Biotech Accelerator IndieBio Is Convincing Investors to Start Paying Attention to Biotech Startups

By Staff Writer

Feb 19, 2016 07:56 AM EST

IndieBio, an incubator program based in San Fransisco, is aiming to help biotech startups with funding and assistance, the way other accelerators have done for that of IT. Since it was founded in late 2014, IndieBio has helped more than 42 biotech startups.

The biotech accelerator mainly invests in early-stage startups. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the process was done in batches, six months each. For one batch, IndieBio would take up to 15 selected startups from around the world.

Being backed by IndieBio means that a startup would receive up to $250,000 as a seed funding. Selected startups could also use the provided co-working space and laboratories equipped for bacterial, yeast, animal and human cell work in San Fransisco. In addition to that, the backing also includes access to a network of over 200 global biotech and industrial mentors, all in exchange for about 14 percent of the equity in the startups. The Irish Times also mentioned a laboratory facility in Ireland in the University College Cork as one of the facilities that can be accessed by IndieBio-backed startups.

IndieBio incubator program director Ryan Bethencourt believes that biotechnology could drive what he called the fourth industrial revolution. The incubator's founder Arvind Gupta agreed. "Biology is the most powerful technology ever created. DNA is software, proteins are hardware, cells are factories. The world has a huge number of trillion-dollar problems wanting to be solved and biology is the only way to do that," Gupta said in an event reported by The Guardian, convincing investors to start investing in biotech startups.

Gupta founded IndieBio in 2014 with Ron Shigeta and Bethencourt. The accelerator program was backed by SOSV, an Ireland-based accelerator venture capital fund managing $250 million assets. Bethencourt explained the role of IndieBio in helping biotech startups. "We start from basic principles. And because many of the businesses and products that our companies do are a complete novelty to us, them, and the market, we have to do the math," he stated.

Bethencourt also shared the accelerator's mission in doing their operation, which is to challenge the traditional view of biotech as simply biomedical technology. He emphasized that biotech is a technology that builds our world and that we can harness it to shift humanity from a scarcity to an abundance economy.

The view of biotech as a highly important technology to build humanity led IndieBio to continue doing their incubation program, assisting and funding biotech startups developing their products and services. With fund, assistance, mentoring, and facilities, the accelerator is determined to do for biotech what accelerators have done for IT, emerging biotech as a prominent sector. 

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