AVX October 2021 Update

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu

October 1, 2021

The great wave of deep tech continues to swell, as Cellino Biotech and Nth Cycle (both women-founded ventures with research roots from AVX partners - and Cellino was a Wild Card! Guess they are following a Boston area tradition?) took home top honors from Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021. Congratulations to all the teams that presented! And earlier today, IonQ made it’s Wall Street debut - the first pure-play quantum computer company to be publicly traded. And earlier this month, SOSV announced that HAX is building a state-of-the-art new facility in Newark, New Jersey, to double down on HAX’s work with founders in industrial, healthcare and climate tech. And let us not forget that the 2021 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigators were announced last week or the MacArthur Fellows announced this week. And next week will bring the latest group of Nobel Laureates and Packard Foundation Fellows soon after. And we’re also very excited with the recent expansion of Nucleate as they focus on supporting future leaders in the life sciences industry.

Remembering Walter Scott, Jr.

Walter Scott, Jr. - the philanthropist that funded the starting of AVX and friend to The Innovation Accelerator Walter Scott, Jr. - a giant in the world of construction, the philanthropist that funded AVX from the beginning, and a dear friend to The Innovation Accelerator Foundation - passed away on September 25 at the age of 90. We at AVX and IAF have a debt of gratitude to Walter and his foundation, The Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation, as their support catalyzed the growth and development of AVX into the community it is today. We are extremely thankful for his generous support that has led to the creation of a vibrant community of entrepreneurs forming many new ventures that will impact society for years to come.

Walter exemplified many of the finest traits of his generation. He was modest, hard working, and generous with both his time and talent. His entrepreneurial spirit helped build so many great American corporations. But Walter did not just invest in companies, he invested in people and communities as well. Walter’s generosity was focused on society’s best interests at heart. Although he did not seek the limelight, Walter has certainly left his mark and his legacy for education and innovation will live on well into the future.

Conversation Statistics

We are up to 14,689 total connections and conversations on the AVX network - 679 more over the last month (5% month over month growth). We are currently tracking 28 potential match negotiations and another 104 with multi-month long discussions heading toward possible matches. We have now actively connected 618 different ventures (out of 1800+ examined) with 1415 different entrepreneurs and investors (out of a pool of 3200+)

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

Oct 7: First Valley of Death Workshop Join us on a walkthrough of the multi-party negotiations between start ups, investors, and universities in Part I of a three part series on Technology Transfer. The panelists are: Kathy Ku (WSGR, Chief Licensing Advisor, former head of Stanford OTL), Linda Malek and Jason Johnson (Head of Life Science Practice, Moses & Singer), Chris Garabedian (Founder, Chairman, CEO, Xontogeny), and Shintaro Kaido (Vice Provost Innovation, Drexel).

Oct 11-16: LABioTechWeek BioscienceLA will host the first-ever LABioTechWeek in October 2021, a virtual/hybrid pilot for what is expected to be an in-person event in 2022. This year’s week includes: > Ribbon-cutting ceremony for BioscienceLA’s new collaboration hub in Culver City BCLA (Biotech Connection Los Angeles) > STEM Student Summit, designed to introduce local students to career opportunities in life sciences, and > LA County Bioscience Forum, in its fourth year, as a way to bring together the public and private sector to promote life sciences in the region.

Oct 14-15: 2021 International Chemical Ventures Conference Participate in the 2nd International Chemical Ventures Conference. Come discover the new trends and industry needs that are emerging, the new technologies that are appearing and connect with the people that are driving these innovations. Session topics include: Digital Technologies in the Chemical Industry, HealthTech and Nutrition, Circular Economies, CleanTech.

Oct 20-21: SOSV Climate Tech Summit From energy and transport to food and industrial materials, climate tech startups are pushing the boundaries of science and technology in the race to decarbonize our economy and save planet earth. The SOSV Climate Tech Summit aims to convene the climate tech startup ecosystem of founders, investors, technologists, corporates, policymakers and media to discuss the extreme challenges ahead. Join us for a live, virtual and free event featuring fireside chats, panel discussions and breakout sessions with the founders and venture capitalists who are inventing our decarbonized future.

Oct 21-22: GP-write 5.0 The Genome Project-write (GP-write) Consortium has rallied around the unifying goal of re-designing and re-writing the genomes of organisms. Toward this end, since our last meeting in 2019, we have advanced plans for the Ultra-safe Cells Community Project as an internationally distributed effort. There is also a nascent Technology Launch: the GP-write Computer-Aided Design Platform for whole genome design in collaboration with Lattice Automation. This meeting will bring together leading experts in genome editing, genome synthesis, and large-scale DNA assembly technologies to discuss cutting-edge advances in the field.

A few upcoming headlines and deadlines for the AVX community:

  1. IndieBio is a leading life science accelerator, investing in over 160 companies across human and planetary health. Our 4-month acceleration program includes $525K funding, dedicated mentorship, and fully-equipped laboratories in San Francisco and New York. During the program, teams are focused on turning science into product, closing customers, and raising investment. Fall application deadline: Oct 15th.
  2. AWS US University Startup Competition is a chance to win an equity-free cash prize to help fund your venture. The top 10 finalists will pitch their startups to a panel of investors and AWS Startup Team members at a final event, and three winners will be chosen for cash prizes and AWS credits. All startups that apply are eligible for $1,000 in AWS credits. The deadline is Nov 1.
  3. Chain Reaction Innovations Program CRI is a 2-year Fellowship program that provides $220k in non-dilutive funding plus a salary with benefits for clean energy and science based innovators who are fighting climate change with revolutionary technologies. Apply by October 31st.


If you’re looking to get involved in the deep tech startup ecosystem, check out the On Deck Deep Tech Fellowship (ODDT). They're assembling a community for bright and ambitious people to come together to build, join, and advise the next generation of deep tech startups. 

Programming is remote-first and includes deep dives with industry experts and academia, startup demo days with select angel investors and VCs and workshops covering the fundamentals of deep tech entrepreneurship in the sectors of life sciences, energy, manufacturing, space, hardware and machine learning.

Who are the founding fellows and mentors of ODDT?

Life Sciences: Alexis Rovner (64xBio), Jake Becraft (Strand Tx), Justin Kolbeck (Wildtype), Ben Kamens (Spring Discovery)
Energy: Peter Lobaccaro (Dept of Energy), Adrienne Little (Google X), Nuno Pereira (Holy Grail)

Manufacturing: Dhash (Radix), Alex Appelbe (Metis Labs), Dival Banerjee (VueCason)

Space: Keenan Johnson (SpaceX), Kartik Kumar (Sat Search), Adam Obrusnik (PlasmaSolve)

Hardware: Hayk Martiros (Skydio), Ralf Schonherr (Neatleaf), Michael Dubrovsky (SiPhox)

Machine Learning: Sharon Zhou (Stanford), Emma Qian (DeepMind), Abhishek Kar (Google), Arvind Neelakantan (OpenAI)

Program details:

  • Apply: https://www.beondeck.com/deeptech (time < 15 minutes)
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admission, final deadline is October 2nd 2021
  • Contact: oddeeptech@beondeck.com
  • Reduced pricing for academics with scholarships available



Some Thought Pieces

Have you ever wondered how progress happens? Well, you're not alone! In fact, an emerging field of 'progress studies' has been continuing to gain momentum. One of the more notable outlets is The Roots of Progress, a non-profit that evolved from a blog inspired by A Culture of Growth (and turbocharged by Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen). All this seems pretty new to you? Well, you can take a look at this discussion on Vox and this discussion with Noah Smith. Though if you prefer exploring this through the foil of a single person in a single geography - The Contrarian might be up your alley.

And getting back to university research and development, you might be interested in the following items. First, Yale has launched amplifyHERscience Stories, a podcast that will recount the tales of talented biotech innovators and entrepreneurs, the technologies they’re developing, and the complex paths they've traveled to achieve their goals and pursue their passions. In other Yale related podcasting material, go check out Jon Soderstrom's interview with the TechTransfer IP Forum. Did you take a listen while working out? Maybe you found yourself sipping some Gatorade afterwards and thinking about royalties? Or maybe you find yourself sweating about how the US risks self-sabotaging the work of prominent researchers?

Still looking for more?

Our long-time, deep-readers might have noticed a certain birthday has come and gone. Thank you all for your kind messages! Please give me some time to get back to you all!! And a few of you remember how I'm a music and startup geek and told me about how Genius was acquired for parts. Though I prefer you remember the 21st night of September. Or maybe you need to remember, and remember, and remember, and remember, and remember, and well - one last time - for good measure.

Thank you for reading – Hamdi