When the definite book on the American Dream finally comes out, Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin deserve at least a chapter in it. I am not saying this because they just got married, nor because Sergey was the richest 30 something ellegible bachelor in the world but because theirs is a story of love that started well before the fame, went on in spite of it (not easy) and on top of this. Not only is this a story of his megasuccess anymore but Anne is now bringing her own potentially revolutionary start up to the relationship. 23andme Anne’s genetic mapping venture just got funded, and if she is successful not only will Sergey and Larry have delivered a world in which we can actually find things but Anne and Linda will deliver a world in which we can really know who we are.

What follows is the press release of the financing round in which I am an investor as well. 23andme is the ultimate user generated content site in the sense that users contribute their most intimate content, their genes. Why would people do this? Many reasons: desire to know how closely related they are to others, ability to understand human history through genes, increasing the chances of surviving negative genetic conditioning, helping medicine. The risk in this venture is similar to most in the web 2.0 world and that is that the user generated content, this time in the form of bodily fluids, does not materialize. Will people actually send their samples? I really hope so because it would be of great benefit to all.

23andMe, Inc. Completes Series A Financing

(Mountain View, CA) May 22, 2007 – 23andMe, Inc., a privately held, early-stage personal genetics company today announced it had closed its Series A Preferred Stock Financing, which included investments from, among others, Genentech, Inc., Google Inc., MDV- Mohr Davidow Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

Terms of the financing were not disclosed.

“Achieving this significant funding milestone enables us to move forward with our core mission of connecting people with their own genetic information,” said Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe. “We are thrilled and honored to have attracted the backing of such a diverse, proven and innovative group of investors.”

23andMe is focused on empowering individuals to access, explore, and better understand their genetic information, making use of recent advances in DNA analysis technologies and proprietary web-based software tools. The company currently plans to launch at the end of the year and will provide more information at that time.

“Our goal is to allow individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry, genealogy and inherited traits and, ultimately, the option to work together to advance the overall understanding of the human genome,” said Anne Wojcicki, co-founder.

The company is being advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, genomics, bio-ethics and bioinformatics.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Mike on May 23, 2007  · 

Esta noticia hace dias (si no semanas) que circula en medios de Silicon Valley, como Valleywag (que lleva desde enero hablando del compromiso, y el dia 14 de este mes anuncio que habia tenido lugar la boda).

Felicidades a la pareja!

Greg on May 23, 2007  · 

It’s great to see this take off – the more groups that help connect people directly to their genes the better. We’ve been hosting SNPedia, a wiki discussing gene variations. It’s bound to be the case that as more and more people acquire their own genotypes (or sequences), whether through 23andMe or other sources, there will be many opportunities for both individuals and investors.

Bruce on May 27, 2007  · 

Exactly what 23andme is going to do is not clear, and that raises many questions. Will people pay to have their genome sequenced or analyzed? How will this data be kept confidential? If the customer’s data reveals a possibility of a severe disease (or even a death sentence such as Huntington’s disease), how will that person receive competent genetic counseling? What safeguards are there that the DNA analysis is done to the highest standards? There are many. many open questions. And I haven’t even touched on the business issues! Please keep us informed. Thank you.

cova on May 31, 2007  · 

Fascinating. Will insurance companies ask for your DNA? Scary

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