How to Get the Most Out of Life Science Partnering Events

7 Sep

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

RESI Boston is approaching, and partnering requests are flying back and forth between attendees. As this is the 14th RESI event, LSN has gathered a great deal of information and insight on the partnering process. We’ve seen how skilled entrepreneurs take steps to increase their partnering success. Based on our observations, here are a few keys to partnering success:

Numbers Are Key

A simple truth underlies a lot of our other insights: Entrepreneurs that send more requests get more meetings. However, those requests have to be directed at relevant investors. The below chart plots the relationship between the number of requests sent via RESI Partnering and the number of meetings booked. This makes it clear that your goal is to surface as many relevant investors at the partnering event as possible and provide them with a clear reason to meet with you.

Make A Target List

Many partnering events claim a high number of investor attendees, but what’s important is to find out which of those investors are potentially relevant for your opportunity. The RESI website includes a list of investors that are signed up to attend, and LSN’s Research team speaks to all those investors prior to the event in order to understand their investment interests and criteria. RESI attendees can therefore search RESI Partnering to get a complete view of the most relevant attending investors. At other events, the partnering system may not provide this information as consistently — you may need to do your homework on the attending investors. A search online for their portfolios and stated interests should reveal which are most relevant for you.

Log In Early and Often

As a partnering event approaches, investors will find many meeting requests in their system inbox. Some investors like to look at those requests as soon as they come in, and may fill up their schedule with interesting startups quite early. However, it’s more common for investors to select their meetings close to the event — and some investors only sign up for events at the last minute. There’s therefore an advantage to getting a set of requests out as soon as the system opens to catch the earlybirds; however, running regular searches to look for new attendees as the event approaches will allow you to identify new targets and increase your meeting count.

Don’t Limit Your Investor Universe

At RESI, we welcome a broad variety of investors, including venture capital firms, big pharma, family offices, venture philanthropy funds, angels, and many more. Any of these investors could potentially be a fit for your round. As we covered in last week’s Next Phase, some entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing only on the top 25 big name VC funds. If one of these funds has an investment staff member at the event, it’s definitely worth shooting them an invite, but if you only send requests to attendees from these firms, you’re likely to lose a large part of the value of the event. Partnering events are a great opportunity to broaden your network; the most relevant firms represented at the event might be those you’ve never heard of or those who you hadn’t previously considered approaching for investment. Equally, don’t dismiss a firm because they’re based far from your headquarters; many international investors attend partnering events specifically because they want to broaden their exposure to overseas deal flow.

Write A Clear Intro Message and Profile

You’d be surprised how many CEOs send partnering requests with only a one-sentence message, or no message at all. Similarly, many may neglect to fill out their profiles, or forget to update their pre-loaded profiles from last year’s event. It’s important to keep in mind that the investor will have received a deluge of meeting requests, and if you don’t make your company’s relevance immediately clear, they will move on to the next request. Make sure that your message clearly describes what your company does and why it’s aligned with that particular investor’s interests, and be sure that if they click through to your profile they’ll have access to all the vital information needed to determine that you are a fit for their firm.

Follow Up On Your Requests

To maximize your partnering success, you should reach beyond the partnering system. For each investor on your target list at the event, try to find further contact info. Send an email or make a quick call to tell them what your company does and why you’re highly interested in meeting with them at the event. With so many messages to go through, an extra nudge may be necessary to direct the investor’s attention to your company. For RESI Boston, we’ve therefore created the new RESI Premier Partnering Plus Registration which provides investor contact info in order to help entrepreneurs follow up on their meeting requests.

RESI is approaching on September 26th – if you would like to put this advice to work and start filling out your meeting schedule, register now.

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