5050 Applications are Open
5050 helps scientists and engineers start civilization-bending companies.
Every so often, a technology shifts the arc of human civilization: the transistor, recombinant DNA, the Altair 8800. The significance of such inventions is often recognized only in retrospect, except by a small group who see the potential and rush to build the future. These are the founders who quietly spark revolutions.
At 50Y, we want to massively increase the number of startups sparking revolutions. Brilliant scientists and engineers have the potential to found civilization-bending companies, but they lack the skills, knowledge, and network to build them. That’s why we built 5050, a program to help scientists and engineers start indispensable companies.
We know deep tech. We’ve built deep tech companies ourselves. We’ve backed over 100 deep tech companies from the earliest stages and helped them raise over 5 billion dollars. We've helped our founders achieve many firsts:
the first carbon-negative molecule factory
the first cultivated meat approved in the U.S.
the first microgeo satellite for internet connectivity
the first in-orbit space factory that manufactured pharmaceutical drugs
the first de novo synthesis of a 1000+ base DNA molecule
And many more
We supported these founders from the very beginning. We backed John Gedmark and Ryan McLinko when Astranis was just an idea on a whiteboard. They've now launched satellites, closed ~1 billion dollars in contracted revenue, and are on the path to connecting 3 billion people to the internet.
We backed Sean Hunt and Gaurab Chakrabarti when they had just built a janky prototype reactor with wood, PVC pipes, and zip ties from Home Depot. Solugen has now built a 63 foot tall carbon-negative molecule factory that offsets over 30,000 tons of CO2 a year and is on the path to decarbonizing 90% of the chemicals humanity needs.
We started supporting Mark Budde when he was still a postdoc at Caltech, researching mammalian synthetic cell circuits. We helped him realize the workflows he built to speed up his research could help accelerate every biologist’s work. He set up a shack in his backyard and began delivering overnight plasmid sequencing. Two years later, Plasmidsaurus is the fastest-growing startup we’ve ever seen, serving scientists across 49 states and the UK.
The usual SaaS startup playbook doesn’t work for deep tech. “Move fast and break things” works in software because you can always roll back to a prior version. In hardware, you can’t ship if a core component is faulty. Software startup best practices don’t apply when you’re building nuclear reactors or bioengineering cell therapies. We’ve distilled everything we know about deep tech entrepreneurship into 5050, our free program to help scientists and engineers start indispensable companies.
The program consists of two phases. The first phase, Explore, helps answer the following questions: How do I turn my breakthrough science into a business? What do I need to make a startup idea work? How do I recruit a world-class team? Am I ready to be a founder?
At the end of Explore, those ready to build a startup will be invited to the next phase, Build. Build will help future founders de-risk their technology, hit milestones, raise a first round, and reach takeoff speed faster than they think is possible. They’ll learn everything they need to know about starting a deep tech company and what it takes to become a world class entrepreneur.
In our first cohort, 15 companies were started by the 50 scientists and engineers who went through the program. All of them raised their first round of funding. Cohort two and three are off to even stronger starts. 5050 will spark founders to build the next decade of civilization-bending companies.
If you want to start an indispensable company, apply to 5050. If you know an incredible scientist, engineer, or recovering SaaS founder, recommend them or send them this post!
Applications are open: www.fiftyyears.com/5050