Big news over the past month - let's get you up to speed. Today, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (an MIT spin-off) announced a $1.8 billion raise - good luck on the hard work ahead to bring net energy to fusion! On the other end of history, we all lost a great when Jay Last of the Traitorous Eight that formed Fairchild Semiconductor passed away at 92. Though perhaps we can take a moment to think about the trends in longtermism found in innovation and philanthropy in the ascendant age of venture capital? Especially when you look at IPOs like Rivian and their war chest before and after market entry. And let's not forget that biotech continues to grow, with the MIT Future Founders Initiative announcing the finalists for 2021 (and other proof-of-concept vehicles on the rise!), the Gene-Synthesis revolution headlining the New York Time Magazine, the Vertebrate Genomes Project getting some limelight, AlphaFold2 and RoseTTAFold featuring in Nature, the impact of the global vaccine gap, and Noubar Afeyan continuing to shine a light on biotech entrepreneurship. And obviously, much more 'below the fold'. 😄
We are still on the hunt for a Ventures Associate and Network Associate (titles to be adjusted for experience and role) as we ramp up for future exciting news and updates! Interested? Have ideas on how to improve our team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
We are up to 15,805 total connections and conversations on the AVX network - 546 more over the last month (4% month over month growth). We are currently tracking 34 potential match negotiations and another 175 with multi-month long discussions heading toward possible matches. We have now actively connected 646 different ventures (out of 1900+ examined) with 1539 different entrepreneurs and investors (out of a pool of 3400+)
In the rest of this newsletter, I will highlight some of our progress at AVX, highlight a few (digital) events from around the network, and some think pieces to examine.
Top Digital Events
Dec 1-2: Engage 2021 Conference Catalyze the transformation of research into innovation at Engage 2021. Organized by the Princeton University Office of Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, Engage 2021 is virtual, free and open to all. We'll zero in on connections and skills to accelerate the impact of research and innovation on complex problems: Practical information and specific resources and opportunities you can use to advance your work. We'll step back and explore the big picture: How can we propel the development of a robust and inclusive innovation ecosystem.
Dec 3: Yale Lifesciences PitchFest Join us for a full day of live pitches featuring the top biotech and digital health/healthcare IT opportunities developing within Yale. Presented by the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, have the opportunity to get a first look at a range of new opportunities.
Dec 8-9: AI + Health 2021 At this wide-ranging online conference, Stanford University is convening experts and leaders from academia, industry, government, and clinical practice to explore critical and emerging issues related to the impact of AI across the spectrum of health, healthcare, and related arenas. Content will be relevant to practitioners, researchers, executives, policymakers, and professionals, with and without technical expertise. Hear from AI greats like Fei-Fei Li and Andrew Ng and Healthcare leaders like Eric Topol (and how about this interview?).
Some Thought Pieces
On the earlier topic of fusion - are you able to keep your head on straight between Tokamak, Linear, Target, and other fusion techniques? And what about fuel mixtures? Well, have no fear, Nature's Philip Ball has a great feature (pre $1.8B) to get you up to speed. And just in time for us as Energy Impact Partners has raised a new $1B+ fund for climate solutions. Maybe (hopefully!) deeptech will help lead the way in addressing climate change. Personally, one of my favorite ideas focuses on floating energy platforms, like this proposed PV+wind outfit being modeled. And while we are talking about climate change and fusion, we could take a quick peak at some corporate fission with GE announcing a split into three new companies while the company formerly known as Google joins Apple and Microsoft in the $2T market cap club.
In more (bio)fission topics, The Journal. from The Wall Street Journal has a great two-part series on What Went Wrong at uBiome (part 1 and part 2). Oh, you prefer to go in one piece? Well, sure. It all like we're seeing a similar story elsewhere. Well, I'd say grab some popcorn and take some notes on what not to do, but on review, it might be worthwhile to skip the popcorn if I want to live long enough to learn more. And are you - like everyone - else keeping a close eye on the Omicron variant? And less than a month after the US opens border travel once again, we are seeing another rash of border restrictions. Please be sure to get vaccinated (and boosted!) - you don't want to find yourself or your loved ones ill from COVID. Trust me.
Well, taking a leap from bio to AI and cyber, OpenAI has further opened up access to GPT-3 - get ready for more AI assisted copy-writing! And in computer vision, NIST has posted some ongoing results from FRVT, so prepare for some new benchmarks in face recognition. Makes you worry about the next time the FBI's email system is hacked. Though if you need some help with your cyber anxiety, you can find your next checkup from H1. Curious for more? Well, PitchBook and CBInsights both have Q3 2021 reports on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning out in the last few weeks - perfect reading as we enter the holiday season.
Still looking for more?
Let's talk about night science and day science. And are you also in the Northern Hemisphere and feeling some impact from our shorter days? Well, let's go back in time and space and find ourselves in Norway in 2015 - because a change in our frame of mind could help! Or are you caught up in holiday gift purchases? Well, consider one of the most curious IP brokers in games. Or maybe you're trying to decide between buying a home or an NTF?
Well, ok, one last thing. A read I really appreciated last month was this step-by-step guide to your first 1000 community members. Considering our journey together, a lot of the points really hit home for me thinking about how AVX has grown over the past four years.
Happy holidays and see you in 2022 – Hamdi