IndieBio, a San Francisco-based biotech accelerator, believes biology is our most powerful technology — powerful enough to begin a “second domestication,” in which meat is grown in a lab and not on the farm — and flexible enough to put neurons on a chip. IndieBio also believes it can help scientists become entrepreneurs. The accelerator funds startups with at least two co-founders that utilize biology and technology to impact humanity’s most pressing problems. It’s providing startups with a space to help them develop those solutions faster and “make something that matters.”
IndieBio sees the application of biology extending beyond traditional biomedical applications. “Our aim is to accelerate biology as a technology. So, not just limited to the bio-medical vertical,” says Ryan Bethencourt, program director and venture partner at IndieBio. “We view biology as a technology that can be applied in multiple different verticals, across many different industries, including consumer, biomaterials, tools, medical, diagnostic, and therapeutic as well.”
Detroit Experience Factory believes the best way to revitalize its city is to engage its people. It’s doing that with experiential tours. Last year the company took 17,000 people across the city to show them what small businesses are doing, how the city’s past is affecting its future, and what the city already has to offer.
“People hear the word ‘tour’ and think double decker bus. That is not what we do,” Jeanette Pierce, Detroit Experience Factory’s executive director, tells NewCo. Its tours are interactive, focused on meeting local business owners, visiting city landmarks, and providing historical context and meaning for what’s happening in the city today. “We want to help people understand the history, the culture, the communities, the neighborhoods, and have an economic impact on the city of Detroit,” Pierce says.
In May 2015, people watched from the India Street dock in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as The Revolution, a World War II Yard Patrol boat, approached. After boarding, they set course for the city’s lesser-known islands, those that once housed undesirables: criminals, the diseased (“Typhoid” Mary), and what we then called lunatics. Those on the boat paid for the privilege. Between visiting the forgotten ruins of prison camps, psychiatric institutions, and sanatoriums within view of Manhattan and Brooklyn, they drank beer and had lunch while ferrying down the East River. The tour was just one of 150 events in 39 states and 25 countries, that took place on Obscura Day.
Organized byAtlas Obscura, more than 35,000 people have turned out for its events. The events, however, are just a small part of what they company does. Working off the premise that you haven’t seen anything yet, Atlas Obscura is creating an online compendium of “the world’s most curious and awe-inspiring places.” Think of it asNational Geographic for the millennial generation.
What do your friends think about regulating Airbnb in your city? What’s the most important issue the U.S. faces? Can student protests help end racism on college campuses? Brigade applies the social network model to provide everyone, from neophytes to political junkies, a space to talk politics.
Sean Parker, co-founder and executive chairman of Brigade, discussed the state of politics in the U.S. with Mashable, saying, “Democracy was not designed for a world where we have over 300 million people.” That’s where Brigade’s social approach to politics comes in. Unlike Facebook, which along with political opinions publishes baby pictures and life announcements, Brigade focuses on issue-oriented conversations that it hopes will lead to organization and action. Its app aims to re-energize civic participation in the U.S. by providing a forum to articulate and debate political and civic issues.
In June 2014, Brigade announced its acquisition of Causes, the world’s largest online campaigning platform and one of the first apps on the Facebook platform, and political advocacy startup Votizen. A year later, Brigade launched in beta. Its small cohort of testers has taken more than 3 million issue-based positions in the first few months.