MBA Venture Aimed at Wine Aficionados Wins $100K

Raise a glass to Pristine, a Berkeley MBA startup that uses smartphone technology to enhance the wine-drinking experience—and is now $100,000 stronger thanks to a grant from

Vik Thairani, Srinivas Chervirala, and Pontus Lindberg, all MBA 13 , are the co-founders of Pristine, a maker of wine labels and tags that prevent pulling the cork on bottles that may have suffered heat damage. Since last December Pristine has been based at SkyDeck, a startup accelerator and joint venture between the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, and the Vice Chancellor of Research Office. VP of Sales Nedda Bakhshi is also part of the Pristine founding team.

“Berkeley is the single biggest thing that could have happened to us,” says Thairani, the startup's CEO. “It brought the entire team together and gave us the knowledge to take an idea and turn it into a business, as well as the additional opportunities that came through SkyDeck and the UC Berkeley Startup Competition. I couldn’t see Pristine as having happened without Haas.”

All teams that made it to the semifinals in the UC Berkeley Startup Competition werebe eligible for the $100,000 funding grant and mentorship program from, the competition's newest sponsor this year.

Another SkyDeck venture, Eko Devices, also won a grant. Pristine and Eko emerged from 50 semifinalist teams to be among the 10 grant winners from's partner schools, which also include Stanford, Penn State, and Harvard. is a nonprofit foundation established by entrepreneur and venture capitalist Michael Baum, who founded the machine data management company Splunk. aims to help students become founders of impactful companies.

Read more about the Berkeley winners on the SkyDeck Blog

Pristine founders Nedda Bakhshi; Vik Thairani, Srinivas Chervirala, and Pontus Lindberg, all MBA 13