Revolutionary biotechnology gets a new name and a new style.




SYNBIOAXLR8R was the world’s first ever Life Sciences commercial accelerator program, which was founded in Cork in 2014 by SOSV. The aim was to make the most of biology as a technology and create lean startups using biotechnology to tackle global issues. In 2004 Rob Carlson, a major founder and contributor to the DIY Bio (Do It Yourself Biology) movement predicted that the cost of DNA sequencing and synthesis would crash dramatically at a rate five times faster than Moore’s Law. This became increasingly evident in the number of companies offering services and products that were more efficient and less costly in a matter of years. See the Carlson Curve below as designed by Dr. Rob Carlson, a pioneer in DIYBio and Synthetic Biology.


The Carlson Curve predicting the decrease in price in DNA Sequencing & Synthesis – Source

The opportunity to apply the same principles to running and operating a biotechnology or synthetic biology company was explored to great success with companies such as Hyasynth, Perfect Day Foods, Afineur and Briefcase Biotec being formed as a result.

Subsequently IndieBio was formed as a result of a joint collaboration between our US and EU teams both eager to create new and exciting companies in the biotechnology sector. SynbioAxlr8r
then became the IndieBio EU and subsequently investing in early stage startups in both 2015 and 2016 with great success. See our full portfolio here

“Rapid commercial success has been the driver of technological progress for decades and now life sciences is poised to make a new leap.”

As with all SOSV (The Accelerator VC) programs, RebelBio, which has moved beyond the niche field of synthetic biology and has broadened into the open ended space of Bio and technology, is open to applicants from all over the world.

RebelBio welcomes applications from citizen scientists, biohackers and bio-entrepreneurs of any skill level, be it an undergraduate student to an experienced postdoctoral researcher, to take part and democratise biotechnology so we can impact society for the better, faster. Priority is given to independent startups and a PhD, although respected,  is not a prerequisite to become part of this fast paced program.

Applications are currently open with deadlines being extended to March 1st.


The programme is three months long with a an additional one month pre-program in business skills at the front end.  The business pre-accelerator is designed to prime young science based startups for the realities of the business environment. The summer accelerator begins in April and will continue until July, where companies will showcase their emerging businesses at Demo Day.

Steven O’Connell, the Associate Director and Programme Manager for RebelBio, had this to say:
“Ireland is becoming an emerging hotspot for lean cost competitive synthetic biology and life sciences startups, and RebelBio is at the forefront, a beacon attracting and supporting entrepreneurship in global biological technology and technologically enabled biology.”

Ireland is also of unique strategic interest to young emerging startups due to its unique position as one of the only English speaking economies with strong ties with the United States, the UK and the rest of Europe. Ireland is also a strong place to do business due to the corporate tax rate of 12.5%—meaning active subsidiaries are tax-free for two years with 12.5% being applied thereafter. Furthermore for research focused companies can avail of even lower rates around 6.5%. The prospect of being able to build companies in a low cost, knowledge-based economy strengthens Ireland’s position as a leader in startups.

With support and partnership from University College Cork, SOSV, and sister accelerator IndieBio in San Francisco, the RebelBio startups are uniquely placed to create a massive global impact in both economic and societal terms with jobs and exports being key beneficiaries in the wider economy.  The world is just seeing the beginning of the massively impactful technologies that are being powered by technically enabled biology.

RebelBio since 2014 has invested in companies such as Perfect Day Foods, creating the firstsynthetic biology milk product due to hit the shelves in 2017. The 2016 programme graduated 13 biotech companies including Helixworks, creating low cost DNA storage, MicrosynBiotiX, creating algae based fish vaccines, and a whole host of other exciting companies.

Bill Liao, the visionary behind SynBioAxlr8r, co-founder of IndieBio, and General Partner at SOSV, had this to say:
“It is time to cast off the shackles that are holding back many tangible benefits of technologically enabled biology in our daily lives.”

The company also announced that it will be aiming to scale the accelerator programme to twice per year from 2018 onward with support from University College Cork to recruit 15 companies per programme with the new one month format.

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