A history of innovation: Berkeley entrepreneurs, companies that changed the way we live

September 29, 2023

The culture and spirit of innovation at UC Berkeley throughout history can be seen in the changemakers — the Berkeley students, researchers, entrepreneurs, faculty members and alumni — who have helped in countless ways to improve our lives and our world.

Well-known innovators from Berkeley include Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna, whose development of CRISPR is arguably the world's most important scientific advancement in decades, and alumnus Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple and revolutionized the home computer. The intellectual fingerprints of Berkeley founders and researchers can also be found on companies and inventions that run the gamut from OpenAI and ChatGPT to PCR Covid-19 tests, the polygraph and even the computer mouse.

Members of Berkeley's community of innovators have discovered and created thousands of inventions. Today, in the U.S. and abroad, over 2,000 patents issued for those Berkeley inventions are still active. And nearly 300 startup companies and 800 products commercialized have come through Berkeley patent licenses, according to Berkeley's Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances.

Today, Berkeley students, alumni and faculty are continuing to develop innovative research and founding companies like never before, said Berkeley's Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer Rich Lyons. An example is Kathleen Collins, a Berkeley biology professor who recently founded Addition Therapeutics, a breakthrough gene therapy company with technology for safe gene insertion into the genome.

Berkeley News