UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute Opens Startup “Innovation Space”

The Qualcomm Institute, the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), inaugurated a new “innovation space” Thursday, with enough space to house 15 to 20 seed-stage startups.

The 6,000-square-foot facility on the second floor of the Calit2 headquarters in Atkinson Hall follows the February 6 debut of “The Basement,” a combined incubator and accelerator program for startups in the San Diego campus that is open to all UC San Diego undergraduate students.

Other support for entrepreneurial-minded students can be found at UC San Diego in the Jacobs School of Engineering at The Moxie Center for Student Entrepreneurship and The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, and in the Rady School of Management at StartR, a nonprofit accelerator program for business students and alumni. UC San Diego-affiliated entrepreneurs also can seek funding from the Triton Technology Fund, established just over a year ago, and the $250-million UC Ventures Fund, approved in September by the UC Regents.

But the new innovation space at Calit2 is not an incubator, according to Ramesh Rao, director of the Qualcomm Institute, and it’s not limited to only UC San Diego faculty or students.

“We don’t take equity [in startups] and we don’t run mentoring programs,” said Rao, a San Diego Xconomist, during Thursday’s open house. “The real goal is to pump more companies out into the San Diego community.”

The idea for the innovation space, Rao explained, is to provide a facility where a company can connect with the resources available at Calit2 and the UC San Diego campus—including students, scientists, and technologies. The institute offers technical services at the same rates offered to external industry partners.

Pradeep Khosla

Pradeep Khosla

The innovation space also reflects a broader effort by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla to make UC San Diego a centerpiece of the local innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. “We want to be an agent for innovative transformation as well as an agent for economic development,” Khosla said as guests nibbled on appetizers during the open house.

Rao, who refers to the Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space by its acronym, QIIS, says startups admitted to QIIS pay monthly rent that amounts to $3 a square foot. Interested startups must submit an application, and those admitted by an academic committee can lease office space for as long as two years.

Seven tenants already admitted to … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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