Helixworks, the Cork-based DNA data storage start-up, has been named among the 50 finalists for the ninth annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch event taking place in March.
In the past few years, Ireland has had an increasing presence at the annual SXSW conference in the US, most notably last year when people from business, research and culture descended on Austin, Texas to show what the country has to offer.
In 2017, many of these will return again, but an additional win for Irish start-ups came with the announcement that Cork-based DNA data storage company Helixworks was named in the final 50 of the SXSW Accelerator Pitch.
New device turns data into DNA in real time
The start-up was founded from the IndieBio EU accelerator (now called RebelBio) and is led by Nimesh Chandra, who said the company plans to launch a new machine that it has developed, called MOSS 2.0.
According to Chandra, the machine is capable of transforming digital data into DNA in real time and will “break barriers in the speed of DNA synthesis”.
He added: “At SXSW, we will demonstrate, live to our audience and also at the expo floor, a biotech product that is going to cross the barriers of our understanding of biology, our understanding of science – everything. This is going to be a plug-and-play machine with a drag-and-drop user interface.”
Back in July, the company made headlines after it announced that it was the first company in the world to offer DNA data storage to anyone, straight from Amazon.
By purchasing DNA Drive, a person can store 512KB of data onto genetic information that is stored in a golden pill, which could potentially last for thousands of years.
“If you had something like DNA, which is really tiny and very easy to store, [the data] could technically survive a nuclear blast inside a capsule,” Chandra said to Siliconrepublic.com at the time. “All of these things make it really long-term.”
— Irish Consulate (@IrelandCGAustin) January 25, 2017
Only Irish start-up selected
Helixworks is not the only company looking into the technology, as Microsoft revealed last year that it had purchased 10m strands of DNA to develop new methods of data storage.
Of the 50 start-ups to join the accelerator pitch event taking place on 11 and 12 March this year, Helixworks is the only one to originate from Ireland.
Once all of the start-ups have pitched their companies to a panel of judges and a live audience, one start-up will be selected as the winner of each of the 10 categories and will be included in the SXSW Accelerator.
The full list of companies and where they come from are as follows:
Augmented and virtual reality technologies finalists
Fibrum – Moscow, Russia
Holojam – New York
Lampix – San Francisco
Oncomfort – Houston
Teleporter VR – Istanbul, Turkey
Enterprise and smart data technologies finalists
Deep 6 Analytics – Pasadena
Helixworks Technologies – Cork, Ireland
LivingLens – Liverpool, United Kingdom
Metadata – San Francisco
Speechmatics – Cambridge, United Kingdom
Entertainment and content technologies finalists
Haste – Atlanta
Laugh.ly – San Francisco
MuuseLabs – Brussels, Belgium
Novel Effect – Seattle
Triseum – Bryan, Texas
Health and wearables technologies finalists
Bloomlife – San Francisco
iSono Health – San Francisco
Litmus Health – Austin
Saathi – Ahmedabad, India
Sound Scouts – Sydney, Australia
Innovative world technologies finalists
AnyQuip – Calgary, Canada
Envi – Los Angeles
FishViews – Wimberley, Texas
Makerarm – Austin
Thimble.io – Buffalo, New York
Payment and fintech technologies finalists
AssetVault – London, United Kingdom
CNote – Oakland, California
Envudu – Springville, Utah
Hip Pocket – Lincoln, New England
Kickfurther – Boulder, Colorado
Security and payment technologies finalists
Emergent Network Defense – Washington, DC
Secr Secure – Barcelona, Spain
Umbo CV – San Francisco
UnifyID – San Francisco
Uplevel Security – New York
Social and culture technologies finalists
4Gifters – Milan, Italy
Envy – Palo Alto, California
Lily – San Diego
Module – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
NextBillion – Vancouver, Canada
Sports technologies finalists
Brizi – Toronto, Canada
HorseAnalytics GmbH – Hanover, Germany
Kymira – Reading, United Kingdom
Season Share – Los Angeles
Wyp Aviation – Huntsville, Alabama
Transportation technologies finalists
Driver WatchDog – Buffalo, New York
Fingertips Lab – San Francisco
HAAS Alert – Chicago
Spatial.ai – Detroit
SPLT – Austin