The Cove at UCI: Fostering Innovation & Entrepreneurship in OC

03/25/19 | 6 MIN READ Revised 10/23/21

The Cove aims to bring the Orange County business community together.

Over a relatively short period of time, UC Irvine  has quickly become known as a recognized leading research university in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of a myriad of discoveries and inventions over the years. UCI is also home to the UCI Research Park which has played a part in providing resources and education to startups and local entrepreneurs that look to make use of the many facilities and amenities available. Many innovative organizations and opportunities are available to the students at UCI as well as the surrounding business community, which is supported by such organizations as UCI Applied Innovation, a UCI affiliated organization that aims to foster innovation and develop a local ecosystem of education and success.

🔬 Read: Business Resources for Biotech Startups

The UCI Applied Innovation program is a forward-thinking initiative by UCI that aims to support the vibrant business community in Orange County by giving them access to campus-based discoveries as well as the student talent pool at UCI. The goal of these programs is to foster a broad community of innovation and entrepreneurship in Southern California. One of the UCI Applied Innovation's most well known initiatives is a local hub for like minded individuals to gather to discuss innovation, education, and participate in industry events -- known as The Cove.

🔬 Read more about: Lab Space for Biotech Startups.

The Cove Ecosystem & Community

The Cove aims to bring the Orange County business community together with students and staff at UCI as well as other startups and entrepreneurs throughout California. The services and facilities that they provide have fostered the creation of a local business ecosystem. A key facet of The Cove ecosystem that differentiates it from others in California is that many of the partners throughout the surrounding business community have on-site offices, which makes them much more accessible to the other entities that are using The Cove.

There are currently many major partners with offices in The Cove, which includes Sustain Southern California, Laser Associated Sciences, Monet Networks, and Tech Coast Angels, the latter of which is the largest group of angel investors in the country. These companies spur innovation, which benefits every member of the ecosystem. Some of the features that The Cove offers to make the ecosystem attractive include office and workspace areas, incubation options for startups looking to grow, and funding/grants through options like the Cove Fund. All of the programs available through UCI Applied Innovation can be accessed at The Cove.

Events & Education at The Cove

If you want to join this community and learn more about what it takes to maintain a successful business, The Cove offers many different workshops that provide members with access to more than 700  events and education opportunities  that are hosted at The Cove throughout the year. These events include everything from external pitch events and innovation workshops to business seminars.

An example of these events is 1 Million Cups, which provides entrepreneurs with the ability to present their concept or business to a large audience. This event takes place every Wednesday and provides startups and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to obtain real-time feedback. Every event hosted at The Cove is designed to give members support that will allow them to grow their business. These events are also perfect for networking and can be used for building new business opportunities.

The Cove Facility & Workspaces

The Cove  is a key aspect of UCI Applied Innovation that aims to build an ecosystem where the Orange County business community, local startups, and students at UCI can flourish. The Cove facility provides innovation partners throughout Orange County with more than 31,000 square feet of office space and technological facilities that these companies and individuals can use to grow their businesses.

These spaces are highly varied in order to accommodate guest speakers, business conferences, and all kinds of different events and workspaces. Their event spaces are mainly separated into two large rooms that include the screening room and the beach, both of which offer something different and unique.

Lab space is also available within The Cove facilities, which can be selected by UCI staff and students, tenants at The Cove, and Wayfinder teams. The additional office and workspace areas that are available at The Cove have an open design to them that allows tenants to have easy access to offices, events, and conference rooms.

You can get a better idea about The Cove facilities and all that they have to offer by looking at this 360-degree virtual tour. By visiting this link, you'll be able to get a much closer and more detailed look at the beach, the screening room, the kitchen space, the reception area, and the shared space. There's also a button towards the bottom of the page that allows you to switch to VR mode if you have a virtual reality device that you wish to connect to view the space as if you were there!

The Beach

The beach room is a conference room with a laid-back atmosphere with modern decor and a variety of seating arrangements. You can choose theater-style seating, rounds of eight seating, or classroom-style seating. If you require a large number of seats for an event or lecture series, the theater-style seating arrangement has the highest max capacity at 150. The rounds of eight arrangement accommodates up to 80 people, while the classroom-style arrangement can seat up to 50. It's possible to add extra seating if necessary through rentals.

At the front of the room are a couple of podiums with a station mic and personal computer as well as a center dais with five station mics. A vast 110-foot Hiperwall screen stretches around the room for optimal viewing of any video materials that are being shown at the meeting or event. Spotlighting and complimentary WiFi are also included.

The various audio/video features available within the beach conference room include confidence monitors, a recorder and built-in camera system, and overhead speakers. An array of external device connections are also available. Live social media feeds from Instagram and Twitter can be accessed while using the room as well.

This room is commonly used for all kinds of meetings, events, and workshops. The casual decor in the room provides the area with a sense of informality that can be beneficial for certain business events that are aimed at providing attendees with a fun, lively, and engaging event. Since the theater-style approach to seating accommodates up to 150 people, this particular area in The Cove is perfect for larger conferences and events.

Screening Room

The screening room is a spacious room that comes with a variety of tables and seating areas for attendees. The primary seating arrangement in the room is a U-shaped seating approach that accommodates up to 45 individuals. You'll be provided with access to a center podium along with a station mic and a personal computer. Every table in the room is outfitted with numerous USB charging stations and power outlets as well as ergonomic office chairs. Because of the more formal yet smaller setup, this room is the perfect conference area for smaller business meetings with investors or potential clients. It includes state-of-the-art technologies and features despite being smaller than the beach room.

The audio/video amenities and features available in the screening room are practically endless and include everything from wireless microphones and event live streaming capabilities to music playback and a screen wall. Built-in camera systems, confidence monitors, and audio and video conferencing capabilities are also provided to any company that uses this room. A high resolution Apple television set is outfitted within the room as well. Just beside the main screening room is a lounge area that acts as a shared space and comes with additional seating, a tiki bar, and a kitchen space.


Along with the local University Lab Partners wet lab incubator located within the UCI Research Park, The Cove hosts two labs that offer spaces of 600 and 1,600 square feet. These labs include a large assortment of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment that can be used by startups within the medtech and biotech industries. Anyone who wishes to use a lab can sign up for access on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. All of the prototyping work is performed directly by the user once they have obtained extensive training on how to effectively use the lab equipment.

The two available labs are referred to as the 5141 and 5171 labs, the latter of which is the larger of the two. The 5141 lab is equipped with a wash station and open work tables as well as equipment like vinyl cutters, laser cutters, and desktop mills. A variety of electronic workstations can also be accessed in the 5141 lab, which include power supplies, soldering equipment, function generators, and oscilloscopes. The 5171 lab comes with all of the tools and equipment found in the 5141 lab as well as a lot more. Some of the modern amenities provided within the 5171 lab include computer workstations, a soundproof phone booth, several 3D scanners, private benches, inspection microscopes, and a molding and casting station.

🔬 Related: What is a wet lab incubator?

Offices & Workspaces

Among the many offices and coworking spaces in Orange County, the largest areas within The Cove facilities are the offices and workspaces that are provided to tenants. This is the main work area for any teams or startups that have joined the Wayfinder incubator. When working out of one of these workspace and office areas, you'll have access to numerous partners based out of the Orange County region, which extend to such sectors as financial, legal consulting, education, and technological sectors. The benefits offered in these areas include on-site business planning and consulting, IP and legal consulting, workshops focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, and office equipment for startups to use during the business day.

As a member of The Cove, you can also obtain grant and scholarship assistance as well as access to on-site venture and seed funding partners. The goal of these services is to ensure that the startups and entrepreneurs that are a part of The Cove have access to everything that they require to grow their company. The legal and IP consulting services provide you with the means of protecting your startup so that your business can properly grow without running into many legal issues.

These office and workspace areas are also packed with smaller features that you'd expect to find in a well-equipped office, which include rolling chairs and tables, complete AV capabilities, the ability to reserve conference rooms, a kitchen area, an outdoor patio, and vending machines. The reception area is also monitored with a high-tech security system. These features can be accessed by any member at The Cove no matter the type of membership they've obtained.

Offices and workspaces can be beneficial to any startup and entrepreneur. Even if you work in a medtech or biotech industry that mainly focuses on using lab space, this office space can provide you with a location where you can complete important paperwork and necessary business development while the lab research is ongoing.

Visiting The Cove at UC Irvine

The Cove is just a short drive from the 405 freeway and located just off the 73 at 5141 California Ave #200, Irvine, CA 92617.

Get Directions to The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation


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