Experiment, the crowdfunding platform for scientific research, is currently trending on AngelList, and for good reason: researchers from over 150 institutions and universities are using Experiment to fund important seed-stage research that would otherwise go unfunded. The new platform seeks to fix how research funding today is currently allocated: “How we fund scientific research will be vastly different in 20 years, and the future direction is toward an open and democratic platform for funding science. Since 2010, 80% of principal investigators spend more time writing grant proposals and 67% are struggling with less funding. ‘Big science’ has become synonymous with ‘budget cuts.”
Co-Founded by Cindy Wu, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar who won the iGEM World Championship in 2011, and Denny Luan, a former researcher on gene silencing, mRNA computing and logic, the platform already counts Stanford University, Columbia University and UCLA among its partners. In a former life, Wu used a videogame to re-engineer an enzyme treatment for anthrax bacteria and developed a two year love-hate relationship with dendritic cells. The cofounders decided to leave their scientific careers to create Experiment.com because they saw too many great projects will potential not getting funded. The platform was incubated at Y Combinator.
Founded in 2012 as Microryza and relaunched as Experiment in early 2014, the crowdfunding platform aims to helpbankroll projects that range from space and chemistry to ecology and medicine. “Almost all the donors are individuals,” Experiment.com co-founder Cindy Wu said. “We expected it would be people with money, but we found that many of them were in academia and a lot are parents and families of [ill] patients.” A 5% fee is only collected from donors if and when the funding goal is met.
Lizette Chapman of the WSJ reported, SV Angel Managing Partner David Lee said he invested in the startup both because the research and scientific grants space was ripe for an overhaul and the team was authentic. “They are building something for themselves; something they would want to use,” Mr. Lee said. “Basic scientific research is the building block of innovation and they are the passionate, smart team to help re-engineer the scientific process.”
Some Open Access Lab Notes which feature current research projects include: Are Implanted Prosthetic Legs for Horses Possible?; Do Nanorobots Have a Role in Medicine?; Can We Defeat EBOLA with an Experimental CANCER Drug? Additional campaign information is available to registered AngelList investors.