The Myth of JP Morgan

9 Jan

By Alejandro Zamorano, VP of Business Development, LSN

Alejandro 10*10Early January in the life sciences tends to revolve around preparing for what is believed by many to be the most important investor week in the biotech industry – JP Morgan. 2,500-3,000 biotech and medtech professionals representing a significant part of the industry will come together in San Francisco next week. The conference, and all of the smaller satellite events surrounding it, will seek to deliver compelling content, and provide executives a central location to facilitate face-to-face conversations with much needed strategic partners and investors.

However, though JP Morgan provides some great opportunity, the industry has created (and perpetuated) a myth around the event. It is often falsely considered the single defining moment for networking and partnering in the industry. When talking to life science executives during the past weeks, many have told me that they are waiting for JP Morgan to launch their fundraising campaigns. They act as though JP Morgan is a fundraiser’s paradise, where they will serendipitously find their perfect investor match. The reality is that very few life science executives will find their investor match at JP Morgan. Those who have success there will have most likely have been in dialogue with their prospective investors for some time.

The most successful fundraising executives understand that JP Morgan is not a place to initiate conversation; it is a way of organizing a week of meetings as a part of an ongoing fundraising campaign. Waiting until JP Morgan (or any other conference, for that matter) to launch a fundraising campaign is the wrong way to approach the process. More importantly, if you have waited to start your fundraising campaign based on an arbitrary date (rather than when you are ready to go outbound) you have already failed. Fundraising is not a baton race (raising money at each interval), it’s a marathon (it never stops). The most successful biotech executives are constantly in fundraising mode. They build relationships with investors over a long period of time and reach out to prospects well in advance of needing capital. This allows them to build long-term relationships with qualified investors making the fundraising process more efficient and effective.

The most successful approach to managing your fundraising campaign around the conference calendar is to start as early as possible, and then manage the subsequent relationships face-to-face at events. Of course, you’ll always meet some new people, and conferences are valuable for keeping a pulse on the industry. However, it is key to keep in mind that fundraising is a numbers game, and the more people you are able to get in front of, the better. Remember, JP Morgan is not the beginning or the end of your fundraising journey. It is another stop along the road.

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