Welcome to Altitude Lab

Chandana Batchu Haque
Published in
4 min readAug 10, 2020


Here, we rise together

Today, I am thrilled to open applications to Altitude Lab. A year-long effort from Recursion and the University of Utah’s Technology & Venture Commercialization team is rapidly coming to fruition.

In truth, Altitude Lab has been bubbling in many of our minds for years. It seeks to quell the unseen loneliness that every founder feels at the beginning.

For me, kernels of Altitude Lab started in 2016 when I started looking for a home that would propel innovation and inspire me to build. I had what a friend called “founder frenzy,” an insatiable hunger to create, but with little direction on what to build.

My solution, as for many confused product-people, was to go to business school. I lived in the Mission District in San Francisco and commuted to Berkeley every day; I drank the Silicon Valley kool-aid. It was during that time that I found myself at the same party every week. You might know the one — a room of hyper-extroverted investors/bankers/lawyers trying to bond with promising founders who are still shocked that they scored an invite to this party at all. I started recognizing a pattern across a mixed set of classmates, scientists, and entrepreneurial friends. Despite being in the room that so many craved access to, we felt inexplicably like misfits. It became clear, while building a company is unimaginably hard, finding a community where you fit and are genuinely supported is harder.

A couple years later, in a not-an-interview conversation with Chris Gibson, CEO and founder of Recursion, I found myself saying,

“Building an incubator is about building a community.”

The sentence popped out of my mouth but it absolutely was the seed that gave rise to Altitude Lab.

Designing Altitude Lab’s flexible, co-working office. Yes, they are standing desks!

At Altitude we are building a commons for those who are creating a healthier future and, like us, can’t satiate the hunger to tackle big, complex problems. We believe that a healthier future starts with elevating diverse and inclusive companies. And that innovation depends on the creativity that only representation makes possible. We support these companies in real ways:

We’ve created the dream lab and modern, flexible office that will enable resident startups to achieve key milestones and raise that first major investment. We give residents two years in our facility because we want them to graduate into their own space, but only when they are ready.

Not every founder has access to fundraising expertise or the friends and family network to jumpstart their business. Our Trail Angel Grant offers ten zero-cost, zero-equity residency seats each year for promising founders and companies. More funding opportunities will be announced soon.

We put our founders at the focus of every partnership we pursue and every program we build. This means that founders will build meaningful relationships with the best investors, mentors, and coaches in the business and build a community in the process. This community starts with IP and strategy experts from the TVC and technology thought leaders at Recursion, both of whom are eagerly waiting to jump in and help.

Education & learning.
Life science and health care is about as hard a sector as you can be in. We are disambiguating the regulatory steps, teaching partnership negotiation, helping to size markets, and so much more. This way, residents build intelligent business roadmaps and can evolve from founder to business leader.

We do all of this while modeling and teaching diversity, inclusion, and allyship because businesses that address a global health economy and diverse patient population can’t afford to neglect these principles any longer.

Altitude Lab opened applications for our first cohort this week. If you’ve been starving for a community to build your changing-lives-forever idea with, apply! I hope to see you at our lab opening this October.

This isn’t the hustle —
It’s the frontier.




Chandana Batchu Haque

Science lover | Bossy | Always-learning-ally | Fierce friend, mama, and wife (she/her) Twitter: @chandanananana