I’m building a company, and looking for people to join forces with me on my venture ➡️, in particular including those with microbiology and genetic engineering backgrounds 🧬


To build a science-based terraforming startup that:

1. turns desolate land into comfortable living space on Earth and beyond using its biostabilisation technology;

2. is based on integrating biotechnology (including microbial genetic engineering and/or synthetic biology) with environmental science.

I'm doing this with Wilbe, a science venture company putting scientists first. We will probably be based in and around London (where I and Wilbe are situated).

Among biotech companies, those addressing climate change are in the vast minority (most are human drug-discovery related). Most climate tech startups are aiming towards carbon sequestration, based on a carbon credit business model. This startup brings a different approach, taking advantage of my expertise in the interaction of Earth and human systems, and Wilbe's new science venture approach. Together, we have designed a venture that I believe is unconventional and tackles our most existential environmental problems in a creative and visionary approach. You now have the opportunity to help shape this venture, and join in. If you'd like to know more: why not have a chat?

🧪🚀Who am I looking for? Someone who:

  • Has a background (and preferably is an expert) in microbiology and gene editing research, with a proven track record of research (e.g. published scientific articles).

  • Who would be interested in working with microbiomes in drylands, as detailed in my story below.

  • Challenges convention, has the drive to achieve, can bring people together, and has clarity of thought.

  • Is an outlier among their peers and is ambitious.

  • Who is looking to make an impact that goes far beyond academia alone, and would like to build solutions to a big problem.

  • Someone who has product awareness or more importantly, has an interest in developing an entrepreneurial skill set.

I will be looking for team members with other expertise or backgrounds, so do contact me anyway if you're interested in chatting.

About me: Dr Jesse Zondervan

I’m a geoscientist and have been working on interactions between physical, chemical and biological processes that shape the Earth’s surface environment (i.e. the world we live in). Over the last six years, I’ve been doing so across seven research institutions including Imperial College and most recently as a research scientist at Oxford, with collaborators across more than 15 institutions.

I have been actively championing the role of geoscience in sustainable development (GfGD), mobilising and reshaping the Earth Science community to help deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I am a member of a team leading one of only two geoscience organisations attending COP26, which has just been admitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The challenge and opportunity

I believe that we live at the cusp of a major s-curve in technological progress, fuelled by a convergence of multiple technologies that are developing exponentially. I also believe that this opportunity to address some of the biggest existential risks on Earth must be seized. To do so scientists and engineers must team up, and leverage capitalism to develop solutions rather than more warnings. It’s time to build and solve.

My research on Earth's existential risks has led me to drylands, which cover 40% of the Earth’s surface and host a third of the global population. Drought and loss of biodiversity and liveable land are major problems which can be mitigated by targeting microbial films (biocrusts) in these environments. I hope to bring the principles of DNA sequencing and genetic editing used successfully in medicine, into environmental problem-solving. Reversing desertification and increasing the resilience of dryland environments is sometimes referred to as “terraforming” Earth. Such a solution carries a high risk, and also a very high gain. Most importantly, simple solutions can be built towards such a deep tech solution. I’m looking forward to discussing this further if this is of interest to you.

With Wilbe, I’ve been exploring the feasibility and market opportunities of the problem and my proposed solution. I’ve got product awareness and appetite, as I believe a science-based venture works better when the founders are scientifically astute, as opposed to the more traditional combination of “technical” and “operational” cofounders.