Application FAQs

Process

How do I apply to IndieBio?

Please submit an application via our Application Portal. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after the announcement of each program up until the program start date.

How does the application process work?

Our teams run a standard diligence process of applicants via a series of screening calls with members of the IndieBio team. Our screening calls will cover introductions, your 10 –  15 minute pitch (including materials). We will look to discuss your founding team, technology, addressable market, competitive landscape, and proposed technical development plan for the IndieBio accelerator program.

Applicants

What kind of companies are you looking for?

We look for companies with deep scientific insights aimed at solving intractable or difficult 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.

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

If you are a single founder, we suggest you apply, but understand 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 or New York 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.

Can I still apply if I already have funding?

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.

Funding

How much funding do IndieBio companies receive?

We start companies with a $275,000 package for an equity position of 10%–12% post-Seed. $200,000 is in cash and $75,00 is in-kind. Our instrument is an ACE, (Accelerator Contract for Equity), that converts at Seed. During the program we also offer an additional $250,000 from Genesis Consortium, which is the startup’s choice to take or not.

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 $275,000 package, then when the first milestones are hit, the second tranche of $275,000 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).

SOSV is the venture fund that runs IndieBio. SOSV continues 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 pre-Seed, and 3/4 is deployed in follow-ons as the companies grow. This separates SOSV and IndieBio from most other accelerators. SOSV is one of the most active investors in the world, managing over $850 million. Last year, SOSV companies raised over $1 billion.

How much equity does IndieBio take?

SOSV’s IndieBio starts with $275,000 package for a 10%–12% post Seed position. $200,000 is in cash and $75,000 is in-kind. In addition, to qualifying companies, we offer an additional $250K through Genesis Consortium. This totals $525,000.

For companies that are accepted in our therapeutics program, the terms for the second tranche of $275,000 and the $1.5 million seed would be negotiable. Our package is not $2 million upfront, we bring you in on the first $275K package and upon reaching milestones over the next six month, that triggers the rest of the package.

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 sort of fundraising opportunities will I have through IndieBio?

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.

Program

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.

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 is at 1188 York Avenue, on the campus of the Rockefeller University. We also support startups remotely, and we have startups in every region of the world.

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.

Does IndieBio 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.

How are you operating during the pandemic?

The IndieBio labs in San Francisco and New York are open for lab work only with strict protocols, including COVID-19 testing for those on site. 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.

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

No. During the pandemic we began to work with companies remotely, and we are now very comfortable with it. However, we do need to emphasize that IndieBio is an absolutely full-time program, no matter where a startup is in the world. It’s very intense. We insist that founders are fully devoted to making their company great.

We do recommend startups take advantage of our SF and NY locations as much as possible, for networking, events, meetings, and the benefits of in-person coaching.

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

During the pandemic, IndieBio began working with companies remotely, and we are now happy to work with companies whether they can be here in person or not. However, we do need to emphasize that IndieBio is an absolutely full-time program, no matter where a startup is in the world. It’s very intense. We insist that founders are fully devoted to making their company great.

We do recommend visiting for periods. Based on experience, we recommend teams meet investors in person, for fundraising purposes, until they close their seed round, taking advantage of the vast network of founders, industry partners, investors, and press.

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!

Mentor FAQs

Who is eligible to become a mentor?

IndieBio seeks to connect founders to mentors that can provide insight across a broad range of topics. We look for academics, corporates, investors, industry experts, service providers, and entrepreneurs that are dedicated to sharing their expertise or experience in a particular field and build meaningful relationships with companies in the IndieBio portfolio.

How do founders engage with mentors?

IndieBio provides two avenues for mentors to engage directly with companies:

  1. Accelerator Programming: Mentors can elect to work with groups of IndieBio companies to engage with companies as part of our regular accelerator programming. Examples include:
  • Insights on relevant products and services
  • Teach-ins, workshops, exercises, or consultations
  • Open discussion and Q&A forums
  1. Individual Mentorship: Mentors can request to be introduced to specific founders for more targeted engagement. Examples include:
  • Regular touchpoints or advisory positions
  • Networking opportunities
  • Contracted services

What are the benefits of becoming a mentor?

IndieBio mentors have the opportunity to engage directly with companies in our portfolio, build a network across different geographies and industries, and gain exposure on the latest market trends and breakthrough developments in the life sciences.

IndieBio not only facilitates warm introductions to founders, but also organizes regular events to foster IndieBio and SOSV’s global mentor community. Mentors have the opportunity to attend program sessions, mixers, pitch events, and have early visibility on company progress in IndieBio’s accelerator programs.

What is the time commitment?

Mentors can choose their desired level of commitment. The IndieBio team keeps mentors abreast of upcoming events in your area and looks to facilitate partnership opportunities on an ongoing basis. 

How are mentors compensated?

Mentors work with IndieBio companies on a voluntary basis. We seek to create an enriching environment for early stage life sciences companies and appreciate the time and dedication of our global mentor community who help to further their success. 

In some cases, mentors that take on specific advisory roles with individual companies may over time have the opportunity to receive cash or equity compensation, extended at the company’s discretion. Service providers extending their offerings through IndieBio’s platform should work directly with companies to become their provider.

How do I become a mentor?

Please submit an inquiry via our Mentor Request Form. Our team will review your submission and will reach out to you on next steps.