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SOSV raises $277M in oversubscribed fourth fund to invest in early-stage deep tech startups
HAX Team
SOSV Founder Sean O’Sullivan
SOSV Founder Sean O’Sullivan

SOSV has raised $277 million for its new SOSV IV fund, nearly doubling its previous $150 million SOSV III fund. SOSV, known for investing in deep-tech, is often ranked as the most active investor in startups in hardware and life sciences.

With SOSV IV, the firm will continue investing in approximately 150 new startups per year across its industry-leading startup programs HAX, IndieBio, and Orbit. The majority of the fund will be deployed in the later rounds of its best performers.

“This year, nearly $1 billion went into SOSV-backed companies from VCs and corporate investors,” said Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV Managing Partner. “On top of the $65 million SOSV invests directly into our startups every year, SOSV’s deep-tech startups are getting huge funding leverage from our syndicate of VCs, angels and corporates.”

Solving global challenges with hands-on support

The larger SOSV IV fund will allow the firm to continue its strategy to invest an initial $100k to $250k in each startup via its startup programs, while providing $200k to $2 million in follow-on funding in subsequent rounds for startups which go through its programs.

SOSV invests over ten million dollars annually in infrastructure — building out and running wet labs, electronic labs, and mechanical facilities, and offering on-site support teams of dozens of experts, engineers and PhDs. These program benefits help startups with accelerated product development and increased access to an ecosystem of corporations, investors and over 1,000 specialized mentors.

“In the early 2000s, investors could not fund hardware and life sciences startups in the same incremental and iterative way as software. In 2020 and beyond, the majority of deep tech startups can now follow a lean model,” said O’Sullivan. “Our hands-on approach has helped hundreds of startups overcome the challenges of going from workshop or lab to the market.”

The programs run by SOSV employ over 100 staff distributed across nine locations in San Francisco, New York, Cork, London, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Xi’An, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Select portfolio highlights

On the life sciences front, SOSV invests in human and planetary health as an early investor in plant-based foods, cellular agriculture, computational biology and regenerative medicine. In hardware, the firm is an early mover in applied A.I., service robotics, industrial IoT, and digital therapeutics.

SOSV helps deep tech startups go from lab to market

Its hardware-enabled portfolio includes fast-growing robotics, IoT and medtech startups such as Avidbots (commercial cleaning robots), Simbe Robotics (retail inventory robots), Particle (IoT solutions) and Makeblock (STEM robots), as well as high-profile companies FormLabs (3D printing) and GetAround (car sharing). SOSV was also the lead seed investor in JUMP Bikes, recently acquired by Uber.

SOSV is a pioneer in ‘clean food’ and cellular agriculture with investments in Memphis Meats (clean meat), NotCo (plant-based mayonnaise) Geltor (animal-free collagen), Clara Foods (egg proteins), Perfect Day (milk products), and Abbot’s Butcher (plant-based meat). SOSV was the initial investor in Jungla (A.I.-driven genomics), acquired in July 2019 by Invitae (Nasdaq: NVTA).

Therapeutics has always been the core application of biotech, and SOSV has remained one of the industry’s most active funds, investing in cancer therapeutics (Synthex, Filtricine, A2A Pharma), new modalities for autoimmune diseases (Diadem, DNA Lite), regenerative medicine (Prellis), and gene delivery (Serenity).

In the blockchain and cross-border areas, SOSV is the only institutional investor in BitMEX (the leading cryptocurrency trading platform by reported volume globally), and seed investor in the A.I. insurtech startup CareVoice and the A.I. language startup Elsa (Google’s AI fund’s first investment in Asia).

About the backers of SOSV IV

The investors participating in SOSV IV include university endowments, foundations, fund of funds, corporates, family offices and wealthy individuals from around the world. Some of the noteworthy limited partners include Tiedemann Advisors, Davy Group, HP Tech Ventures, ZX Ventures (AB Inbev) and Honda Motors. In addition, nine venture capitalists invested either personally or as part of their funds.