Cloud-Based Bio Lab Startup Transcriptic Lands $8.5 Million In Series A Funding To Help It Scale

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Months after announcing its Y Combinator partnership and moving into a giant new Menlo Park facility, the robot-operated biolab startup Transcriptic has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding.

Data Collective led the round, with participation from IA Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, 500 Startups, MITS Fund, Y Combinator partner Paul Buchheit and several other angel investors.

This brings the total amount of funds to just over $14 million now, giving the cloud-based lab tests startup some room to purchase proprietary equipment and start moving into drug-screening tests.

Currently, Transcriptic is the only cloud-based robotic bio lab in operation. The robotics lab arm of Emerald Therapeutics is a close competitor with a very similar end goal to run science experiments in the cloud. But it is still in the testing phase and not available to the mass public.

We set out with the goal of giving the life sciences the same structural advantages that web has enjoyed, making it possible for two postdocs with a laptop in a coffee shop to run a drug company.
— Max Hodak

Transcriptic, meanwhile, pulled in a six-figure check in sales and more than doubled in size in the last year, adding several engineers to its growing team of 26. It also bought just over $800,000 worth of new robotic equipment for the new lab in January. Over half of the team are hardware engineers actually designing and building the robots that run Transcriptic’s automated lab.

“When we started Transcriptic, we set out with the goal of giving the life sciences the same structural advantages that web has enjoyed, making it possible for two postdocs with a laptop in a coffee shop to run a drug company without the need for millions of dollars in capital equipment or lab space,” founder Max Hodak writes on a recent blog post about the funding news.

The startup isn’t there yet, but Hodak is hopeful that with the growth of the team and the new equipment, Transcriptic is getting closer to that reality.

“I hope to build a critical mass of smart people and a culture that empowers them to take us to interesting places. This is a company I hope to be involved with for a long time,” Hodak said.

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