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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

The Basement Is Open for Business

What you see here is potential.

San Diego, Calif, May 14, 2015 -- The basement of Mandeville Hall—yes, it’s dreary. Yes, it’s a waste. And yes, that’s a child’s broken tricycle, for some reason. In its previous lives, it served the music department as a room for recitals, dance rehearsals and choir practice, evidenced by the reams of old sheet music found in these storage lockers. In the 1960s, when Highway 101 ran straight through campus, rumor has it that the only gas station for miles sat on this spot. Today, this space will fuel an engine of an entirely different kind.

The Basement Is Open For Business

In alignment with Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, and with the generosity and vision of its supporters, this site was transformed into the nexus of innovation at UC San Diego—bringing together students and alumni, ideas and inspiration, earnest ambition and real-world experience. The humble beginnings you see here testify to the growth made possible by innovation, as the page is turned on a new chapter of university history.

With student success and mobility as our strongest obligation, The Basement is a space where student entrepreneurs can gather and be nurtured, and with alumni support and visionary leadership, they can grow companies and social innovation ventures that become the fabric of our community, creating jobs and inspiring a culture of ingenuity and impact.

The Basement promises opportunity for all university students—regardless of college or department affiliation. The space will provide students with mentors, guidance, and funding to bring innovative ideas to life and further stimulate, encourage and serve the entrepreneurial spirit of UC San Diego students.

Led by the vision of alumni leaders Jeffrey, ’83, and Kim Belk, Aryeh Bourkoff, ’95 and Mark Suster, ’91, The Basement will look to more alumni, friends and corporate partners to invest their experience, knowledge and resources to help student entrepreneurs when they need it most.

Learn how you can be a part at:

Twenty-four student entrepreneurial teams have been accepted into The Basement’s inaugural programs. Here is just a sample of the innovation coming up from underground:

Product: Meego

Students: Aditi Gupta, ’15, and Delara Fadavi, ’15 (bioengineering)

The Opportunity: “Laptop theft has been a problem I’ve seen as a student, and a lot of other students and professionals have seen it as well. I’m working on a team of other students to develop a motion-activated alarm to help keep people’s property safe.” 

The Role of The Basement: “The resources UC San Diego has given to me and other students to go after what we want to do and pursue our entrepreneurship paths has been amazing. I’m very excited to be one of the teams in The Basement and be able to take advantage of these new resources and move forward.”

Company: Tri-D Dynamics

Students: Alex Finch, ’15, and Deepak Atyam, ’15 (aerospace engineering)

The Opportunity: “We believe in the new space movement—with companies like Space X, Google, Qualcomm, and Virgin Galactic investing billions to make space more accessible for human development. The main problem is the sheer cost to send things into orbit, or outer space. We’re trying to do our part by lowering the cost of the rocket engine, one of the most complex and expensive parts of a rocket. We have designed, printed, and tested the first 3D-printed rocket engine by a university and we’re working to develop the technology for use in launch vehicles.”

The Role of The Basement: “Fostering and encouraging students to build their own future is incredibly important and valuable. Surrounding them with the opportunity to learn from others, collaborate and turn their ideas into legitimate companies is something students everywhere will gravitate toward. We want to use The Basement’s resources to put our full effort into this venture and make it a success.”

The Basement Aspirational Leaders

(left to right) Jeffrey Belk ’83, Mark Suster ’91, and Aryeh Bourkoff ’95

Kim and Jeffrey Belk, Warren ’83, B.A. Economics
Managing Director, ICT 168 Capital, LLC

“If you get kids involved in an entrepreneurial mindset, if you get them to learn how to collaborate better, if you get them to learn how to use tools to present themselves, there are going to be two outcomes to The Basement: one, companies are going to flourish, and two, they will create real jobs.”

Mark Suster, Muir ’91, B.A. Economics and Political Science
Partner, Upfront Ventures

“Imagine if you had three more Qualcomm’s in town—how much that would add to the community. The most amazing entrepreneurs would stay here and build local jobs here.”

Aryeh Bourkoff, Muir ’95, B.A. Economics
Founder and the Chief Executive Officer, LionTree LLC

“At the time I was at UC San Diego, there was not really talk of launching new ideas beyond research and sciences. The Basement will create some real utility and benefit for the students. Going forward in launching new businesses out of the university is very exciting.”

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Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-822-0899