Nautilus: (S)ujal and (P)arag — (A)dvancing and (C)reating a new future in drug development

Today our Defy portfolio company, Nautilus Biotechnology, began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker NAUT after its successful merger with the Arya III SPAC. The event and financial outcome is much less important than what Nautilus hopes to achieve: leveraging technology to change the scale of what is possible in proteomics to enable significant advancements in drug development and revolutionize the way biomedical research is conducted. The company developed a protein analysis platform to identify more than 95% of the proteome. By leveraging innovation in computer science, engineering and biochemistry, the company hopes to help researchers understand and treat diseases faster and more efficiently. The hope is that Nautilus will expand our knowledge about diseases, improve the health of millions, and save lives.

Our Defy story with Nautilus goes back more than a decade. Neil Sequeira, Defy’s founding partner, initially met Sujal Patel in 2007 on the board of Elemental Technologies where Sujal mentored the incredible CEO, Sam Blackman, through the company’s acquisition by Amazon/AWS. This relationship led Sujal to become one of our first two Defy Sages at the inception of the fund. A Sage is a person who shares their wisdom with others and ours do that in spades with our portfolio companies and CEOs. They are our most valued partners and teammates, actively sit on boards and help us with nurturing and growing our portfolio. Our history with Sujal goes back even further however, as our Defy Partner, Madison McIlwain, grew up referring to him as ‘Mr. Sujal’ because her father Matt McIlwain had invested in Sujal when he founded Isilon Systems — an amazing story in its own right. We were lucky to partner with Matt and his firm Madrona as well as Andreessen Horowitz, Vulcan, Bezos Expeditions and many other incredible partners on this journey.

At Defy, we empower successful entrepreneurs who chose to make a positive impact on the world. When Sujal partnered with the amazing Stanford professor, Parag Mallick, he set their course to change drug discovery as we know it today. This is no small endeavor but one that takes a giant leap forward today with this public offering.

While this is our firm’s first public listing and we are proud that we supported Sujal and Nautilus during the darkest days of the pandemic, today is all about celebrating the future and the massive impact we hope the company can make by showing researchers new paths to treat diseases.

Thank you to the team, Parag and special thanks to Sujal for being our friend, Sage and leader of this audacious and amazing adventure.

The Defy Team

Elemental Technology board — Sujal Patel, Sam Blackman, Kevin O’Hara, Neil Sequeria and Jesse Rosenzweig

Early stage venture capital