Nanalyze

Invest in 26+ Startups With Singularity University Labs

We’ve talked before about crowdfunding, in particular about the risks that you face when investing in a venture that is yet to be proven. We recently came across a very interesting crowdfunding platform which allows you to invest in various startups from beer brewing to self-tuning guitar systems. That platform is called Crowdfunder and there’s one company that they allow you to invest in which merits a closer look.

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Singularity University (SU) is a benefit corporation headquartered at NASA’s research campus in Silicon Valley. Co-founded by Ray Kurzweil, this part university, part think-tank, part business-incubator has the backing of companies such as Genentech, Google, and Cisco. Under the umbrella of Singularity University is SU Labs which is a business incubator that invests in early-stage startups. SU Labs is looking to raise $2.5 million on Crowdfunder and has actually raised $4,336,500 so far. They plan to use these funds to invest in 20-30 companies in the next 1-2 years. Some of the 26 companies currently in their portfolio include:

Cambrian Genomics makes the first hardware/systems for laser printing DNA. Genome Compiler is a leader in the Synthetic Biology computer-assisted design (CAD) space. Modern Meadow which we highlighted before is looking to create leather via tissue engineering.  Fellow Robots is working on retail robotics. Miroculus is developing a microRNA-based disease detection system (including cancer) which is orders of magnitudes cheaper and better than existing systems. Made In Space is building a 3D printer to be used in space. Matternet is building a network of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to transport goods. Semtive is building wind turbines. Sentrian is a “remote patient intelligence” company. Escape Dynamics is focused on the development of extremely efficient and sustainable space launches.

There are some very exciting companies in the SU Labs portfolio but there are a few concerns that are tough to overlook. The companies which SU Labs has invested in will only provide a return on investment if they are acquired or go public. SU Labs then reaps the rewards but shareholders don’t yet. The only way a shareholder is rewarded is if SU Labs itself undergoes a liquidity event. In the meantime, our capital is tied up in the company and unless SU Labs shares begin trading on a secondary market, there is no way to exit the investment unless an acquisition or IPO takes place. A typical retail investor needs liquidity for life events and not knowing when that happens is a much bigger deal than it would be for your typical venture capital firm. For those who can tolerate an indefinite time frame for ROI, investing in SU Labs could be a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of some very exciting ventures with a minimum investment of $5,000. Make your decision quick though, as the deadline to invest is August 31.

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