Princeton University is passing another exciting milestone with the opening in Plainsboro of the Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, a co-working space for New Jersey science startups. Located a short distance from its campus, the 31,000 square foot facility will serve the University’s mission to support the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Shared space includes wet labs for chemical, biological and pharmaceutical development and dry lab space for engineering development. Premium scientific equipment is on-site, as well as shared office and desk space for resident companies.
Johannes Fruehauf, Co-Founder and CEO of Biolabs, joined Paul LaMarche, Vice Provost and Chairman of the Princeton Innovation Center to publicly present the new facility in a media tour last week.
“We believe entrepreneurship enhances our capacity for societal service and global leadership. Together with BioLabs, the Center will enrich both the spirit and activities of entrepreneurs within New Jersey, its neighboring areas and our broader global community,” Vice Provost LaMarche stated.
Biolabs, based in Cambridge, will manage the Princeton co-working facility. It is now one of seven facilities Biolabs operates, joining New York, San Diego, Durham, Boston, and San Francisco. While each location provides premium lab facilities, Biolabs also serves as a network of members who collectively form a supportive community that importantly includes mentors for startups.
Fruehauf acknowledged Anne-Marie Maman, Executive Director of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, who reached out to BioLabs to explore working together to build the facility--- which Fruehauf at that time responded with great enthusiasm.
“Princeton is one of the best known universities to do science research and it has had a number of spinouts on the engineering side. This was a great opportunity to add another center,” stated Fruehauf.
He further explained that each center they build acts as a catalyst for scientific people to get together who are inspired and want to create something with their findings. However, the cost to do so alone is quite high, but if they reside in shared spaces with dozens of users they have lower costs and access to expensive equipment they otherwise could not afford. In addition, the spaces present opportunities to find investors and mentors that then makes the co-working space into something special.
“We realized a fabulous thing that happens on top of the infrastructure which is the creation of an entrepreneurial community…and that is awesome. We hope to do the same in Princeton,” Fruehauf said. He had the audience imagine a year from now when two or three dozen startups will be pursuing their own ideas, but they also will be sharing their experiences of being a startup with others.
The facility has the capacity to hold 25 startups, providing 68 lab benches, private offices, and hot desks, to 200+ scientists and entrepreneurs, all overseen by the new Site Director Nishta Rao.
“My hope for the facility is to make Princeton into a biotech hub. We want to attract high potential companies to come here, rather than go to Philadelphia, New York or Boston,” said Rao. “We are really in the business of getting companies to the next level, helping companies to succeed.”