Arcturus BioCloud is a biotechnology startup on the outskirts of San Francisco that hopes to give science hobbyists the ability to gene splice their way to super bacteria with a few clicks on their laptop.
Me: Tell me about yourself, the team you worked with to build Arcturus BioCloud and why did you build them?
Sotomayor: Founding Team Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Jaime Sotomayor. System engineer, a serial entrepreneur, has been two times startup CEO. A former university professor at the Business and Engineering School, Universidad de Lima. Singularity University alumni (GSP14). Recipient of MIT Innovators Under 35 Awards (Peru). https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaimesotomayor Chief Technology Officer (CTO): Luis Silva. A serial entrepreneur, hacker and transhumanist. Singularity University alumni (EP10 & GSP14), founder of an investment holding focused in disruptive technologies, sits on the board of few fintech and healthcare companies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/luisbebop Chief Innovation Officer (CIO): Pedro Terra. Digital manufacturing consultant, with 12 years of experience building from sailboats to CNC machines. Has been two times startup CEO. Singularity University alumni (GSP14). https://br.linkedin.com/in/pedroterra1 Chief Scientific Officer (CSO): Andrés Ochoa. Ph.D. in Biotechnology, with more than 12 years in genetic engineering. Former University researcher at Universidade de São Paulo. Former iGEM team leader and founder of syntechbio, first biohacker space in South America. https://br.linkedin.com/in/donandresochoa We built Arcturus BioCloud because we believe that bringing an outsiders perspective into this fast growing field could disrupt the status quo the industry. Many things are still performed in the old fashion way, and technology is changing in a more rapid pace.
Me: How did you find the space and funding?
Sotomayor: We believe it was critical having the IndieBio space, not primarily because of the Lab space but rather for the connection aspect. Being together with our whole team and with the other teams made the development of your company faster. Increased the speed from which we could get acquaintance with partners, clients and investors. Also having support from IndieBio is great, I would think that was more worth than the funding.
Me: Was building the Arcturus BioCloud community hard? Who is/was part of the community?
Sotomayor: There are many people interested in synthetic biology, and they like what we propose. It's harder to reach people that work in a more institutional environment where change and adaptation are not part of their DNA. At the moment, most of the members of our community are biohackers, enthusiasts, software developers and scientist.
Me: What types of equipment did you find you needed and what were the challenges you encountered?
Sotomayor: Because our company is web-based, most of the equipment we required was found it in the lab. The challenges that we encounter was finding an infrastructure that we can build our platform. We've contacted several service providers, but they are still very old-school.
Me: What types of projects have you and the Arcturus BioCloud team worked on?
Sotomayor: We started out providing basic constructions for small customers. Afterwards, we developed a bacteria that produces insulin. We are now working on new projects both in bacteria and in yeast.
Me: What do you see as the future for biohacking in SF and globally?
Sotomayor: I believe that hackerspaces will become less hardware focus and become more of a software and people place. If you look at the old IT hackerspaces, people were building computers and devices. Today most of those people are creating software (e.g.: Sudo Room). I believe biohacker spaces will have the same future. Work with people remotely, design organisms and execute your project with a service provider. That is the future Arcturus BioCloud is work to create.