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article imageGlow-in-the-dark houseplants get venture backing

By Tim Sandle     Aug 16, 2014 in Business
After raising more than $450,000 on Kickstarter, a start-up company making glow-in-the-dark houseplants attracts funding from a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. The plants will be marketed to consumers soon.
Plants that have been genetically modified to glow in the dark have moved closer to being available to consumers following a successful securement of investment by a new company.
Glowing Plant, a fledgling synthetic biology company that intends to sell Arabidopsis thaliana and rose seeds that will grow glowing plants, has been backed by Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that makes small investments in a large number of startups every year. Glowing Plant had previously made more than $450,000 following a campaign on Kickstarter.
Y Combinator, according to TechCrunch, has only previously invested in web and technology companies rather than in biotechnology firms. Glowing Plant’s CEO Antony Evans said that “The rise of the affordable biotech company is what’s driving [Y Combinator’s] interest in the space,” he said. “Costs are coming down tremendously fast.”
The genetic modification of plants is not welcomed by all. Glowing Plant has been criticized by environmental groups opposed the project due to a perceived lack of regulatory oversight. An environmental organization called ETC, that opposes all GM organisms said in a statement: “We are extremely concerned that the USDA is not planning to regulate the first-ever field release of an organism engineered through synthetic biology technologies. . . . We urge the USDA to put a halt to this risky, unregulated pursuit."
More about glowinthedark, Plants, Illuminated, Kickstarter
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