This quick note to share a new episode is up on our podcast Deep Tech: From Lab to Market (@LabToMarket). It features Seth Bannon from Fifty Years, a $50m SF-based deep tech fund investing in synthetic biology, food, health, space and more.
Note: this is as last minute as it gets, but if you happen to be in a compatible time zone, SOSV is hosting a free online event today at 6pm ET (= now) on ‘Startups Against Covid-19’ featuring one that just got featured in the NYT. You can RSVP here. If you can’t make it, we should have a recording of it later too. Note that the Zoom page only shows the first three of five speakers; one of the speakers is a CRISPR-based Covid-19 low-cost test that was just featured yesterday on the New York Times.
About Seth and Fifty Years
Seth Bannon is a long-time advocate and campaigner, who turned to technology and investment to solve the world’s biggest problems around sustainability, food, and the digital divide.
A graduate of Y Combinator, Seth was named twice to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurship.
Seth believes business will be about more than just profit (more here), and Fifty Years has supported a range of startups shaping the world for the better — from microbe engineering for sustainable chemistry, to small satellites for low-cost global internet coverage, to clean meat.
In this episode, Seth talks about:
What prompted him to create a fund focused on the world’s biggest problems, and how its name relates to Winston Churchill’s prophetic 1931 essay titled Fifty Years Hence.
How Silicon Valley needs to go back to its roots: focusing on technology to lift all sectors — including food, industry and healthcare — to the digital age.
Why biology is having its ‘Internet time’.
The challenges PhDs face when they become founders to translate their research.
How magnetic, resourceful, resilient doers are founders with high potential.
His approach to opportunistic investments in deep tech.
Using publication research for initial technical due diligence in new domains.
The benefits of portfolio network effects.
Finally, we discuss the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic on venture, and the silver lining of how such an intense global events might give rise to major scientific advances in a compressed timeframe.
Kelly shares her views on investing in Old School Industries.
pi Ventures is a $30m deep tech fund focused on India.
Manish talks about India’s deep tech landscape.
Anzu Partners is a US-based $190m fund investing nationwide.
John talks about investing in Breakthrough Industrial Technologies
EF is a $115m fund investing in deep tech pre-team and pre-product.
Matt explains how they apply the lean startup to team formation.
Share it if you like it, and let me know if you have suggestions!
Here are some articles you might be interested in:
A creative Twitter thread by a time-traveler from 2025 on the post-Covid world.
IndieBio (our biology program) made a call for startups fighting Covid-19.
Until next time!