FAST California provides founders of disruptive innovative life science technology companies with a customized advisory program to perfect their business models, assess strategic focus, maximize IP and help develop a milestone and scale-up plan to exit. A group of curated advisors, each with deep domain expertise, will work with them over twelve weeks to build a compelling commercialization strategy and prepare them for an Innovation Showcase to a curated audience of potential investors and collaboration partners. The CLS FAST program is open to startups with a California presence, that have no more than 12 employees, have raised less than $5 million, are precommercial, and are developing highly innovative, impactful products.

Applications are received on a rolling basis.

Apply For FAST

How the FAST Program Works

Selected entrepreneurs will be matched with a tailored group of investors, analysts, and strategists from across the value chain for 8-12 hours of customized guidance over a three-month period—at no cost and with no equity taken. The program concludes with an Innovation Showcase with a panel of investors and stakeholders.

Program Outline

  1. Participate in up to 12 business-focused advisory meetings with seasoned industry mentors;
  2. Connect with CLS’s community of member companies and industry stakeholders by attending happy hours and other networking events;
  3. Present at CLS’s FAST Innovation Showcase in June (for Spring cohort) or December (for Fall cohort)- an exclusive opportunity to meet and build relationships with investors and collaboration partners;
  4. Benefit from exclusive discounts and curated presentation opportunities at the industry’s leading partnering and investors events, including RESI, BIO, Biotech Showcase, among others;
  5. One year complimentary CLS membership, offering unparalleled access to a community of peers that support bringing new bioscience discoveries to market;
  6. And, as a CLS member, access a community of founders, stakeholders and influencers in different technology and industry sectors.

Fall FAST 2023

If you are interested in applying for the Spring 2023 cohort of our bi-annual advisory program, please fill out an application to be considered for the next round.

Key Dates for the Fall 2023 FAST Cohort

  • July 1, 2023 Application deadline
  • August, 2023 Review panel presentations (virtual)
  • August, 2023 FAST cohort announced
  • August, 2023 Pre-program meetings (virtual): Deep-dive to assess company needs
  • September, 2023 Kick off meeting (virtual)
  • September – December, 2023 FAST Advisory Sessions – Each company meets with their advisors on a weekly basis (virtual)
  • December 12, 2023 FAST closing showcase event in collaboration with partners (South San Francisco)

Our Impact

FAST Alumni in the News

Over 100 start-ups have graduated from the FAST program since it was launch in 2013. If you are FAST alumni, join our LinkedIn group here for an active peer to peer interaction with others on the emerging innovation journey.

FAST Advisor Community

Our advisor community is a great way to network with likeminded individuals. If you are interested in an advisor or mentor role to work with start-ups or have specific domain expertise to help them, please complete our intake form to help us understand your area of expertise and interest. We tap into our advisor community using the information you provide and will reach out if there is a company that could use your expertise.

Apply to be a FAST Advisor

FAST Track Partners

Servier Discovery Award:  Companies and academia who are developing innovative therapeutic approaches in the following disease areas of oncology; auto-immune diseases; and genetically driven neurodegenerative and movement disorders are encouraged applied for the new Servier Discovery Award. The winner will be selected to participate in the CLS FAST Fall cohort—a program that matches entrepreneurs with a custom team of advisors for intensive team review.

MESH Academy at the Keck School of Medicine of USC: A new dedicated FAST-USC MESH track will bring FAST advisory services to entrepreneurs from USC as part of CLS’ expansion of the FAST program to Southern California. The FAST-USC MESH track will serve two USC faculty-led startups annually, providing them with about $25 thousand of pro bono advisory services.

CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge for BIPOC Communities: California-based innovators are invited to submit potential solutions for BIPOC communities which have been historically marginalized. The innovator(s) with the best potential solution will receive grant funding from a total pool of $150,000, one year of complimentary CLS membership to allow awardees visibility through CLS events and programs and access to new and existing collaboration partners. One awardee will be invited to participate in the 2023 Spring FAST Program, receiving commercialization advising from a tailored group of industry veterans.

FAST MedTechColor Track: CLS supports the MedTech Color Pitch Competition which sends select winners of both through the FAST program—growing the pool of diverse life sciences startups in the FAST community.

WIB-FAST Advisory Track: The WIB-FAST track is open to early-stage female (co-)founders of pre-revenue life sciences companies who are developing highly innovative technologies that will have a meaningful impact on human or environmental health. WIB-FAST is designed to help women entrepreneurs who seek advising on raising capital (Angel, Seed or Series A), commercialization or business plans, and legal or scientific strategy.

Interested in Learning More?

Shikha Sharma, PhD
Senior Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
[email protected]
510 384 9108