EPIC

International Genetically Engineered Machine

Begin Your BioVenture

The Entrepreneurship Program Innovation Community (EPIC) supports the development of iGEMs entrepreneurial community. The vision of the program is to become the driving force behind hundreds of SynBio based start-ups globally to help accelerate our transition to a more sustainable bioeconomy. The core of the program is focused on supporting iGEMers by connecting them to relevant co-founders, mentors, accelerators, investors and partners. This is done through a range of activities globally including the Venture Creation Labs, Mentorship Program, Fast Track Program and the Annual Startup Showcase.

Program

Venture Creation Lab

Candidates from each region are selected and invited to our virtual company creation studio encompassing workshops, co-founder matchmaking and networking opportunities with companies and investors. The purpose is to equip our upcoming biofounders with tools, strategies and the team they need to realize their ventures.

Mentorship Program

After the Venture Creation Lab, teams are matched with experts to provide them actionable feedback through biweekly meetings to improve the team's business case and open doors for them into relevant networks. The mentors will also act as an advisory board for when the team are ready for the Fast Track program.

Fast Track Program

We offer the founders direct access to the top tier seed stage accelerators and investors in their region to help fund their proof-of-concept studies and mature their bioventures.

Startup Showcase

The top biofounders will be highlighted and invited to the global Startup Showcase at the Giant Jamboree comprised of start-up competitions, panel discussions, workshops and awards.

150+ Companies to date

2.4 B + Enterprise Value Created

36 Countries represented

Our Biofounders

GINKGO Bioworks

iGEM team: iGEM MIT 2004 / MIT 2006

Ginkgo’s 5 co-founders were part of the iGEM 2006 team, including iGEM co-founder Tom Knight.

iGEM project: Engineer E. coli to produce a wintergreen and banana scent using only endogenous metabolites. This inspired Ginkgo Bioworks production of cultured flavors, fragrances, and nutritional ingredients. A powerhouse in synthetic biology, Ginkgo Bioworks recently exceeded $719 Million in total funding as of 2019.

"iGEM is cultivating the current and future leaders of synthetic biology and biotech”
- Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder, Ginkgo Bioworks, iGEM 2006

iGEM team: iGEM U Washington 2011 team

PvP Biologics got its start as an iGEM project when the UW 2011 iGEM team created KumaMax, the first recombinant candidate enzyme therapeutic for celiac disease. The project developed into a postdoc and later a startup receiving $35M in funding from Takeda in 2017. In February 2019 Takada acquired PVP Biologics for $330M.

News link highlighting company's roots in iGEM: pvpbio.com/2016/12/20

“…not only did our iGEM team win the competition – defeating over 150 other teams – this work provided the foundation for a body of work that turned into a startup company.”
- Dr. Ingrid Pultz, CSO PvP Biologics, iGEM UW 2011 team leader

iGEM team: Genspace 2014

Opentrons began as an iGEM Genspace project in 2014 where the team worked on an open source equipment development in the form of a liquid handling robot. The project grew to a startup with a $10M funding round in 2018.

Opentrons is now giving back to the iGEM community by offering team grants, awarding 10 teams a free OT-2 robot for 2018 and 2019.

“Teams that participate in the iGEM Competition are pioneers of scientific collaboration and reproducible experimentation, setting the replicability bar higher for all types of life science labs, iGEM teams, and synthetic biology professionals”
- Kristin Ellis, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Opentrons, iGEM Judge

Labster exceeded $34.7M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: DTU Denmark 2009

Benchling exceeded $27.4M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: MIT-Entrepreneurship 2012

Eligo Bioscience exceeded $22.9M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Liliane Bettencourt 2010

Hyasynth Bio exceeded $11.6M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Queens Canada 2012

Asimov exceeded $4.7M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Washington 2008

LabGenius exceeded $3.7M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Imperial College London 2011
News: Labgenius on SynBioBeta

Colorifix exceeded $73M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Cambridge 2009
News: Colorifix and Stella McCartney partner on the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Fashioned from Nature’ exhibition in London read more.

PILI exceeded 2.5M EUR in funding as of 2019
iGEM teams: Paris 2007 and Evry 2012

Allevi (previously BioBots) exceeded $1.6M in funding as of 2019
iGEM team: Penn 2013

Experiment.com (formerly Microryza) exceeded $1.2M in funding as of 2019
iGEM teams: Washington 2010 and Washington 2011

SynBioBeta
iGEM team: Brown 2006

Amplino

Team: Amplino Entrepreneurship 2012 (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

Bluepha

iGEMers and iGEM teams involved:

Gene Adviser

Team: Edinburgh 2006, Jelena Aleksic

Synbiota

(Genomikon, a former iGEM team company from team Alberta 2010, merged with Synbiota)

Upcycled Aromatics

Team: Alberta Entrepreneurship 2012

Community

Around 350 biotech projects are developed by the iGEM community every year tackling local challenges globally. Despite their immense potential for impact, many promising projects don’t go beyond the competition. The most significant progress in implementing these projects has been through iGEM’s entrepreneurial community who have created over 150 startups worth over $2 Bn.

The EPIC Journey

The EPIC Journey is the official blog of iGEM EPIC. Here you can read about iGEM entrepreneurial success stories, trends and reports from the synbio startup ecosystem and follow the journeys of the companies created through our programs.

Events

EPIC hosts both regional and global events throughout the year such as SDG hackathons, startup expert sessions and unconference calls. Visit our events-page to know when these take place..

Resources

Take part of some of the resources used in the Venture Creation Lab. The resources include useful terminology used within entrepreneurship and tools that can be applied in developing your bioventure.

EPIC Committee

The committee has representatives in all continents, ensuring global access of EPIC’s programs to the entire iGEM community. We are happy to take any inquires you may have about the program. See below for the the committee members in your region.

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Huw Thomas
Head of EMEA

Hana Abdelzaher
Media & Outreach

Carolin Schulte
Discovery & Insights

Marjolein Crooijmans
Acceleration & Mentorship

Cheewin Kittikunapong
Investment & Partnerships

Asia Pacific

Cheng Kai Lim
Head of EMEA

Meghiya Michelle
Media & Outreach

Tony Yeoh
Discovery & Insights

Jatin Khaimani
Acceleration & Mentorship

Edward Johnson
Investment & Partnerships

Americas

Katie Gu
Head of EMEA

Alec Brewer
Media & Outreach

Ezira Yimer Wolle
Discovery & Insights

Achala Rao
Acceleration & Mentorship

Gita Reinitz
Investment & Partnerships

Global

Albert Anis
Co-chair