On Thursday it was announced that a team from UC Berkeley had successfully secured its first round of seed funding for its product “UBear”.
As UC Berkeley is located in the Silicon Valley, many of its students are focused on entrepreneurial ventures in the hopes of creating the next “unicorn”. In essence, these “unicorns” are so named because they are each worth a billion or more dollars. Such companies include Facebook, Snapchat, Lyft and Uber.
But for one group of enterprising UC Berkeley students, the solution to becoming a unicorn was simple: rather than trying to focus on doing anything useful for the world and coming up with a solution for it from scratch, they decided to take an existing model of a successful company and see if they could tweak it to avoid copyright infringement and make tons of money.
And surprisingly they did. According to Stan Chen, head of the Berkeley based Ubear team “We decided to emulate Uber which is really popular here in the Bay Area. We started looking at all the ways that we could make our company different. We don’t want to just to be Uber, we wanted to be the Whatsapp of the Facebook to the Linkedin to the Tesla Motors of Uber.”
“Over the course of our study, we realized that while the market for crowdsourced car rides was oversaturated, the niche market for crowdsourced bear rides are not.” And thus was born the idea for Ubear- a crowdsourcing service for bear rides.
Another member of the team, August Ricard remarked “The gist of it is that you use our patented Honey Technology System to attract the nearest bear in the area. From there, the bear comes to you and you just hop on and you’re on your way. We currently offer rides on brown bears, Pooh bears, black bears, and even polar bears in select areas.”
And the idea has received wide support in an industry desperate to create the next big thing. Weedtech Ventures Inc., an investment firm made rich by the marijuana boom in Colorado, recently announced that they were investing 420 million dollars into the company, citing that the whole Ubear concept “was a trip”.
When Chen was asked if his team had trouble procuring bears for transportation purposes in the Bay Area, Chen said “We’ve had absolutely no trouble looking for bears in the Bay Area. After all, this is Bear Territory.”