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We often talk of tech and social startups on MeetAdvisors, but an often-overlooked member of the startup community is arguably the most important one as well. The science startup world is giving us some amazing ways to improve our way of life, and the incubators that host them are helping influence the world.

One of the first in the nation to assist biotech startups is The Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Institute (often referred to as Sid Martin Biotech Incubator). Located in Progress Corporate Park in Alachua, Florida just up the road from the University of Florida, the bio-business incubator opened its doors to promising startups in 1995.



Named the 2013 Incubator of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association, Sid Martin has quite a lofty résumé. Built with funds from the USDA, University of Florida and the State of Florida, the $11.5 million property provides its resident companies with specialized facilities and labs, one million dollars worth of shared science equipment, greenhouses and deep relationships with investors and bigwigs in the biotech industry.

Given the time and resources it takes for a biotech startup to really mature and become a viable company, their stats are truly impressive: in the past nine months one Sid Martin company was bought for $113 million, a graduate company received $37.5 million in a VC round, one had a $20.8 million financing and yet another landed a $135.8 million DOD contract. Out of the 48 companies admitted, 37 are still active or have been acquired.



Between investments, contracts, grants and mergers and acquisitions, startups coming out of Sid Martin Biotech have attracted over one billion dollars in funding and helped the University of Florida achieve its ranking as the top single public university to publicize commercial success, as rated by the Milken Institute.

Competition is tough: hopefuls have to be approved by a committee of advisors who are located across the country. All residents are only approved for one year at a time, reapplying and presenting the progress they’ve made as well as their plans for the upcoming year. Many companies are reaccepted, but those who are not are placed in other biotech incubators.



Sid Martin typically graduates about one company every year, and the average time a startup stays with them is between six and 10 years. Currently hosting nine resident startups, the program is at 99 percent capacity and always accepting applications.

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