SVLink is an incubator space and accelerator program connecting innovators from the University of California with opportunities for investment, commercialization and economic growth.
The program assists innovators with the following:
- Offers support to early stage innovators in creating proof-of-product, identifying addressable markets, and piquing the interest of potential customers and angel investors
- Offers services to assist startups in building business value, and providing a bridge to funding
- Connects the University of California research enterprise to Silicon Valley in an effort to further the university's educational and scientific research purposes.
The program is open exclusively to UC-affiliated startups. Companies with interest in the program can become University of California affiliated by including a Board Member or an Officer (VP or higher) who is a present University of California, Santa Cruz student (undergraduate or graduate programs only), faculty, full-time staff, post doc, visiting scholar or alumnus. The SVLink space is located inside the UCSC Silicon Valley Campus building at 3175 Bowers Avenue, Santa Clara, California. Companies that already have office spaces without a desire to move their office to Santa Clara can keep their current office wherever it is and sign up for a workstation they can use as a “Silicon Valley" branch office.
Participants are not required to use their SVLink space on a regular basis; it will be available to them as they need it during the membership period. All the accelerator program events are streamed live over video conferencing so participants can join remotely. Membership gives participants access to multiple conference rooms and facilities at the UCSC Silicon Valley Campus, which can be used for meetings with investors and other business partners. The program lasts for one year and extensions are considered based on space availability and the startup’s needs.
Foreign startups can apply but they have to pay for their membership costs in cash. They are also not permitted to roll their SVLink costs into a convertible note, even if they are affiliated with the University of California. A startup has to be incorporated in one of the fifty United States to take advantage of the convertible note option. A startup can qualify if incorporated in the US for about $1,000. The program is stage-agnostic and most of the startups are pre-Series A. The program caters to all stages of a startup. Some of the SVLink members companies have raised $5M -$10M (i.e. post-Series A). The terms of the convertible promissory note payable to UCSC include that the note has a 3-year term with 10% interest rate. The principal amount on the note includes rent, accelerator fee advance (if any), and a pooled-risk fee. At the option of UCSC, it may be converted into equity along with a qualified financing at a 20 percent price discount.
U First Capital is the official accelerator service provider for SVLink. The Silicon-Valley based venture capital firm connects participants to targeted investors based on the company stage and focus area. The firm is connected to a network of angel investors, seed investors, and venture capital firms and they work with corporations seeking strategic investment opportunities.