Synbio Playbook for Techstyle startups – A Complete Guide for Founders

Synbio startups tend to have a higher failure rate than other tech startups, as most require longer development cycles with higher capital. Against that backdrop, The Mills Fabrica together with Bolt Threads are excited to announce the launch of “Synbio Playbook for Techstyle Startups: A Complete Guide for Founders”. In this playbook, we explore the different stages involved in commercializing synbio innovations within the food and fashion industries and address the key challenges that synbio innovators will face throughout the business growth journey.

Figure 1. Five critical considerations for synbio founders


Starting a business – from strategy to growth

The success and growth of a startup can be largely affected by decisions made at the start of the business. While it is important to define long-term value and vision, founders are expected to be flexible towards evaluating and adjusting their business focuses as their company develops.


Transiting from lab to factory

With proper positioning and setup in place, many startups still fail as they have the tendency to over-commit before their product is ready. To minimize risks and losses in a scale-up, start-ups are advised to start off with practical, small to medium-scale launches/ pilots for proof of concept and consumer approval, before committing to larger scales of production.


Leveraging various marketing strategies for market penetration

Once your company has demonstrated a successful scale-up, the next hurdle is how to market your product and to create sustainable pipeline of revenue growth. What are the best brand strategies for your brand? How can startups attract consumers and other brands via strategic partnerships and platforms across the supply chain? We look into how brands such as Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Beyond Meat and Bolt Threads, reached out to a wider consumer market via effective implementation of various Go-to-market strategies, including D2C, B2B2C (brand collaborations), B2B, as well as other physical and digital marketing channels.


Figure 2. Go-to-market strategies (Source: Forbes, Fabrica analysis)


Fundraising towards a successful exit

Securing new funding rounds is a major turning point for startups. What would the production capacity be at each stage of the fundraising journey? What can founders do to plan for exits in the far future? In this section, we look at a “typical” fundraising trajectory, compare three main exit strategies for synbio startups, and identify trends and tips to help founders through their fundraising journey.


Figure 3. The fundraising journey of synbio startups (Source: Bolt Threads, Crunchbase, Fabrica analysis)


Building a better synbio ecosystem

There has been a sharp rise in the number of new synbio startups in the past 5 years. This is mainly attributed to the growing synbio ecosystem, which has helped enabled the growth of many startups. We have identified the following key players who have been contributing to this trend:

  • In addition to providing capital, incubators and investors are offering valuable industry connections and support to guide startups throughout their business development;
  • The government and development platforms help ease the commercialization process through providing equity-free grants and a range of stack services, including synbio-labs, bioreactors and contract manufacturers;
  • Educational institutes with synbio-related courses & degree programs and R&D labs are actively creating a pipeline of talent and technology within the community;
  • Wider synbio ecosystem builders, such as SynbioBeta, Biofabricate, are facilitating knowledge exchange and connections amongst synbio stakeholders via various events and platforms


Figure 4. Key players in synbio ecosystem (Source: Fabrica analysis)


Towards a synbio future

The synbio scene has seen rapid boom in the past few years with numerous exciting companies being launched. With the launch of this playbook, we hope to offer helpful tips to guide some of those Techstyle synbio founders in scaling up their technologies and businesses for the industry.


To learn more, please download the full report of Synbio Playbook for Techstyle startups – A Complete Guide for Founders






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