Accelerating Biotechnology with IndieBio

Who Is IndieBio & How Do They Support Biotech Startups?

Unique ideas and scientific innovations are needed to solve emerging problems in the world. Sometimes these ideas and innovations can be shaped into a profitable business. But, creating a viable business around just an idea is challenging. They can easily get buried by long-running procedures and logistics, while others never get off the ground because of a lack of funding.  

This is where venture capital can and does play a critical role in the life sciences and biotechnology. Firms and individual investors have been able to assist scientists and researchers identify life-changing innovations and provide the necessary funding to accelerate a startup’s growth. But, even before funding, startups require some mentorship and training to create a structural approach in the early stages. These requirements are often fulfilled by accelerators and incubators.

In this article, we will highlight IndieBio, a popular biotechnology and life science accelerator located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2014 by Arvind Gupta, it’s also the world’s first startup accelerator for synthetic biology.

IndieBio is committed to raising biotech startups from bench to product by assisting in the development of the startup’s business model, go-to-market strategy, and future fundraising efforts. It provides each company $525,000 in seed funding, co-working and lab space, and dedicated mentorship. Startups also gain access to its huge network of alumni, investors, biotech entrepreneurs, investors, press, and corporate partners.

IndieBio is backed up by the venture capital fund SOSV and is a crucial part of its accelerator family. SOSV is a multi-stage capital and investment management firm running multiple world-class vertical startup development programs, through which it funds around 150 startups on an annual basis. Its five Accelerator Programs include HAX, IndieBio, MOX, dlab, and ChinaAccelerator.

SOSV helps startups grow faster by providing seed and venture capital to get founders moving. Beyond this, SOSV also provides a global staff of designers, accountants, hands-on engineers, and scientists to expedite product development, as well as access to over 1,000 global mentors with the market and technical expertise and a network of fully outfitted maker spaces and labs.

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IndieBio Companies & Ventures

IndieBio has an unparalleled history of successful companies. It trains each startup’s team with the help of an intense 4-month program. Founders engage with customers and partners, pitch to investors, and transform science into a real product people can purchase. The company runs two programs at each of its locations, training 15 companies each year.

It organizes a demo day for the graduating companies in a particular period so that the startups can present their business and product to investors and press. The most recent IndieBio San Francisco Demo Day was organized on 15th July 2021.

IndieBio supports innovations that can solve problems in human and planetary health. It’s why the company funds life science startups (including biotech and pharma startups) producing technologies applied across all verticals. This includes therapeutics, biomaterials, plant-based food, biological tools, diagnostics, synthetic biology, genomics, and data analysis.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IndieBio introduced 23 companies into its program in 2021—according to a recent announcement in Techcrunch. The variety of startups involved in the program range from companies working on cancer treatment, producing animal-free leather, to building technology for bee protection.

Since its founding, IndieBio has funded 159 early-stage companies, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Geltor: The company produces animal-free gelatin and builds a recombinant protein production platform to build essential proteins at a low cost.
  • Prellis Biologics: It’s a newly formed company dedicated to providing better drug testing options and tissues for human transplant, including solid organs, connective tissues (tendons, ligaments), and secretory tissues.
  • Bucha Bio: It’s a global textile manufacturing market that delivers plant-based leather, made from kombucha bacterial nanocellulose, for products in fashion, furniture, and upholstery.
  • Indee Labs: The company is developing scalable hardware to efficiently develop gene-modified cell therapies like chimeric antigen receptor T-cells.
  • SyntheX: It’s a drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and rare diseases.

IndieBio FAQs You Need to Know

Will I have access to a lab?

Yes! IndieBio has a BSL1 & BSL2 wet lab specifically designed to let you develop your technology and product(s). You get free access to the lab and equipment, but you will have to pay for your reagents, cell lines, disposable plastics, and other consumables.

Can I still apply if I already have funding?

Yes. IndieBio accepts teams that have previously raised funding through venture capitals, angel investors, or grants. However, despite previous fundings, its packages will be non-negotiable.

How much funding do IndieBio companies receive?

It provides companies with a $275,000 package for an equity position of 10%–12% post-seed ($200,000 in cash and $75,00 in-kind). It also offers an additional $250,000 from the Genesis Consortium, which is the startup’s choice to take or not.

For therapeutics companies, it offers a $2 million package, on which you will have to come to an agreement with the company about milestones.

As part of the program, you will have access to lab space, coworking with a community of like-minded teams, and their large mentor network. You will also have the opportunity to pitch to the press, corporate partners, angel investors, and venture capitalists during and at the end of the program at Demo Day.

How much equity does IndieBio take?

IndieBio starts with a $275,000 package for a 10%–12% post-seed position. In addition, IndieBio offers an additional $250K to qualifying companies, through Genesis Consortium (totaling $525,000).

The companies accepted in their therapeutic program will get negotiable terms for the second tranche of $275,000 and the $1.5 million seed fund.

Can I apply if we’re not from the United States?

Yes! Anyone from anywhere can apply. You only have to present legally in California or New York during the program.

Excedr has worked with numerous venture-backed research laboratories. If this sounds like you, lease the cutting-edge lab equipment you need so you can extend your cash runway and save money for other critical areas of operations.

Excedr Helps Labs at Every Stage

IndieBio is a leading startup development program of SOSV. It’s committed to investing and building transformative life sciences startups. It provides companies the coworking space, lab space, equipment, and mentorship required to push them through every level of fundraising. It helps them to turn their imagination into reality by converting their ideas into valuable, salable products.

Further, every year IndieBio trains 15 companies in each of its programs. Like so many similar programs, it’s an extremely competitive startup accelerator. Countless founders are denied, meaning they often have to rely on getting into a different program, or find other forms of funding.

Although we aren’t necessarily useful to startups enrolled in a seed accelerator, due to the fact that these programs offer lab space and equipment, we are highly useful to startups raising seed capital on their own, as well as companies recently graduated from an accelerator program.

How, exactly? We can help you procure the exact equipment you need without using up precious cash reserves or funds in one go, unlike purchasing outright. We accomplish this by providing affordable and customized leasing solutions to life science startups and growth-stage companies.

A range of Excedr’s equipment includes life science and biotech equipment, analytical equipment, high-tech microscopes, spectrometers, and other general bio lab equipment. We also maintain all the repair and maintenance of equipment, letting you focus on your life-changing research.

Resources for founders, scientists, and the life sciences community.