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Synthetic Biology Annual Investment Report (2018)

Synthetic biology startups are attracting venture funding in record amounts, with $1.9 billion making 2018 the largest year ever – and that’s only counting deals closed by early August. Even with more almost five months left in 2018, this represents 73% growth over 2017. As in the last four years, half or more of the funding went to later-stage (more mature) companies. The exceptional year of 2017 saw a drop in funding amount, but a sharp rise in the number of companies funded (56, compared to 48 in the previous year). Thus we see mature synbio companies continuing on an expansion trajectory, while a new wave of early-stage startups promises continued growth and innovation in the future.

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This is a series of reports that accompanies the book, What’s Your Bio Strategy? by John Cumbers and Karl Schmieder. It is meant to be an industry-specific guide for companies in fields that will be strongly impacted by synthetic biology – and need to take strategic steps in response, or in advance. It is also meant to help practitioners in synthetic biology understand the structure and future of that industry, so they can better see how to align their innovations with industry and company goals.

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About the authors

John Cumbers
John Cumbers, Founder and CEO

John Cumbers is passionate about education and on the use and adoption of biological technologies. He has received multiple awards and grants from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for his work in the field. John has been involved in multiple startups such as those producing food for space, microbes to extract lunar and martian resources, and hoverboards! John is an active investor through the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund and his synthetic biology syndicate on AngelList. John received a PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University, a MSc in Bioinformatics from Edinburgh University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Hull in Computer Science with Information Engineering.

Mark Bünger, InnovationLab.

Mark Bünger helps clients apply science-driven innovation and technology to their biggest challenges – moonshots and beyond. He brings 25+ years as a tech researcher, developer, entrepreneur, and analyst, most recently at Lux Research, where as VP of Research he helped pioneer commercial investment in the space. His past work includes Forrester, Accenture, and several startups, as well as the University of California San Francisco and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce.

About SynBioBeta


SynBioBeta is the premier innovation network for innovators, investors, and thinkers who share a passion for using synthetic biology to build a better, more sustainable universe. We host The Global Synthetic Biology Summit in San Francisco, October 1–3, part of Synthetic Biology Week, which showcase the cutting-edge developments in synthetic biology that are transforming how we fuel, heal and feed the world.

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