Achala Rao Business Development Fellow 2020-21

Achala Rao
A commitment to SynBio entrepreneurship and global sustainability

Achala Rao is a master’s student in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; she received her B.S. in biological systems engineering from UC Davis in 2019.

Rao is an entrepreneur and synthetic biology enthusiast. She was a bioprocess engineer at NovoNutrients and is co-founder of PHIXED SYSTEMS, which won the CleanStart Award in the 2020 Big Bang! Business Competition. She was the head of acceleration and mentorship for the iGEM entrepreneurship program, where she connected innovators with co-founders, mentors, accelerators, investors and partners to enable the next generation of SynBio entrepreneurship.

Rao is committed to the global movement for sustainability and to empowering female leaders. In her free time, she enjoys reading and painting portraits.

Achala Rao Business Development Fellow

What drew you to the Business Development Fellowship program?

Taking part in the Big Bang! Business Competitions was a very positive experience for me in that it helped me transition my mindset from an academic project to creating a product with market potential. I learned about business development during my participation in the 2019 UC Entrepreneurship Academy. As an incoming master’s student and co-founder of a startup, the business know-how will be incredibly useful for current and future business ventures.

What excites you about growing your entrepreneurial mindset?

With formal training in engineering, I feel qualified to build new technologies. Growing my entrepreneurial mindset will help me build a viable organization. It will give me the skill to not only bring a meaningful product to the market but also to allow the people working with me to grow.

What does innovation mean to you?

To me, innovation is a happy marriage between creativity and utility. Even the most established industries have a need for change and innovation is finding that need then solving that need in a creative and novel way.

Meet our other Business Development Fellows >