Twist’s synthetic DNA is re-inventing the fields of medicine, agriculture, industrial chemicals, and data storage. Ginkgo has developed custom strains of organisms to make fragrances, fertilizers, lab-grown meat, hunt for natural antibiotics, and engineer probiotics. Hear about the founder journeys of these two iconic entrepreneurs from inception through IPO and beyond, and how they are changing our world for the better.
Arvind Gupta — Partner, Mayfield Fund
Arvind Gupta co-leads Mayfield’s Engineering Biology practice whose mission is to invest in science based companies that could change history. Ranging from reinventing our food system to stopping climate change to novel therapeutics, Arvind was the first investor in breakout companies such as Geltor, Synthex, Prime Roots, NotCo, Prellis, New Culture, DNA Lite, Catalog, Prellis and Memphis Meats. As Founder of IndieBio, Arvind redefined the pace and possibilities of early stage biotech, investing in over 136 companies in five years, defining human and planetary health, and growing the IndieBio portfolio into billions of dollars in value. Under his leadership, IndieBio expanded to New York and grew to fifteen investment professionals with a world renowned adjunct partner board. He now serves as Venture Advisor at IndieBio. Prior to founding IndieBio, Arvind was Design Director at IDEO in Shanghai where he earned numerous international design awards and presented his work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was also a BASE jumper and big wall climber and now fights professional grappling.
Emily Leproust — Co-Founder & CEO, Twist Bioscience
As an early pioneer in the high-throughput synthesis and sequencing of DNA, Dr. Leproust is disrupting markets to enable the exponential growth of DNA-based applications including chemicals/materials, diagnostics, therapeutics, food and digital data storage. In 2020, BIO presented her with the Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership. Foreign Policy named her one of their 100 Leading Global Thinkers and Fast Company named her one of the Most Creative People in Business. Prior to Twist Bioscience, she held escalating positions at Agilent Technologies where she architected the successful SureSelect product line that lowered the cost of sequencing and elucidated mechanisms responsible for dozens of Mendelian diseases. She also developed the Oligo Library Synthesis technology, where she initiated and led product and business development activities for the team. Dr. Leproust designed and developed multiple commercial synthesis platforms to streamline microarray manufacturing and fabrication. She serves on the Board of Directors of CM Life Sciences and is a co-founder of Petri, an accelerator for start-ups at the forefront of engineering and biology. Dr. Leproust has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers — many on applications of synthetic DNA, and is the author of numerous patents. She earned her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from University of Houston and her M.Sc. in Industrial Chemistry from the Lyon School of Industrial Chemistry.
Jason Kelly — Co-Founder & CEO, Ginkgo Bioworks
Dr. Jason Kelly is the co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. Ginkgo is a synthetic biology company headquartered in Boston, MA that programs cells for customers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and energy industries. The company recently raised over $930M in venture capital to expand their automated genetic engineering foundries and is the largest designer of synthetic DNA in the world. Ginkgo is valued at $4.5B and has been listed for the past three years on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List of fast-growing companies. Prior to Ginkgo, Jason received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology and a PhD in Biological Engineering all from MIT.