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Increasingly, graduate students are the brains behind these businesses.

Every two weeks, on average, a startup forms based on a UC graduate student invention.

Sensory Gen, an Encinitas, California startup launched by UC Riverside researchers, is developing new approaches to combating mosquitoes that could offer protection from deadly diseases like Zika, dengue fever and malaria, while improving backyard barbecues everywhere.

The startup says it is two years from bringing to market a lotion made from naturally occurring plant-based compounds that is highly effective against mosquitoes, including the At Emeryville, California startup Bolt Threads, three UC graduate school alumni are weaving material fit for a superhero: five times stronger than steel, more elastic than rubber bands, softer than wool, with applications that range from body armor to bridge supports.

That’s the idea behind Thought STEM, a startup that is teaching kids to code through immersive games where they create and control virtual environments.

One of Thought STEM’s signature creations is Code Spells, a wizarding game in which kids conjure objects and spawn mystical creations, using spell books to learn the required commands.

What if we could make computer programming as fun as playing video games?

Forget the image of the startup as something hatched in a garage, spun from little more than inspiration and pizza.

In California, a growing number of startups are emerging from UC labs and research institutes — young enterprises that are changing the game in fields from health care to agriculture.

And we’re not talking about the next dating app or food delivery service.

Many of these fledgling companies have the potential to revolutionize their industries, and even influence our own lives and livelihoods.

But rather than incantations like , students use programming languages such as Scratch and Alice to complete their quests.

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