a16z Video: When (and How) Biology Becomes Engineering

Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande

watch/listen time: 22 minutes

Hypothesis, test, revise — that’s science. Engineering, however, doesn’t quite go that way: You have parts you know and understand (like legos), and then you use those parts to design and build something (like bridges). But the key is that when science — time-consuming, unpredictable, slow/expensive — becomes more like engineering — faster, more methodical/repeatable, cheaper, etc. — you can do new things or do them in better ways. This means engineering disciplines like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and materials science can carry over to biology.

But the question is HOW does this happen, and how can entrepreneurs apply principles from one discipline to another? How does it affect a startup’s go to market, and how might a shift like this affect the healthcare industry as a whole? “Pande & Conde” (general partners on our bio fund) reflect on all this and more in this hallway-style video conversation.

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