Arvind Gupta, founder and director of IndieBio, is leaving the accelerator, whose portfolio he has built into a $ 3.2 billion life sciences power plant, to join the Mayfield venture capital fund.
The move is a signal both for Mayfield’s growing commitment to invest in work on human and planet health, and for the growing importance of biotechnology in the emerging technology world.
“This is related to Mayfield’s focus on conscious capitalism and the improvement of the planet, as well as the development of solutions to solve these problems of human and planetary health,” said Ursheet Parikh, partner at Mayfield, of the company̵
As part of the move, Mayfield has committed to investing in SOSV, the holding company for a number of accelerators and risk funds including IndieBio, and to cooperate with SOSV in establishing the Genesis Consortium, an alliance of mutual funds and corporate investors Supporting companies that focus on biotechnology for the health of planets and humans.
“This is a good time to extend the movement beyond the pre-seed level,” said Gupta in an interview.
From accelerator to A-round
Under the agreement, Mayfield committed to invest $ 100,000 in all companies that graduated from the IndieBio San Francisco Accelerator. Po Bronson will take the lead at IndieBio, although Gupta said it will continue to act as the accelerator’s advisor.
For IndieBio and Gupta, the partnership with Mayfield is a confirmation of the six years of work that Gupta and his team have put into accelerating companies that focus on commercializing the technologies that have been developed to shape the building blocks of life and redesign.
During that time, he created a portfolio that is valued at $ 3.2 billion and companies like Memphis Meats (development of cultivated meat from animal cells), Geltor (development of new proteins), Synthex (production of new peptide therapeutics), Endless West (distillation of alcohol from microbes), Prellis (development of the cultivation of organ tissue), NotCo (creation of a new one Plant Food Brand), catalog (using organisms for data storage), tinctorium (recreating the dyeing process for blue jeans), Mycoworks (using plants as a leather substitute).
Parikh said the partnership between the two companies is another example of how new advances in information technology fit with the revolution in technical biology. “All of these clouds and artificial intelligence are becoming a catalyst,” said Parikh. “It’s about building the next generation of companies and [technology] Platforms. “
At Mayfield, this means investing in companies like Mammoth Biosciences, a pioneer in the use of CRISPR gene editing technologies in a number of industries with an early focus on healthcare and life sciences. It also meant investing in some IndieBio graduates like Serenity Bioworks and New Culture
Bioengineering is experiencing a slight boom among risk investors these days. Companies using the new technology have attracted investments from leading funds such as Kleiner Perkins, Mayfield, DCVC, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia, SoftBank, Andreessen Horowitz and others. According to the research company SynBioBeta, startups focusing on bioengineering raised more than $ 12.6 billion in funding from 2018.
Both Gupta and Parikh believe that these numbers are far from sufficient if the companies developing these technologies exploit their potential and the desired impact on industries as diverse as production, agriculture and food production, packaging and materials science, and clothing and consumers should have goods.
For Gupta, this hides the impending danger of a climate catastrophe. To reverse the course of global climate change – or even limit the disruptive global warming trend – consumer behavior that can be achieved through the development and commercialization of these bio-based technologies must be changed, Gupta said.
The Genesis consortium
It may sound like a bond villain program for global domination, but ideally the Genesis consortium will bring together a number of business partners and mutual funds that focus on biotechnology to work together on investments to the extent necessary to Gupta considers it necessary for the industry to make the corresponding changes.
“The idea of taking a step back is really about expanding that movement, ”says Gupta. “When you look at the amount of capital that goes into human and planet health, it’s a small part of the investment compared to IT as a whole.”
What needs to happen is that investors need to recognize that there are billions of industries that can be transformed using these technology platforms, Gupta said. They are also solutions to the existential health and the planetary crises that the world population is facing.
That is why the companies found the Genesis consortium. “We want this to be the announcement where we can have this conversation with strategic partners,” said Gupta. “I also want to make sure that companies are involved. This is not just about money, but also about strategic engagement.”
Some of the largest food companies in the U.S. are already turning their attention to the industry as consumers’ tastes change and are responding accordingly. “The Tyson of the world saw this shift,” said Gupta. As consumers change their minds and dollars, all big companies are thinking about how to stay one step ahead. “
Mayfield’s big bet on biotechnology
In a blog post announcing Gupta’s inclusion in the Mayfield team, the company spoke about how it sees the opportunity to combine biotechnology with information technology.
“Five years ago, we saw that the ability to combine the technical approaches of information technology with advances in biology creates a great opportunity for a whole new class of companies. We see a mutually reinforcing innovation loop for technical biology that enables these companies, ”wrote Parikh and Navin Chaddha, managing directors of Mayfield.
This loop begins by digitizing biology and quantifying life status to create the data sets that cloud computing and machine learning can analyze for insights. According to Parikh and Chaddha, the reduced costs for full genome sequencing and the creation of CRISPR editing herald a new platform technology, and Mayfield wants to start this revolution early.
Mayfield positions itself as a company that has seen the first wave of biotech innovations, the upswing and the culmination of the digital revolution of information technology and an early (and profitable) investor in sustainability, and tries to use this technical biology as another change in the Contextualizing technology is on the way and how venture capitalists can benefit from the changes.
As Mayfield’s leadership wrote in their blog post today:
These platforms in turn enable faster development of new applications, including new diagnostics and therapeutics, new materials, new foods and environmental technology. These new applications generate the demand for more technology for the digitization of biology and biotechnology platforms and complete the innovation cycle. This loop reaches the critical mass for a super-fast iteration because the costs of digitizing biology tend to be zero.
Solving the current double challenges of human and planetary evolution offers the greatest business opportunity in history. Our mission at Mayfield is to work with entrepreneurs who lead this movement.