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Business

Zymergen gets $130 million for microbes

by Melody M. Bomgardner
October 17, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 41

Zymergen, a San Francisco Bay Area start-up, has raised $130 million in a second round of venture funding to build out its robotics- and computer-driven microbe engineering platform. The round was led by Japan’s SoftBank and included information technology investors such as Data Collective, True Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors, which is backed by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Zymergen was founded in 2013 to develop technology to predictably and quickly engineer microbes to produce new molecules. It has developed robots that build and test thousands of strains at a time and computational models to analyze them. The company says it is working with unnamed Fortune 500 companies on microbes with applications in chemicals, materials, agriculture, and health care. SoftBank Managing Director Deep Nishar has joined the company’s board, as has former Department of Energy secretary Steven Chu. Zymergen says it will use the funding to accelerate growth, support customers, and expand its workforce. Its website lists openings for 47 jobs.

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