VC firm to invest $250,000 in winner of campus startup contest

man working at computer

© Marla Aufmuth photo

Pejman Mar Ventures, known for investing in Stanford University startups, is on the hunt for UC Berkeley entrepreneurs, and has created a new competition to find one. By the end of October, the 2-year-old seed-stage firm will offer $250,000 to back a startup founded by a Berkeley student, faculty member or alum in exchange for 10 percent of the company.

As part of the competition, Pejman Mar plans to pass along 10 percent of its stake — 1 percent of the winning startup — to the Berkeley campus.

As co-founder Pejman Nozad told TechCrunch, the contest resulted, in part, from the firm’s realization that it wasn’t paying enough attention to the “untapped talent” at Berkeley. While his firm has backed seven companies founded by students — one from M.I.T., one from Carnegie Mellon and five from Stanford — Berkeley, he says, “doesn’t get nearly as much attention, despite that its computer science department ranks right up there with Stanford and Carnegie Mellon and M.I.T.”

Nozad says he wishes his firm could give Berkeley as much attention as it gives to Stanford. For now, though, he hopes the competition will help it identify a promising company it might otherwise miss.

Applicants have until Oct. 1 to apply. The firm will choose a winner by Oct. 30.

For more information, or to enter the competition, visit the Pejman Mar Ventures website.