Ginkgo Bioworks: Beware of the Bait and Switch

March 26. 2023. 7 mins read

Bait and switch is a tactic often used by automobile dealers to attract customers with one vehicle, then redirect their focus to another vehicle that brings the seller more profit. Investors need to be wary of these same tricks. Always pay attention to the value proposition you originally signed up for. One example is Desktop Metal’s P-50 production platform which seems to be deemphasized by management with focus being redirected to the assets they acquired when purchasing ExOne, a company that wasn’t realizing its own growth proposition. That brings us to Ginkgo Bioworks.

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If Meta has shown us anything, it’s that “build it and they will come” doesn’t work well for disruptive technologies. Investing in a platform only works if people are willing to pay for it consistently over time. When Ginkgo Bioworks did the pandemic pivot into an anonymous group testing product called Concentric, we questioned this move as a bait-and-switch from the value proposition we originally wanted exposure to. The other two synbio players – Amyris and Zymergen – also pivoted away from their original value proposition. The former is hiring people to sell cosmetics, while the latter failed at bringing their product to market and was then acquired by Ginkgo. (More on this in a bit.) Ginkgo’s platform approach is one reason we continue to really appreciate

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