Creating a Target List of Qualified Investors

29 Jan

By Brian Gajewski, VP of Sales, LSN

Many firms that are looking to raise capital in the life sciences arena have the difficult problem of finding a place to start – that is, figuring out how to gather a list of potential investor candidates to reach out to. As with most firms, the first pass at raising capital is with friends, family, and industry colleagues. This is a great category for the first couple million, but moving past this stage becomes a difficult task for many firms because of their lack of experience in raising capital.

Once a firm has exhausted the investments from that first stage of capital raising, the next step is to create a complete list of qualified investor leads that they can then begin reaching out to. LSN refers to this as a Global Target List (GTL). The fact that the life science arena is a global marketplace justifies getting past the regional mentality for fund raising efforts.

One of the first ways to start collecting investors is to target those that have invested in companies similar to yours over the past 5-10 years of financing rounds (another reason for the global approach). For that reason, it is very important to take the appropriate amount of time in performing research.  One best practice is to start by finding firms that are look-alikes, which are firms that have similar profiles to yours. This allows you to identify major investors in the space that have invested in similar firms based on therapeutic or device indication. For example, within the LSN platform, our clients are able to search through the past 12 years of financing in the life science industry by filtering the series & type of financing, as well as the date, sector, and phase of the product.

The next step in creating your Global Target List of investors is to create a list of foundations that might have an interest in your area of development. Foundations are a key investor in the life science industry because it fills two of their investment mandates – one being capital preservation, and the other, their philanthropic portfolio of investments. What is more interesting is that the donor lists to these foundations are in the public domain. The astute marketer can peruse this list and hopefully parse the high dollar donors and find a few nuggets that would be worth researching for an introductory call or meeting. The premise of this exercise is to remember that donors to foundations have a desire to move the science along for treatments and cures. Foundations are great vehicles to help move science along, despite being held back by process and bureaucracy. However, for some donors investing directly, companies that are moving the science along may be just as compelling.

It is important to remember that when your firm is raising capital, you are not just selling to people, but you are also selling to them a way to potentially affect the world. The most powerful reason for investors to allocate capital is that you are developing a cure for a disease that has affected them, their family or their people in their orbit.

Not only do you want to target foundations that might have an interest in your target indication, but also the major contributors to those same foundations. We are finding that more and more families are becoming interested in investing directly with a life science company.

Finally, you have to think globally, and create a Global Target List, but you must act locally – meaning, draw that two-hour road trip circuit, and figure out how many investors on your GTL are a short trip away. This is an excellent way to start to learn who your good targets are, and to give you the practice you need to make your presentations more compelling.

Now that you have a list of investors that have a specific interest in your type of company, it’s time to make sure you have the bandwidth to begin reaching out to them and tracking your success.

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