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UBiome was a biotechnology microbial genomics company based in San Francisco

uBiome was founded in October 2012 by Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, two scientists from the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. It was a privately held, citizen science startup that sequences the human microbiome. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019, later ceasing all operations and liquidating assets.

The company's commercial products include:

  • SmartGut - a sequencing-based clinical microbiome test, which identifies microbes in the gut for patients with chronic gut conditions such as IBD, IBS, Crohn's Disease, and ulcerative colitis. The test detect both beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms associated with these gut conditions.

  • SmartJane - a sequencing based women's health screening test, which genotypes all 19 clinically relevant strains of HPV, identified four common STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and mycoplasma genitalium), and surveys more than 20 vaginal microbes associated with bacterial vaginosis and other conditions. However, it does not screen for cancer and is not intended to replace traditional Pap smears or well woman visits.

  • SmartFlu - an upper respiratory test that analyzes nasal microbiome when a person experiences cold or flu symptoms. It detects bacteria and viruses associated with health conditions such as, the flu, common cold, and bacterial infections. This product is available by invite-only as of February 2019.

  • Explorer - a health and wellness product to understand the role that food and lifestyle can play in wellness.

In September 2018, uBiome announced that it will be supporting drug-discovery efforts using its technology at a new Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters. It also raised $83 million in a Series C round of funding.


October 2, 2019
uBiome filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, ceasing operations and liquidating assets
April 26, 2019
uBiome offices raided by FBI

Investigation due to billing practices.

September 2018
UBiome raises a $83,000,000 series C round from 8VC, Dentsu Ventures, OS Fund and Y Combinator.
November 1, 2016
UBiome raises a $22,000,000 series B round from 8VC.
August 2014
UBiome raises a $4,500,000 series A round from 10x Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Daniel Curran, David Spector, Farzad Nazem, OS Fund, Tuesday Capital and Y Combinator.
October 29, 2013
UBiome raises a $1,500,000 seed round from 500 Global.
November 2012
UBiome raises a $351,200 crowdfunding.
October 15, 2012
UBiome was founded by Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte.

Funding Rounds


Further Resources


uBiome is jumping into therapeutics with a healthy $83 million in Series C financing


uBiome: What we know about microbiome startup, FBI raid, bankruptcy

Erin Brodwin, Lydia Ramsey and Emma Court


September 5, 2019


Thomas Claburn
March 22, 2021
Failed firm was full of it, Feds say
Conor Hale
March 18, 2021
The founders of the microbiome-testing startup uBiome have been charged with defrauding investors out of $60 million, by convincing them it was a successful business before being forced to shutter operations, declare bankruptcy and flush all its assets in late 2019, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Erin Brodwin, Lydia Ramsey and Emma Court
September 5, 2019
Business Insider
uBiome's test promised insights into your health from a tiny sample of your poop. But problems are mounting for the startup.
Erin Brodwin
September 30, 2019
Business Insider
uBiome suspended sales of its clinical products on the heels of an FBI probe. Now, after filing for bankruptcy, the company has lost a key lab certification.
Jonathan Shieber
May 2, 2019
The microbiome testing service uBiome has placed its founders and co-chief executives, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, on administrative leave following an FBI raid on the company's offices last week. The company's board of directors have named John Rakow, currently the company's general counsel, as its interim chairman and chief executive, the company said in [...]


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