September 20, 2019

That’s so future: Genetic programming startup, Ginkgo Bioworks, raises $290m

Ginkgo Bioworks is a new “dev” shop for genetic modifications, and it just raised $290m

Computer programming is old news. Genetic programming is the hot new gig.

As TechCrunch reports, Ginkgo Bioworks, a genetic programming dev shop, just pulled in $290m in capital, elevating the company’s value to more than $4B. Its pockets padded, it’s ready to expand. 

Ginkgo hopes to go big by going everywhere

Jason Kelly, Ginkgo’s co-founder and CEO, says the company is primed to enter a host of physical goods industries such as clothing, electronics, pharmaceuticals, food, and more, saying: “They are all biotech industries but just don’t know it yet.”

That’s because Ginkgo looks at DNA sequences as a computer programmer looks at code: they’re something to compile, debug, write, and edit… until you get just what you want.

Ginkgo has two money-making models

The first is simply selling its development services. An entrepreneur can describe an as-yet-developed product with specific qualities, and the Ginkgo team does the research to design it… and charges about $10m a pop. 

The other way Ginkgo makes money is by taking equity stakes in the businesses it works with — often in the form of joint ventures. 

Ginkgo’s first partnership was with Bayer to form Joyn Bio, a $100m collaboration in which the 2 companies will develop environmentally friendly plant seeds. If successful, it could save the ag industry millions while decreasing pollution. GM-whoa!

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