By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, LSN
When LSN founded the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference in 2013, it was with the simple hope of creating an event that offered more to early stage life science investors and CEOs than the other partnering events that existed at the time. LSN’s business development team had visited partnering events and investor conferences throughout the USA and also internationally, and had met few active early stage investors at these events. As LSN began to cultivate relationships with these firms and discover what kinds of technologies they were seeking to invest in, we saw the opportunity to create an event that would bring these investors together to meet with fundraising CEOs whose technologies matched their investment mandates.
We’re now approaching the 8th RESI event, and over the last three years thousands of entrepreneurs and investors have come face to face at RESI to talk about new healthcare technologies. RESI has picked up the pace every year, becoming a quarterly event for the first time in 2016.
Not only that, but RESI has hit the road; following three successful RESI events in Boston, LSN saw the opportunity to host RESI in San Francisco during the annual healthcare conference week. Organizing an event so far from our home office in Boston was a tremendous challenge that took LSN beyond our previous comfort zone, but we found that RESI was well received as a part of the annual JPM ecosystem, filling a niche for early stage companies and investors that had previously been lacking in a conference week that’s primarily geared to later stage and publicly traded companies.
Last year, RESI also expanded to Houston as a part of Texas Medical Center’s efforts to build a “Third Coast” for healthcare innovation, supported by the resources, expertise and discoveries made at their member institutions. Houston has also attracted many other strategic partners to this effort, including Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS. Being in the right place at the right time is a gift in any innovative technology endeavor, and recognizing that RESI and JLABS are now coinciding in [geography], JLABS became RESI’s title sponsor.
This summer, RESI will take another step: the first international event, held at MaRS in Toronto on June 23rd. As we’ve added new events to the RESI circuit, we’ve brought new faces into LSN’s informal network at every new venue and uncovered the unique strengths and needs of each area.
So how have we continued to build RESI’s value? One question we typically ask fundraising CEOs is how many investor meetings they’ve had in the last year. We might typically hear they’ve pitched to a dozen or more investors in one year. RESI provides an opportunity to participate in both scheduled and ad hoc meetings, and many CEOs report up to 16 -20 meetings in one day, four times per year, with active investors who are a fit for their opportunity. With the potential for over 80 meetings for those that attend every event, there aren’t any other events that offer a comparable return on effort for a CEO on the road looking for development capital. And after 7 successful events, we’ve heard from many investors that they’ve conducted due diligence on companies that they’ve met at RESI.
LSN is looking ahead to a busy year for RESI, with events lined up in Houston (April 11th), Toronto (June 23rd) and Boston (September 13th) for our ever-expanding network to come together. We’re excited to be breaking new ground and hope you’ll join us on this global investor circuit.