Filter FAQ

Where are your two offices located?

The San Francisco location is at 479 Jessie St in downtown San Francisco one block off of the Powell St BART station. Our New York location will be announced in late January of 2020, but it should be conveniently located in Manhattan.

Do I have to be at IndieBio for the entire 16 week period?

Yes. We require that you be primarily based in SF. This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous acceleration opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided. Indie.Bio is a major commitment, and we expect you to be present for a very intense ride!

Do I have to stay local when the program ends after 4 months?

No. It’s your company, so you can live where ever you’d like. Based on experience, we recommend teams stay local for fundraising purposes until they close their seed round, taking advantage of the vast network of founders, industry partners, investors, and press. This can take a few additional months.

Long-term, about half of our companies stay local, and half move to another state or country. But all our alumni come back to visit and are warmly welcomed!

I’m a single founder. Can I apply by myself, or do you only accept teams?

If you are a single founder, we do suggest you apply, but just know that we will need you to find at least one other co-founder for us to fund your company and bring you to the program. All startups must have at least two people at IndieBio during the program (though it is normal to travel to conferences, visit customers, and check in back home.)

We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skill-set.

Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the USA? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?

Yes. Anyone from anywhere can apply. You do have to be legally in California during the program, of course. Once accepted, we can help with legal/immigration issues. We have had experience with long visa delay times with certain countries and will require applicants from certain countries to arrive before other teams where visa issues have not been a problem. In order to attract investment, you should incorporate your company in the U.S.

How much funding do IndieBio companies receive?

We start companies with a $250,000 package for an equity position of 10%–12% post-Seed. $200,000 is in cash and $50,00 is in-kind. Our instrument is an ACE, (Accelerator Contract for Equity), that converts at Seed.

We continue to invest in our companies in every subsequent round.

For therapeutics companies selected for our new $2 million package, we will come to agreement with you about milestones. We start with the same initial $250,000 package, then when the first milestones are hit, the second tranche of $250,000 is triggered, and if those milestones are hit, $1.5 million for the seed stage. The amount of equity we receive in return would be negotiated along with the milestones.

As part of the program you have access to lab space, co-working with a community of like minded teams, our huge mentor network which melds science, business and the best silicon valley has to offer. The program is designed to derisk your company in science, business and customer value proposition to help you blast your biotech startup into the stratosphere.

You will also have the opportunity to pitch to press, corporate partners, angel investors, and venture capitalists during and at the end of the program at Demo Day. Our companies raise, on average, $2.6 million at the seed stage (though this can vary greatly).

IndieBio and SOSV continue to invest in our companies at the seed stage and beyond. SOSV is set up so that 1/4 of our total fund is deployed in our accelerators, and 3/4 is deployed in follow-ons as the companies grow. This separates SOSV and IndieBio from most other accelerators.

How much equity does IndieBio take?

IndieBio starts with $250,000 package for a 10%–12% post Seed position. $200,000 is in cash and $50,000 is in-kind.

For companies that are accepted in our therapeutics program, the terms for the second tranche of $250,000 and the $1.5 million seed would be negotiable. Our package is not $2 million upfront, we bring you in on the first $250K package and upon reaching milestones over the next six month, that triggers the rest of the package.

How do I apply for the IndieBio program?
I don’t have a company, just an idea or maybe a half built prototype, can I apply?

All you need to apply is a well thought out idea with the science worked out at least in principle and a good team (two co-founders minimum). We’ll help you with all the rest.

I already have funding, can I still apply?

Yes, we have accepted teams that have previously raised funding through venture capital, angel investors, or grants. Regardless of previous funding the IndieBio package is non-negotiable.

What kind of companies are you looking for?

We look for companies with deep scientific insights aimed at solving intractable or diffiicult problems that will impact 1B+ members of humanity. We see biology as a technology that can be applied across all verticals which can include therapeutics, the future of food, biomaterials, biological tools, diagnostics, synthetic biology, genomics, and data analysis to just name a few areas.

Companies can be based on hardware, software, or wet-biology and go straight to consumers or sell to business.

For the therapeutics track, because only $250K is upfront and the other $1.75 million is over time, we are looking for truly novel platforms and methodologies that need this time to prove their concept.

Does the IndieBio program provide housing?

We don’t provide accommodation. However, we will connect you with other teams in the cohort and generally help in pointing you to viable options.

What sort of investment opportunities will I have through IndieBio? Do you have a list of the VC attendees that were at the last demo day?

Most of our companies — during the program — will meet with 80 to 100 investors.

Our startups begin meeting friendly investors the first week. We continue to urge you to hustle and take meetings throughout the program. We make introductions to specific investors whenever we feel you’re ready to meet their standards.

We don’t release our list of investors, which is always updating. We did an informal estimate that $40B in capital funds had come through IndieBio about 2/3 of the way through the first program if that gives an idea. It’s not clear that a list would be accurate since a livestream feed of demo day did get queries from investors as well.

IndieBio has the highest success rate of any accelerator. However, we make no promises, and success is a combination of our network and your intense hard work building your company.

What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to IndieBio?

We don’t want any special or controlling interests in your company. For our initial investment, we don’t ask for a board seat during the program or for any uncommon investor rights. Our goal is to create founder driver companies that are autonomous and able to confidently make decisions for themselves.

What happens at the end of the IndieBio program, am I on my own?

Teams have to move out of our lab and co-working space when the next batch comes in, but they continue to be part of the IndieBio family and receive support for years. We help teams find lab space after the program through our network and introductions. We continue to invest in our companies in subsequent funding rounds, and we help them create their pitch decks for those rounds. We occasionally take a board seat or observer seat at the seed stage.

We work to make IndieBio the premier biotech network and are always connecting our teams with potential investors, mentors, corporate partners, press, and more even once they leave the four month program.

Will we have access to a lab?

Yes. We have a BSL1 & BSL2 wet lab in our headquarters specifically for you to build your technology and your product. While the rent and access to the equipment is free, you will have to pay for your disposable plastics, reagents, cell lines and other consumables.

What is the IndieBio program curriculum and experience like?

The curriculum varies from 4-6 hours a week with panels of mentors and talks about tech product production, business models, intellectual property, sales, product design. There are also assignments and milestones so that the companies can focus on their individual development. The curriculum is reviewed for redesign before every class. Founders will find that they are working on their companies steadily through the rest of the week.

How are you operating during the pandemic?

The IndieBio lab in San Francisco is open for lab work only with strict protocols. Some of the startups are working there, while some are at labs and facilities at home. The program — the seminars, panels, coaching and meetings — are being delivered online. Both NY and SF batches are being run in parallel, with all 15 staff from both locations bringing their expertise to both batches wherever possible. The IndieBio New York lab is expected to open in the fall.

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