Following four years in Cork and 4 great accelerator programmes RebelBio has officially relocated to London and we plan to use this hub as our natural stepping stone to help accelerate the next generation of life science companies. The decision was not taken lightly and we love Ireland (especially The People’s Republic of Cork) more than ever. RebelBio’s mission has not changed however, and just because we have moved location doesn’t change the fact that we are a global programme looking for emerging talent. We know that event which shall not be named (*the dreaded Brexit”) will impact on the opportunities for startups in the UK and we are making new connections with London based networks to make sure emerging, innovative biotech startups are supported.
Funding the Science of Life
London has been a major hub for startups since the beginning of the Information Age and is also possibly the 3rd largest hub for investment after San Francisco and New York. Not only that but for life sciences alone it is a major investment ecosystem. In 2017, over €1 Billion was raised for life sciences companies alone. There are over 100 venture capital (VC) firms specialising in early stage health tech that are incredibly passionate about pre-seed & seed stage investments. RebelBio has continued a trend of successful investments in a number of diverse companies including:
- Perfect Day Foods, a 2014 alum has raised $24.7 Million in Series A funding
- Hyasynth has announced a letter of intent for strategic investment worth $10 Million CDN from Organigram
- Pili, A 2015 alum raised a seed round of $3 Million
- Other successes include MicrosynbiotiX (€1 Million) & Hexafly (€1 Million) also
SEIS & EIS investment schemes offer angel investors tax and strategic incentives to give early stage startups the chance to work with angels who may have previously had success in a med-tech, engineering or life science background increases the odds of success for a successful founder / investor interaction. With just a few short months in London we quintupled our investor engagement meeting investment directors for billionaires and other key institutional investors. We even had a packed investor week in place of a single demo day given the high interest from our new connections. Interestingly we found that local investors wanted to move away from traditional demo days and increase their engagement between prospective deals. Even the local government has taken an increased stance on investments. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made commitments to make London a leading Smart Hub and at the end of 2017 the Chancellor announced £17 million in funding for new life sciences. In addition to the tax incentives for tech startups all this is demonstrating the city’s commitment to entrepreneurship, and means turning your idea into the next big thing could be closer than you think.
Our new supports in the UK are Capital Enterprise and The European Regional Development Fund which has provide support structures for accelerator programmes throughout London offering programmes for staff and access to investor syndicates to help increase the levels of job creation. The Department of International Trades Global Entrepreneur Programme has officially endorsed our accelerator to help fast track entrepreneur visas from all over the world for founders of early stage biotech startups.
Space For The Startups To Grow
Our new home is the the Imperial College London’s White City Incubator, located at the Translation & Innovation Hub in lovely West London. West London is a growing hub for life science & synthetic biology startups and it feels like a natural fit for us. Throughout our 5th cohort we felt that our startups really benefited from the lab and coworking environment and were offered unparalleled support from the Imperial Innovations team. There were numerous free workshops on IP Strategy, Sales and Technical Development during the programme to offer the cohort additional value. Our new neighbours include Customem, Therapeutic Frontiers, Autolus & Hack Science to name a few, all of which have independently raised hundreds of thousands to millions in funding to scale their businesses. The demand for lab coworking space is higher in London and post programme our companies have available the chance to scale in a positive and growing community. The Shepherds Bush market is also home to the up and coming independent space called OPEN CELL, which will be a home for creatives, biohackers, startups and designers inspired by science to build new and exciting companies. The increase in demand for space is evident and our startup community is ever growing.
Our Partners include SynbiCITE, leaders in Synthetic Biology commercialisation & development strategies have been steadfast in offering companies support and access to state of the art facilities as well as commercial development opportunities. SynbiCITE are a key player in informing the UK government on where the direction of research and commercialisation of synthetic biology (synbio) is heading. From 2010 – 2016 more than 146 synbio companies have been supported thanks to their help. For an indepth look at how important a role synbio has on the UK economy please see the 2017 UK Synthetic Biology startup report here.
On the addition of RebelBio to the London landscape CEO of SynBiCite, Stephen Chambers, thinks, “The relocation of RebelBio to the iHUB at Imperial College London is great news for the innovation ecosystem in the UK. RebelBio, backed by SOS Ventures the largest investor in synthetic biology, brings invaluable expertise to the acceleration of early-stage life sciences startups”
For access to equipment, services and ancillary facilities we have Clustermarket fortifying our companies technical development needs by connecting companies to labs in Cambridge, Oxford & Europe. As a result our startup community does not need to own expensive equipment & therefore can keep costs low and commercialise more efficiently.
To conclude we have found our footing in a new and exciting business environment where our previous and future Rebels will find support of both them as people and their technology as they grow in the variety of ever evolving markets that they inhabit. The programme is accepting applications for Cohort VI taking place in August.
RebelBio, the world’s first early-stage life-sciences accelerator, has opened their applications for the Winter Programme. Science graduates, PhDs, postdocs and academics who feel a strong urge to commercialise their research or who need to advance their existing companies are particularly welcome. The programme invests up to £200k / $275k*, along with extensive business and scientific mentoring during the three-month period of the program, which takes place in Imperial College London White City Incubator from August 6th to November 2nd 2018.
During this time, RebelBio will provide laboratory space and supplies designed to allow our founders to move forward technically and business development. The program culminates with a Investor Month and is the start of an ongoing relationship that applicants will have with the world’s premier early-stage venture-capital fund, SOSV.0