Day: May 26, 2021

Engine Biosciences expands its digital drug discovery pipeline with $43M round



Drug discovery is a large and growing field, encompassing both ambitious startups and billion-dollar Big Pharma incumbents. Engine Biosciences is one of the former, a Singaporean outfit with an expert founding crew and a different approach to the business of finding new therapeutics, and it just raised $43 million to keep growing.

Digital drug discovery in general means large-scale analysis of biological data like genes, gene expression, protein structures, binding sites, things like that. Where it has hit a wall in the past is not on the digital side, where any number of likely molecules or processes can be generated, but on the next step, when those notions need to be tested in vitro. So a new crop of biotech companies have worked to integrate these aspects.

Engine does so with a pair of tools it has dubbed NetMAPPR and CombiGEM. NetMAPPR is a huge sort of search engine for genes and gene interactions, taking special note of “errors” that could provide a foothold for a molecule or treatment. CombiGEM is like a mass genetic testing process that can look into thousands of gene combinations and edits on diseased cells simultaneously, providing quick experimental confirmation of the targets and effects proposed by the digital side. The company is focused on anti-cancer drugs but is looking into other fields as they become viable.

Jeffrey Lu, Co-Founder and CEO, Engine Biosciences

Image Credits: Engine Biosciences

The focus on gene interactions sets their approach apart, said co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Lu.

“Gene interactions are relevant to all diseases, and in (Read more...)

Changing Things Up


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


I am working on a new weekday routine the goal of which is to give me more time to read, think, and meet in person and less zoom meetings and phone calls. I am also mixing up my morning routine and attempting to sleep and work out longer.

The net of all that is I am seeking a new time of day to write and I have not yet found it. I may need to go back to writing first thing in the morning but I am not yet sold on that.

I missed my daily blog post yesterday and finally found some time to write today mid-afternoon.

I really value finding time to write each day so I will figure out how to fit it in, but things might be a bit bumpy over the next few weeks while I sort all of this out.



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John Buttrick — May 26, 2021
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Monsters


This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts


Most of the quotes we discuss in The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche we found by reading his work, but a few are well-known lines that you may have heard before. This is one, used in our chapter “Monsters”:

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.

The quote leads quickly to questions of ethics. In the chapter, we discuss the fact that we each have our own views of what constitutes ethical or unethical behavior in business. It is a line-drawing game – there is no reference that everyone agrees on. The choices have both short- and long-term consequences for both the success of your business and for your own reputation. Further, once you choose an ethical approach, it becomes entrenched in your organization and is difficult to change.

These questions arise pretty much every day in business. It came up for us today with our own book promotion. Our publisher was excited that we had achieved “#1 Amazon Best Seller” status in a couple of categories and produced the graphic below for promotion. The thing is, the categories were things like “Existentialism” and “Philosophy Reference” where overall sales are lower – they are applicable to the book as categories, but not really our target market (for the record, the book is selling nicely in “Entrepreneurial Management”, where it was briefly #2.)

The question is, should we use it, or (Read more...)

OpenAI’s $100M startup fund will make ‘big early bets’ with Microsoft as partner



OpenAI is launching a $100 million startup fund, which it calls the OpenAI Startup Fund, though which it and its partners will invest in early-stage AI companies tackling major problems (and productivity). Among those partners and investors in the fund is Microsoft, at whose Build conference OpenAI founder Sam Altman announced the news.

In a prerecorded video, Altman explained that “this is not a typical corporate venture fund. We plan to make big early bets on a relatively small number of companies, probably not more than 10.”

It’s not clear exactly how the $100M will be divided or disbursed, or on what timeline, or whether this is part of a longer program. But it seems to be a limited fund, not just the 2021 round.

Altman did say that they will be looking for companies that are taking on serious issues, like healthcare, climate change, and education, where AI-powered applications or approaches could “benefit all of humanity,” in keeping with OpenAI’s mission statement. But it would also consider productivity improvements as well, presumably like the GPT-3 powered natural language coding Microsoft showed off yesterday.

“We know it’s you, the developers, who can use powerful tools like gpt3 to create ambitious applications that will leave a positive mark on the world,” said Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott in the company’s stream. “Microsoft is thrilled to be able to support this fund.”

Companies selected for funding will (Read more...)

Visualized: The Top 5 Questions on Sustainable Investing for Advisers


This post is by Dorothy Neufeld from Visual Capitalist


Sustainable Investing

Visualized: The Top Five Questions on Sustainable Investing

Today, the surge in green investing has been compared to the dot-com boom of the 2000s.

Back then, the internet was anticipated to radically reshape economies. Many companies fell to the wayside, and now 20 years later, tech stocks currently make up roughly 40% of the S&P 500 by market capitalization. Like the dot-com era, green firms are projected to structurally change the way businesses function.

Given the rising interest in green assets, this infographic from MSCI answers the most important questions advisers need answered on sustainable investing.

1. Which type of sustainable investing is right for my client?

First, let’s start with the basics—understanding the terms used to describe sustainable investing:

  • Sustainable investing: An umbrella term that typically refers to all types of sustainable, impact, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration approaches
  • Impact investing: A type of investing approach that generates measurable social or environmental benefits
  • Socially responsible investing (SRI): An investing approach that aligns with an investor’s ethical, religious, or personal values, while actively reducing negative environmental or social consequences
  • ESG integration: Considers material environmental, social, and governance factors to enhance long-term risk adjusted returns through its investment approach
  • Climate investing: Looks to reduce exposure to climate risk, identify low-carbon investment opportunities, or align portfolios with “net-zero” climate targets

Knowing the key terms of the sustainable landscape allows advisers to more accurately address client objectives, goals, and beliefs.

2. How can I start a conversation with clients about (Read more...)

Prismic raises $20 million for its headless CMS



Prismic, a company building a content management system, has raised a $20 million Series A funding round. While the startup has been profitable since 2016, it wants to unlock the full potential of its headless CMS by iterating more quickly on its product. Aglaé Ventures and Eurazeo are co-leading today’s funding round.

Headless content management systems are a bit different from traditional content management systems. The backend and the frontend of your website operate totally separately. You write content in the backend where it is safely stored. The frontend of your application fetches content from the backend using an API and display it to your customers and readers.

Dissociating those two key parts of your content management system provides many advantages. It is more secure, it scales much better and it gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to frontend framework and hosting.

In addition to iterating on its CMS, Prismic manages the infrastructure for you. When you sign up, you don’t have to deploy the backend on your own server. You can connect to the admin interface and start building.

After that, your content is accessible through an API. It means that you can build your own website and fetch content from Prismic. You can also build a mobile app and use Prismic as your content backend for the news section.

You can pick your own framework and build your site through that framework. Prismic supports Gatsby, React.js, Next.js, Vue.js and more.

Prismic is also trying (Read more...)

France’s Bernard Arnault Becomes the World’s Richest Person


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist


bernard arnault world's richest person

The Briefing

  • French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, became the world’s richest person with a net worth surpassing $186B
  • Arnault, whose fortunes are largely tied to luxury conglomerate LVMH, has seen a staggering 145% increase in his net worth since the beginning of the pandemic

France’s Bernard Arnault Becomes the World’s Richest Person

This week, French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, became the world’s richest person.

Arnault’s rise into top spot is particularly noteworthy since American billionaires – particularly in the technology sector – have dominated the world’s richest people ranking for a number of years. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos remains neck-and-neck with Arnault, with Elon Musk still within striking distance.

RankNameCountryNet Worth (May 24, 2021)
1Bernard Arnault?? France$186.3 billion
2Jeff Bezos?? United States$186.0 billion
3Elon Musk?? United States$147.3 billion

Jeff Bezos began 2021 in top spot, but has been challenged by both Elon Musk and Bernard Arnault. The former took a hit after Tesla’s stock began to cool off after hitting a record high in Q1 2021.

Arnault’s name may be new to some, but he has been on of the top five richest people globally since 2018, and has been a billionaire for well over a decade. The French tycoon got his start in the fashion space by parlaying a fortune made in construction into the purchase of Christian Dior in 1985.

Vive la France

Bernard Arnault oversees an empire that includes many iconic French luxury brands, including; Louis Vuitton, Dom Pérignon, and Christian (Read more...)

Datacy raises $2.4M to help consumers monetize their own damn data



This morning Datacy, a startup with its headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, announced that it has closed $2.4 million in new funding to continue building its consumer-friendly data collection and monetization service.

The company is effectively an argument that the preceding sentence is possible. Datacy is a tool that allows individuals to collect their browsing data, manage it, have it anonymized and aggregated with others and then sold. The end-user gets 85% of the resulting revenue, while Datacy takes 15%.

Its model has found financial backing, with its new capital coming from Trend Forward Capital, Truesight Ventures, Redhawk VC, the Female Founders Alliance and others. The startup raised the funds using a convertible note that was capped at $9.5 million, though TechCrunch is not certain whether or not there were other terms associated with the fundraising mechanism.

Regardless, Datacy’s model fits into the modestly more privacy-forward stance that the technology world has taken in recent years; Apple is not the only company looking to make hay off of what some consider to be rising consumer interest in keeping their activities, and data, to themselves. But what Datacy wants to do is merge the consumer privacy impulse with profit.

According to company co-founder Paroma Indilo, her startup is not a cookie blocker. She told TechCrunch that if someone wants to block data collection, there are good tools for the task in the market already. What Datacy wants to do, she said, is evolve from its current status as a (Read more...)