Second Biotech Accelerator, Indie Bio, Launches In SF And Ireland

Second Biotech Accelerator, Indie Bio, Launches In SF And Ireland

October 9, 2014

By Jessica Wilson, Breaking News Staff

SOS Ventures, the Cork, Ireland-based venture capital firm, is launching a biotech accelerator in November called IndieBio, with locations in both San Francisco, Calif. and in Cork. The venture firm already runs accelerator programs for software and hardware startups. According to an article today in Xconomy, IndieBio is primarily interested in the biotech sectors of “bioinformatics, automated lab technology, and the intensive form of genetic engineering known as synthetic biology.”

“These accelerators are a third way for people to build their own dreams and secure their own futures,” IndieBio co-founder Arvind Gupta and partner at SOS Ventures was quoted as saying. His vision is to provide the entrepreneurs accepted into IndieBio’s program with a “financial and technology ecosystem” located outside big companies and universities, where they will have more freedom.

IndieBio is drawing comparisons to Y Combinator, the Mountain View, CA-based accelerator that welcomed its first biotech class this summer. Gupta looks at Y Combinator as a partner in building a supportive environment for biotech entrepreneurs rather than as a competitor. “None of us are competing,” he was quoted as saying. “If we can’t build that ecosystem, whatever businesses we help build will fail.”

Gupta joined SOS Ventures in 2013 with the goal to set up a biotech accelerator. His interest lies specifically in synthetic biology; however, IndieBio will welcome a wide array of biotech startups.

Gupta’s fellow SOS Ventures partner Bill Liao ran a six-month biotech accelerator in Cork earlier this year, the success of which inspired him to co-create IndieBio with Gupta. An example of the type of startups the two are looking for is a Cork graduate called Muufri (pronounced moo-free), which is a company that uses bio-engineered microbes to produce an “animal-free” milk substitute.

IndieBio will soon move to a large space in downtown San Francisco, where the startups will set up shop—in both offices and labs—during their sessions. SOS will provide $35,000 to each startup for 8 percent equity. Gupta explained that this is different than Y Combinator, which provides $125,000 to each start-up, but does not set each one up in an office or a lab. Other benefits for startups in IndieBio will include access to mentors and contacts that could lead to additional investors.

IndieBio will run two sessions in San Francisco, one beginning in January and the other in May. The first session’s application deadline is November 1, for ten available spots.

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