Let's Build a Life Science Incubator in Los Angeles!

submission by llewellyn.cox
Let's Build a Life Science Incubator in Los Angeles!

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

LAb Launch

Organization website:


Organization Twitter handle:


Organization Facebook page:


Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



Please Describe Yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)



LAb Launch is a non-profit organization with a goal of creating a supportive environment for Life Science startup businesses in Los Angeles

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


LAb Launch plans to establish a Life Science Incubator to launch the next generation of biotech startups in Los Angeles

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


@LAbLaunch wants to build a Life Science incubator and coworking space to support the next generation of biotech startups in LA


Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay





Our goal is to create a business incubator for life science-themed startups. We plan to create a co-working space that provides affordable research space, offices, and business support to the scientist entrepreneurs of LA.

With support from LA2050, we will create and grow a startup incubator that is tailored to the specific needs of the Life Science industry. This facility will offer affordable, high-quality lab space for research, as well as traditional Office-and-Internet business incubation space. We also aim to provide technical and financial support to biotech startups to ensure that they remain in Los Angeles to create jobs and grow our local high-tech economy.



We will gradually build out our support for LA area biotech startups as we progress along a five-year development plan.
Initial work will focus on identifying a site, opening coworking office and laboratory space, and leveraging further support to reach our goals from philanthropy, investments, and professional services. As this project develops, and the number of tenant startups grows, we plan to develop more hands-on support to new Life Tech businesses in the form of business acceleration and investment opportunities through our partners.

With support from LA2050, our plan to create and grow LA’s first early-stage Life Science incubator is as follows:

Stage 1 (Year 1) – We will identify locations for the incubator facility, and begin working with developers on a development plan. At first, we will concentrate on opening office-style incubation space that can be ready to rent within one year of initial funding. This will allow us to welcome our first batch of startups from Digital Health and other virtual biotech spaces. Following office space, we will prioritize making shared meeting space available for local science education, citizen science groups, biotech investor networking, and other community-building purposes for the Life Science industry.

Stage 2 (Years 2-3) – Once office and meeting space is operational and generating facility income through tenancy, we will focus on opening “wet lab” research space (8,000-10,000 square feet), allowing the first biological research-intensive tenants to start up in the incubator. In addition to shared equipment and space, the incubator facility will provide services such as group purchasing, warehousing, and storage, to support the tenant companies and allow them to minimize their costs during their early-stage growth.
We will work with our partners, local business professionals, and investors to create a business accelerator program that will provide investment and support for new high-growth Life Science businesses in LA.

Stage 3 (Years 3-5) – Once the incubator is fully operational with tenant companies, we will focus on growing the base of tenant companies with a goal of expanding operations to a permanent facility (40,000+ square feet) this is designed specifically to house a growing number of startup businesses, provide quality training and education space, and a hub for investment and business startup activity for Life Sciences in Los Angeles.



Life Science technologies are predicted to be among the leading growth industries of the 21st Century. Innovations in healthcare are leading the way to future generations of drugs and health products that will treat illnesses earlier and more effectively, prolonging and increasing the quality of human health. From healthcare to biofuels, to biosynthetic materials, to providing affordable and nutritious food, to creating sustainable habitats for space colonization, the life sciences are central to the biggest opportunities of the coming decades.

Los Angeles is home to several world-class research universities, and thousands of talented young scientists. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is consistently among the top 5 employers in the Life Sciences nationwide. However, there is no entry-level business incubation space for biotech startups, and the few facilities that exist for more mature, growth-stage companies are consistently at or near full capacity. As a result, many scientists and inventors from Los Angeles are moving to other areas that are perceived as more supportive, such as San Francisco and San Diego, to start their biotech businesses.

Creating an open, affordable space in Los Angeles for Life Science startups, along with business support and access to investors and advisers, is essential to reversing this trend. Our facility will allow research discoveries from Los Angeles’ universities to stay in LA, grow into successful businesses, employ staff from the LA area, and lay down a strong foundation for the economy of the 21st Century.

By 2050, some of the early startups that were supported by our incubator will have grown into large, successful businesses, employing thousands of people across Los Angeles. The Founders of these successful companies will become the next generation of investors, as they use the profits from their success to invest capital into the next generation of innovation. Through this community of innovators in Life Sciences, we will be able to anchor a self-sustaining cycle of success and innovation in biotechnology here in Los Angeles.



Our focus for this project is on creating business startups in an industry that is currently dramatically underrepresented in Los Angeles. Several groups are therefore likely to benefit from the creation of this incubator facility and its support for startup Life Science businesses:

Students and Faculty from Los Angeles Universities – The most direct and immediate benefit will be to the scientists and trainees of our area’s many institutions of higher learning. Innovators from our local universities and colleges will be able to access facilities and support to develop businesses for their technologies, without leaving the area. Our open meeting space will allow for better networking with other scientists from across LA, as well as investors, business partners, and grantmakers.

Citizen Scientists and Inventors – This project will allow people from across the LA area to access scientific expertise, technical advice, and professional networks to assist them in developing their ideas into practical technologies. With a central location for the life sciences in LA, individuals with limited knowledge of the industry will have access to collaborations and partnership with seasoned professionals and experts under the same roof.

Life Science Industries in Los Angeles – Development of a more vibrant and productive biotech startup environment in Los Angeles would diminish the attraction of rival cities for LA’s startups. As a result, the industry as a whole would benefit in LA, with more jobs being created locally by startup businesses, providing a broader and deeper pool of professional opportunities for biotech professionals in our area.

Communities of Los Angeles – Our goal is to create an incubator that will allow many biotech startups to be successful and develop locally. As these companies grow, they will need staff – a key feature of biotech is that it requires technical precision and adherence to strict safety protocols. In other words, biotech needs skilled labor: investment in the life sciences will create well-paying, professional jobs that will help reinvigorate our middle class.

K-12 Students – By creating an innovation hub for life sciences in LA, we also provide a central repository of expertise for our industry. Meeting space(s) will be available for teaching and other types of educational activities. Our coworking space will enable students to perform research studies that are beyond the capabilities of their own school's facilities.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "CREATE" metrics?

Employment in creative industries

Arts establishments per capita

Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA

Federal research grant funding

Patents per capita

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned firms

Gini coefficient

Number of high-growth startups

Venture capital investment

Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)

Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

“Number of High-Growth Startups” – Our main focus is to create high-growth startups. The life science industry is one of the fastest-growing and most innovative industries of the 21st Century. We aim to make Los Angeles the center of this growth.

“Jobs per Capita” – In addition to jobs created directly by our incubator facility, our startup tenants, and businesses graduating from the incubator will need to hire staff from the Los Angeles area as they expand and grow.

“Patents per Capita” – By providing a venue for life science startups to incubate and grow locally, more discoveries, patents and other intellectual property assets will be created, and remain invested in the LA area.

“Venture Capital Investment” – A key long-term goal for our facility is to host a group of investors and/or an acceleration fund, to support and develop our tenant companies. The attractiveness of a biotech industry-focused facility and its resident community of innovative life scientists will create new opportunities for Venture Capital to invest in LA startups and people.

“Federal Research Grant Funding” – Our facility will provide the support and shared equipment necessary to allow startups companies to apply for Federal R&D Awards, such as the SBIR/STTR small business grants from the National Institutes of Health.

“Concentration of Manufacturing Activity in LA” – As life science startups become established in our facility, they will need to hire staff and build facilities to actually make their products. By keeping young companies in the LA region during their incubation phase, they are far more likely to stay in the area as they grow and expand.

“Recruiting and Retention Rates at Local Higher Ed.” – Students increasingly look at institutions of higher education with an eye on opportunities to start their own company post-graduation. The presence of a supportive incubator facility and community of scientist-innovators will be a powerful new draw to high-achieving students for our local Universities.

“Percentage of Grads from Local Higher Ed. Remaining in LA 5Yrs Post-Grad.” – By building a life science incubator in LA, we will allow entrepreneurial life scientists to found their startups here in LA, rather than move to San Francisco/San Diego, where there are already such facilities to support their businesses. This incubator will allow LA to retain more of its best students in the life science after graduation at local institutions.



The following groups/businesses are confirmed as partners in this project, and have committed to provide advice and support for our efforts as follows:

Southern California Biomedical Council (SoCalBio) – The trade association for life sciences in Southern California will provide access to investors and professional services for the startups launched through our incubator. Their regular investors’ events will provide a venue for our tenant companies to pitch their businesses and raise capital, as well as network with other industry professionals. The development of an incubator with coworking and open meeting space will provide groups such as SoCalBio dedicated biotech-themed space to hold meetings and events for industry and investors.

LA Biohackers – This citizen science group maintains a small shared laboratory space in downtown LA for small-scale experiments and group projects. The creation of a permanent biotech startup incubator would provide space for growth of their technologies and discoveries, as well as a venue for them to develop public open-access classes in biotechnology – an activity that they are currently unable to perform due to space constraints in their current location. Our partnership with the LA Biohackers will provide community outreach and independent development of public-centered education programs, while providing independent innovators with a permanent home in Los Angeles to grow their technologies into sustainable businesses.

X-PRIZE Foundation – the Director of Life Science competitions for the X-PRIZE Foundation is a co-founder of this project. This will ensure that LA-based innovators have access to new competitions and opportunities. A new Life Science incubator in LA will form a central role in promoting and supporting LA innovators' responses to new X-Prize challenges in the Life Sciences.

Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative (PBC) – This biotech incubator in Pasadena currently supports 18 companies across three separate locations. The PBC will offer us experienced advice about running a life science incubator, and access to an existing base of investors and supporters of the Life Sciences industry from the San Gabriel Valley. Our collaboration will be mutually beneficial by expanding available space for startups, providing a link between the LA Basin and San Gabriel Valley biotech communities, and enhancing access between innovators and investors across the LA region.


LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

LA is the best place to PLAY



Our mission is focused on creating an environment that will foster the creation of high-growth startup businesses. Our metrics of success will therefore be focused both on the success of the incubator facility itself, and on the success of our incubator’s startup tenants.
Specifically, we aim to collect and measure the following metrics to evaluate our success:

1) Number of Startups launched.
2) Number of LA area jobs created by a) our facility b) our tenant startups
3) Total Private Investment in a) our facility b) our tenant startups
4) Total Public Funding (i.e. State/Federal Research Grants) in a) our facility b) our tenant startups
5) Public valuation of companies that have graduated from our incubator



The first lesson that led us to this project is data from the Life Sciences industry: Los Angeles is one of the top 5 cities in the USA by employment for the life science industry, but lags well behind other cities that have smaller biotech footprints, including San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston, in terms of entrepreneurial activity. The key reason for this is that, although these other cities have smaller overall biotech workforces, they have both facilities to incubate early-stage startup businesses, and an activist investor community in the life sciences – made up primarily of individuals who were once themselves biotech entrepreneurs in those cities. We learned that if Los Angeles is to lead the world in biotech, then we need to create a supportive community for life science entrepreneurs here in LA.

The second factor in our foundation is the trend of urban development in Los Angeles itself. Collaboration is key to innovation, but due to its sprawling nature, Los Angeles has historically suffered from a lack of interaction between its institutions of higher education and research. We view the development of rapid transit across LA as a game-changer in this regard; the growing light rail system will soon connect the major universities and research institutions in Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley (CalTech, City of Hope), East LA (CSULA, USC-HSC), Downtown (USC), the Westside (UCLA), and South Bay (UCLA-Harbor, CSULB). As this system develops, it creates an opportunity for easier access to facilities and people in these centers for collaborators from across LA. We envision that a coworking incubator hub in the area of downtown LA will serve to link together all of the LA centers of excellence, and drive collaborative innovation across the region.



With support from LA2050, we will have sufficient startup capital to begin moving forward on this project. We will employ an initial staff to implement the first stage of our project plan. The specific goals for this first-year program are:

1) Identify and rent a temporary coworking office space for “digital health” and other “virtual biotech” tenants to establish incubator activity, and begin assisting startups in this space.

2) Identify a site for permanent incubator facility with research labs. Partner with developers & investors to begin the process of planning renovation & construction.

3) Bring together a network of investors that will commit to supporting the incubator and its startup businesses going forward. Work with these partners to establish an investment fund or angel group that will be available to provide intimate business growth support (i.e. an accelerator program) and investment to the biotech startups in our incubator.

With $100,000 in seed funding from the LA2050 competition, we believe that these aims are very achievable for our project. A key focus for our team will be to build on this award by reaching out to the broader philanthropic community, investor groups, and State/Federal grant agencies for funding. With a professional staff and the publicity gained from the LA2050 competition, we believe that we will be able to raise a substantial amount of funding that will be necessary to drive this project to full completion.



A common concern to all business incubators is how the incubator itself can be self-sustaining, while offering high-level service to its tenants. Businesses that have been successful in this space share two key characteristics: they have support from the local community, and strong links to an active and involved investment group.

We plan to work with a broad network of advisers from both public and private sectors, local investment groups and institutes of higher learning. We intend to provide high-quality support to life science startups in LA, wherever they come from, and whatever their path to the marketplace. Therefore, we will work with our partners across the region to identify opportunities for the development of our companies, while being mindful of the differing needs of the various communities we will serve.


Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

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by djwri
over 1 year ago

I want to connect incubators like this with all the future life sciences students you didn't know existed. We should work together.

by jaredhardy
over 1 year ago

Yay for Biotech!

by kary3
over 1 year ago

So you're going to have a physical building that houses biotech startups? 'bout time. I'm a grad student at ucla and I'm shocked at how little support there is for moving tech out of the labs and into business development. I hope you do well in this contest :-)

by suzys
over 1 year ago

Great plan! I hope this come to fruition.

by oscarV
over 1 year ago

I was surprised to see this in my inbox this morning. I want to come talk to your group next time I'm back in LA.

by PeteraDerson
over 1 year ago

Is this going to be in conjunction with the universities? Like qb3 and UCSF?

by MandyA
over 1 year ago

Looks like you have a lot of connections already in place. Good work. Hopefully this gets off the ground (real building and equipment etc) sooner rather than later. LA is already waaaaay behind the big 3 biotech cities.

by christinep
over 1 year ago

Good luck, I'm excited for biotech!

by jammiebost
over 1 year ago

It's about time someone made a serious plan for LA biotech. We've been bleeding talent to SF and SD for years now.

by antoniohall
over 1 year ago

I am the CEO of a new biotech company here in Los Angeles. There are very few resources for companies like mine in LA. The facilities proposed by LAbLaunch would be perfect for us! If this doesn't happen, my company (like so many others in our position) will be forced to move either to SF or SD. LAbLaunch will definitely help keep innovation and high-paying science jobs in LA. Please vote for it!

by ValiNano
over 1 year ago

With collaborators like SoCalBio and Pasadena Biosciences Collaborative this is bound to make a real difference for startups in Los Angeles, and for the STEM graduates the startups will hire. It is timely so I give my wholehearted support.

by ResearchStaffing
over 1 year ago

LA really needs a communal space for scientists, citizen scientists, industry and academia to mix and share thoughts and ideas around science. From experience, I've seen the amazing projects and ideas that have been dreamt up in community biotech labs like Biocurious, Genspace, LAB, Counter Culture labs and Berkeley Biolabs and LA would be a wonderful place to build incredible community science and science based startups!

by ryan.bethencourt
over 1 year ago

So excited about what this does for the long term creative science future of LA! Investing in a group like this that helps other groups get off the ground is a no-brainer. Please vote for it!

by dtighe
over 1 year ago

I'm very interested in the collaborative environment that you have envisioned. Good luck!

by aliquotthis
over 1 year ago

So excited to see this becoming a reality! Los Angeles is long overdue a shot at being the #1 biotech city in America!

by llewellyn.cox
over 1 year ago

Thanks! We're genuinely humbled by the support for this campaign. We owe you all the Thanks, and we promise to work as hard as we can to make this dream a reality soon!

by llewellyn.cox
over 1 year ago

We'd be more than happy to meet you. Contact Llewellyn at llewellyn@lieulabs.com next time you're in town!

by llewellyn.cox
over 1 year ago

We are an independent non-profit organization. Our goal is to create an innovation hub where everyone can collaborate and experiment.

So... more along the lines of Berkeley Biolabs or Bio Tech & Beyond

by llewellyn.cox
over 1 year ago

Please feel free to get in touch - I'd love to know what your needs are and what we could do to help as you start up! - email Llewellyn at llewellyn@lieulabs.com

by GoodBadScience
over 1 year ago

Thanks Suzy, we can't wait to have you in the lab tinkering and building new biotechnologies. Every vote counts so if you can please share and email students you think might be interested in supporting the space, it's for everyone in LA that has a passion for science and biotechnology :) http://myLA2050create.maker.good.is/projects/LALabLaunch

by ryan.bethencourt
over 1 year ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0
Streetcraft LA
Streetcraft LA

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014