SXSW 2019

Nature Inspired Innovation: From Lab to Market


Clothing made from spider silk. Ink made from algae. Construction materials made from microbes. Many manmade structures, systems and products are designed using nature as a blueprint for inspiration. That’s because nature, finetuned over billions of years, is a master of efficiency, adaptability and durability. No surprise that scientists closely study the natural world to tease out its secrets. Biology-based scientific research and discovery has strong commercial potential. Three scientists-turned-entrepreneurs discuss how they are bringing spider silk proteins, algae and microbes to the business world and the lessons they had to learn (and unlearn) entering the business world from the laboratory.

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  1. Nature is a valuable model for designing and building manmade structures, products and systems and has great potential to disrupt markets.
  2. The adoption of these new biomaterials by businesses and consumers is critical to their success outside of the lab.
  3. Scientists and curious people already have the tools to jump into the business and product development world.



Shaena Montanari, Science and Technology Policy Fellow, National Science Foundation

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurship & Startups
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

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