Experts-in-Residence (EiRs) and Cove Share teams came together on a Thursday evening to connect, share ideas, and reflect on their experience with the Cove Share program. Experts-in-Residence include industry leaders with diverse backgrounds who volunteer their time to mentor and guide Cove Share teams. Cove Share teams, in turn, are companies who have a direct connection to UCI and are admitted into a program providing them resources, mentorship, and shared space at the Cove to accelerate their startup and prepare them for high-growth. Teams are comprised of faculty, alumni, undergraduates, and graduate students working on a startup.
The event focused on bringing all of these groups together to deepen existing relationships and encourage new interactions. Additionally, participating Cove Share teams also pitched their startup and engaged in demos with attendees with over twenty tables set up throughout the space. Cove Share Teams also brainstormed alongside EiRs on ways to enhance the EiR and Cove Share experience moving forward.
Matt Bailey, Director of the Collaborative Venturing Group for Applied Innovation, started the evening by introducing Juan Felipe Vallejo, New Venture Manager for Applied Innovation. Vallejo continued by sharing the goals of the event which included breakout sessions throughout the Cove to gather feedback about the Cove Share Program and evoke discussions on topics ranging from the application for new startups, workshops for entrepreneurs, EiR involvement, and thoughts on the program as a whole. Before the breakout sessions, Carolyn Stephens, Associate Director and Chief of Staff for Applied Innovation, shared the organization's focus on four key areas including Industry Sponsored Research, the Invention Transfer Group, the Research Translation Group, and the Collaborative Venturing Group. Stephens shared that out of all Cove Share teams, fifteen percent are founded on UCI intellectual property. EiRs also serve as a cornerstone of support for programs such as Cove Share, with over 450 experts currently enrolled as mentors and advisors.
After each group met and brainstormed new ideas, everyone reconvened at the Beach to share their best ideas with the larger group. Afterward, Cove Share startups participated in a fast pitch to present their startup to the EiR community. Teams participating included: Tutorspace, Redyscore, Givsum, Flyt, Artallus, AirNotes, MyOpenRoad, Velox Biosystems, JeniVision Inc., CARBO, Kolkin, HRD SQ., Nature's Artisan, LegDay, Flyspan, YubHub!, Blank LA, Peek, Peek, and STEMbility. The evening concluded with a networking segment for EiRs to engage and connect with Cove Share teams at their respective tables.
Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.