Introducing Fifty 50
A community of 50 top entrepreneurially-minded researchers from 50 top labs 🧪
At Fifty Years we believe that commercializing science can be the most efficient way of solving the world’s biggest problems. Unfortunately, the path from academia to entrepreneurship is often unclear. After speaking with many science founders, PhDs, postdocs, and students we realized a few things:
Research can feel isolating 🔒
It can be hard for those in PhD or Postdoc programs to develop relationships with people in labs at other universities they see authoring papers they admire 📜
It’s even harder to connect and to build a tribe with fellow scientists interested in entrepreneurship 🚀
There exists little infrastructure to bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurship. We want to change this.
When we talk to researchers, the questions we hear most often are:
Is starting a scientific company even possible by someone who has no prior entrepreneurial experience?
Who else is doing this?
Who should I talk to?
Where do I even start?!
While we can’t magically solve all the problems of current and future founders of scientific companies, we think we know how to take the first step in this direction: Introducing Fifty 50, a peer-to-peer community of 50 top researchers interested in entrepreneurship from the 50 top labs across North America, supported by San Francisco-based founders and investors.
While mostly drawing inspiration from its founding organization Fifty Years, 50 is also the number that British anthropologist Robert Dunbar theorizes to be the size for most people’s circle of friends. While most of us are familiar with 150 being the number of meaningful connections a person can have (aka Dunbar’s number), Dunbar postulated that each person could have ~5 loved ones, ~15 good friends, and ~50 friends. We like the idea of creating a community of friends who want to change the world for the better. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey and — no matter how smart, accomplished, and driven we are — we could all use some friends along the way!
Peer-to-Peer Family 👪
The community begins with its community members. Fifty 50 is more than a LinkedIn accolade and title. It’s intended to foster a family of like-minded, ambitious, and mission-driven peers. As the saying goes: you are who you surround yourself with.
Fifty 50 seeks to enable its members through the collective energies of everyone else. We hope it will evolve into a self-sustaining ecosystem of forward-thinking scientists working on the most ambitious projects and research questions.
Fifty 50 members will help each other, support each other through difficult times, and participate in each other’s achievements. Challenges are best overcome together and achievements are best celebrated together.
Keystone Annual Retreat 🏞️
Fifty 50 prioritizes relationship building above all else. There is no better way to build meaningful relationships than through face-to-face interactions!
To that end, Fifty 50 will host an annual weekend retreat to bring together the brightest and most ambitious minds. Since our community members will come from all across North America, it’s important that we can all meet in person at least once a year. The retreat will see mostly community-based events with opportunities to mingle and bond over fun casual activities!
Recurrent Community-based Events 🍻
To provide an opportunity for Fifty 50 members to connect, meet, and interact with each other, all while respecting members’ busy schedules, Fifty 50 will host regular non-mandatory community events all year long, ranging from happy hours to lunches with founder and investor guests.
As a core operating principle, regular community events shouldn’t be a burden or time sink on people’s schedules. It should be a time for members to relax and have fun, all while building meaningful friendships and knowledge.
Members will also have the opportunity to run their own events, be it journal clubs, happy hours, game times, fun activities, or even meditation sessions.
Resources Beyond the Lab 🥼
Headquartered in the heart of the startup world — San Francisco — Fifty 50 provides a platform of resources that extends deep into the entrepreneurship and venture capital industries. On demand office hours are available with partners from Fifty Years and beyond. Fifty 50 is not only a portal to 50 top labs across North America, but it’s also intended to open access to the entire startup ecosystem.
Annual Cohort, Lifelong Membership 🧡
Fifty 50 does not have an end date. We believe that family and communities should stay together and support each other for the long run. To that end, every year’s cohort of Fifty 50 will have access to community tools, select future events, and the opportunity to meet and connect with future members.
Nomination and Invite only ✉️
To provide a uniquely rewarding experience and community to members, Fifty 50 requires candidates receive a nomination or direct invitation to be considered for the Fifty 50 community. Current members of Fifty 50 hail from the labs of George Church, Sangeeta Bhatia, Feng Zhang, Mikhail Shapiro, Chris Voigt, Steve Quake, Mark Bathe, Eric Lander, Stanley Qi, Michael Elowitz, Chad Mirkin, Michael Snyder, and more.
Fifty 50 is currently accepting nominations here until April 20th. If you know someone who should be a part of the community, nominate them!
At Fifty Years, helping great scientists become great entrepreneurs is our jam, and we’re excited to support this community. If you’re excited too, please share! 👇