Getting it Right from Pitch to Partner

18 Feb

By Karen Deyo, Director of Investor Research, Israel BD, LSN

As each Life Science Nation event approaches, we spend a lot of time and effort to help startups achieve the best possible outcome through partnering. We have published many articles detailing why partnering is important, how to get ready for your outreach, how to get as many meetings as possible and how to prepare for them.

As we gear up to launch Digital RESI partnering next week, we are offering a free tutorial to help founders make the most of the partnering experience. But what steps can you take to make your meeting successful, to improve your chances of a follow up meeting? Here are a few tips that can help!

  1. Know your audience.

We frequently give this advice, both when requesting meetings and when preparing for them. Your meeting will be different, depending on whether you are speaking to a VC, an angel group or a strategic partner. What are they looking for? This can give you the key to making yourself stand out. Make use of online resources to know the investor with whom you are meeting, the organization and their portfolio companies, such as their website, LinkedIn or Crunchbase, among others. The more info you have, the better you can focus on what about your company will spark their interest.

  1. During the meeting, make it a discussion – not a presentation.

In our experience, companies that approach meetings as a discussion with the investor, as opposed to a pitch running through their deck, meet with better responses. Investors see a lot of pitches, and you want to be able to translate your enthusiasm for your company – this does not translate well when simply running through your deck. Engage the investor in a conversation and make it dynamic. However, remember to be grounded: it is important to be passionate, but be realistic about your technology. Not every company is founded on first-in-class science. Improvements to current treatment paradigms can be just as successful and may be more attractive to some investors due to the decreased risk, so don’t oversell yourself.

  1. Know which areas of your company/technology to highlight.

No one knows your company, or your story, better than you. Give the investors a concise (but complete) overview of your company. You know what makes your company stand out, whether it is the story behind the company, the technology, the team, or the application – make sure to highlight this. Also, make sure the investor knows what milestones you have already achieved and, more importantly, how much you are raising and what milestones you plan to hit with these funds.

  1. Know what questions to ask the investor.

The investor will certainly ask you questions that you should be prepared to answer, but you should also think about what questions you want to ask the investor. Gaining an investor is like entering a long-term relationship – you want to make sure that you can work well together, potentially for years to come. In addition, many investors are more than just financial contributors. It is key to find out how involved the investor chooses to be after investing: do they take a board seat? Will they leverage their network or connections for you? For a strategic partner, do they have an infrastructure that could benefit your development? As with the previous tips, this is where knowing your audience can play a big role, as your questions will change depending on the investor. You may ask a traditional VC about their desired timeline to exit, but you would likely ask a Corporate VC about how connected the parent company is to their deals.

The more prepared you are, the greater your chance of success. Fundraising is not only a numbers game, but it can also be a full-time job. By doing what you can to shorten the fundraise, you can increase your time to focus on the most important aspect of your job – building a successful company!

Sign up for our free partnering tutorial, Tuesday, February 23, 12 PM EST.

There is still time to sign up for Healthtech Partnering Week at the early-bird rate. Sign up by February 19 and SAVE!

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