Caveat Emptor When Signing Up for Family Office Conferences

16 Feb

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

If you’re the CEO of an early stage life science company, you’re most likely attending a lot of events in order to find investors and strategic partners. Due to the long term capital needs in this sector, there’s a particularly high interest in family office conferences as a potential source of funding. However, from LSN staff attending many of these events and also hearing from LSN clients we’ve discovered that many of these events are not always as advertised. Buyer beware when checking out an event. Watch out for the following warning signs:

Flood of Consultants. Seeing a lot of names of advisory or consulting firms in the attendee list of a conference you are looking to attend is an obvious red flag. The main point of partnering conferences for early-stage companies is to connect with as many relevant investors as possible. Pitching to firms that do not directly allocate capital is not an efficient use of anyone’s time.

Not Life Science Investors. Let’s say that there’s a good number of real investors at a particular event. How many of them invest mainly in life sciences companies? We see events that claim to help early-stage life science companies acquire capital, only to notice that many investors are not even in the life sciences sector. Unfortunately, this phenomenon happens quite frequently when events are organized by groups that lack the life sciences expertise.

Lack of Focus on Private Venture Financing. Another aspect that these events often fall short on is their lack of focus on private investors. Most early stage companies are launched by private investment. Meeting public focused investors can be a nonstarter.

Lack of a Global Outlook:

  • Conferences dedicated to a local regional focus can be fine, but having both regional and global players is exponentially better. Look for conferences that encourage a global perspective. Especially with the emerging investor market in Asia, a global outlook presents additional opportunities.

Topic Focus:

  • Look for conferences that are dedicated to fundraising and networking. A general life science conference will have too many speakers and topics that just aren’t relevant to raising capital. Instead, look for conferences that seek to help you make the connections and provide the fundraising opportunities that you need.

Networking Time and Partnering Opportunities:

  • Some events claim to be networking and partnership conferences, yet they fail to set aside more than an hour for dedicated networking and partnering. If you’re looking to network at these events, make sure there’s actually enough time set aside for networking to occur.
  • LSN has been involved with both single and multi-family offices for five years, and our staff have been to many “Family Office Conferences”. Mostly what you will find is a lot of service providers and financial consultants. Typically family offices prefer to stay off the radar screen. They are easily inundated with requests and ideas. Instead, they prefer to find one firm they like and trust and then stick with that firm for their deal sourcing needs – and it’s typically not a “Family Office Conference” provider.

LSN works with 250 family offices, about a third of whom are actively investing in life science and have provided us with an investment mandate. A subset of these family offices ask LSN to filter and funnel companies that meet their criteria directly to the family office. We draw upon these relationships to present our Family Office panels at RESI. To achieve this, LSN has had to learn the family office marketplace in depth. It’s a slippery path, because everyone thinks it’s a good idea to target a family office for capital for their idea du jour, which makes the family offices go further off the radar as they can get easily inundated. Family Offices are in the mix when it comes to early stage investments and so are the other 9 categories of investors. To find an investor that’s fit for your stage of development and product or service, you’ll need to seek out conferences that provide actual investors and dynamic partnering.


Fundraising Bootcamp Video: A Must-Watch for CEOs Contemplating Raising Capital

16 Feb

By Nono Hu, Director of Marketing, LSN

At the 12th Annual Non-Dilutive Funding Summit on January 11th, Dennis Ford gave a Fundraising Bootcamp presentation for early stage life science CEOs.  We’re now delighted to make this presentation available online.  Covering topics from branding and messaging for your company to positioning yourself to raise capital, the Fundraising Bootcamp is invaluable to CEOs seeking financing to move their technologies forward in the development process.

Discounted Rates for Hotel and Travel at RESI on MaRS

16 Feb

By Natasha Eldridge, RESI Conference Manager, LSN

natasha-wp-newThe 2017 RESI on MaRS conference is proud to be partnering with hotels and airlines to offer attendees exclusive discounts during their stay in Toronto.

Porter Airlines and Air Canada are both offering discounts on flights to Toronto for flights scheduled from April 1 – 8, 2017. The Fairmount Royal York Hotel is also offering discounts from April 3 – 5, 2017. Additional hotel partners include Sheraton Centre Toronto and Chelsea Hotel.

Included are the promo codes and links to our RESI on MaRS partners and we look forward to seeing you in Toronto.

hotelFairmont Royal York
Address: 100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E3, Canada
Phone: +1 416-368-2511
Rate for RESI on MaRS Attendees (Apr. 3 – Apr. 5)

Book Now


Sheraton Centre Toronto
Address: 123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada
Phone: +1 416-361-1000

Book Now


Chelsea Hotel
Address: 33 Gerrard St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z4, Canada
Phone: +1 416-595-1975

Book Now


porterPorter Airlines is proud to offer a 10% discount on available base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) for travel to and from the MaRS Health Investors Conference. Please book online here or through your travel agent using promo code MARS17. The discounted fares are available for booking from December 22, 2016 to April 8, 2017 and available for travel:


Location: Dates of Travel:
From: Anywhere in Canada or US To: Toronto From: April 1, 2017 To: April 5, 2017
From: Toronto To: Anywhere in Canada or US From: April 4, 2017 To: April 8, 2017

Book Now


Air Canada is pleased to offer 15% off of flex fares for the RESI on MaRS Conference in Toronto. Discounts apply 7 days pre & post conference, simply go to and add the code VDKVFRG1 in the promotion box and the discounts will calculate automatically.

Book Now

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Medical Corporation Seeks Early Stage Device Opportunities in Hematology, Liver Diseases and Cardiovascular

16 Feb

A China-based publicly listed enterprise specialized in blood purification is seeking to collaborate with early stage businesses with advanced technologies that are a strategic fit for its product pipeline. Equity investment size can be flexible but typically ranges from US$0.5-5 million. The firm can also consider collaborative research, licensing, and merger and acquisition. The firm is looking for new opportunities globally with a focus on the US.

The firm is interested in medical devices in the hematology, liver diseases, and cardiovascular diseases fields. The firm prefers post-prototype products with preclinical and clinical validation. Products should have a strategic angle with the firm’s pipeline of products.

The firm is looking for experienced management teams with sector expertise. The firm is interested in distribution rights in China.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 2: Canada Fund Invests in Software-enabled Healthtech and Wearable Devices

16 Feb

A Canada-based venture capital firm makes investments with an average size of $5 million with reserves left for follow-on rounds. The firm seeks to make 4-5 new investments per year, and typically co-invests in seed, venture and series A investments at $50,000 – $1M per company. The firm has partnerships with medical software/device, fintech and ICT funds in which the firm will pass on deal flow. The firm has particular preference to companies located in North America, though is open to Australia and Western Europe depending on the opportunity. The firm does not request distribution rights for international investments.

The firm is interested in early-stage wearable technology and software-enabled technology, particularly ones that can improve hospital operations. The firm does not have a preference for any specific indication areas. The firm does not have revenue requirements for wearable technology and is not particularly interested in products that require regulatory pathways. The firm is interested in companies that are in the development or clinical-stage but will only invest in healthcare IT companies if it is already established with positive cash flow. Outside of software and wearable technology, the firm will look at medical devices to evaluate and connect to partnered funds.

The firm values sweat equity but the firm will not make any investments into a company unless the founding team has invested their own funds into the company’s success. The firm takes a board seat when making any new investments and looks for strong, experienced management teams. The first question the firm will ask any new opportunity is whether or not they have experience in marketing, sales, startups, or the industry they are entering. The firm can provide strategic management if necessary.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 3: US VC Partners with China-based Investors to Back Life Science Companies

16 Feb

A venture capital company based in Texas makes equity investments into early stage companies generally in Angel and Seed rounds. For early stage opportunities, the firm typically invests up to $.5 million dollars but is able to invest more or less depending on the opportunity. Additionally the firm partners with a large number of investors in China who are interested in later stage opportunities where they can invest $15M-$20M. The firm is looking for companies located in the United States and generally makes 2-3 new investments per year.

The firm is looking for companies in sectors of Healthcare IT, Medical Devices, Telemedicine, Mobile Health and Bioinformatics. The firm looks for companies that have at least a prototype of their product and has made investment into several companies that have pre-market approval. The firm is agnostic in terms of subsector and indication and is very open to review any companies in their sectors of interest. More recently the firm has also gained interest into companies that are interested in accessing China market for business and investment opportunities.

The firm is looking for companies with experienced management teams and generally looks to take a board seat following investment. The firm is also open to syndication with other investors in certain cases.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Corporate VC Invests in Devices and Diagnostics Up to 18 Months Prior to Clinical Trials

16 Feb

The venture arm of a medtech corporation makes equity investments in life science companies, typically in venture rounds. The firm invests at a wide range of product development phases, from preclinical development (up to 18 months away from the first in-human clinical trials) to products that have received regulatory approval, but typically does not invest in products that are on the market. The fund is open to considering investments globally.

The firm invests in areas that are strategically important to its parent corporation, primarily the medical device sector and the diagnostics sector. Within diagnostics, the fund is interested in molecular diagnostics, point of care diagnostics, and immunoassay and clinical chemistry systems. The firm’s areas of interest include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and ophthalmology. The fund also invests in infant nutrition and nutraceuticals.

The firm invests only in privately-held companies, but has no other fixed requirements for companies & management teams.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email