I know I should have written about this a long time ago, but I really haven’t had much free time since leaving the Bay Area at the end of July and moving all the way across the country to begin my MBA studies at the Darden School. So, in an effort to get up to date, my post today is going to summarize a bit about my time working with Genia Technologies out of the San Jose BioCenter incubator.
First off, my experience at the San Jose BioCenter was very positive. If you don’t know anything about the incubator, it is basically a venture by the City of San Jose (CA) and a few sponsoring corporations aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in the biotech arena. The BioCenter recently faced-off against business incubators all over the world and was selected as the best incubator by the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA), winning two of the association’s premier awards. Whether the location was chosen on purpose or incidentally, it turns out the building is right across the street from Stryker (a well-known medical device company) in south San Jose. The facilities are designed to promote collaboration among the start-ups housed there, yet still provide the privacy, space, and facilities needed to protect and grow the ideas of its budding businesses. Along with common break areas, the BioCenter has installed a wide range of pricey biology equipment that can be scheduled and used by any of the start-ups—a huge benefit to seed companies that require use of the expensive equipment but don’t have the capital necessary to make such a big investment. The BioCenter also puts together regular seminars, workshops (see previous post), and other opportunities for the start-ups to network with capital partners, meet companies interested in licensing their technologies, and learn how best to position themselves for acquisition. In addition to these benefits, the City of San Jose actually subsidizes the rent of the companies it houses. If you want to move-in to the BioCenter, take a look at their application process here.
Working for Genia was another very positive experience. Though I can’t go into much detail about what exactly I did, I can comment on a few things. It was wonderful to be able to work with people that share my vision of the part that technology will play in biological advancement in the near future. Genia’s core product is, in essence, a hybridization of electrical engineering technologies and “wet-lab” biology. The main R&D scientists have formal training in both electrical engineering and life sciences, and they have used their intimate knowledge of both to create a marriage that will allow us to both sequence DNA and perform many wet-lab processes, all with greater accuracy and at a fraction of the cost and time of all currently known technologies. Technicians will no longer have to wait for gels or run ladders using hazardous materials and carcinogenic equipment; instead they will be able to receive comprehensive sample data and genomic information within minutes of using our technology. Along with vast increases to accuracy and productivity, our technology will make it possible for advanced life sciences experiments to be done as early as grade school.