Swiftscale Biologics is Racing to Scale Up a Treatment for COVID-19 / Looking for Key Hires

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system and cause widespread mortality. The medical and pharmaceutical community must act quickly to develop treatments to prevent the unmitigated spread of this disease. One of the companies created last year in our 8VC build program, SwiftScale Biologics, is working hard to meet this challenge.

SwiftScale was co-founded last year by 8VC’s entrepreneur-in-residence, David Mace, along with professors Matthew DeLisa of Cornell and Michael Jewett of Northwestern who developed the foundational technology. They have developed a cell-free platform to enzymatically modify complex proteins. These modifications lead to proteins…

It’s bad for the innovation economy, doesn’t work in practice, and is fundamentally unAmerican

The presidential campaigns of Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren sparked national debate about many progressive policies that failed to gain mainstream attention in the past. Both senators are pitching a “wealth tax” as part of their arsenal to disrupt an economic system that they believe is rigged against common Americans. The wealth tax — a special tax on ultra-high-net-worth individuals — sounds like a pretty good idea to many middle- and working-class Americans. The tax would be levied on the appraised value of everything an individual already owns — real estate, stakes in private companies, cars, and even…

Over the last two centuries, Americans have created levels of wealth that our ancestors could never have imagined. The propulsive mechanism of economic growth is innovation: new techniques that allow businesses to deliver cheaper, superior products to the world. Although we celebrate lone geniuses and “lightbulb” moments, innovation does not take place in a flash of brilliance. In fact, most innovation consists of small marginal improvements made by companies looking for an edge in competitive markets. The unsung heroes of the American economy are the millions of men and women constantly tinkering with and subtly refining unseen processes in production…

America’s nonprofit sector is booming. There are now over one and a half million nonprofits registered with the IRS, contributing nearly one trillion dollars to the economy. Private giving has risen to $430 billion, the highest level ever.[1] Such private philanthropy often accomplishes things government services cannot. Private philanthropy allows for experimentation with a broader range of ideas, producing a greater variety of solutions and approaches to problem-solving in general. Philanthropic organizations often achieve considerably more success than government in addressing pressing issues. …

American society mythologizes great inventors and celebrates the “stroke of genius”. But profound ideas are usually the result of incremental and often painstaking progress on hard technical problems. Entrepreneurs must rapidly prototype, test their products against the market to determine if they’re addressing real challenges, and develop profitable business models, all at the same time. We designed the 8VC Entrepreneur-in-Residence program with this reality in mind.

Our EIR program gives talented new founders the time, space, and intellectual environment to develop revolutionary new businesses. Today we’re proud to announce that 8VC Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Andrew Berberick and Nate Robert are launching Baton

“In every country it always is and must be the interest of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition is so very manifest that it seems ridiculous to take any pains to prove it; nor could it ever have been called in question had not the interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers confounded the common sense of mankind…” — Adam Smith[1]

Rembrandt. ‘Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild’. 1662

American capitalism is under siege. Nationalist-Right politicians defend reincarnations of 20th century industrial policy and blame weak wage growth on immigrants and foreign exporters. Meanwhile far-Left politicians…

Why He Embodies the Ideals of the Cicero Institute

Marcus Tullius Cicero has long inspired visionaries. The rediscovery of his works helped spark the Renaissance, and his writings pervaded the thoughts of America’s Founders. He was one of the most eloquent defenders of liberty and republican government that ever lived. Yet today, Cicero has been largely forgotten. Sometimes people ask me why we chose the name “Cicero Institute” for our group promoting policy reform. Below are eight reasons Cicero embodies the ideals that our institute tries to cultivate and spread. I also explain how Cicero’s legacy shapes our modern life, and how his life can enlighten us today.

Believed in the Power of Ideas


“What Congress should not do is heavily regulate the PBM industry by establishing hundreds of rules about how PBMs are allowed to profit from their business. This kind of Soviet, top-down approach is a terrible way to run an economy, and PBMs will inevitably find ways to game the system. Price transparency is a simpler, more American solution.”

Price-signaling is the backbone of a free market. Prices allow customers, businesses, and investors to decide when there is too much or too little of some good, and to bargain if a good is too expensive. …

Our state has an opportunity to lead the nation in criminal justice reform by dramatically reducing the corrections population and state expenditures while improving public safety. Rather than trapping people in our corrections system in a permanent cycle of crime and punishment, we must develop strategies that allow these individuals to return to peaceful lives in their communities. Instead of paying correctional officers to “warehouse” and “process” human beings, we must reward them for helping detainees reintegrate and become productive members of society.

California has made historic strides in reducing its prison population since a Supreme Court decision in 2011…

…But ’tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg…

-Brutus, Act II Scene I, Julius Caesar

Our government is…

Joe Lonsdale

Joe Lonsdale is a founding partner at 8VC, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund.

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