By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, LSN
Let the Fundraising Begin! It’s January 2016 . . . Oops . . . We are almost into February! Where did January go? JPM preparation, JPM attendance, JPM recuperation (from the flu or cough or whatever that was), and then JPM follow-up. The swathe of time ahead from February to June is very important to a scientist-entrepreneur or a life science fundraising CEO, and you should be contemplating making hay while the sun is shining.
I know from firsthand observation that the game is afoot. RESI@JPM had over 900 investor meetings in just one day. 350 investors met with over 400 early stage life science entrepreneurs. Based on my back-of-the-napkin estimate, these entrepreneurs were seeking a total of several billions of dollars in development capital—and the investors in attendance have, in total, billions of dollars ready to allocate. The question therefore is: how do you get into the fray?
The first point you have to understand is that fundraising isn’t something you kinda sorta do on the side. It’s a full-time commitment that needs focus and attention and an organized, budgeted campaign.
LSN is now entering our 4th year in the life science arena, and we have supported hundreds of entrepreneurs in using the LSN Investor Platform to prepare to get on the road and raise money. We’ve also met another thousand or so who’ve attended LSN’s RESI Conference events over the last three years. Our consistent advice to entrepreneurs has been to decide honestly if you are committed to raising capital. If so, the next step is to assess your team. Do you have the science maven, the experienced business development person, and a resource available to make the initial phone calls and set up the meetings and follow-up meetings? This is where many campaigns fail: not getting the team straight.
The other key preparation point is to get the right campaign resources together. You need to make sure you have a list of global early stage investor targets that are a fit for your indication and stage. To get the attention of these investors successfully, you must have cogent messaging and a compelling web presence that allows interested parties to net out your value proposition and clearly see where you are in the developmental process.
As a life science entrepreneur, you are up against many competitors for capital, and if you are not up to date with new developments in the life science investment world, then you may be out of step and inefficient in your efforts. At LSN we have seen an unprecedented worldwide investor interest in all facets of early stage life science. It’s real and it’s happening now. It’s a global playing field, and you have to get in front of as many investors as possible that are a fit for your company. Staying regional or focusing on just one category of investor is extremely limiting. Take the time to learn the investor categories that are a fit for you; don’t build barriers, build bridges to success.