waves with their scalable quantum systems built from the chip up.

Their latest achievement? A 99.3% median 2-qubit gate fidelity on their 9-qubit Ankaa-class system - that's pretty impressive! Rigetti's not just about hardware though; they're all about creating a complete ecosystem.

They've launched the Novera QPU Partner Program to support on-premises quantum computing, which is a game-changer for research and development.

What's really cool is how Rigetti is bridging the gap between quantum and classical computing.

Their Quantum Cloud Services (QCS) platform supports ultra-low latency connectivity - we're talking less than one millisecond - between classical hardware and Rigetti QPUs.

They're also working on a 336-qubit Lyra system, set to follow their 84-qubit Ankaa-3 system planned for later this year. This rapid scaling shows they're serious about making quantum computing practical and accessible.

Rigetti's not just impressing tech nerds; they're making moves in the business world too.

They've sold their first Novera QPU to Horizon Quantum Computing in Singapore, expanding their global reach.

They're set to join the Russell 3000® Index, which is a big deal for a quantum computing company. Their CEO, Dr. Subodh Kulkarni, has an ambitious vision, predicting that in about a decade, we'll see fault-tolerant quantum computing with hundreds of thousands or even a million qubits.

Despite some financial challenges (their Q1 2024 showed a net loss), Rigetti's technological progress is undeniable.

They're collaborating with partners like Riverlane and Q-CTRL, fostering innovation in the quantum ecosystem.

With their focus on practical applications and continuous improvement, Rigetti Computing remains a key player to watch in the quantum revolution. They're not just dreaming about the future of computing - they're building it, one qubit at a time.

8. Ambri


Ambri, founded in 2010 by MIT professors Donald Sadoway and David Bradwell, is shaking up the energy storage game with its groundbreaking Liquid Metal™ battery technology.

This Marlborough-based startup has been turning heads, securing over $215 million in funding so far. What sets Ambri apart in the cleantech scene is its fresh take on energy storage: Their batteries use calcium and antimony electrodes with a calcium-chloride salt electrolyte, all made from readily available materials.

These cells are built tough, lasting over 20 years with minimal wear and tear, even in harsh conditions. Plus, they're super safe - no gas emissions or fire risks here. Ambri's system is a ready-to-install DC container setup, complete with cell shelves, thermal management, and a weatherproof shell.

It's designed for daily use and can provide 4 to 24 hours of energy storage. The coolest part? It's self-heating when cycled daily, so no need for external temperature control. In 2022, Ambri deployed its first system for Microsoft, powering data center equipment.

Now, they're gearing up for their first utility deployment with Xcel Energy. The company's not just about tech - they're on a mission to change how power grids work worldwide, boosting renewable energy use and cutting the need for traditional power plants. Points of Interest:

  • Funding and Recognition: Ambri has already secured over $215 million in funding, making a strong impact in the cleantech scene.
  • Innovative Technology: Their batteries utilize calcium and antimony electrodes with a calcium-chloride salt electrolyte.
  • Durability and Safety: Built to last over 20 years with minimal wear and tear and are super safe with no gas emissions or fire risks.
  • Ready-to-Install System: A DC container setup complete with cell shelves, thermal management, and a weatherproof shell.
  • Partnerships and Deployments: Successfully deployed its first system for Microsoft and is preparing for utility deployment with Xcel Energy.

Ambri is definitely a startup to watch in the coming years, with its focus on durability, safety, and scalability making it a key player in tackling renewable energy integration and grid stability challenges.

9. Atomwise


Atomwise, founded in 2012, is shaking up drug discovery with its AI-powered approach. Their AtomNet® technology is a game-changer, using deep learning to tackle even the toughest drug targets.

It's like having a supercharged microscope that can spot the perfect molecule for a disease in record time.

By 2024, Atomwise has secured over $176 million in funding, showing that investors are seriously pumped about their potential.

What's cool about Atomwise is how they're speeding up the whole drug discovery process. They can screen trillions of compounds super fast, which means more shots at finding the next big treatment.

  • Speeding up drug discovery: Their AI is so smart it can predict how molecules will interact with proteins, cutting down on time-consuming lab work.
  • Wide range of applications: Atomwise isn't just playing around - they're working on stuff for cancer, brain diseases, and even new antibiotics.

They've got partnerships with big names like Merck and Bayer, showing that the big players are taking notice.

Recently, they've been working on designing drugs that can hit multiple targets at once, which is pretty next-level for treating complex diseases.

As their CEO, Abraham Heifets, puts it, they're not just making drug discovery faster; they're completely changing the game.

What's really exciting is that Atomwise is finding potential treatments for diseases that were thought to be impossible to drug before.

It's like they're unlocking doors that everyone else thought were permanently locked. With over 778 projects running and a growing team of AI wizards and scientists, Atomwise is definitely one to watch in the biotech world.

10. Sila Nanotechnologies


Sila Nanotechnologies, founded in 2011 by Silicon Valley battery engineers, is seriously shaking up the energy storage game. Their groundbreaking Titan Silicon™ nano-composite silicon anode is set to revolutionize lithium-ion batteries, offering a 20% boost in energy density compared to traditional graphite anodes.

This innovation could mean up to 100 extra miles for some EVs and dramatically faster charging times - we're talking 10% to 80% in just 20 minutes. Pretty impressive, right?

What makes Sila stand out is their clever approach to battery chemistry.

They've cracked the code on the silicon expansion problem during charging, which has always been a major headache for battery makers. Their solution? A silicon powder that's tucked inside a carbon nanostructure, carrying 10 times more charge than graphite.

It's 5 times lighter and 2 times smaller than current lithium-ion battery anodes. Talk about packing a punch in a tiny package!

Sila isn't just all talk, either.

They're making big moves in the industry. Mercedes-Benz and Panasonic have already signed up to use their tech, and Sila's got plans to power a million EVs in the next five years.

They've even snagged a huge 600,000-square-foot factory to make it happen. With over $930 million raised from investors and a $100 million boost from the Department of Energy, Sila's definitely got the cash to back their ambitions.

As they push towards mass production in 2024, Sila Nanotechnologies is absolutely one to watch in Berkeley's tech scene.

They're not just dreaming big - they're making those dreams a reality, one tiny silicon particle at a time.

Conclusion and Future Outlook


Berkeley's startup scene is on fire in 2024, with our top 10 picks showing off the city's innovative spirit. These startups are crushing it in AI, quantum computing, clean energy, and biotech.

UC Berkeley is the top university for companies founded by undergrad alumni, with 1,305 companies created - that's more than Stanford! The city's not just about academics; it's a legit tech hub.

According to Berkeley's tech trends for 2024, we're looking at major breakthroughs in voice-first apps, quantum computing, and even robots-as-a-service.

For tech professionals, this means tons of opportunities. The tech industry in Berkeley is booming, making it a prime spot to launch your IT career.

With places like Berkeley SkyDeck and CITRIS Foundry backing new ideas, the innovation just keeps coming. These startups aren't just creating jobs; they're tackling global issues and pushing tech boundaries.

Whether you're into AI, clean energy, or cutting-edge biotech, Berkeley's got something exciting brewing. For anyone in tech, keeping an eye on these startups is crucial - they're not just shaping the future of tech, they're redefining what's possible.

As Berkeley's startup ecosystem grows, getting involved now could mean being part of the next big thing. It's an awesome time to be in tech in Berkeley, and who knows? You might just find yourself working on something that changes the world.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is Berkeley becoming a hotspot for startups in 2024?

Berkeley is rapidly becoming a hotspot for startups in 2024 due to its unique mix of academic brilliance and entrepreneurial drive. The University of California, Berkeley, plays a significant role, being ranked #1 globally for VC-backed entrepreneurs. The city offers free office space and mentorship programs, creating a supportive environment for innovation and tech growth.

What are the benefits for tech professionals working in Berkeley startups?

Tech professionals working in Berkeley startups gain access to cutting-edge research and top-tier talent, a supportive community of fellow innovators, and opportunities to work on groundbreaking projects that could make a real impact. The inclusive ecosystem fosters collaboration and continuous learning.

What criteria were used to select the top 10 startups in Berkeley for 2024?

The selection of the top 10 startups was based on a comprehensive data-driven approach, including innovation and growth potential. Key metrics included a minimum funding threshold of $5 million, year-over-year revenue growth exceeding 100%, team assessment, market potential, technological innovation, customer acquisition cost, and monthly recurring revenue growth. Additionally, innovation was evaluated through patents, research collaborations, and unique technological advancements.

How is Kintsugi transforming mental health care with AI?

Kintsugi is transforming mental health care by using AI to detect signs of depression and anxiety from brief voice clips. Its non-invasive screening method seamlessly integrates with existing healthcare systems and is scalable across diverse populations. In 2024, Kintsugi is expanding its technology to detect more mental health conditions, refining its tools for personal mental health tracking, and partnering with major healthcare providers.

What makes Elegy unique in the field of digital memorialization?

Elegy stands out in digital memorialization by combining AI for personalized tributes, VR for immersive experiences, and blockchain for secure memory preservation. Key projects include the AI-powered 'Memory Vault', 'VR Reflection Spaces' for custom virtual memorials, and 'Legacy NFTs'. These innovative approaches have led to rapid growth, securing $15 million in funding and creating over 100,000 digital memorials.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.