Nostopharma Using LSN and RESI Navigate A Seed Round

4 Jun

Katya Vert
CEO of Nostopharma

Erich White
BD Manager of LSN

Companies at all stages, from seed to series B, utilize RESI to increase the power of their fundraising efforts. I spoke to Katya Vert, CEO of Nostopharma to learn how RESI has helped her raise her seed round. Nostopharma is part of the delegation sponsored by Women In Bio, and a participant in the Digital RESI June Innovation Challenge.

Erich White (EW): What is your tagline and elevator pitch to get the audience calibrated?

Katya Vert (KV): Tagline: Treating rare abnormal bone growth disorders ; Pitch: Nostopharma is developing treatments that act on the molecular pathways triggered by physical trauma to the soft tissue around the joints causing abnormal bone formation. Abnormal bone growth affects up to 90% of patients with some fracture types, requiring costly surgery

EW: Tell me about your technology. Where it came from and current status?

KV: When Jelena Jeremic (now CSO) co-authored the “Nature” paper about the mechanism of abnormal bone growth in a genetic disease, I felt compelled to design a treatment. I came up with the plan to test known Hh pathway inhibitors together, in combination. Shortly, Jelena and I co-founded the company to implement this plan of repurposing proven technology from oncology field into the new field of orthopedic trauma and musculoskeletal health.

EW: What funds have you raised and what are you currently raising?

KV: The company is funded by  grants from Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS). We also graduated from NSF I-Corps program where we received excellent support for our customer discovery process. Nostopharma is raising a seed round now to take the treatment that shows great promise in animal model testing into the IND stage and subsequent clinical trials.

EW: Enter RESI.  How has LSN and RESI been helping to get you in front of investors? Please describe the coaching and what you have learned.

KV: We have learned quite a bit – the coaching from LSN is very detailed. The first thing we learned is the standard set of templates that investors expect to see and what kind of information and messaging each template needs to contain. We now are mastering this “peel the onion” approach in our documents and see the results right away. Our story is clearer and more comprehensive than it has ever been.

EW: Tell me how it has been going for you in terms of getting in front of investors

KV: This is where LSN coaching is very helpful as well. We always knew that investors are very busy people and you need to be persistent. However, when it came to the second round of follow up, we usually felt the freeze – what do you write other than “I already sent you this message, can you look at it again now?” With LSN’s help, we are crafting differentiated messages and tactics on how to maximize the number of meetings with investors, during RESI and after it.

EW: How big is your investor list and outreach?  How did the fundraising dynamic change after RESI?

KV: We need to raise the seed round, so it is a daily and hourly work for us. June RESI will be our second conference, and participating there has definitely changed the dynamics, the scope and the pace. We now have our own database of investors, where we track the interactions and prioritize the strategic leads. LSN and RESI have brought a lot of structure in our search for funding.

EW: What do you believe is most important to you about the Innovation Challenge?

KV: The preparation. Being in the spotlight is only great if you are fully prepared. We are raising the bar for our messages and presentations and working hard with our advisors to improve.

EW: You also participated during the Digital RESI 2-Day Partnering Event last month. How many meetings were you able to secure?

KV: Just under 30

EW: How did you secure so many meetings? What did you do to get so many?

KV: I think that being a Featured Company really helped, since investors get to see your posterboard and pitch even before the meeting. The partnering platform is very easy to use and makes sending emails and doing the follow up really easy and streamlined. Once we wrote the introductory emails and follow up emails with the target messages it was so efficient to communicate with all the investors on the platform.

EW: What helped you most to get those meetings?

KV: I honestly think it was the intro email we sent. RESI had a webinar prior to the forum and shared some tips and proven tactics. We certainly liked the structured approach to messaging in emails. This is what worked right away, I think.

EW: How did those meetings go? Any follow-up yet?

KV: We certainly got a lot of the knowledgeable investors to the table. The feedback we got was tremendous. In cases we got to a “no”, we got there quickly, and participating investors provided the detailed explanation. Where investors were interested, we are following up on a few leads now.

EW: What have you learned so far participating at RESI?

KV: We learned so much: how to construct a pitch and what documents we should have in the package ready to go; we learned the “tiered approach” to effective follow up; we learned how to maximize the face time with any investor and what questions to ask them. I hope we learned how to get funded!

EW: Was this the first time you go in front of institutional investors?

KV: Yes

EW: Any other comments?

KV: I am impressed with the level of respect we receive as a company from both LSN and the investor community. RESI and LSN are a lot more than a platform – they walk us through the basics and even advanced techniques of interacting with investors for results. Webinars are hands-on and give you actionable advice. But we also found that every time we reach out to LSN with a question – someone responds very quickly! Investors on the platform are very involved as well in terms of providing feedback, follow up and letting us know their decision.

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