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Global Funding Insights for Digital Health Initiatives in 2018

12 Jul

By Ashley Durrer, Marketing Manager, LSN

This week I interviewed Colin Widen, the CEO of Boston Innovation Capital (BIC), Life Science Nation’s (LSN) wholly-owned broker-dealer arm, to learn where investors are allocating funds, and the current focus on healthcare advancement within the digital health space.

BIC works alongside LSN and our network of investors to support early-stage companies in forging connections with investors, major pharma firms, and other strategic players in the life science world. By managing clients’ fundraising campaigns and connecting them to investors who are a good fit, BIC is able to address its, and LSN’s, mission of advancing new and innovative technologies to the clinic.

Interview with Colin Widen moderated by Ashley Durrer

AD: With billions of dollars being poured into digital health, why the sudden increase?

CW: “Healthcare needs to find a way to pay for digital health now that value-based care and hospital incentives are aligned to support lower costs in healthcare with improved patient care. There are new potentials for change within the telemedicine space in light of ongoing healthcare reforms and debate.”

AD: How will that turn out for those seeking funding?

CW: “Digital health initiatives will be the least impacted by changes to the American healthcare system, making them prime opportunities for investment this year.

“There is a much lower cost to creating software, virtual platforms, compliance tools, etc. than creating advances in biologics, drugs, and other life science advancements, making digital health an increasingly popular space for investors. Successfully investing in therapeutics or medical devices requires a great deal of expertise, not to mention the increased risk due to the potential failure in clinical trials. On the other hand, software is a recognizable, lower cost, and scalable business model that is often also easily adaptable when regulations change.”

AD: Where does BIC fit into global funding from client perspectives?

CW: “BIC is working tirelessly to support digital health technologies that will have a real impact on the healthcare system for our doctors, nurses, and hospitals. This year BIC is focused on digital health technologies, assets, and virtual tools, which can support doctors’, hospitals’, and nurses’ efforts with patients. However, this currently excludes consumer-based products and electronic medical record (EMR) initiatives.”

AD: What are some examples of potential best-fit clients?

CW: “Some examples recognized in the market are pill dispensers and medicinal tracking for patient compliance, health portals for patients and doctors, mental health apps, medication tracking, patient monitoring and more.”

AD: What kind of client are you seeking now? Can you share a potential client profile?

CW: “Within our LSN network of investors, feedback clearly shows there is an increasing appetite to invest in niche digital health opportunities.

“Investors are seeking companies within the top-tier of their specialization, and a proven business model within the market. Often these investors want to see that the product, software, tool, etc. are viable, which means it’s already being used within the market e.g. hospitals. This also includes an accompanying value proposition for payors and the company is receiving ongoing revenue for that service.”

BIC Global Network of Digital Health Investors are focused on:

  • Funding of $10M-50M
  • Min $3mm+ ARR
  • Niche companies within the top-tier of their specialization
  • Currently avoiding pure EMR focused and consumer-based products

The Future of Digital Health

There are innovations happening every day to help improve access to healthcare. 2018 has already seen an increase in the debate over healthcare reform, rising insurance costs, and uncertainty of coverage for millions of Americans. Advancements in technologies and virtual tools for doctors and hospitals could really help to streamline processes and reduce overall costs for themselves as well as the patients they serve.

We can’t wait to hear what new innovations are entering the digital health space.

About Colin Widen, CEO

Colin Widen, registered representative, is a seasoned executive with 25 years of sales, trading and portfolio management experience in major investment banks. Colin joined Deutsche Bank where he led a team providing consulting services about alternative asset allocation strategies to family offices and smaller endowments and foundations. In creating BIC, Colin has combined investment skills with the robust investor network of LSN to offer a unique platform. Colin is a registered representative and holds Series 7, 24, 63 and 82 registrations. His specialties include reconstructing hedge fund portfolios. analyzing private equity holdings and helping with strategy and execution of capital raise initiatives across the spectrum of today’s life science assets.

About Boston Innovation Capital

Boston Innovation Capital (BIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Life Science Nation Holdings, became a FINRA-registered broker-dealer in 2016. BIC works alongside LSN’s other two divisions (LSN’s Investor Platform and Company Platform, and the RESI Conference Group) to support early-stage companies in forging connections with investors, major pharma firms and other strategic players in the life science world.

Marketing Collateral for Your Fundraising Strategy

5 Jul

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series & RESI Healthtech Week

If you haven’t heard, Life Science Nation provides consulting services for branding and messaging, both critical to the fundraising process. The LSN mantra is, “We echo to our clients what the investors tell us they want to see”. Through conversations with investors through the years, LSN has the knowledge to help shape your marketing collateral to address what investors are looking for, whether you meet during a RESI Conference or on your own time.

Top Three Pieces of Marketing Collateral You Need

There are three key marketing documents investors generally evaluate to form a first impression of your company: the executive summary, pitch deck, and company website. These three pieces of content have one purpose: they serve to whet the target investor/partner’s appetite and convince them to request a meeting with you and start a dialogue. Below is a list of all supporting marketing collateral you may need for your fundraising campaign. This article will go into further detail on the executive summary, pitch deck, and website and what the content should highlight.

Marketing collateral every entrepreneur needs.

If you are looking for more detailed information on defining and developing your marketing collateral, please read Chapter 6 of Dennis Ford’s book, “The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto“.

What “value” does your business add?

One key takeaway from all your marketing collateral should be the value of your company and its technology. Investors want to easily understand your message and value-add right away, no matter what the marketing collateral. Investors tend to be very busy, but if you can pique their initial interest, you will have plenty of opportunity to provide more information as the dialogue unfolds. The investor does not want to have difficulty understanding your company value so make sure you have a clear message for them.

There is no standardization.

Many of our clients go through a learning curve due to the lack of standardization of the fundraising collateral (executive summary etc.) required by investors. This makes it extremely difficult to provide a course on the basics of fundraising branding and messaging. This has led to the service we provide, creating custom marketing collateral.

An investor can receive as many as 100 solicitations per week. Investors have become experts at skimming and looking for a spark to ignite their interest. If that is not found, they quickly move on to the next opportunity.

How to get started.

An executive summary (ES) is typically no more than 2 pages and can be accompanied by a visual PowerPoint (your pitch deck) of 10-12 slides. Usually, they are sent together when you reach out for an initial introduction as it provides the investor with key background information upfront. The goal is to move them from either document to your website for more detailed content.

Here are five main points we have learned regarding the ES and pitch deck.

  1. Send both an executive summary and a pitch deck. Some folks click on an executive summary and others click on the deck. Most investors have an innate preference for one or the other. Since you won’t know before reaching out, LSN recommends that you send out both.
  2. The executive summary is the story of your company and how you got to your current state.
  3. The pitch deck should reflect what is in the executive summary, but in bullet form, with the addition of more information that shows the value-add of your firm and product.
  4. The pitch deck is your tool to present your company position to investors, therefore replacing your voice. It needs to stand completely on its own because it is read in your absence. Unlike a standard deck used for a presentation with bullets designed to trigger your dialogue, the pitch is being read as it is. The challenge is to be able to deliver the complete message with as few, concise words as possible and no need for a presenter.
  5. Remember, it’s the investor’s first introduction to your company. The investor will not have the full context, and therefore some level of contextual detail may be necessary.

Your website represents your company brand.

Your company website is a detailed representation explaining your company and its technology. It needs to offer a “deep dive” on the company and team, more detailed than is possible in your executive summary and pitch deck. The website should provide all of the detail and context that tell the full story of your company and its value. Even so, it is necessary to maintain consistency with your language and provide a clear message.

If done right and the message comes across, then the target partner will be able to assess that you’re a good fit and decide to initiate a conversation. The executive summary, the pitch deck and the website are all created for one reason – to give enough compelling information that an investor decides to initiate the first meeting.

Remember, it’s about the buyer: a busy investor with cash to allocate. Keep in mind they will do a quick scan of your deck and executive summary. They will be looking for something that will impart enough interest that they will want to have a chat with you and your firm.


Fundraising Steps You Need to Take

3 Jul

By Ashley Durrer, Marketing Manager, LSN

It can be challenging to perfect your fundraising strategy in order to accelerate your work. As a past marketing and business development focused entrepreneur I’ve been exposed to the fundraising environment outside of the life science and healthcare industry. It may be counter-intuitive, but fundraising processes (as well as constructing partnerships) are similar across different industries except for their smaller nuances.  Scientist-entrepreneurs and fundraising CEOs need to know that a clear value proposition made up of your tagline, executive summary and more will be the differentiating factor in progressing your discussions with investors past the initial conversation. The ones who can share their value proposition with the most clarity, are the ones investors will move forward with for fundraising opportunities. Here are some fundamentals everyone needs to know.

Entrepreneurs know it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and funds to make a company successful. If you’re new to the fundraising sphere within the life science and healthcare industry, you may be unsure what to prioritize and where to start. Life Science Nation (LSN) is a company focused on providing resources and conferences focused on initiating new opportunities for strategic partnerships and fundraising activities. LSN makes it as straightforward and simple as possible so you can maximize your success. That means having a solid understanding of the fundraising process and knowing what steps to take in order to execute a deal or partnership.

Define Your Value Proposition

At the foundation, it’s imperative to understand your own branding and communicate it clearly to your constituents. If you don’t understand your product, services, and goals, they won’t either. This includes clearly defining your addressable market and growth potential to global investors and strategic partners. Otherwise, it will be an upward battle to convince them to support you as a partner or financially. If you then consider that it takes 6-18 months to fundraise (always longer than hoped or expected), clarity for your mission becomes crucial to speeding up the fundraising or partnership process.

LSN wants companies to be ready for the initial conversations so they can get to the next phase sooner. The next conversations are where you work through the deals and partnerships, and not stumbling over the value proposition for too long. Know your product set, it’s development stage, and how it fits into investors mandates and requirements. Make sure you have these to share verbally as well as through marketing materials: an executive summary, pitch deck, etc.

Create and Curate an Investor Database

Now that you’ve defined your company, goals, and growth potential, it’s time to create a target list of investors or strategic partners. This can be a daunting task and normally starts by networking with current, established relationships. This is a great starting point to expand your network, and will usually provide hot leads for best matches. LSN expands upon this by opening up companies and investors to their network of constituents. It is a real advantage, where other industries have to rely solely on their personal connections.

Match Your Company Product Set with Investor Mandates

If you can match you and your company with the right fit people for you, then it’s a lot easier to start having those initial conversations that lead up to deals and strategic partnerships. Since this is a challenge, LSN chose to specialize and develop its company to connect products, services, and capital to support individual efforts to target an investor audience and network with potential matches.

LSN created a two-sided platform: ‘For Company’ side and a ‘For Investors’ side. It’s intuitive search functions make it easy to use for sourcing information for deals and partnerships. At its core, it saves potential strategic partners, investors, and fundraising CEOs time on research, so they can instead focus on the important tasks of engaging in conversations that match their interests–filling the pipeline for new opportunities which in turn accelerate businesses, technology, and deals.

The LSN Company Platform (for investors and strategic partners) is the premier life science company database, covering over 50,000 companies from around the world, with a particular focus on the earliest stage companies who have been missed by traditional data providers.

The LSN Investor Platform (for companies) includes present and future-looking investor data collected and curated by LSN’s Investor Research team through ongoing dialogue with LSN’s 5,000 life science investors from around the world. The team updates the database to only include active investors who are currently allocating funds to projects and companies that fit their mandate requirements.

The Investor Platform:

  • Includes investors from 10 categories: Angels, Corporate Venture Capital, Endowments/Foundations, Family Offices, Government Organizations, Hedge Funds, Institutional Alternative Investor, Large Pharma/Biotech, PE, and Venture Captial.
  • Track goals and requirements over the next year for investors
  • Facilitates targeted deal flow so investors are a fit for you

The LSN Platforms include:

  • Portal with filters to identify potential leads for you: location, investor types, product sets, investment interest section, phases, etc.
  • LSN’s Investor Platform includes mandates, differentiating them from other databases
  • By mentioning your connection to LSN, it facilitates your connections and provides credibility

Ask LSN for a demo to learn more.

Network Face-to-Face

After completing your target list, you’ll realize warm introductions mean a lot in propelling the conversations forward, past the initial talks. That’s why Life Science Nation created the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference. LSN knew entrepreneurs and fundraising CEO’s needed a central location with access to potential global investors and strategic partners. With limited time and much to do as a startup, they need tools and resources to work efficiently. While networking is crucial to any company’s success in sourcing new opportunities, RESI is the best within the life science industry in providing such a venue.

The Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference is an ongoing conference series that provides an international venue for early-stage life science companies to connect with global investors and strategic partners for new opportunities, all in one place. This includes interests across Biotech, Medtech, Diagnostics and Digital Health in order to create new relationships in these areas as well as the potential to secure funding. RESI is unique and the leading conference in partnerships due to its global network presence, unmatched by other conferences in the healthcare industry. It provides constituents with the best venue for partnering and networking.

The RESI Conference:

  • Occurs 5x per year
  • Includes ad hoc meeting opportunities
  • Partnering Forum for up to 16 scheduled meetings
  • Panels by investors, sponsors, partners discussing all things healthcare and fundraising
  • LSN 5,000 Investor network is always invited to attend

To learn more and attend upcoming events, please visit the site.

Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals for your fundraising strategies and partnership opportunities, you can start defining your value proposition, creating a target audience, and network with the right people.


Life Science Nation Connects Products, Services, and Capital

Our corporate structure is made up of a few different business models with the same mission to accelerate therapeutics, biotech, medtech, diagnostics, and digital health within the healthcare industry. LSN started out developing a database of investors because the company felt there was not enough accessibility for investors to discover scientists-entrepreneurs and fundraising CEOs within the life sciences. Further down the line, LSN created a conference series to further accelerate and support initial conversations between these groups so progress could be made in leaps and bounds. As we continue to develop in our current political environment, it has become more important than ever to continue supporting and facilitating advances in healthcare.

When Raising Capital, CEOs Should Understand the LSN Value Proposition

22 Feb

By Skylar Jacobs, Business Development Manager, LSN

As Next Phase discussed two weeks ago, the world of early stage biotech and medtech investment is far less than straightforward and CEOs often have limited resources for learning where they fit into the capital landscape. In this article, we’ll look more closely at how LSN designed the LSN Investor Platform to address this problem.

Finding and Connecting with Investors that are a Fit for Your Company

LSN has found that the biggest difficulty for fundraising executives is identifying active investors that are a fit for their stage of development and product.  When raising a seed or series A financing, most executives go straight to a few brand name VCs and angel groups in their backyard, and, mistakenly, think this is going to get the job done. The reality is that fundraising is a numbers game, and there are thousands of groups across the world that are not currently known to the fundraising team, but may be a great fit for your venture. The problem is how to efficiently identify these groups, if they are a fit and, most importantly, how to reach them.

Global Matching Platform

Through this outreach, LSN has created the LSN Investor Database, giving fundraising executives the ability to generate a global target list of investors who are a fit for their company.  Like all databases, there is a front end of the active players – which is approximately half of our total network– which includes profiles of firms in active dialogue with the LSN Research Team and profiles of firms that have enough publicly available information/contact details to be listed.  The back-end of the database contains investors that have requested that LSN match them with fundraising companies but prefer not to be listed in the front end, investors we have identified but are not currently investing, and profiles that will be moved into the front end once we have enough data to justify value. The good news is that we think we have identified about 85% of the global early stage investors.  The functionality of the LSN Investor Database allows you to easily apply filters to generate a list of firms who are a fit for your company, which usually leaves about 300-500 firms as initial targets to begin initial qualification and potential interest.


The LSN team has conducted an analysis of hundreds of successful fundraising campaigns and has determined that, on average, a start-up company can expect to spend between $70,000 to $100,000 on their fundraising efforts.  These costs include: creating and maintaining your marketing materials and web presence, business trips, conferences, partnering road trips and other miscellaneous costs.

Campaign Component
Typical Cost
Creating and maintaining your branding, messaging, marketing collateral and web presence for a year
$25,000 – $30,000
One conference per quarter, travel and expenses
$12,000 – $20,000
1-2 week road trip per quarter, two people
$10,000 – $15,000
Global target list of investors and campaign infrastructure
$10,000 – $12,000
Legal and professional fees
$10,000 – $20,000
$67,000 – $97,000

The LSN Investor Platform is competitively priced at $6,995 for an annual subscription to fundraising executives.  This pricing is based upon making you, the fundraiser, more effective and efficient by dramatically increasing your access to global investors that are a fit for your company’s stage of development and product. Pricing justification is that the annual subscription costs:

  • 10% of typical fundraising campaign costs
  • Approximately $25 per targeted investor profile

The LSN Research Team has done the work for you to collect details regarding exact investment interests, typical allocation size, fund vintage, company management team requirements, past investment history, and personal contact details for Partners, Directors, and C-Level Executives at each firm – information that is rarely found in other investor profiles. The price of the LSN Investor Database includes: initial identification of our client’s global target list of 300-500 investors, a consultation on your introductory marketing materials (intro email and deck), campaign outreach advice, and email alerts including updates of investors added to the platform who are a fit for your company.  Additionally, the LSN Investor Platform includes an export function that provides startup CEOs with data that can be imported into a CRM system to manage outreach and track the progress of every investor relationship.  LSN has already integrated with to make this process seamless for our clients.  In total, LSN offers a complete package for fundraising executives to ensure they have the strategy and investor targets necessary to conduct a successful capital raise.

The Redefining Early Stage Investments Conference Series

In addition to the LSN Investor Platform, the RESI Conference is another tool provided by LSN for fundraising CEOs. The RESI conference allows entrepreneurs to meet face-to-face with up to 16 relevant investors in one day and begin to develop a personal relationship with them. Subscribers of the LSN Investor Platform have a powerful tool that allows them dig into the investors’ profile prior to the meeting to understand the investors’ interests and preferences, greatly increasing the quality of an intro discussion and making the best use of their face-time. Using the LSN Investor Platform and RESI conference in parallel creates a tremendous value for any fundraising CEO in the early-stage life science space by not only providing the connections, but also by facilitating face-to-face interactions.

In Summary

LSN estimates that approximately 250 clients who read our CEO’s book, The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto, purchased the database, and participated in the RESI Conference Series have raised upwards of 350 million dollars.  LSN’s value add to a fundraising CEO and scientist/entrepreneur is equivalent to 5 years’ work by 6 LSN research analysts, curating your Global Target List (GTL), which is at least 50% of the effort of raising capital – finding investors that are a fit for your stage of development and product.

The personal connection between the LSN research team and an investment firm allows LSN to capture and utilize a unique flow of information and provides an unmatched tool for fundraising CEOs to understand the players in their space, their nuanced preferences/strategies and a way to begin a dialogue with them. No other service or data provider comes close to the focused, high touch, relationship-oriented nature of data collection and maintenance.

An Investor Database That Works

8 Feb

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

LSN created the LSN Investor Platform, which is the only early stage life science investor platform that goes across the silos of drugs, devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT. Over 600 clients have used this service, raising millions of dollars from investors located all around the globe. We’ve recently updated our video to reflect the latest generation of the cloud-based investor and strategic partnering database – take a look below!

Finding Capital in the Early Stage Funding Gap

31 Aug

By Michael Quigley, VP of Investor Research, LSN


The majority of companies that we see at LSN have already secured some SBIR/STTR grant funding and/or have raised seed capital, generally from friends, family and angels (FFA). This funding tends to be used to cover incorporation fees, initial IP costs as well as some additional technical development to further de-risk their technology, making it more attractive for investors in a larger round.

What comes next, and when most companies come to LSN, is referred to as the “Valley of Death”. This is the area between FFA and significant VC investment, a gap that many companies fail to bridge. If you are plugged into daily news on biotech and life science venture rounds (which I would highly recommend for any fundraising entrepreneur) it is not uncommon to see Series A’s to the tune of $20 million or more. What is important for entrepreneurs to understand is that these large rounds represent the minority of Series A investments. In LSN’s Financing Round Database that tracks life science investments we have identified 134 Series A financing rounds that have been made thus far in 2017. Of those identified raises, 85 (or just about 2/3) were under $20 million. 57 were under $10 million. What is also important to note here is that LSN’s data is comprised of financing rounds that have been reported, and in LSN’s experience many of the smaller rounds do not get reported. Therefore, there is a high probability that these stats are underestimating the number of smaller rounds.

Of the rounds that raised $20 million or more, about 75% of them included what can be considered one of the top 25 venture capital firms based on total assets (AUM), investment track record, and name recognition. Many entrepreneurs are familiar with these VC’s, though few have real relationships with them. As a result, these VC’s have unprecedented deal flow allowing them to be extremely selective. Many of them are investing into companies in which they have been tracking the science and team since academia. In other words, unless you have a pre-existing relationship with these groups, truly getting their attention and having them take a hard look into your technology is a challenge, particularly if your technology description doesn’t include a hot topic word like immuno-oncology, microbiome or gene therapy. However, these high-caliber investors do show up at LSN’s RESI Conference events and you can meet them there, either via an ad hoc meeting, at a panel or in RESI partnering.

Companies that land these large rounds with top tier VC’s often discuss how easy it was to raise capital. “I just called my old business partner at fund X and we had a term sheet in two months”. While this is great for companies that can raise capital that way–and if you can then by all means do!–it can create a false sense of what fundraising is like as these are the deals that generally get the most press. Additionally, many of these funds are so large that they look to put significant capital to work in each investment, so this creates an inflated sense of the size of typical Series A rounds. In general, I would suggest entrepreneurs looking to raise capital outside these big players to target whatever is needed to get to the next significant value inflection point. This helps broadcast your grasp on capital efficiency to the investment community, as well as an understanding of the space beyond the headlines.

For companies that cannot raise from the top 25 VC groups, which represents the majority of rounds raised, they have a much bigger task at hand to raise capital then making a few phone calls.

LSN’s Research team is currently in dialogue with over 375 investment groups looking for preclinical – phase II therapeutics companies that fall between angels and the top 25 VC’s. These include what we can call mid-tier or new VC funds, PE groups starting to look earlier, family offices now going direct, strategics, their corporate funds, and venture philanthropy groups. This is essentially LSN’s bread and butter; helping entrepreneurs identify and connect with these more low-profile investment groups. While it is a positive that there are so many of them, it does make fundraising a larger task when you have many more emails, calls and meetings to take before you can find a partner.

For first-time entrepreneurs and those without deep networks into the VC community, the pool of capital represented by these investors outside the big-name VC firms represent your greatest potential chance of securing investment. Many of these VCs don’t have the same name recognition and established deal flow channels as the top 25 funds. If you can connect with relevant strategic groups, you will often find that they have deep scientific experience in your field as well as a need to fill their pipelines. These dynamics can all benefit the entrepreneur when looking to work with these less prominent groups, but identifying who these groups are and which ones are likely a fit for what you are doing is where the challenge lies.

There is indeed life in the Valley of Death, and with the right tools and contacts it is possible to find investment. It’s a challenge, however, as anyone who has gone through the process will tell you. You need to really put yourself out there both on the phone and in person to start dialogues, get meetings, build relationships and ultimately sign terms.

Click here for a PDF of the book “The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto”.

Click here to see a list of investors who are signed up for RESI Boston.

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