Who’s Reshma Shetty?
Reshma Shetty is a co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism company designing organisms to spec for customers across markets including nutrition, health and consumer goods. The company’s organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies and government entities like DARPA to design microbes for their needs.
Reshma has been active in synthetic biology for over 10 years and co-organized the first international conference in the field: Synthetic Biology 1.0. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Shetty one of Eight People Inventing the Future and in 2011, Fast Company named her one of 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2019, Reshma became the 6th woman to recieve the Rosalind Franklin Award. Reshma holds a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT.
Learn more about her here.
What’s her Funding Tip:
I think this is one of the best pieces of funding advice around, especially in an era when a lot of empty shell companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars without a real revenue model (see article about our InvestHer Podcast episode on the WeWork debacle).
Fundraising has been elevated to a kind of global startup sport, where the ‘prize’ of raising vast amounts of money (sometimes even on the basis of a powerpoint presentation and a connection to the investors) is seen as the badge of honour of any respectable entrepreneur. Where chasing headlines of the biggest fundraise in history … (fill in the blanks) mean more than the actual work being done in the background to build and grow a company that is solving . The latter is exactly what Reshma has done, and on the side, she just happened to have raised a LOT of money to actually grow her company, take it public, get the funds she needs to fuel further research and new products to change the world, help create a Fund and work tiredlessly to help find a cure to coronavirus — among other things!
Reshma Shetty is a focused, perseverant scientist, with true passion to change the world for the better. When you read her bio, you cannot but be impressed by everything she has already achieved, and eager to see how far she will go to change the world — as she and her daring colleagues will.
I remember interviewing her for my Huffington Post series about Trailblazing Women a few years ago, and being impressed by her vision, clarity of thought and determination to build the future she wants to see. No wonder Forbes named her one of 8 People Inventing the Future.
Reshma co-founded Ginkgo Bioworks in 2008 with fellow MIT grads Austin Che, Barry Canton, and Jason Kelly, and their graduate adviser, Professor Tom Knight. They started with a simple but revolutionary goal: help people design and build organisms.
About Ginkgo Bioworks:“Ginkgo Bioworks is the organism company. We design custom organisms for customers across multiple markets. We build our foundries to scale the process of organism engineering using software and hardware automation. Organism engineers at Ginkgo learn from nature to develop new organisms that replace technology with biology.”
They are now harnessing the power of biology to help in the fight against Covid-19 (see below) and are uniquely positioned to help move research for a cure faster.
Why Should You Listen to Her Funding Tip?
She’s got the Funding T-Shirt — and then some!Ginkgo Bioworks has raised $719 million since it was founded in 2008. In September 2019, they raised a cool $290 million Series E
Reshma was key to the IPO to take the company public in 2017 and today it is worth $4.2 Billion — becoming a Unicorn in the Biotech world! This is exactly what she said she’d do in my Trailblazing Women interview with her for the Huffpost a few years ago!
When I interviewed her about her funding journey for Ginkgo Bioworks, she spoke about how difficult it was to be the first biotech company from Y Combinator and that it was not so easy back then, to find investors to invest in such innovative technology. What surprised her, was that more traditional tech investors were very interested. How things have changed now — and she is a key part of that change.
Funding the Future- Creating a $350 Million Fund for Biotech SpinoutsGinkgo Bioworks has come full circle now, thanks to their unwavering focus and the will to support future biotech companies, in October 2019, they raised their own $350 Million Fund for Biotech Spinouts. It doesn’t get more impressive than that!
When I asked her what she would say to her younger self, she replied:
“I would tell myself to not worry so much about making mistakes. It’s very easy to fall into a trap where you worry too much about making a wrong move and then suffer from analysis paralysis. In reality, it’s usually better to just make a decision and move on.”
Sound advice, particularly in the times we are living in now.
>> READ OUR TRAILBLAZING WOMEN INTERVIEW WITH RESHMA
>>> Ginkgo Bioworks’ Reshma Shetty On Co-Founding Synthetic Biology’s First Unicorn
>>Three Industry-Changing Founders on Building Your Own Empire
Ginkgo Bioworks has now re-directed their Biotech platform to Coronavirus. You can’t have more skin in the game than that! Part of that commitment is that they are giving $25 Million worth of free access to their infrastructure.
JOINING THE FIGHT AGAINST A PANDEMIC“Accelerating diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines
There’s nothing more critical right now than scaling diagnostics and developing new therapeutics and vaccines. We’ve committed our platform to supporting research and development efforts for COVID-19, including $25M of free access to our infrastructure.”
“ Work on something important. Life’s too short not to work on something important”.
Her advice has even more resonance today. Thank you Reshma and Ginkgo Bioworks for all you are doing to change the world.
Learn more about Reshma Shetty, here:
Want more Funding Tips? SIGN UP BELOW!
Sign up for more tips at https://bit.ly/100DaysFundingSignUp
Sign up here : https://bit.ly/100DaysFundingSignUp
.. to get a daily Funding Tip to your email box or Visit the homepage of 100 Days of Funding Tips to get more funding tips. Please feel free to share them widely with other entrepreneurs and investors alike!
Check out Global Invest Her website, to learn more about How to Get Ready for Funding
About the Author: Anne Ravanona is Founder & CEO of Global Invest Her, a recognised international Gender Diversity Advocate and Consultant, and TEDx Speaker. She’s passionate about getting 1 Million Women Entrepreneurs Funded by 2030.
Learn more about Anne here:
Global Invest Her BLOGGlobal Invest Her blog is for female founders, investors…
About this series
100 Days, 100 great funding tips and lots of advice from Investors, Funded Women and Funding experts - just for you!
Anne Ravanona is Founder & CEO of Global Invest Her, a recognised international Gender Diversity Advocate and Consultant, and TEDx Speaker. She’s passionate about getting 1 Million Women Entrepreneurs Funded by 2030.