Y Combinator makes first follow-on investment to synthetic biology start-up

Ginkgo Bioworks raised $45m in an oversubscribed Series B round from three returning investors and new investor Viking Global.

Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based synthetic biology start-up, raised $45 million in an oversubscribed Series B round. Y Combinator, an American seed fund, made its first follow-on investment, though new investor Viking Global led the round. Other returning investors include OS Fund and Felicis Ventures.

Ginkgo’s Series A was Y Combinator’s first biotech investment. The seed fund has backed the likes of AirBnB, Dropbox and Disqus.

Founded in 2008, Ginkgo builds organisms to spec for customers across the food, health and consumer goods markets. The company raised $9 million earlier this year in a Series A round led by Data Collective (DCVC), plus Vast Ventures, iGlobe Partners, and a number of angel investors, according to CrunchBase.

“This new financing allows us to further expand into real-world products in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors as well as add to our world-class team of engineers and designers,” Jason Kelly, co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, said in a statement.

The company plans to use some of the funding to further develop Bioworks2, an automated machine that requires another 10,000 square feet of space.

According to the statement, Ginkgo currently has more than 20 organism design contracts with customers including the development of organic pesticides with an agriculture company, sweeteners for a major beverage company and rose oils for a French fragrance company, Robertet.

Competitior Zymergen, a microbial DNA-making tech company, in June raised $44 million in Series A from a range of venture capital firms including DCVC.