May 17, 2017

Venable Partners with UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck to Grow University-Based Startups and Encourage Entrepreneurship

4 min

Bay Area attorneys offer free legal services, workshops, and mentorship to startup companies to prepare them to launch and grow their businesses

San Francisco, CA (May 17, 2017) – Venable LLP has created a partnership with the University of California, Berkeley startup accelerator program known as SkyDeck. Through the partnership, several attorneys from the firm's San Francisco office mentor startup companies that are a part of SkyDeck and prepare them to go to market and grow their business. Many of those companies have become direct clients of Venable. Services provided by Venable attorneys to SkyDeck companies include formation and funding, intellectual property prosecution and management, and managing labor and employment issues. The purpose is to provide high-quality legal work up front to lay a solid foundation for future success. Venable’s deep knowledge of regulated industries (e.g., heath IT, self-driving cars, privacy/cybersecurity and FinTech) has been a particular draw for the companies, as almost all are working in industries where regulatory experience can help companies stay focused and seek to drive revenue.

Among the startups directly benefiting from Venable's support is DeepVu, which has been a part of Skydeck's program since December 2016. DeepVu is a Berkeley-based company providing artificial intelligence solutions for optimizing supply chains and maximizing margins for manufacturers. Manufacturers use the company's deep reinforcement learning solution for supplier pricing, demand forecasting, and production planning. DeepVu is in customer engagements with top global manufacturers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG), automotive, and electronics industries.

"Venable has a long history of advising entrepreneurs and startups, and we enjoy contributing to the startup community in our region. Some of our great client success stories began as start-ups where we were able to contribute our legal expertise to founders driven to solve problems in their creation of successful and growing enterprises," said James E. Nelson, Partner-in-Charge of Venable's San Francisco office. "And ever more so, our vast regulatory knowledge emanating from DC and other offices across the firm contributes to deep industry knowledge that we can harness to help companies grow smartly and anticipate issues as they drive to succeed."

Venable will conclude its third cohort partnership with the accelerator program on May 18, Demo Day, which is the final step for participating startups to present their companies and products to investors and SkyDeck partners. The firm plans to continue its partnership with SkyDeck, mentoring and advising participants, and will begin working with a new cohort in June.

"Venable's relationship with SkyDeck allows us to create a powerful and resourceful environment for startups," said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director of SkyDeck. "It’s our partners and a large network of investors who connect these companies to the expertise and capital they need, not just to grow, but to thrive in a competitive marketplace."

Located on the top floor of the tallest building in Downtown Berkeley, SkyDeck is UC Berkeley's premier startup accelerator. Formed as a partnership between the Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, SkyDeck combines the consulting know-how of traditional accelerators with the vast resources of a leading research university. SkyDeck’s mission is to commercialize discoveries born from UC Berkeley research by accelerating startup ventures to help them go to market. Companies accepted into SkyDeck must have at least one team member with a direct connection to UC Berkeley as a student, alumnus, or faculty member. Visit the SkyDeck website for more information.


Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, and high-net-worth entrepreneurs and individuals. With nearly 700 attorneys across the country, including California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients' business objectives in the U.S. and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines.