Demo Day & Interview with Snackpass Founder/CEO

Come listen to Batch XIII pitch at Demo Day!

Register for Demo Day on December 9th 6-8pm at The House to see our companies pitch, hear Founder/CEO Kevin Tan talk about building Snackpass, and network with entrepreneurs and students in the Berkeley community. We hope to see you there!

Flipout is a mobile app where users can make sports predictions against friends on games (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA), see live sports scores, and win real rewards for free, without the traditional risk of sports betting.

FMB Technologies is developing an integrated platform to seamlessly provide preclinical researchers with quantitive rodent data and relevant insights.

BeyondVision.ai is a B2B SaaS platform that enhances object detection capabilities of existing computer vision systems using AI based post processing for InfraRed, thermal and grayscale cameras.

TuringCerts is a smart citizen identifier network focused on educational innovation. They are an all-in-one-place repository for certificates that guarantees integrity and expedites verifications for job seekers, enterprises, and universities.

Register


Interview with Snackpass Founder & CEO, Kevin Tan

Snackpass is a mobile app that lets users order takeout and skip the line. Ever since launching in Berkeley, Snackpass has developed a cult following from dedicated fans who “Snackpass” breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and many other food delivery apps in the market, it can be hard to understand what makes Snackpass so special. The secret lies in the social features of the app, which allows users to unlock discounts with friends, send gifts, and collect points. By integrating social + food, Snackpass has baked virality into its platform.

Snackpass is hiring - roles in product, operations, engineering, and more!

Chief of Staff

Product Designer

Marketing Associate

and more…

Q: What were the early days of Snackpass like?

Kevin: “It was definitely tough as a business — we were a little overwhelmed because we didn’t have any funding. Especially when we launched, 40% of the campus started using it in the middle of 2017 and it kept growing and growing, and we had to build a bunch of things really quickly — like having a tablet in the restaurant for ordering, a ticket printer, etc. 

One time, we were overrun by the entire football team ordering at once — so they [cofounders] were in the back washing blenders so that the employees could keep taking orders. There was also one really popular restaurant where, because it was so busy, we were in the back handing out sandwiches and calling out names. We eventually figured all that stuff out but it was definitely tough in the beginning — and it still is tough.”

Q: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Kevin: “The biggest challenge at the moment is the transition from building a product to building a team. It is definitely a different muscle; building a product is like locking yourself up in the room and coding all day, talking to your users, or building something for yourself — you know exactly what you want to build, which is great for the invention aspect. But what I think we have right now is this product market fit in several markets; so now we want to scale it and bring Snackpass to 100 campuses and right now we’re at 11 campuses, and that takes a huge team.”

Q: What is the long term vision for Snackpass?

Kevin: “There are two angles — first, anywhere there’s……

Read more


Exciting events happening in Berkeley

Dec 4 - Techfair at Berkeley

Dec 9 - Free Ventures Demo Day :)

Dec 11 - E@B Fall 2019 Final Demo Day

Dec 13 - SCET Collider Cup V

Feb 8 - TEDxBerkeley 2020: Moonshot

March 3 - TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2020

Kicking off Batch XIII 🚀

Drones, Esports, and …. Rats?

We kicked off Batch XIII and are super excited about the companies and student founders in this batch. Founders are working on things from animal bio-tech to drone analytics, making this one of the most industry diverse semesters for FreeV!

We’ll release more details as we get closer to Demo Day, but if you are interested in learning more about these companies in any capacity, please reach out through this contact form:

Contact

FreeV Updates

  • Free Ventures is looking for internal members who are passionate about the startup & entrepreneurship space.  Click this link to apply. (Deadline: TOMORROW NIGHT)

  • Fiat Lux is on October 29th and we are looking for AMAZING female founders to inspire the next generation of leaders. Reach out to aashi@freeventures.org for more details

Jobs & Internships

If you’re interested in any roles below, email kathy@freeventures.org

TuringCerts - Business Development Intern

  • Explore business opportunities for a blockchain EdTech startup.

  • Close sales with partners (universities and corporations)

  • Looking for a business major with sales experience and passion for blockchain and/or EdTech

Push Esports - Technical Cofounder

  • Looking for someone who is passionate about the gaming/esports space and is comfortable with full stack or back end development

  • Familiarity with React/Node JS a plus

FMB Technologies - Business Development Intern

  • Assist with sales and lead-generation; click link above for more details

  • Looking for someone who is fascinated by medicine, life sciences, or translational research and has experience in business, sales, or marketing

Exciting events in Berkeley

Oct 13 - XR@B: Virtual Experience Convention (VXPC)

Oct 14 - Machine Learning and Data Science Career Fair

Oct 22 - Eclipse Foods Co. Tech Talk

Oct 23 - UCB Startup Fair

Oct 25-27 - Cal Hacks 6.0

Oct 29 - Fiat Lux

November 6 - DataVisor Tech Talk

Tell us what you want to hear more about

Want to learn more about startup trends in Berkeley? What apps and gadgets college students are using? How to get connected to the Berkeleys startup ecosystem? Please fill out the feedback form below to make this newsletter better!

I want to learn more about...

Introducing Free Ventures' Batch XII

FreeV Updates

  1. Batch XII Demo Day: We successfully wrapped up Batch XII with 5 amazing companies. Register to come to our Demo Day Monday, May 6th from 6-9pm at The House to see our companies pitch and network with the entrepreneurs and students in the Berkeley community!

  2. Fiat Lux | Female Leaders: In early April, we invited around 25 of the most high caliber female students at UC Berkeley to meet industry experts like a tech lead with a PhD in Government to the first female engineer from Eventbrite!

Read our full article on Batch XII. Below are short company introductions.

Batch XII

Orbit: Orbit is a platform that enables organizations to streamline internal operations through spreadsheet-powered mobile apps. In minutes, anybody can create and deliver custom mobile-first experiences for their organization — all from a spreadsheet. From the sheet, administrators can easily add, edit, and release updates in real-time, allowing the platform to keep up with their organization’s day-to-day operations.

Skindex: Skindex is an AI-powered search and discovery platform that enables users to find skincare and cosmetic products that are compatible with their skin. By leveraging existing cosmetic research on comodogenity, demographic data and machine learning, Skindex can analyze patterns from different users’ skin types and learn what ingredients might be causing a bad reaction, providing the user with instant feedback and automated product recommendations, ultimately resulting in a new way to discover skincare and cosmetic products.

WorknGo: WorknGo is a platform which allows students to work “SmartJobs”: quick, on-demand, and temporary work at local businesses, with no long-term commitments. SmartJobs also allow local businesses to fill spots at a moment’s notice, either during peak hours or when employees call in sick. We have already partnered with multiple McDonald’s franchises in Berkeley, Kiwi Campus, and many other stores to provide SmartJobs for students! 

CertifiedRecs: CertifiedRecs is a web platform that allows users to store, share, and view verified private references enabling authenticity in the recruiting process. Users can then send out any number of references via a simple share link. All parties involved with the reference (user, giver, viewer) must verify their own accounts, and all verified information is transparent to the other users involved with the reference.

Simplata: Simplata is developing a new way to share and connect data. We offer an end-to-end data storage, management and visualization solution. Clients can upload whatever datasets they choose and visualize them with ease. Our graph visualization software turns data into visual, interactive graphs — revealing the hidden connections at the heart of any analysis.

Introducing Free Ventures' Batch XI

FreeV Updates

  1. We successfully wrapped up Batch XI with 5 amazing companies. Register to come to our Demo Day next Monday 7-9pm at The House to see our companies pitch and network with the entrepreneurs and students in the Berkeley community!

  2. Congratulations to the Blitz Esports team (Batch IV) on their acquisition by Discord!

  3. Alexander Kern and Nikhil Srinivasan from Distributed Systems (Batch VI) were featured on Forbes 30 under 30 for Enterprise Technology.

  4. COBA was recently featured on the Korea Times for their work in creating a solid coffee bar.

Read our full article on Batch X. Below are short company introductions.

Batch XI

Atlas Mental Health: Building a K-12 mental health support network to supercharge communities with the knowledge and tools they need to keep each other mentally healthy. Their mobile applications connect parents, students, and schools to prevent student suicides and barriers to getting help for those that need it.

Fourthstate Labs: Blockchain scalability company working on Plasma, a layer 2 solution to reduce transaction fees and increase throughput of blockchains. Plasma allows users to step off the main chain(i.e. Ethereum) onto cheaper and faster side chains where transactions can be conducted. To learn more about their product, read their article on Plasma.

COBA: COBA, the coffee bar, is a solid coffee alternative made from whole coffee beans that empowers busy people to do more. While traditional coffee utilizes only 20% of the coffee bean, their bar utilizes the whole bean and contains the caffeine content of 1 cup of coffee. Read their FreeV Spotlight to learn more about the process of making a bar.

Escape Technologies: Escape is is creating an enhanced augmented reality experience through proprietary optical architecture that will enable a compact, lightweight headset with high shareability and field of view.

Pit Vidura: Pit Vidura offers safe and affordable sanitation services for low-income households in dense urban slums. By developing innovative hardware and software tools, they aim to make emptying pit latrines hygienic, efficient, and affordable. Pit Vidura is backed by Unilever and the Gates Foundation to bring sustainable solutions to sanitation problems in developing countries.

Introducing COBA: The Coffee Bar

FreeV Updates

  1. COBA (Batch XI) launched a Kickstarter campaign and was featured on NowThis Food with over 270k views. Instagram: @coba.coffee & Facebook Page

  2. Rachel Sklar, founder of Pit Vidura (Batch XI), was recently invited to talk at the UN International Trade Centre for their Accelerate 2030 event. Rachel was 1 of 5 social entrepreneurs worldwide selected by UNDP and Impact Hub invited to present their work to various UN agencies and Swiss investors.

COBA—The Coffee Bar

COBA is a coffee startup that is trying to solve many of the inefficiencies in coffee consumption. Their current product is a coffee bar which resembles a chocolate bar in terms of taste and texture. Each bar contains the caffeine equivalent of 1 cup of coffee. 

Their mission is to be ethical and mindful about where coffee comes from and let people feel good about what they’re consuming. 

Q: How did you come up with the idea to create a bar? 

Josh: “Coffee takes 5–6 years to grow in South America. Farmers in Ecuador check the crop every day to make sure the product is perfect and the process is very labor intensive. After the beans arrive in the US, they get roasted and ground up into a drink. Most people don’t know that the coffee grounds thrown out after this process have almost 80% of the caffeine content from the bean. After noticing how inefficient coffee consumption is right now, we wanted to come up with a product that would utilize the full bean.” 

Q: “How did you source the ingredients for the bar? 

Josh: “Peter had some connections in South America. Recently, he went down to Ecuador and met with direct trade coffee farmers. These farmers aren’t big enough to afford certifications, memberships, and fees that bigger entities can pay for. We wanted to develop personal relationships with these farmers because it gives us a more human element to the process. We aren’t just helping our customers who buy the bar, we’re also helping the smaller farmers.”  

Q: Why is this the best way to consume coffee? 

Josh: “The key distinction is that the bar is solid versus drinking a cup of coffee, which is how coffee is usually consumed. Having a bar solves many problems. It’s easier to carry, takes up less space, and utilizes the whole coffee bean.” 

Q: What is your progress in Berkeley, so far? 

Josh: “We had a public crowdfunding campaign when we joined FreeV in September. We were 100% funded in 24 hours. We wanted to focus on Berkeley first because we’re leveraging our personal connections and the Berkeley community to establish a foothold here as our ‘home base’. Since then, we were able to create a second product (COBA Dark) and build relationships with other food startups to set up a supply chain.”

For samples of the bars, check out their Kickstarter campaign. Be sure to read the full article to learn more about COBA and the challenges they faced as student entrepreneurs!

Loading more posts…