AVX June 2021 Update

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu

June 1, 2021

A heavy introduction here this month: the Tulsa Race Massacre occurred 100 years ago today, where a violent white supremacist mob raided, firebombed, and destroyed the thriving Black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And looking back one year ago, along with the startling (and ongoing) rise in anti-Asian attacks over the past year, it is plain to see how we continue to grapple with race in American society. There are a few bright spots (slowly) emerging in the venture community, such as Sequoia partnering with BLCK VC and more firms including diversity riders. Still, we must recognize the damage of our past as well as endeavor to change ourselves today for a better future - or we will find ourselves poorer as a society. I invite you to find a moment of silence to reflect on these events (and others that come to mind) and recommit yourself to healing those who are different from yourself.

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 suggest some think pieces and podcasts to consume.

Three upcoming deadlines for emerging ventures in the AVX community:

  1. Falling Walls Venture: Do you want to grow your global reach and visibility, while expanding your network with investors, VCs, and strategic partners? Falling Walls Venture is a global platform for the most promising science start-ups nominated by academic institutions from across the world. The format provides a stage for pioneering founders who have successfully turned science into business, proving how entrepreneurial solutions can help solve today’s most pressing challenges. The application deadline is June 15th.
  2. Creative Destruction Lab: CDL delivers an objectives-based mentorship and investment program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. CDL operates a variety of technology streams at ten sites including Toronto (AI, Blockchain, Health, Matter, Neuro, Prime, Quantum, Space), Atlanta (Commerce), Seattle (Computational Biology), and Wisconsin (Risk, Health). The application deadline for the 2021/22 cohort is July 30th.
  3. Sci-Founder Fellowship: Sci-Founder Fellowship is a program to help early career scientists start companies of their own. We believe that companies can often be the best way to pursue translational research, and not enough scientists consider this as a serious option. The Fellowship program provides a cash investment of $400,000 to each founding team to get started, along with mentorship and a peer-network of other scientists starting companies to help support you. Our second application cycle ends August 15.

With our updated interface, you can see all ventures here: AVX Feed

Conversation Statistics

We are up to 12,580 total connections and conversations on the AVX network - 572 more over the last month (over 5% month over month growth!). We are currently tracking 22 potential match negotiations and another 126 with multi-month long discussions heading toward possible matches. We have now actively connected 568 different ventures (out of 1670+ examined) with 1353 different entrepreneurs and investors (out of a pool of 3100+)

Top Digital Events

Jun 2: Advancing the Geospatial Mission: A Conversation with NGA Leadership How is the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency evolving its relationships with industry and academia to help solve the challenges it faces in keeping the nation secure? Featured speakers include: Vice Admiral Robert Sharp, Director, NGA, Susan Pollmann, NGA West Executive & N2W Program Director, and Dr. Stacy Gee Hollins, Dean of the Anheuser-Busch School of Business

Jun 8: It's Not Failure, It's Intentional Iteration with Prof. Jeffrey Karp How does an academic physician become a serial entrepreneur? Jeffrey Karp is a physician entrepreneur and researcher, with a long list of publications, awards and honors. Hear the story of how Dr. Karp’s multiple grant funding rejections lead to his first company, Skintifique, and understand how Dr. Karp intentionally guided his lab members to think about “translation” from day 1.

Jun 10: The Wave Summit A free virtual event spotlighting and supporting women in bio. Just like the wave at a baseball game, we’ll come together at The Wave Summit to create electric energy and build momentum for change. We invite women, men, and all allies to join us as we spotlight and support women founders in bio. The Wave Summit is open to all women and allies — founders, leaders, graduate students, undergrads — anyone who is interested in supporting women founders in bio.

Jun 22: IndieBio New York Demo Day 2021 The IndieBio New York Class Two founders started their companies in the midst of a global pandemic, determined to advance their technologies and business models in our post-COVID world. IndieBio NY is proud to present the advancements these companies have made in our Demo Day.

DIGITAL EVENTS

Some Thought Pieces

Seems like Super Founders was a hit with the AVX community! Wait, you didn't manage to finish it yet? Well, Ali Tamaseb 'sits down' with Christine Winoto at UCSF Rosenman Institute to discuss further about what makes a super founder. Looking to go a little deeper, but don't feel like an expert yet? First Round Review interviews Irving Fain for 6 lessons in launching and growing Bowery Farming. Looking for more media for your ears? Well, you might be interested in this VCs talk back session focused on Life Science Venture creation from academic research (or maybe this panel with the TenU is more in touch with your global interests). BIOS Community recently interviewed Francisco Gimenez & David Moskowitz of 8VC and Arvind Gupta of Mayfield about the ongoing rise in Tech Bio founders. Or maybe you are interested in hearing from Jeff Immelt, Ex-GE CEO, on Leading Through Crisis, Taking Personal Responsibility, and Becoming a Master of Chaos - a fascinating listen. Or how about a conversation with Michael Kearney, principal at The Engine, about the importance of hiring diverse teams (in spinouts and in fund management), the highly unique ecosystem in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the reasons why the journey of a deep tech founder is fundamentally different.

On the topic of tough tech from The Engine, I'd like to take a moment to shine a light on Climate Tech. Feel like you need to catch up? Check out the short course by Axios. Wait, looking to have a few deeper dives? Well, check out these two Substacks as great resources to dive in: Climate Tech VC and Healing the Earth with Technology by Jonathan Burbaum. Or take a listen of this interview with MIT Prof. Donald Sadoway - founder of Ambri, Boston Metal, Avanti Battery, and Sadoway Labs. And while you're at it, you can also dive into The SOSV Climate Tech 100 for a look at the climate tech ventures coming out of the SOSV ecosystem. And while mulling all of this, it might be good to check in with Jigar Shah, who is now Director of the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, along with $40 Billion in available loan capacity.

We also have some exciting news for new research campuses. On the East Coast, Harvard's new Science and Engineering Complex may look like a massive cheese-grater, it's another leap in reducing building energy needs. And out West, Google has unveiled their Quantum AI Campus in Santa Barbara, where Google will bring together their quantum data center, fabrication facility, and cutting-edge research in their hunt to build a useful, error-corrected quantum computer for the world. (Though one hopes it doesn't unfold like the mini-series Devs)

Closing out, I want to quickly draw your eyes toward a recent Science Editorial by Sangeeta Bhatia, Nancy Hopkins, and Susan Hockfield on expanding the opportunity in biotech ventures for women. Prof. Bhatia will be speaking at The Wave Summit on Jun 10 (did you register?) and the authors included a shout out for WUSTL's and OUP's Equalize (Sept 22). While on the topic of OUP, they recently continued the conversation with Jun Axup and Ashok Kamal about angel, fellowship, and accelerator funding for research ventures. And in emerging funding for ventures, Matt Krisiloff has published a short piece centered on equity for scientists starting companies.

Still looking for more?

And on bringing AI back around to biotech, The New Yorker dives into Michael Levin's work investigating information storage and processing in biological systems. Starting from NeurIPS, Matthew Hutson follows along with Prof. Levin's journey from Soviet Russia to America on his push to better understand developmental biology - and how it could unlock a future of tissue regeneration. This is certainly a read I enjoyed outdoors, mask-less, while pondering big thoughts by an ocean. While it might not be time quite yet, it gives me a sense of enormous well-being.

And in other Brit videos - remember 'Charlie bit my finger'? Well, it is now an NFT and soon the original will be deleted - leaving us with about several thousand copies or re-uploads. Well, this bit of news was a flapdoodle (H/T Josh Wolfe).

As always, thank you for reading – Hamdi