IndieBio, SOSventures dedicated biotech accelerator, upped the ante for new startups today by announcing it will put $250k into each new company that comes through its program. The seed stage incubator which will be ready for the new class in September, currently has two labs in San Francisco, 4000 sq ft in Dogpatch and 6000 sq ft on Jessie Street near the Mission.
The $250k comes with $200k in cash and $50k in program and support, and each batch, or group of companies completes the four month program which comes with mentorship, lab space and a weekly series of talks.
IndieBio also announced a new deal with Transcriptic, the cloud based lab platform, worth $60k total, or $2k per company.
IndieBio runs two programs, one in Cork Ireland run by Bill Liao and Cathal Garvey, and one in San Francisco run by Arvind Gupta, Ryan Bethencourt and Ron Shigeta. The first San Francisco class will have demo day next month. The first class received just a $100k package with $50k in cash and $50k in program and support. So why the large jump?
Why the increased funding?
“We want to fund more audacious science”, says Arvind Gupta, the program founder and Partner in SOSventures. “We want professors, postdocs and PhD students to have an offer of a professorship, and have a competing offer from us where they can go build their dream company”. In the past, accelerators have offered packages of approximately $100K or less. Y Combinator supplied $120K in funding but no lab space while IndieBio was at $100K and now, with the increased cash, Gupta hopes to change the paradigm for biotech investing to make it more aligned with traditional tech investing: “We want to see biotech founders keep control of their company. To do that they need to get to revenue much earlier.” he says. “Traditionally it takes too long for biotech to mature with the investors taking the majority of the risk, so they take more of the company. We want to give the teams more runway to get to revenue more quickly, raise a seed or series A and make sure the founders remain in the drivers seat.” Gupta is not sure what the right amount of money is for success and is wondering if $250K is too much: “IndieBio itself is an experiment. We iterate for success. We want to see if this funding level is right”. “Arvind is already thinking about what’s next” says Ryan Bethencourt, the Program Director.
Currently Y Combinator offers $20K in Transcriptic services and IndieBio has now added $2K to their already generous $250K package. A number of the IndieBio companies, including on-line assembly service Arcturus Biocloud, and enzyme replacement therapy company Blue Turtle are already using Transcriptic’s platform. “The platform enables scientists to remove the intense manual labor that encompasses 70% of research and development time. While useful for all, this is especially valuable for small companies who need reliable data and longer capital runways,” said CEO of Transcriptic, Max Hodak.
What is IndieBio looking to fund?
For the next round, IndieBio is looking for companies solving intractable problems, such as big data, genomics, biomaterials, diagnostics, sustainable food and consumer products. They are also interested in analytics, diagnostics and fermentation technologies. Applications open today for the September class.