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Innovation & COffee

Innovation & Coffee Series Fuels Investment in Tomorrow’s Workforce

April 15, 2022
By: Shane Moise

Few things are as commonly associated with invention and innovation as are light bulbs for the eureka moment, napkins for notes, and a noisy cafe with hot coffee…or a dusty garage if your name is Steve.

Group coffee meeting

At UC San Diego, we innovate with purpose. There is no better illustration of UC San Diego's innovation than our Triton community. Across campus, students are growing tomorrow’s innovation workforce – new waves of ideas, driving inspiration to impact globally. Spinning out upwards of 20 companies a year, our reputation is earned every day through rigorous academics and an appreciation for the whole experience of university life - which includes ritualistic stops at the college coffee shop.
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Innovation and coffee meetingThis past March, Mark Leibowitz and Paul Shockley from the Office of Innovation & Commercialization’s Investment Prep Program linked up with John Muir College Provost Wayne Yang and Justin Glover to embark on a novel engagement to make new connections in a vast and often confusing ecosystem. A prevailing norm in entrepreneurship is disruption, however, when it comes to engaging student innovators, it’s best to meet them where they’re at - to go with the grain versus going against it.

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For this newly minted series, the Provost and student baristas asked participants to share what could be the seeds of a new business or solutions to real world problems. With fresh coffee in hand, conversations revealed that there is more yet to be done to connect novel ideas and aspiring innovators to the resources that can help them thrive.

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This new series taps into that cultural aspect in a way that students can quickly find community through sharing their ideas, no matter how big, hairy, or audacious. At UC San Diego, we embrace disruptive thinking, always asking what’s next.


Paul Shockley 

Paul has been a creative entrepreneur for the past decade and loves using his imagination across many mediums to create business opportunities and growth. From SaaS platforms, location aware mobile experiences, film, marketing, education, mobile apps and on to his new pursuits in virtual and augmented reality, telling impactful stories that engage viewers is his passion. contact:

Mark Leibowitz 

Mark is a physiologist with over 25 years of experience building and leading successful drug discovery and development teams in both large and mid/small pharmaceutical companies and as a consultant to private companies. More recently he was the Director of the Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept and Innovation Center at UC Riverside with responsibility for the NSF I-Corps Site Program and other entrepreneurial education and mentoring activities.  In addition to his role developing and overseeing the Investment Prep Program, he is currently an Executive in Residence at the CSUSM College of Business.

About Investment Prep 

This program is designed specifically to raise investment funds for startups by supporting them with dedicated 1:1 coaching and group learning sessions. We help startups analyze their business for investment readiness, address challenge areas, and build an outstanding investor pitch. Finally, we curate investors across the UC San Diego and regional networks to match the needs of startups in the program.

Ready to take your company to the next level?

Applying is the first step. Connect with us today!