Ubiome is an unusual startup. The three-year-old sequences the collected microbes in the human body and sells $89 kits to those curious to understand their own microbiome better.
Now uBiome founders and academics Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte — who’ve raised$6.5 million from investors like Andreessen Horowitz for the San Francisco company — are taking an even more unusual step. They’re launching an AngelList Syndicate to fund other microbiome startups.
It’s not an entirely novel concept. There are plenty of corporations that create funds expressly to get a look at startups whose work might be of strategic interest to them. There are also a sprinkling of founders who are running early-stage startups and forming Syndicates to make startup bets of their own, including Joshua Reeves of four-year-old Gusto, a payroll startup that was formerly called ZenPayroll.
Still, investing in young startups that could eventually compete with your own young startup isn’t something one sees every day; we talked earlier with Richman to learn more about her Microbiome Fund — and why she and Apte decided to do it.
Understanding of the role played by the microbiome in many health conditions is relatively recent and you have a very young company, Why shift some of your focus to investing in other startups?