14 New Startups Emerge From UC Davis Innovations
Technologies developed at UC Davis enabled the foundation of 14 startup companies during the fiscal year 2018-19. Several of the startups are focused on technology solutions addressing important societal needs, including data management for the agriculture industry, software for fraud prevention, and distributed and immutable ledger technology for vital records such as birth certificates. Many are developing potential solutions to address serious health challenges.

The following 13 startup companies acquired rights to foundational intellectual property from UC Davis. One company has elected to remain in “stealth mode” for competitive reasons and is not listed.

  • Agrinerds — Data management and visualization tool built to address the needs of the agriculture industry
  • Bouncer Technologies — Software to help protect apps against fraud, account takeover, coupon abuse and other product safety features
  • Delix Therapeutics — Compounds for increasing neural plasticity
  • Digestiva — Engineering novel enzymes that enhance bioavailability of protein in food products
  • EffectorBio — Biomarker-based drug development, testing and implementation for cancer and lung disease
  • eVitals Technologies — Certified registry of birth certificates on distributed ledger technology private/public network
  • GalactMed — LLS30, a galectin-1 inhibitor, is a new potential drug against a number of different cancers
  • Keen Therapeutics — Fermented wheat germ extract and its purified low molecular weights proteins for treatment of lung cancer
  • NanoCue — Atomic force microscopy-based platform for investigating single cell mechanics
  • Seven Biosciences — Novel platforms for G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) drug discovery
  • Sierra Biopharma — Peptides and uses thereof for diagnosing and treating myasthenia gravis
  • Syncanica — Synthetic, inexpensive, nonscheduled cannabinoid for reducing the frequency and severity of seizures
  • Theranostec — Full/high active pharmaceutical ingredients loaded nanoplatform

Since the fiscal year 2013-14, following the launch of Venture Catalyst, 85 startups have been formed, made possible by UC Davis technologies.
Also read the Sacramento Business Journal coverage here
UC Davis Undergraduate Teams Awarded Grants by VentureWell
The VentureWell E-Teams Grant Program awarded Phase 1 grants to UC Davis undergraduate teams VertX Advertising and Sorbit. VertX is developing an antimicrobial public transportation advertising platform, providing transit agencies with improvements to public health and new revenue streams. Sorbit is creating biodegradable aerogel diapers by harnessing agricultural waste and microbes to create a product that is more light, absorbent, and biodegradable. These grants provide the teams with $5,000 and structured training, networking, and mentorship... Read More
Robot "Tastes" its Environment Using Engineered Bacteria
A robotic gripping arm that uses engineered bacteria to “taste” for a specific chemical has been developed by engineers at UC Davis and Carnegie Mellon University. The gripper is a proof-of-concept for biologically-based soft robotics. Soft robotics uses lightweight, flexible and soft materials to create machines that match the versatility of living things, and soft robot designs often draw inspiration form nature. Adding actual living cells to soft robots brings scientists another step closer to creating biological-mechanical hybrid machines.... Read More
UC Davis Releases 5 New Strawberry Varieties
The Public Strawberry Breeding Program at UC Davis has released five new varieties that will help farmers manage diseases, control costs and produce plenty of large, robust berries using less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Two of the new varieties could increase yields by almost 30 percent. Since its inception in the 1930s, the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program has developed more than 60 patented varieties, turned strawberries into a year-round crop and increased strawberry yield from about 6 tons per acre in the 1950s to more than 30 tons per acre today. The United States is the world’s largest producer of strawberries, and almost 90 percent of them are grown in California’s cool, coastal climates. About 60 percent of the state’s strawberry fields are planted with varieties developed at UC Davis.... Read More
EXPLORER, a UC Davis Imaging Breakthrough, Makes a Splash
EXPLORER, the world’s first total-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner that can capture a 3D picture of the whole human body at once, is up and running at UC Davis Health. Developed by UC Davis scientists, EXPLORER has already captured the attention of radiology experts and media around the world. EXPLORER will scan its first research subjects and first patients this summer. The scanner has broad applications for cancer diagnosis, as well as for studies of blood flow, inflammation, immunological and metabolic disorders and infections. EXPLORER’s exceptional image quality gives it nearly limitless potential applications for both clinical use and research.... Read More
UC Davis Stands Out in World University Rankings
UC Davis continues to shine as one of the world’s leading universities. In results released in the QS World University Rankings, UC Davis placed 104th among the 1,001 universities ranked. Among U.S. universities, UC Davis kept its spots as 31st overall and 13th among public universities. The campus stood out most for its academic reputation and — as an indication of the impact of its research — the number of citations per faculty member. Quacquarelli Symonds, or QS, widely considered to be one of the most influential international rankings providers, uses a number of factors, including academic and employer reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, and academic citations to arrive at each university’s ranking.... Read More
Startup News
Arcadia Biosciences Announces Closing of $7.5 Million Registered Direct Offering Priced At-the-Market
Arcadia Biosciences announced the closing of its previously announced registered direct offering of 1,489,575 shares of its common stock. The offering was priced at-the-market at a purchase price per share of $4.91, for gross proceeds of approximately $7.31 million.... Read More
Engage3 Raises $12 Million in Series C Funding Led by The March Fund I LP
Engage3, which helps retailers manage their pricing performance through competitive data, data science, and Artificial Intelligence-powered software solutions, announced that it has closed a $12 million Series C round of financing. This round was led by The March Fund I LP, a venture capital fund investing in technology based businesses relevant to the global food sector and capable of radically improving consumer health and environmental sustainability.... Read More
Woodland Startup Scores Contract to Make Historic SMUD Garage Smart (Sacramento Business Journal)
Parking management solutions provider Japa was awarded a contract from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to install its technology in SMUD's 90-space, three-story parking garage. The contract is for one year with the potential to expand to other SMUD parking garages. Other organizations that use Japa's technology include UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and the City of Walnut Creek.... Read More
TDK to Showcase Solutions for Automotive, IoT, AR/VR, and Consumer Electronics at Sensors Expo & Conference 2019
TDK Corporation showcased innovative sensor solutions at the Sensors Expo and Conference 2019. One of the sensor solutions were the Ultrasonic ToF Sensors, Chirp CH-101, the first commercially available MEMS-based ultrasonic time of flight (ToF) sensors intended for consumer electronics, AR/VR, robotics, drones, IoT, automotive, and industrial market segments from the UC Davis startup Chirp Microsystems, a subsidiary of TDK.... Read More
Sage Therapeutics Announces U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Scheduling of ZULRESSO™ (brexanolone) Injection
Sage Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed ZULRESSO™ (brexanolone) injection into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. ZULRESSO, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 19, 2019, is the first and only treatment specifically approved for postpartum depression (PPD), the most common medical complication of childbirth.... Read More
Novoheart Holdings Inc. Completes Acquisition of Xellera Therapeutics
Novoheart Holdings completed its previously announced acquisition of all of the shares of Xellera Therapeutics Limited. As consideration for the Acquisition, Novoheart has issued an aggregate of 93,000,000 common shares and pre-paid common share purchase warrants at a deemed price of $0.3635 per share, for an aggregate consideration of $33,805,000.... Read More
TDK Announces Worldwide Availability of MEMS-Based “Sonar on a Silicon Chip” Ultrasonic Time-of-Flight Sensors
TDK Corporation announced the immediate worldwide availability of the Chirp CH-101 MEMS-based ultrasonic Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor, developed by Chirp Microsystems, a subsidiary of TDK. This ToF sensor utilizes a tiny ultrasonic transducer chip to send out a pulse of ultrasound and then listen for echoes returning from targets in the sensor’s field-of-view. By calculating the ToF, the sensor can determine the location of an object relative to a device and trigger a programmed behavior.... Read More
Startup Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities at Tule Technologies
Tule Technologies is looking for an Operations Manager in the Sacramento area.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Evolve Biosystems
Evolve Biosystems is currently hiring for several medical sales management positions and a research associate position.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Sage Therapeutics
Sage Therapeutics is hiring for a wide range of positions from quality control internships to senior-director level positions.... Learn more
Regional Innovation News
City Looking to Reactivate Abandoned Greenhouse for Urban Farming (Sacramento Business Journal)
The City of Sacramento Public Works Department put out a request for information for parties interested in transforming the 4.8 acre land, which used to be a tree farm, into a center for urban agriculture. The location includes a 2,400-square-foot shade enclosure, a 2,800-square-foot greenhouse, a 1,600-square-foot operations building, a storage area and bulk bins for compost or other material storage.... Read More
Marrone Gets Good News on Patent
Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), a leading developer of biological crop protection and plant health solutions, received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for key claims covering the composition and method of manufacturing for Grandevo WDG, an MBI developed microbial-based bioinsecticide. Grandevo WDG offers multiple modes of action that can significantly benefit producers trying to reduce the risk of pest resistance.... Read More
Hacker Lab & SBDC Launch New Mentorship Program
Hacker Lab and the Capital Region Small Business Development Center are teaming-up to provide free business mentorship to help start and grow businesses. The mentorship program will assist Sacramento region current and future business owners with their goals, lean startup methods, design thinking, business loan and financial planning, business plan resources and more. Hacker Lab is a member of the UC Davis Venture Catalyst DRIVE TM (Distributed Research Incubation & Venture Engine) network.... Learn More
Applied Spectra Locates Headquarters in West Sacramento, California (Area Development)
Applied Spectra, developer and manufacturer of laser ablation based instruments, has decided to relocate its headquarters to West Sacramento. The company, originally formed in the Bay Area, will now move into a 13,000+ square foot operating space, which will allow them to meet rising demand for their J200 Series LIBS, LA, and Tandem LA – LIBS Instruments.... Read More
Innovation Insight
BIO Releases 5th Annual Emerging Therapeutic Company Trend Report Showing Record Year for Venture Capital Funding (BIO)
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released the 2019 Emerging Therapeutic Company Trend Report that highlights 10 years of funding and deal-making data on venture capital, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), follow-on public offerings, licensing, and acquisitions. With respect to venture capital, about $12.3 billion in funding went to U.S. emerging therapeutic companies in 2018, with 95% directed to novel R&D and only 5% into improvement R&D for existing drugs. In terms of IPOs, U.S.-based R&D-stage emerging therapeutic companies were able to raise $5.1 billion from 47 IPOs in 2018, which is a record amount and also the second highest number of IPOs in the past decade.... Read More
How SBIR/STTR Spent $2.7 Billion in FY 2016 (State Science & Technology Institute)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released its FY 2016 annual report for the $2.4 billion obligated by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and $313.6 million by the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The Department of Defense and the Health and Human Services (HHS) had the biggest R&D budgets and awarded the majority of the FY 2016 awards.... Read More
Led by Tech, Healthcare Debuts, IPOs in 2019 Show Positive Returns (Xconomy)
According to the data released by the accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), the average share price of companies that have gone public in 2019 has increased by almost 33% compared to to their offer price. The second quarter of 2019 was particularly eventful with 66 IPOs raising a total of $27 billion, a 79% increase when compared to the same quarter of 2018. Of the 66 Q2 2019 IPOs, 26 were in the healthcare field raising a total of $5.9 billion.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
CITRIS Foundry
Application Deadline: August 1, 2019.... Learn More
Essential Open Source Software for Science
Application Deadline: August 1, 2019.... Learn More
Small Farm Tech Challenge
Application Deadline: October 31, 2019.... Learn More
UC Santa Cruz SVLink Accelerator
Application Deadline: Applications Accepted on the 15th of Each Month Until Full.... Learn More
USAID Development Innovation Ventures
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Cyclotron Road Fellows
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
AgLaunch 365
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Extreme Tech Challenge
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics. ... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
Valley Ventures Accelerator Fall 2019 Cohort
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Big Ideas Innovation Ambassador
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Read More
QB3/UC FTO Application Fall 2019
Application Deadline: August 8, 2019.... Learn More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship UC Entrepreneurship Academy
Date: September 10-12, 2019.... Learn More
GeoVet Conference: Novel and Spatio-Temporal Approaches in the Era of Big Data
Date: October 8-10, 2019.... Learn More
Central Valley Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum
Date: October 23, 2019.... Learn More
Regional Events
Sacramento Female Founders, How One Founder Pivoted From Success To Significance
Date: July 31, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Sacramento, Dinakar Munagala, Thinci
Date: August 13, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Sacramento, Pam Marrone, Marrone Bio Innovation
Date: September 10, 2019.... Learn More
CleanStart Cleantech Meetup
Date: September 26, 2019.... Learn More
AgStart Office Hours
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Small Business Development Center Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
HackerLab Hands-On Education
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Silicon Valley USPTO Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
1 Million Cups
Date: Weekly (Wednesdays).... Learn More
Industry Events
California Life Sciences Association An Evening with Thought Leaders (Newport Beach, CA)
Date: August 13, 2019.... Learn More
Xconomy Turning Genomics into Better Health (South San Francisco, CA)
Date: August 27, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom DeviceFest & Digital Health Conference (Carlsbad, CA)
Date: August 28, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom Open House (South San Francisco, CA)
Date: August 29, 2019.... Learn More
Global Digital Forum (Santa Clara, CA)
Date: September 4-5, 2019.... Learn More
MedTech Conference 2019 (Boston, MA)
Date: September 23-25, 2019.... Learn More
Injectables Summit (San Diego, CA)
Date: September 24-26, 2019.... Learn More
SynBioBet Global Synthetic Biology Summit (San Francisco, CA)
Date: October 1-3, 2019.... Learn More
TechCrunch Disrupt (San Francisco, CA)
Date: October 2-4, 2019.... Learn More
Net Zero Conference & Expo (Los Angeles, CA)
October 4-5, 2019.... Learn More
TechConnect AI, Defense, Smart Cities, and SBIR/STTR Fall Summit & Expo (National Harbor, MD)
Date: October 8-10, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom Life Science Harvest Day (Berkeley, CA)
Date: October 17, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Global Conference (Redwood City, CA)
Date: February 11-12, 2020.... Learn More
About Venture Catalyst 
UC Davis Venture Catalyst facilitates the translation of University research and technology by enabling the development of new ventures. Venture Catalyst engages with the Davis and Sacramento business, governmental and economic development community to highlight the development of technologies and ventures coming out of UC Davis that will drive tomorrow’s regional job creation. Working closely with these partners, Venture Catalyst is invigorating the technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem of the entire region. 
The Venture Catalyst START™ Suite of programs and services provides the ABCs to equip UC Davis entrepreneurs with the tools they need to form and grow robust startups. The program gives founders the START they need to create a well-structured company and ensure the company is prepared for success. 
Contact Venture Catalyst 
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