Archive | February, 2016

Behind the Curtain: Building an Investor-Centric Partnering Event

25 Feb

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, LSN

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The challenge with life science partnering and investor conferences is that it is extremely difficult to recruit investors and partners. At LSN, we often say that we are “in the middle of the middle of the middle”. We have 8 researchers who have been in dialogue with the global early stage investor community for 4 years as a result of curating the LSN Investor Platform. Additionally, LSN has 8 business development staff who have been driving relationships with scientist entrepreneurs, Pharma players and service providers. These two outreach teams have created a loosely affiliated global network of the key buyers and sellers. LSN founded the Redefining Early Stage Investments conference (RESI) because we believed we could bring a greater quantity of early stage investors than we’d seen at other events. At many events, it’s easier to meet later stage players: LSN staff attended events billed as partnering conferences that produced lots of phase III partners but not a lot for preclinical, phase I and phase II. Early stage is where LSN found its niche, and that’s why RESI @ JPM attracted 350 investor and partner registrations out of a total of almost 800 registrants. LSN knows what it takes to bring this many early stage life science players under one roof.

LSN has broken the code of delivering investors to our early stage investor conferences because we pour a huge amount of human resources into recruiting investors to RESI. LSN Research staff focus their efforts into personally recruiting investors attendees to each event. LSN can do this because as a company we interact with all the right players as part of our everyday working environment. The 16 early stage investor panels are a core part of every RESI, and serve as proof of what we can deliver. In the panel sessions, investors explain to the audience of fundraising CEOs how their investor silo works, and cover the do’s and don’ts related to how they find, vet and engage in dialogue with investment candidates. The panels provide information and education to RESI’s audience. LSN’s unique position in the early stage life science world gives us access to high level speakers with deep expertise to share.

Take a look at the RESI@TMCx agenda for an overview of the next event at the Texas Medical Center accelerator, April 11, in Houston Texas.

Of course, investors and strategic players will only attend a partnering event if they’re confident that they’ll meet high quality life science startups. So on the other side of the table, the RESI Innovation Challenge provides investors with access to exciting breakthrough technologies. LSN invites fundraising CEOs and scientist-entrepreneurs to submit their technologies to the Innovation Challenge. Typically, over 100 companies apply for 30 spots; LSN’s scientific review board “stack ranks” the applicants using a proprietary algorithm that LSN has developed which determines how investable a company is from the science, market, team, data and competitive landscape.

Bringing the best of the early stage investor world and the best of the life science startup world together takes an intensive effort, but that’s what makes RESI such a powerful venue for dialogue. If you’d like to join us for RESI@TMCx on April 11th,  you can register online now.

 

Fit vs Timing: Managing Your Investor Relationships

25 Feb

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Here’s a situation we’ve seen many times. An LSN client finds that they’re a very close fit for an investor’s mandate, and reaches out to that investor to start a dialogue. The investor responds, and over a couple of meetings or phone calls a relationship starts to develop. However, in spite of the mutual interest from both the startup and the investor, the timing isn’t right. Perhaps your company is too early to fit the investor’s criteria, or the investor is currently focused on exiting one of their existing portfolio companies. Either way, they’re interested in you, but can’t allocate right now.

So what happens next?

Sad to say, many startups would let this situation become a missed opportunity. Even if an investor encouraged the company to touch base again when a particular milestone was reached, this crucial information may slip through the cracks in the company’s fundraising architecture. The missing element in these cases is relationship management.

LSN strongly encourages our clients to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of every contact they make with potential investors and strategic partners. CRM systems are typically cloud-based, accessible from anywhere, and inexpensive (about $5-25/month). We recommend Salesforce.com (LSN has no relationship with Salesforce), but there are many options out there. What’s key is that the whole fundraising team commits to using CRM as a hub for all the information and important dates and progress markers for the entire fundraising campaign.

As the term ‘relationship management’ indicates, allocations don’t happen spontaneously; even if you’ve spoken to an investor who’s a perfect fit on a technical level, it takes months of relationship building to reach the allocation. It’s important to note down every phone call, email and face to face meeting; if you had a positive dialogue with an investor but haven’t checked in with them in a while, it’s probably time to touch base again with an update on your company’s progress.

Consider again the aforementioned scenario; a very interested investor who simply can’t allocate right now. If you use your CRM system to make a note of the investor’s conditions and to set a follow-up date for a future touch-base, you can keep the relationship progressing. For example, if the investor wants to see the final results of a certain study, you might touch base a couple of times while the study is ongoing, then request another meeting once the study is complete. If you’re raising an A-round and speak to an interested investor that can only invest in B or C rounds, you could provide them with regular progress updates as you bring together the A-round, then circle back for a meeting once the B-round begins.

It’s these deferred, delayed and slow-to-develop opportunities that prove how vital it is to manage your campaign professionally. The most important investor relationships often take some time to reach fruition, and without CRM, those vital opportunities can be lost.

RESI@JPM: Biotech Angels Discuss Where and How They Fit into a Fundraise

25 Feb

By Cole Bunn, Research Analyst, LSN

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Life science angel investors have long been a fundamental piece of a fundraising campaign, typically providing strategic guidance and capital to entrepreneurs who are right out of the gate. Relaxed crowdfunding provisions and big pharma’s increased involvement in early-stage companies, among other developments, has created new opportunities for angels to find, fund and exit biotech companies. This crucial investor class speaks to the types of deals they like to do, what it’s like to work with an angel investor and how they see the biotech and investment landscapes evolving.

To hear directly from the investors, watch the RESI video recap here:

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