UC Davis Venture Catalyst partners with The Urban Hive and I/O Labs to build a more robust regional innovation network

UC Davis Venture Catalyst partners with The Urban Hive and I/O Labs to build a more robust regional innovation network


The University of California, Davis, has entered into collaboration agreements through which The Urban Hive and I/O Labs – Sacramento-based innovation, co-working and collaboration spaces – will become the newest members of the Venture Catalyst Distributed Research Innovation & Venture Engine (DRIVETM) network of startup incubators. These new partnerships combine the facilities and resources available through The Urban Hive and I/O Labs with the services, connections and access to resources available to UC Davis affiliated startups through Venture Catalyst to support the translation of ground-breaking research and business concepts into commercial products and services. The addition of The Urban Hive and I/O Labs to the Venture Catalyst DRIVE Network expands access to incubation facilities in Sacramento for UC Davis startups and entrepreneurs to help facilitate enhanced pathways to commercialization of innovative research.

“We are excited to be partnering with The Urban Hive and I/O Labs to support the needs of emerging startups in the region and to help build a more robust innovation ecosystem guided by a regional collaborative network dedicated to economic development,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor of Research at UC Davis and executive director of Venture Catalyst. “This type of coordinated economic engagement is essential to achieving tangible regional impact from university research and technology, and creating an innovation economy that effectively leverages the creativity of the diverse, highly-skilled and talented faculty, students and staff at the university.”

The Urban Hive launched in 2009 with a 6,700-square-foot facility in midtown Sacramento with the goal of supporting entrepreneurial and creative ventures in the Greater Sacramento region by providing access to shared work spaces, private offices, meeting and conference rooms, as well as regular workshops and networking events. The Urban Hive plans to expand to a new 14,000-square-foot facility in the Cannery Business Park development in Sacramento. As part of the expansion, The Urban Hive will introduce product development capabilities, including specialized instrumentation that will allow members to build prototypes and run small-scale production.

This capabilities expansion is being advanced by UC Davis Venture Catalyst with support that includes new equipment and resources for use by local and university-affiliated startups. The investment in maker and related equipment is made possible by funding received by University of California campuses in early-2017 through the UC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expansion Bill (AB 2664). This bill allocated $22 million to be split equally amongst the UC campuses with the objective of accelerating economic development in the state by expanding university activities and community partnerships that support innovation and entrepreneurship.

I/O Labs, which is also led by The Urban Hive’s founder Brandon Weber, plans to bring 40,000 square feet of innovation space online in downtown Sacramento targeted for initial launch later this year. I/O Labs will create a space where the innovation ecosystem can coalesce, bringing together a unique network of service providers, educational programs and a planned accelerator program to support and mentor entrepreneurs and startups in the facility.

“This collaboration provides enhanced opportunities to both support the needs of university-affiliated entrepreneurs and startups with space, prototyping equipment, and resources and integrate these innovators into a broader network of peers, collaborators, and support providers,” said Weber.  “The successful model established at The Urban Hive, and new resources coming online soon through the Urban Hive expansion and I/O Labs, will help innovative companies establish themselves and grow in the region.”

“I am proud to see our $22 million budget allocation put to good use with the UC Davis Venture Catalyst project with I/O Labs and The Urban Hive,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee on Education Finance. “University innovators and entrepreneurs support small businesses in our communities and impact economic development in the Sacramento region.”

In addition to collaboration through the Venture Catalyst DRIVETM Network, the university has also committed to work closely with I/O Labs to help lead renewed efforts around the California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz) statewide Innovation Hub (iHub) program with a shared objective of advancement of a robust regional innovation ecosystem through the Sacramento Region Partner Network.