Programming Biology to Transform Global Industries 

By Dusan Perovic on December 13, 2018

Why We’re Doubling Down on Zymergen

We use the word “optimize” a lot around Two Sigma Ventures. We believe in trying to optimize outcomes, in nearly every sphere of work and life. It’s a constant challenge, because nothing is ever truly optimized, at least not for very long in a world of continuous technological advancement. There are always new experiments to run and things to try; new technologies that enable brand new dimensions of optimization.

When we met the founding team of Zymergen in Emeryville, CA nearly four years ago, we saw kindred spirits. Josh Hoffman, Jed Dean, Zach Serber, Aaron Kimball, and the team at Zymergen believed that some of the innovation of the last decade in engineering biology, pioneered for narrow product categories like ethanol, could be applied more broadly to industrial manufacturing. The company was using software and robotics to try to push the boundaries of what was possible, engineering biological systems to produce novel products and optimize existing ones. They were employing automation in every step of the experimentation process (the design, build, test cycle), producing large amounts of data, and utilizing computational approaches to analyze complex results and guide future experiments.

We were privileged to invest in Zymergen’s Series A in 2015 and Series B in 2016, and today we’re excited to announce our investment in the Series C round, alongside Softbank, Goldman Sachs, Hanwha Asset Management, DCVC, True Ventures, DFJ, and Innovation Endeavors. Zymergen epitomizes the type of company that is emblematic of our meta thesis at Two Sigma Ventures — to partner with companies using data science and advanced engineering capabilities to transform or build an industry.

We believe Zymergen, in just a few short years, has become the world’s premier molecular manufacturing technology company, which could enable in a new wave of industrial innovation. Zymergen has been able to rapidly increase the pace of its optimizations in chemicals and materials, enabling real-world product outcomes for its large enterprise customers. It’s an exciting time for the company, as they look to introduce new proprietary products to market.

Congrats to Zymergen on this milestone. We consider ourselves lucky to be a part of the journey, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this next phase next of growth. For coverage of this new round of financing, making sure to see in TechCrunch and SynBioBeta.

The views expressed herein are solely the views of the author(s), are as of the date they were originally posted, and are not necessarily the views of Two Sigma Ventures, LP or any of its affiliates. They are not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment advice.