2019 Q1 report companies
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Meet the 25 synthetic biology companies that raised $652M this quarter

The industry’s Class of 2019 includes many new investors and innovative startups, setting the stage for a strong year

The synthetic biology industry got off to a hot start in 2019, with 25 companies raising $652 million in the first quarter. The overall number of companies raising money as well as the amount of funds raised are not currently projected to beat records set in 2018, but the year is still shaping up to be a strong one, especially with a large number of new, exciting startups producing innovative products.

Trends by year

Synthetic biology companies are on track to raise around $2.7 billion in 100 fundraisings in 2019. This would be the first year since 2014 that there was a year-over-year decrease in the amount of money raised, as $3.8 billion was raised in 2018. Roughly $1.8 billion was raised in 2017, so companies are on track to come in slightly ahead of that figure this year.

synthetic biology companies

Synthetic biology investments, 2016-present. Synthetic biology companies are on track to raise around $2.7 billion in 100 fundraisings in 2019. Source: SynBioBeta.

The 100 raises that are projected to occur this year would represent a slight increase from 2018 (97), and would be far above the number of raises that occurred in 2017 (54). Even though the projections for this year may seem disappointing compared to last year, it is important to remember that it is still early in the year, with plenty of time to make up the difference between this year and last. This is especially true for the amount of money raised, as most of the money for a given year comes from just a few very large fundraisings.

Funding by region

The East and West Coasts have been the historical beneficiaries of new investment in synthetic biology, with the biotech powerhouses of San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Cambridge/Boston taking the lion’s share of synthetic biology funding. This quarter, Boston led the way with $295M in investment. Precision Biosciences, based in Durham, NC, helped to boost the Midwest into second place with $162M, with San Francisco at $64M.

Synthetic biology investment by region. The Boston region led the way with $295M in investment, followed by the Midwest ($162M) and the San Francisco Bay Area ($64M).

“The life science and healthcare industry are starting to see a rise of invested capital and deals within the central regions of the nation, signaling growth outside the established geographic hubs on the coasts,” said Dhruv K. Vig, PhD, Senior Associate for Digital Health at Silicon Valley Bank. “Time will only tell whether synthetic biology will benefit from this trend.”

To read the full report, which covers trends by year, trends by region, startups, food tech, CRISPR and precision medicine and diagnostics, the microbiome, biomanufacturing as a service, new investors, private investors, public markets, and government, fill out the form below or click here.

Investing is always a hot topic at the annual SynBioBeta conference, and SynBioBeta 2019 will be no different. Hemisphere Ventures, BOE Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Upfront Ventures, DCVC Bio, HealthTech Capital, Data Collective, Cs Partners, Starlight Ventures, Baruch Future Ventures, Slone Partners, Refactor Capital, Naspers Ventures, Pangaea Ventures, Star Capital, Trancos Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz will all be attending the conference this year.

We are also pleased to have Anna Fokina from DCVC Bio, Rob Carlson from Bioeconomy Capital, Amanda Cashin from Illumina Accelerator, James Currier from NFX, Michelle Adelman from Accite Holdings, Annie Hazelhurst from Faridan, Brian Kaufmann from Viking Global, Jorge Conde from a16z and Matt Klusas from West Oxford Advisors speaking at the conference.

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Calvin Schmidt

Calvin Schmidt

Calvin Schmidt is a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Professor Christina Smolke in the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University. His research interests involve the use of machine learning to automate the design of biological systems.

He believes that new biological technologies will have a huge impact on fields ranging from healthcare to chemical production to agriculture. He’s looking to connect with entrepreneurs and investors in these fields to learn and provide expertise.

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