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Start to Partner at Digital RESI November

22 Oct

By Karen Deyo, Senior Investor Research Analyst, LSN

Partnering for Digital RESI November launches next week, giving registered attendees access to RESI’s unique partnering platform. This platform allows attendees to filter search results with a high degree of precision.

At RESI, unlike other conferences, requesting a meeting with an investor does not require a company to spend most of the initial meeting finding out if they are a fit for the investor or not. Companies can easily winnow down to a list of investors who are interested in their sector, indication and stage of development before requesting a meeting, making it easier for them to identify investors who are a fit for them. Investor profiles are written by Life Science Nation (LSN)’s Investor Research team in a phone interview with each investor, as a requirement before registration.

With our transition to virtual events, the RESI Partnering Platform now has an integrated video conferencing system, allowing companies to simply log in to the platform and initiate their meetings through their schedule. Make sure to look at the tutorial video below, to see all the features offered by our system!

PARTNERING TUTORIAL

Digital RESI November partnering launches next week, but you can still sign up for the conference, taking place November 17-19, 2020 by visiting www.resiconference.com.

An Interview with CSC Leasing on Their Custom-Built Leasing Solutions

22 Oct

Ryan Magner

An Interview with Ryan Magner, Regional Director, CSC Leasing Company

By Ashley Zborowski
Director of Business Development, LSN

As a sponsor for both Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) and 4D Meets AI, CSC Leasing’s Ryan Magner chats with Life Science Nation (LSN)’s Ashley Zborowski about their firm, vision, and practices around equipment leasing to early-stage companies in life science, and what makes them unique in the market.

Ashley Zborowski (AZ): Please introduce your firm, product and marketplace.

Ryan Magner (RM): CSC Leasing is a boutique family-owned equipment leasing company based in Richmond, VA, serving clients across the US and internationally. In our 35 years of business, we have financed nearly $1 billion in transactions. Our foremost goal is to help companies obtain the equipment they need to achieve their goals, at the lowest possible cost. We do this by providing innovative and competitive leasing programs—which are flexible and tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients—always with a focus on the long-term relationship. Our core business is serving emerging growth companies in life sciences with a focus on seed stage to early institutional investment rounds. Since our portfolio is owned, capitalized and managed solely by CSC Leasing, we can be agile, flexible and efficient. Clients will always work directly with our team throughout their lease term.

AZ: Why is leasing so important to early-stage firms?

RM: For early-stage firms, preserving cash and raised investor equity dollars is always paramount. By helping early-stage companies finance their equipment purchases, they can extend runway and preserve cash for higher ROI activities. Leasing is a non-dilutive vehicle which is important to many companies that are seeking financial partners. Establishing a leasing agreement is also traditionally easier to obtain than traditional lending which can require more substantial business requirements and milestones.

AZ: You seem to equate leasing with funding; can you explain that?

RM: Like equity funding, we are putting our own capital to work for a company, but it is in the form of equipment procurement vs. a direct cash injection into a business. In the case of a sale leaseback transaction for existing assets already purchased, we can help companies get cash back on their balance sheets as well. Many companies chose to establish a lease line of credit with CSC to compliment other sources of funding in order to reduce or eliminate the need for substantial one-time cash outflows for depreciating assets.

AZ: Do you have a process for assessing a client’s needs? How does that work?

RM: Always an introductory call and/or meeting to introduce CSC and learn about their company and what they are trying to accomplish by leasing equipment. After gathering some initial information, we will begin a customary due diligence which requires the same types of information many companies will have provided to equity investors or for grant funding. Depending on the size of the transaction, we can typically turn around a term sheet proposal within a week or two, sometimes requiring another round of due diligence for asks over $1M. Our credit committee meets five days a week and we have invested in expanding headcount there, so we’re able to turn around decisions much faster than others in the non-bank financial services space.

AZ: Can you please describe what a perfect life science firms looks like to your leasing firm?

RM: Like many equity investors, we will be looking at the team, technology, financials, runway and who the other investors are. We pay particularly close attention to the equipment and financials, so being organized around providing all the required information up front will expedite the process. We typically like to see 12+ months of cash on-hand but can sometimes get comfortable with less if there are additional upcoming grants, financing rounds or highly desirable equipment. Having experienced founders with a track record of building successful companies or substantial domain expertise is important, as well.

AZ: Tell me more who is a perfect target for your leasing service? Could you give us some examples of life science clients you are now working with and what the deals looked like and how they grew?

RM: We take as much pleasure in helping a company preserve cash to get to their Series A round as we do in working with companies all the way up through an IPO. Our portfolio of life science clients includes companies that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through name brand VCs, as well as emerging growth companies that have raised from friends and family. Unlike many others in the space, we’re willing to finance smaller transactions to first build the relationship and trust, with the goal of creating a longer-term partnership. Recently, we were able to approve a $10M sale leaseback for existing equipment to a leading therapeutics company in Cambridge to help them preserve cash as they worked towards Series C milestones and eventually a successful IPO. On the emerging side, another start-up therapeutics company in Cambridge required $500K in new equipment for a lab build-out after raising their Series A and not wanting to use fresh equity dollars for constantly depreciating assets.

AZ: It sounds like capital-intensive start-ups are your best customers; can you talk about the market segments these clients are in?

RM: While life science has always been a target market due to the high-capex nature of the industry, other industries like food and beverage, technology, and manufacturing and logistics have proven to be a stable client base for us, given their demand for equipment leasing. With regards to the segments within life sciences and biotech, we are commonly working with R&D-stage therapeutics companies, pharma manufacturing, 3D bio printing, shared lab space, and medical devices, to name a few. Ultimately, we are unique in that we are working with companies that are likely going to run out of cash at some time during the lease, so we are trying to identify clients that have a high likelihood of being able to raise the next financing round, or in the case of revenue generating operations, achieve profitability.

AZ: Why do you remain vendor-agnostic, as opposed to selecting the best-of-breed and staying with them?

RM: Due to the asset management nature of our business—as it’s our only collateral—we have expertise in many types of equipment, however we always let our clients determine what is the best type of equipment for them. We then simply take the purchase orders negotiated by our clients, which often can include discounts, and execute them on their behalf. Additionally, we are also able to look at used equipment purchases as a way for companies to recognize further cost savings. CSC can be additive to the procurement process via our lease administration team, and handle logistics like ordering, shipping and helping with tax exemptions for R&D.

AZ: Do you purchase and then lease, and how do you determine how to take that risk?

RM: Yes, we purchase the equipment on behalf of our clients after getting the umbrella master lease in place. There is always the risk working with early-stage companies that things won’t go according to plan and we will have to take delivery of the equipment back to our warehouse. At that point, we try and remarket the equipment using various channels in order to recoup some of our investment, which can help mitigate the risk. With that being said, one of the benefits for our clients is that CSC is not only a family-owned business, but we’re not a broker and we hold our own paper. As a non-bank leasing company, that gives us flexibility to say yes when others say no and look at our client base through a long-term lens. We saw it very recently during COVID-19 that companies couldn’t get into their lab spaces or accomplish milestones according to plan, so that required some restructuring of lease agreements and trying to be a partner to our clients during a really difficult time, which we hope is mutually beneficial in the long term.

AZ: Why do you refer to your service as non-dilutive capital when you are a leasing firm?

RM: Many early-stage lenders have what is called a warrant component to their terms. That means that at some point in the future, the lender will be able to claim a negotiated portion of equity in the business, which is dilutive by definition. While CSC is not a traditional lender in that we are leasing the equipment to our clients, we are still putting our own capital to work in order to purchase those assets in place of the company, all while being able to do it with a cleaner financing that requires no warrants.

AZ: How do you help an early-stage company with financing?

RM: Due to our structure and comfortability in the early-stage space, we can extend financing to many companies that will not qualify for traditional bank loans or vendor financing. If our capital allows a company to extend their runway, meet milestones and successfully raise the next round of capital from institutional investors, that is a mutually beneficial result. When we invest our own capital into a business, our interests will always be aligned with theirs—we don’t succeed unless they do. Additionally, if we can be helpful in using our network of clients and investors in life sciences for references or to make introductions that could influence a future financing round, that would be added value we strive to achieve.

AZ: Do you have a message for our readers about your firm?

RM: At CSC, we are always willing to speak with founders or companies that would like to learn more about equipment leasing before beginning a process with us. We also have no problem spinning up a deal to arrive at indicative pricing so you can evaluate if it makes sense for your business. We’ll be the first to tell you if we think we’re not the best fit for helping you achieve your research and development goals and will always try to point you in the right direction. Please don’t hesitate to reach out! To learn more about equipment leasing, you can contact Ryan directly at rmagner@cscleasing.com.

To learn more about 4D Meets AI and sign up for the early bird rate (until October 24), visit www.4dmeetsai.com.

Introducing Longevity, Health & Innovation Panels

22 Oct

By Rory McCann, Marketing Manager & Conference Producer, LSN

Longevity, Health & Innovation, the newest partnering conference from Life Science Nation (LSN) and Mary Furlong & Associates, brings early-stage companies together with investors and strategic partners to network and start relationships around the needs and trends of the longevity market. View our panels of market experts and investors leading the conversations toward innovation.

You can learn more and sign up at the super early bird rate (until October 24) by visiting www.longevityhealthinnovation.com.

Longevity, Health & Innovation – A Partnership Between LSN and MFA to Advance the Longevity Marketplace

15 Oct

Dr. Mary Furlong

An Interview with Dr. Mary Furlong, President and CEO, Mary Furlong and Associates

By Rory McCann, Marketing Manager & Conference Producer, LSN

With our inaugural Longevity, Health & Innovation conference fast approaching, I spoke to Dr. Mary Furlong, President and CEO of Mary Furlong and Associates, our partner for LHI. MFA is widely considered a leader in the longevity and aging marketplace, largely due to Mary’s experience in the space.

Listen below to find out more about how Mary got started, where she thinks the industry is going and the importance of events such as LHI in moving technologies and solutions forward.

Mary Furlong, Ed.D, MFA’s president and CEO, is a leading authority on the longevity marketplace. She has guided the business development and marketing strategies of leading corporations, emerging companies, and nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years.

Her list of clients/sponsors includes AARP, Caring.com, CareLinx, First Republic Bank, GreatCall Inc., Link•age, PetPlan, and UnitedHealthcare (UHC). Mary founded MFA in 2003 to help socially- and consumer-conscious companies understand the real needs of this growing market.

In addition, Mary is the Dean’s Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business.

Before launching MFA, Mary founded the nonprofit organization SeniorNet in 1986 and ThirdAge Media in 1996. Throughout the course of her work for both organizations, she raised $130 million in venture capital funds, corporate sponsorships, and foundation grants.

During Mary’s tenure, SeniorNet served more than 500,000 adults age 50 and older. Much of her time was spent in the field at the organization’s learning centers, observing the applications that worked and the issues related to the technology. ThirdAge Media reached more than 2 million members – most age 45 and older – when Mary served as its CEO and visionary leader of the editorial team.

Mary has appeared on CBS, PBS, NPR, and NBC’s Today show to discuss trends in aging and technology, and her expertise has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Business Week, Fortune, People, and Fast Company, among other publications.

In 2001, Fortune Small Business named Mary one of its “Top 25 Women Entrepreneurs,” and Time-honored her in 1999 as one of its “Digital 50.” She also served as a White House Commissioner on Libraries and Information Science during the Clinton administration, and she has conducted hearings on aging and technology for the U.S. Senate. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and has been a recipient of the ASA Leadership Award. Mary is an advisory member of the Ziegler Link•age Longevity Fund, L.P.

Mary is the author of Turning Silver into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Marketplace, which was published in February 2007 by Financial Times Press. She also co-authored the book Grown-Up’s Guide to Computing, published by Microsoft Press in 1999.

Digital RESI November Innovator’s Pitch Challenge

15 Oct

By Gregory Mannix, Chief Conference Officer, Vice President International Business Development, LSN

Attending Digital RESI as a fundraising company is all about making connections with investors, strategic partners, service providers and other companies and entities that can help move your project to the next phase. One way for a company to maximize their visibility is the Innovator’s Pitch Challenge. Approved companies will upload a pre-recorded 4-minute pitch and take part in a livestreamed Q&A Session with a panel of expert investors. Furthermore, each participant will be featured on the Digital RESI Live Agenda with a dedicated landing page like this:

We caught up with Joe Camaratta (JC), President and CEO of Quantitative Radiology Solutions (QRS), to ask him about his own experience pitching at Digital RESI September.

How was your pitch session experience?

JC: The advice from the RESI team was invaluable in preparing our materials for our investor pitch.  In addition to advice on the pitch deck itself, the team provided examples of other collaterals useful in introducing our company to potential investors. The panel provided valuable advice on additional data to reinforce the importance of the problem that we are solving, and on our competitive differentiation.  I reached out to several members of the panel regarding further discussion of our technology. 

Did you have a productive RESI conference?

JC: QRS identified over 40 potential investors where our current raise would be a good fit for their investment philosophy. We were able to establish an introduction with many of them using the RESI partnering platform.  In addition, the panel sessions provided timely advice on how investors are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their expectations of entrepreneurs. 

Do you anticipate follow-up meetings with any investors from the session or from RESI?

JC: We have already followed-up with 10 investors to provide additional information around our opportunity. In addition, we continue to target those investors that we identified as potential fits but did not have time for a discussion at RESI. 

When asked about his participation as a panelist on live pitch Q&A sessions, Gary Gershony, a member of Life Science Angels said, “The pitch sessions at RESI were a great opportunity to engage with the CEO/Founders of very innovative Life Science startups. Despite the COVID-related transition from in-person to virtual meetings, the RESI team did an outstanding job organizing these sessions, ensuring that the live Q&A was very productive, and facilitating follow-up with these exciting companies.”

We are currently accepting applications for the Innovator’s Pitch Challenge at Digital RESI November on a first come, first serve basis. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to pitch and connect with investors and strategic partners who are interested in learning more about your company!

Networking in a Virtual World: Optimizing Your Digital Conference Experience

15 Oct

By Karen Deyo, Senior Investor Research Analyst, LSN

In the world of digital events, virtual partnering, and Zoom fatigue, it’s more important than ever to stay connected, especially when fundraising, sourcing technology, or expanding a portfolio. Whether you’re thriving in slippers at your home office or itching to share cocktails and small plates (that you didn’t prepare) while networking, virtual partnering events can be a powerful asset to your fundraising and deal-flow.

The Life Science Nation (LSN) conference team has designed our digital events with the user in mind, for optimum convenience and connectivity. Take advantage of these elements and keep the conversations going!

Common Goal

When logging into a partnering platform, you know that every attendee you scroll through shares a common goal. The specifics of that goal may not line up with yours, but someone at a partnering event is there to make deals. With LSN’s partnering platform, we make it easy for participants to target and connect with those who are the right fit for technology, as well as stage of development. Whether you’re a seasoned partnering pro or new to the arena, a virtual format, as well as the LSN partnering platform, takes the guesswork out.

Equal Access

Have you ever attended a conference and witnessed an incredible presentation that spoke directly to you, only to find yourself 30-attendees-deep in a line to connect with the speaker? The virtual ecosystem provides equal access to speakers and industry leaders who may otherwise be tough to get facetime with. While there’s no guarantee the reception to a meeting request, your chances increase when you’re able to review a profile that communicates what the recipient is looking for… It might be you!

Interactive Features

Be sure to take advantage of live events and interactive features within the virtual event. One of the most popular aspects of the digital model is tailoring your experience, not only around your objectives and interest, but also around your schedule. Despite that convenience, many of the best conversations begin in live panels and interactive pitch sessions. If you’re able to join a panel or pitch to a live investor audience, even better! Virtual events like LSN’s make connection convenient, however, active participation in live features will give you a competitive edge.

If you’re dreaming of the days of in-person networking, we hope you’ll take advantage of the features available in the digital format. The game is afoot, and the best deals aren’t waiting. We hope to see you at Digital RESI November 17-19, and then again at the LSN Healthtech Partnering Week, January 14-15, 2021. Check out our newest events at 4D Meets AI and Longevity, Health & Innovation!

Make Your First Move to the Chinese Market

8 Oct

Baylor Wei

An Interview with Baylor Wei, CEO, Yuhang Capital

By Candice He, Global Investment Strategist, LSN

Candice He (CH): Hi Baylor, could you briefly introduce Yuhang Capital and its mandate of the early-stage life science investments?

Baylor Wei (BW): Yuhang Capital aims to cultivate innovation, support entrepreneurs, and ultimately realize the vision of improving human health and creating better life. We are headquartered in San Francisco, California, and have office in Hangzhou, China. Our team manages both an USD and an RMB fund across public and private company investments worldwide.

We provide seed funding to help start-ups go from 0 to 1. At this stage, we are mainly looking for a driven team who are working to solve a pressing problem, who can really innovate, and who have a clear plan to eliminate their technology risks at the lowest possible cost. We are dedicated to creating long-term value for our portfolios and the larger start-up community.

CH: As you’ve mentioned, Yuhang has offices in both China and the U.S. Compared to other countries, do you think the Chinese market is especially suitable for life science start-ups to grow?

BW: Absolutely. China has expanded to be the second largest pharmaceutical market globally with $137 billion USD in total spending in 2018. Over the past 5 years, China has gradually become the strategic hub for multi-national pharmaceutical companies. For example, Pfizer has moved three of its research units to China to bring more developed products to the country; in 2019, Sanofi also launched new business unit “China and Emerging Markets” to leverage the tremendous growth opportunities in these markets. The Chinese market has made up 4%-18% of the global revenue for multi-national pharmaceutical companies, which also shows its great potential.

In addition, the policy in China has shifted to support more the use of IoT and other innovative technologies to solve healthcare problems. This is also what we are most interested in. As an example, we have been working with the CITRIS and the Banatao Institute to build CITRIS-Zhejiang, with the focus on the intersection of technology and healthcare. Finally, while the healthcare resources in China had been increasing in recent years, there is still a big gap given the large population. In the coming ten years, we expect even higher demands for talents, technology and innovative drugs and medical devices to fill in the gaps in the Chinese healthcare industry. 

CH: Could you specify what kind of company Yuhang is looking for in this competition, in terms of sectors, indications, or stage of development? Does Yuhang have a geographic preference?

BW: We are interested in start-ups who use innovative technology to address key issues in life science and healthcare. These include, but are not limited to biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, human therapeutics, digital medicine and health services. We believe innovation should have no borders. We welcome teams from any geographical area to join in this global movement. We try to impose less restriction on eligibility for the competition, but we are looking for great science and a driven team.

CH: That sounds like a great fit for the LSN start-up community! How many winners will be selected? Will they receive cash rewards or service supports?

BW: In total, 16 winners will be selected and will be getting both cash rewards and service supports. The First Prize will receive 6 million RMB, up to 10 million RMB interest-free bank loan and up to three-year free office space of 1,000 square meters. In addition, Yuhang Capital and our partnering venture capital funds will also consider follow-on investment based on further due diligence.

CH: Can’t say no to that! So how did Yuhang get involved in hosting this competition? What is Yuhang’s long-term vision? Would you focus on equity investments or are you ready to do more on top of the investment? 

BW: The reasons that Yuhang decided to host this competition is exactly due to our long-term vision, which is to cultivate innovation, support entrepreneurs, and ultimately realize the vision of improving human health and creating better life. We are committed to bringing long-term value to the global healthcare community, and this has to be coming from equity investments and beyond.

CH: Thank you very much for the interview, Baylor.

For our readers who want to know more about Yuhang Capital, please visit Yuhang’s Sponsor Dedicated Webpage.

Apply to 2020 Global Biotechnology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition Before Oct.18th Here.

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