Institutional investors rally behind molecular technology’s blue-chip market opportunity
EMERYVILLE, CA (Dec 13, 2018) – Zymergen, the world’s first molecular manufacturing technology company, announced today it has raised over $400 million in Series C funding led by returning investor SoftBank Vision Fund. The round welcomes new investors Goldman Sachs and Hanwha Asset Management, as well as returning investors, DCVC (Data Collective), True Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, DFJ and Innovation Endeavors.
Industrial progress has not kept pace with the demands of today. Petroleum continues to be the foundation of products we use daily, from toothpaste to clothing, fertilizers, and more. Over decades, scientists and engineers have largely exhausted the possibilities of petroleum-based chemical building blocks. We have also long known that biology has untapped potential for materials innovation. Until now, however, the tools to understand and reliably program biological systems to produce new materials haven’t existed.
Zymergen is unleashing biology’s potential for industry. By leveraging advances in artificial intelligence, robotic lab automation, and cutting-edge genomics, Zymergen has unlocked previously inaccessible sources of molecular diversity for critical industries around the world. With its proprietary technology platform, the company makes novel and improved molecules to meet the greatest needs of global leaders in manufacturing, specialty chemicals, food and agriculture, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. Zymergen delivers its customers material diversity and performance capabilities not previously possible by rapidly, reliably, and cost-effectively engineering biology. Today, Zymergen is enabling real-world product outcomes for Fortune 1000 customers that are orders of magnitude greater than any other similar approach, at 100,000 metric ton and greater scales.
Zymergen’s Series C funding validates the company’s progress and the significant market opportunity for molecular technology, the new technological field pioneered by the company. The infusion of capital will accelerate Zymergen’s growth, enabling the company to double the capacity of its platform to meet the needs of its growing global client roster. The company will also invest in enhancing its platform, increasing the speed and predictability with which it can program and optimize biology for specific traits. Finally, Zymergen will begin commercializing products from its proprietary portfolio, including several with transformative impacts on global quality of life and population health. This combination of commercial success and continued platform innovation will catalyze industrial progress across agriculture, chemicals and materials, pharmaceuticals, and more.
“We believe biology will allow us to reinvent all kinds of material products we use in our everyday lives,” said Joshua Hoffman, Zymergen co-founder and CEO. “With the Vision Fund’s continued investment, and the support and validation from top financial institutions, we will lead the discovery, development and engineering of new molecular products and usher in a wave of industrial innovation built on biology. Zymergen enables its globally leading customers to deliver new and existing products faster, more profitably, at higher quality, with a dramatically reduced environmental footprint, all on a repeatable basis.”
“The secular trend of synthetic biology, enabled by the genomics revolution and computational biology, is creating new opportunities across multiple industrial sectors,” said Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We believe the company’s differentiated combination of AI and genomics creates a platform that makes it economically viable to engineer biology and build better, novel, and sustainable products. We are excited to support the Zymergen team in unlocking this potential to advance industries past their dependency on conventional hydrocarbon processing.”
To achieve these results, Zymergen uses artificial intelligence algorithms and robotic genomic “factories” to search the microbial genome, running tens of thousands of experiments to spot subtle signals of improvement. The platform then analyzes these signals to identify paths that no human scientist could ever discover, enabling Zymergen to optimize molecules for specific traits. Zymergen’s platform routinely accomplishes inside a year, in a single building, with a few hundred people, what would take thousands of scientists and specialists a decade, in square miles of facilities, and billions of dollars of spend.
“By marrying innovations in technology and science, Zymergen treats biology like a search space, much like Google treated indexing the web,” said the Executive Vice President at Hanwha Asset Management who drove the company’s investment in Zymergen. “And furthermore, they are doing this at scale, discovering new applications for biology ready to deploy to their industrial partners. From improving time to market, to performance and productivity, the impact Zymergen has on its partners’ bottom line presents unmatched potential for invigorating industrial manufacturing.”
Zymergen is the world’s first molecular manufacturing technology company ushering in a new age of manufacturing and industrial innovation. Zymergen, a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer, leverages the power of machine learning, automation, and bioengineering, to take a radically different approach to improving the performance of materials and to discovering new molecular products that touch every industry – from agriculture to chemicals and materials, pharmaceuticals, and more. The technology is in use today, creating value for Fortune 1000 companies and major corporations across the globe.
For more information visit www.zymergen.com.