Reglagene Nails RESI Partnering with 25 Investor Meetings

7 May

Richard Austin

By Karen Deyo, Senior Investor Research Analyst, LSN

Karen Deyo

At LSN, we always like to hear success stories and how they came about. I spoke to Richard Austin, CEO of Reglagene to hear about his success at our Digital RESI 2-day partnering event last week, and what he did to bring it about.

Karen Deyo (KD): I hear you had a very successful partnering event last week. How many meetings did you get?

Richard Austin (RA): Between the meetings through the partnering platform and those set up outside the event, we had 25 investor partnering meetings!

KD: Congratulations! What do you think contributed to your success?

RA: A large part of it was the work we did with LSN as part of their Focus on Cures, the immersion program for fundraising CEOs. LSN had to cancel their planned May class but provided me a modified version in which I interacted with Dennis Ford, LSN CEO, Erich White, LSN BD Manager, and I even had a chat with Bill Kohlbrenner, LSN CSO, all providing insights and pointers to improve our marketing materials. It began with our tagline. Cancer Medicines Reversing Drug Resistance turned into Epigenetic Medicines Regulating Cancer Genes. Previously, it wasn’t very effective, or memorable. Dennis and I went back and forth – we must have had about 20 versions before we reached the final tagline. When the right tagline surfaced it was very obvious and I immediately noticed the effect. The new tagline caught the attention of investors, increasing the number of responses we got. The LSN team knows the market and they know what is hot and what will resonate with prospective partners.

KD: What was the rest of your outreach process?

RA: In addition to the work on materials such as our pitch deck and executive summary, we created a compelling intro email based on our new messaging and then created 3 different follow up messages, each with different information. The first message was a well thought out, brief company intro that netted out Reglagene’s distinct value. The second, was a well-crafted, easy to understand, couple of paragraphs about Reglagene’s technology. The third was a message highlighting our CSO, who was responsible for over 20 years of research which led to our technology, and a final message with our one page tear sheet. I signed up for the partnering event only a week before, so my partnering was done in a condensed timeline. I reached out to my targets, and sent a follow up message every couple of days leading up to the event. After each follow up, I would receive more responses, either accepting or declining the meeting request, or scheduling a meeting after the event ended. Additionally, as a subscriber to the LSN Investor Platform, I reached out to each of my targets through their personal email, attaching my pitch deck and executive summary. This combination was a real game changer in terms of meeting requests. The quality of the investor participants was greatly upgraded and these investors are showing interest in next steps, NDAs and follow-on meetings.

KD: How was the response from investors different from what you have seen in previous events?

RA: To my surprise, using the new branding and messaging materials, we started ramping up meetings immediately. It just felt like we had new momentum and wound up with 25 meetings after reaching out to 50 targets that had been preselected by me and the team. LSN taught me that a rifle shot approach to known investor fits will give you a 50% response rate, which was much higher than my traditional shot gun approach, going after general targets.

My previous record for a RESI conference was 10 meetings in one event, and our average was 6 over the 8 RESIs we have previously attended. I was feeling very frustrated that I was trying my best but I didn’t feel like I was optimizing my efforts. After several conversations with the team they really bolstered my confidence, reinforcing to me that I had a great company and product and just needed some tweaking. They were right!

KD: And how did the meetings go for you?

RA: My first couple of meetings, I felt I could have done better. After a brief conversation introducing ourselves, I turned to our pitch deck and used that to guide the rest of the discussion. After another conversation with Dennis, I changed my approach to my meetings. Instead of immediately pulling up my pitch deck, I was advised to keep up the conversation with the investors, and concentrate on the dialogue and trying to get the relationship started, only referring to the pitch deck if I wanted to show specific data. The response was great, and the investors seemed a lot more engaged. This made me feel better and more confident and so the cycle started to repeat with each meeting. I just needed some minor coaching and things really started to change.

KD: One final question: what advice would you give to other CEOs?

RA: One big thing I would say: don’t assume you know how to do this and check your ego at the door. When working on my messaging, I realized that I knew what to say, but not HOW to say it. I would strongly advise companies to get an external third party source like LSN that can help with that. The benefit with working with the LSN team is the mix of technical and sales/BD people. Working with people without a technical background helped in making the message more universal for investors of all backgrounds. I did not feel I had to dumb it down or make it simple, but get the words and phrasing correct so that I could net out my core value and differentiation quickly. For me, the key was getting myself comfortable with the new flow and focusing on what makes the technology unique without burying it in scientific jargon and going into deep technology dives on the first meeting. Additionally, working with Dennis and his team was extremely useful on two levels: first, learning how to hone and net out my pitch as a sales/marketing pitch (in a good way) and develop those sales 101 skills that help make a fundraise successful; get a target list, triage that list, go after that list and follow-up, follow up, follow-up. I needed to learn follow-up! Last but not least, is learning these skills from a team that knows the state of the current market – investors – and what they specifically are looking for to shape our message to them. Finding the right advisors who can help you with your immediate needs, in the present, just really clicks and proves out immediately. LSN’s Focus on Cures immersion class will have made a big difference to my success going forward.

KD: Thanks for sharing all of this, and good luck!

Reglagene

Reglagene deciphers gene-based mechanisms of disease to deliver breakthrough epigenetic medicines that manage gene expression, the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a target protein. Gene abnormalities often result in the manufacture of too little or too much protein causing a myriad of life-threatening diseases, such as cancer.  Reglagene’s medicines target the protein production problem at its source, the gene, and gets it back to functioning properly.

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