Illumina Ventures launches refreshed genomics startup accelerator program

Illumina’s independently managed venture capital firm has opened up the doors to the new evolution of its startup incubator dubbed Illumina Ventures Labs.

First announced in June 2023, Illumina Ventures said the new genomics-focused funding and mentorship initiative would take over from its previous Accelerator program while still offering new companies technical guidance and DNA analysis hardware through the sequencing giant.

Illumina Ventures has invested in more than 30 U.S. and European startups since 2016, while the larger Illumina has served as a limited anchor partner in its fund. The Accelerator program for seed-stage companies previously helped launch 74 companies, supported by $1.2 billion in third-party investments.

The new Illumina Ventures Labs will carry that torch while also providing access to what the firm described as fully equipped and operational genomics laboratories and office space in Cambridge, U.K., and Foster City, California. 

The program is currently taking applications for early-stage genomics startups, from company formation through series A financing. Labs-based companies will be incubated for up to 18 months and will connect with Illumina’s R&D teams through virtual and hybrid formats.

“We applaud the significant progress made by Illumina Ventures Labs to launch a company creation engine providing early-stage companies access to enabling technologies to reach value creation milestones, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with companies pioneering breakthrough applications in genomics,” Ashley Van Zeeland, Illumina’s VP of corporate development, said in a statement.