Illumina Accelerator is a company creation engine co-located with Illumina research and development sites in San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge, UK. Illumina Accelerator provides select startups with access to seed investment, business guidance, Illumina sequencing systems, reagents, and fully operational lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area or Cambridge, UK during each six-month funding cycle.
Key Resources to Drive Value for Genomics Startups
Through our partners, we provide access to seed investment.
We provide our startups with high quality business guidance and expertise to help guide go-to-market strategy, financing strategy, teambuilding, and beyond.
While at Illumina Accelerator, our startups have access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, genomics experts, and Illumina software platforms.
Our startups have access to fully equipped lab and office space so they can begin experiments on day one. We have two locations co-located with Illumina R&D centers, one in the SF Bay Area and the other in Cambridge, UK.
Meet Illumina Accelerator Graduates
Illumina Accelerator is all about partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups. Hear from graduates about their experiences.
Take a Look Inside Illumina Accelerator
Watch how we're teaming up with entrepreneurs to create genomics startups and advance breakthrough applications. You'll also meet some of our startups and coaches.
Our Illumina Accelerator Investments
We help create early stage, genomics-driven startups from across the globe to drive new commercial innovations and unlock the power of the genome. Our investments are advancing breakthrough applications in genomics, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, software, and direct-to-consumer applications.
Hear from Illumina Accelerator Graduates
“The support we have received from our visionary group of investors, including Illumina Accelerator, is allowing Encoded to mature into a fully-integrated therapeutics company and establish itself as a leading innovator in gene therapy.”
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Encoded Therapeutics
"During our time at Illumina Accelerator, we worked to build a one-of-a-kind, high-throughput phage discovery platform, which has allowed us to create phage cocktails that can selectively remove a target bacterial species while leaving all other bacteria alone.”
Aeron Hammack, Ph.D.
“We have toolkits to redesign genes. But we couldn't do this without tools provided by Illumina. They provide the blueprint."
Scott Franklin, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & CSO, Checkerspot
“The Illumina Accelerator experience completely transformed the way we thought about the future development of our genomics startup.”
"With the support of the Illumina team we were able to make substantial progress on our business development plans as well as expand our collection of candidate therapies."
Chris Katanski, Ph.D.
Co-founder & CEO, 4SR Biosciences
"Illumina Accelerator enabled us to complete whole genome sequencing and whole genome methylation analysis in a total of 500 research subjects."
Szilard Voros, M.D.
Co-Founder & CEO, B4X
"The data that we have generated through Illumina Accelerator provides confidence to our partners to work with us to scale their nucleic acid biobanking needs. Beyond the lab, Illumina Accelerator has been helpful in securing commercial partnerships, building our early team, and navigating our seed financing."
Michael Becich and James Banal, Ph.D.
Co-founders, Cache DNA
"In addition to sequencing data generated during at Illumina Accelerator, the greatest value for us came in the form of support and guidance in building the company. Our brainstorming sessions with other companies in the cohort and with staff members of at Illumina, the connections and introductions with investors and advisors, and the platform and visibility Illumina Accelerator gave us cannot be quantified by sequencing data metrics alone."
Sudhakaran Prabakaran, Ph.D. and Ruchi Chauhan, Ph.D.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about this funding opportunity for innovative genomics technology startups
At Illumina, our mission is to unlock the power of the genome. To help achieve this mission, Illumina Accelerator is partnering with startups to promote innovation in the entrepreneurial community. With extensive mentorship, financial support, access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space, Illumina Accelerator is building a dynamic genomics ecosystem to help launch startups. Together, we aim to advance breakthrough applications in genomics, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications.
Funding cycle format
Illumina Accelerator is a six-month funding cycle. Funding is provided for up to five startups per cycle and the curriculum is custom tailored to each company's unique needs. The core focus includes company building, strategy mapping, technology advancement, pitch development, and active coaching throughout the cycle. As the cycle concludes, meetings with venture capitalists and leading investors will be organized. The final month is the busiest time and will be devoted to completing all experiments, following up with all interested parties, and finding a new headquarters for the startup.
There are two, six-month funding cycles per year.
Eligibility and Applications
Candidate teams are genomic researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, or early-stage companies from academia and industry that plan to take their promising next-generation sequencing (NGS) applications to market.
Applicants are selected based on team dynamic, experience, technology concept, scientific strategy, and product characteristic (eg, intellectual property (IP), demonstrated market acceptance, etc.). Other factors include go-to-market strategy, overall market potential, and total financial considerations.
Candidates should apply a few months before the application deadline, wich occurs twice a year.
Startups are funded twice a year. Apply online for the next cycle (www.illumina.com/accelerator).
Yes, Illumina Accelerator funds startups that are working to develop breakthrough applications in genomics, as well as startups that use genomics or omics-based tools in their research and development. Genomics and multiomics are areas where illumina Accelerator expertise brings the most value. Startups will benefit most from an accelerator targeted to their specifc area of interest.
IIlumina Accelerator provides financial support so companies can produce the data needed for their fundraising efforts.
- Up to $200,000 in convertible notes (provided by seed investors)
- A secured line of credit of $20,000
- All of the sequencing credits and access to Illumina reagents and instruments you need to achieve the agreed-upon milestones to power your technology development
- Access to fully equipped lab and office space
IIlumina Accelerator can support a given startup from the concept level through initial seed funding as long as it hasn't already raised a Series round from venture capitalists. If needed, Illumina Accelerator can help with finding law firms to help incorporate a startup.
No. Convertible notes are optional.
Yes. Illumina Accelerator takes a 7% common share stake, fully diluted in each startup.
The financial aid that Illumina Accelerator provides is only one component of the program. The real benefits are inherent in the vehicle itself.
Illumina Accelerator invests in big ideas and helps drive value for startups developing breakthrough applications in genomics.
No. Illumina Accelerator makes funding decisions based on applications and personal interviews. Concepts are considered, but business plans are not required.
Yes, but the chances of acceptance are much lower. Building a startup is often far too intensive for just one person.
Yes. Two applications can be submitted as long as they are submitted from different founders.
No. If they are in the same class, Illumina Accelerator will not fund multiple startups working on the same idea.
Illumina Accelerator will consider the application, but having a technical cofounder among your connections will greatly increase the chances of acceptance. Teams that are arbitrarily formed for the sole purpose of beginning a startup have much lower chances of long term success.
Intellectual property (IP)
IIlumina Accelerator aims to empower companies with the resources they need to innovate. As such, Illumina Accelerator will consider providing nonexclusive rights to IP on a case-by-case basis.
Unfortunately, no. The startup must be based in the San Francisco Bay Area or Cambridge, UK during the six-month funding cycle. Startups may maintain a second operational site, but at least two cofounders must be full-time in the area during the six-month funding cycle.
No, as long as they can reside in the country for atleast 6 months.
No. Illumina Accelerator does not secure visas for participants, but Illumina Accelerator can introduce participants to law firms with expertise on immigration matters.
Tours can be arranged for selected candidates.
Yes. Illumina Accelerator is happy to connect with prospective startups. Contact Illumina Accelerator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share information about the startup.
No. Illumina Accelerator does not sign nondisclosure agreements.