Welcome to Tech School - NBC Bay Area

Welcome to Tech School

How UC Berkeley is giving students a chance



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    Technology also stands tall at UC Berkeley, thanks in part to a new building funded by Marvell's co-founders.

    Walking around Berkeley is always fun for me.  As an Oakland native, Berkeley was always the cool hang for us high school kids, pretending to fit in with the fraternity guys, scoping out -and being ignored by- college girls, and ordering lattes from the College Avenue cafes.

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    As for the UC Berkeley campus, well, that's another story.  That's where really smart people hang out.  OK, I made it into a UC, but even while at that other Pac-10 school, I still heard all about UCB being the "crown jewel" of the UC system.  Ad nauseum.  But, let's be honest, there are a lot of smart people cruising around Sather Gate, so it makes sense that a brand new high-tech incubator would open, to harness that brain power.

    Marvell Technologies is an extremely successful microprocessor company.  Even in this current recession, Marvell is still a seven billion dollar outfit, with products built in to the success of the tech industry around its Sunnyvale offices.  Marvell's founders, Sehat Sutardja, Weili Dai, and Pantas Sutardja, all went to UC Berkeley (Weili met her future husband Sehat there), and are giving back in a big way.

    Sutardja Dai Hall is a cool, modern building on the outside, but it's the inside that counts.  A high-tech incubator for students and startups, the building has advisors, gadgets galore, and enough technology to re-start the entire tech boom.  The gigantic semiconductor manufacturing fab doesn't hurt, either.  It's probably the only one of its kind with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    As Weili Dai told me, the investment (said to be in the deep 8 figures) makes sense:  It will, she says, lead to the next generation of Marvells, and the next generation of Berkeley-based startups.  She admits that she's biased, because  the next generation of Dai-Sutardjas (their two sons) are students there.

    So, go Bears, start those companies.  Create jobs, create wealth, and keep rubbing in that whole "crown jewel" thing.