Building Breakthrough Genomics Startups

Illumina Accelerator Startup Funding

At Illumina, we’re committed to unlocking the power of the genome, and we know we can’t do it alone. Illumina Accelerator is our way of accelerating innovation in the entrepreneurial community. With extensive mentorship, financial support, and access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space, we are building a dynamic ecosystem to help genomics startups launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK. Together, we'll advance breakthrough applications in genomics, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications.

Now accepting applications

Drive value for your genomics startup. Apply to Illumina Accelerator's next funding cycle today!

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Meet Illumina Accelerator Graduates

Meet Illumina Accelerator Graduates

Illumina Accelerator is all about partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups. Hear from graduates about their experiences.

Take a Look Inside Illumina Accelerator

Take a Look Inside Illumina Accelerator

Find out how we're teaming up with entrepreneurs to create genomics startups and advance breakthrough applications. Meet some of our startups and coaches.

Applications for our 11th Funding Cycle in SF Bay Area and our 1st Funding Cycle in Cambridge, UK
Due November 1, 2019

Drive value for your genomics startup. Apply to Illumina Accelerator’s next funding cycle today!

Illumina Accelerator is the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. During the six-month funding cycle, each startup will gain access to seed investment, Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, BaseSpace, as well as business guidance and fully operational lab space.

Get answers to common questions about Illumina Accelerator


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During the six-month funding cycle, Illumina Accelerator offers genomics-driven startups four key resources - capital and access to capital, sequencing and genomics expertise, coaching, and lab and office space in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK.

  • Capital: Through our partners, we provide access to seed investment.
  • Sequencing: While at Illumina Accelerator, our startups have access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, genomics experts, a subscription to BaseSpace Correlation Engine and BaseSpace Cohort Analyzer.
  • Coaching: We provide our startups with high quality business guidance and expertise to help guide your go-to-market strategy, financing strategy, team building, and beyond.
  • Facility: Our startups have access to fully equipped lab and office space in the so they can begin experiments on day one. Our current facility is co-located at the Illumina site in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our second facility will be co-located at the Illumina Centre in Cambridge UK, opening Spring 2020.

We help create early stage, genomics-driven startups from across the globe to drive new commercial innovations and unlock the power of the genome.

Our investments are advancing breakthrough applications in genomics, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, software, and direct-to-consumer applications.



Algen Biotechnologies, Inc., a therapeutic discovery company, is building an intelligent platform to decode functional gene networks for drug discovery.
Algen Biotechnologies, Inc.
Center of Individualized Diagnostic (CID), the first Illumina Accelerator Fellow is working to bringing cancer genomics diagnostics to Saudi Arabia.
Center for Individualized Diagnostics
Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Mostafa Ronaghi

Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D., joined Illumina in August 2008.  As Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, he is responsible for leading internal research and technology development (RTD) and is co-founder of Illumina Accelerator, the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry.

Ronaghi is an experienced entrepreneur and was involved in founding several start-ups in the life sciences companies. Most recently, he led the formation internally at Illumina of GRAIL Bio, a new company formed to enable cancer screening from a simple blood test.   In 2007, Ronaghi co-founded Avantome, a privately held sequencing company (acquired by Illumina in 2008). Before this, he co-founded NextBio, a search engine for life science data (acquired by Illumina in 2013). In 2001, Ronaghi co-founded ParAllele Bioscience, which was eventually acquired by Affymetrix, Inc., and was involved in the development and commercialization of highly multiplexed technology for genetic testing. In 1997, he co-founded Pyrosequencing AB, which was renamed to Biotage in 2003, and led the company to a successful initial public offering in June 2000 on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

Ronaghi was a principal investigator at Stanford University from 2002 until 2008 and focused on the development of novel tools for molecular diagnostic applications. He serves on the board of directors of BaseHealth and Clear Labs. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of GRAIL Bio.

Ronaghi earned his Ph.D. from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He holds more than 30 (pending and issued) patents and has written more than 90 peer-reviewed publications in journals and books.

Amanda Cashin, Ph.D.
Global Head of Illumina Accelerator
Amanda Cashin

Amanda Cashin, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and Global Head of Illumina Accelerator, a leading company creation engine and investment vehicle focused on building genomics-driven startups. Founded in Fall 2014 in San Francisco, Illumina Accelerator is investing in emerging startups, advancing breakthrough applications in genomics, including applications in therapeutics, women’s health, cancer diagnostics, consumer nutrition, agriculture, synthetic biology, and skin microbiome.

Previously, Amanda was Senior Vice President of Alexandria Venture Investments/Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. In her role, she helped lead Alexandria Venture Investments, which has over $250 million in capital deployed and committed to breakthrough life science and technology companies and leading venture capital funds. Amanda also led a team of life science professionals with strong science and business expertise responsible for industry research, company analysis, business development, and thought leadership limitations to help position Alexandria at the forefront of the industry.

She earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from the California Institute of Technology and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Organic Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her scientific expertise and peer-reviewed publications are in the fields of biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, pharmacology, electrophysiology, and neuroscience.

Courtney McCormick, Ph.D.
Seed Investments & Technology, Illumina Accelerator
Courtney McCormick

Courtney is Staff Scientist at Illumina Accelerator San Francisco Bay Area where she is responsible for portfolio investments and provides technology expertise, scientific direction, and market insights to genomics startups.

Courtney joined Illumina in 2008 as Technical Account Manager in the FastTrack Sequencing Services team, expanding Illumina’s network of key opinion leaders and enabling early research in the field of genomics with data from the first Genome Analyzer systems. She led process integration for the launch of phasing and long reads sequencing services for FastTrack and supported the scale-up of whole genome sequencing. Prior to Illumina, Courtney studied genetics in the labs of Professors Linda Boxer and Rick Myers at Stanford University. She earned a doctorate in Bioinformatics from University of California, San Francisco under the mentorship of Bioinformatics Department Director, Patricia Babbitt. Courtney studied transgenic mice and patient samples to identify genes involved in autism and computationally investigated alternative splicing, HPV detection, and microRNA diversity. She served as a panelist to award SBIR/STTR grants and led student associations at UCSF to support women in research careers.


Marc Martin-Casas, Ph.D.
Seed Investments & Development, Illumina Accelerator

Marc joined Illumina in 2019 to support the sourcing and development of Illumina Accelerator startups. Previously, Marc led Biotech Connection - Bay Area, an incorporated nonprofit that accelerates innovation and development for biotech startups and big pharma by bringing together academic scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors. Prior to that, Marc was on the investment team at Lam Research Capital, where he sourced and performed diligence on life science investment opportunities. 

Marc earned his Ph.D. in Computational Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he focused on the development of novel tools to characterize, model, and predict heterogeneous behavior in cell populations and other complex biochemical systems. Marc obtained his MSc in Biochemical Engineering with first-class honors from University College London and his BSc in Biotechnology with highest honors from Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Jay T. Flatley
Executive Chairman, Illumina
Jay Flatley

Jay led Illumina as CEO from 1999 until 2016 and now serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. During his tenure as CEO, he took the company from $1.3 million in sales in 2000 to$2.2 billion in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate of 64 percent. He oversaw the company’s expansion from microarrays into next-generation sequencing with the acquisitionofSolexa in 2006, and from research into clinical and applied markets. Under his leadership, Illumina was named multiple times to the Deloitte &Touche Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists, as well as to the Forbes 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies (2007, 2009 and 2010), the Fortune 100Fastest-Growing Companies (2010 and 2011) lists, and recognition by MIT Technology Review as the World’s Smartest Company in 2014.   

Jay chairs the Board of Directors for Illumina. In addition to his work at Illumina, he serves on the Boards of Directors at Coherent, Denali,Iridia and on the Board of Trustees for The Salk Institute and is an Advisory Board member for UC San Diego’sMoores Cancer Center. Previously, Jay served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Dynamics, later acquired byAmersham Pharmacia Biotech and now a part of GE Healthcare. As a co-founder and member of the board of directors for Molecular Dynamics he led the company to its initial public offering in 1993. While there, he also helped Molecular Dynamics develop and launch over 15major instrumentation systems, including the first capillary-based DNAsequencer. Prior to joining Molecular Dynamics, Jay was Vice President of Engineering and Strategic Planning for Plexus Computers, Executive Vice President for Manning Technologies and held various positions at Spectra Physics.

Jay received a B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College and a B.S. and M.S. (summa cum laude) in industrial engineering from Stanford University.

Mya Thomae
Mya Thomae

Mya Thomae is currently advising organizations that are doing good for the world, science and their employees. Mya most recently was Illumina’s Vice President of Regulatory, Clinical and Medical Affairs. Mya has more than twenty years of experience as a regulatory professional including founding and running Myraqa, a boutique regulatory affairs consulting firm purchased by Illumina in 2014. Mya has extensive experience in gaining regulatory approvals for novel IVDs in the United States and Europe. This work has included PMAs, 510(k)s and de novo 510(k)s in the United States for both kit and lab-based products. In the European Union, Mya has experience with working with Notified Bodies and Competent Authorities on List A, List B and self-certified products. Certified by the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) since 1994, Mya also received the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation in 2009 as a member of the rRt-PCR Flu Panel Team for exceptional performance and dedication in addressing complex regulatory and scientific issues in the clearance of a CDC test to diagnose human influenza infection.

David L. Barker, Ph.D.
David L. Barker

Dr. David L. Barker currently serves on the Boards of Directors of BioNano Genomics, AmideBio and Singular Genomics Systems, and is Board Member and Chairman at Integrated Diagnostics and IntegenX, Inc. He is a scientific advisor to MiNDERA Corp. He was Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Illumina, Inc., from 2000 to 2007, and on the Illumina scientific advisory board through 2015. He was previously on the Boards of NextBio, which was acquired by Illumina in 2013, ProteinSimple, which was acquired by Bio-Techne in 2014, and Zephyrus Biosciences, Inc., which was acquired by Bio-Techne in 2016. Dr. Barker served from 1998 to 2000 as Vice President and Chief Science Advisor at Amersham Biosciences, now part of General Electric. From 1988 to 1998, Dr. Barker held senior positions, including Vice President of Research and Business Development, at Molecular Dynamics, Inc., until the acquisition of Molecular Dynamics by Amersham.

In his academic career, Dr. Barker conducted interdisciplinary research in neurobiology as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon and Associate Professor at Oregon State University. Dr. Barker holds a BS with honors in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University.

Mark Van Oene
Senior Vice President &
Chief Commercial Officer, Illumina
Mark Van Oene

Mark Van Oene is Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Illumina, a position he has held since 2017. Presently, Van Oene is also the acting General Manager for Greater China. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s commercial strategy and is responsible for world-wide sales, services and marketing. Van Oene was previously Illumina’s Senior Vice President of the Americas region and subsequently named interim Chief Commercial Officer in late 2016. Van Oene joined Illumina in 2006 as Regional Account Manager for Canada. In 2008, he assumed the role of Senior Director of Sales for the Americas and was promoted to Vice President with responsibility for global sales in 2012. In early 2014, Van Oene was named the General Manager for the Americas region, advancing to Senior Vice President in April 2016.

Prior to Illumina, Van Oene was Director, Genotyping Services for Ellipsis Biotherapeutics.

Van Oene earned a B.S. in biochemistry from Western University and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto in Molecular and Medical Genetics.

Illumina Ventures is an independently managed venture fund in a strategic partnership with Illumina. Illumina provides the majority of Illumina Ventures capital and access to the expertise and vision of the world's leading genomics solutions provider.


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The description of Illumina Accelerator presented on this website is for informational purposes only, and is subject to change. A full description of Illumina Accelerator, the terms and conditions of participation, and the rights and obligations of Illumina and selected participants will be available upon request.