Tag Archives: investments

Sourcing Investments Through RESI: An Interview with Julz Co

15 Mar

Zishan Haroon

An interview with Zishan Haroon, Chairman and General Partner, Julz Co

– By Claire Jeong, Research Analyst, LSN

Claire Jeong

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Zishan “Z” Haroon, Chairman and General Partner of Julz Co. Z has been a tremendous supporter of the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference Series and a frequent contributor to several of our ongoing investor panels. As many of you already know, the RESI Conference is a one-day partnering conference dedicated to early-stage life sciences technologies, from therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. In fact, we have recently learned that the firm’s latest investment was in a company Z had met through RESI! In this interview, Z discusses his perspectives on his RESI experience, Julz’s most recent investment, and some tips for fundraising CEOs.

Claire Jeong: First of all, please tell us a little bit about your background.

Z Haroon: My name is Zishan “Z” Haroon and I am the Chairman and General Partner of Julz Co, an investment management firm which invests in healthcare companies internationally including the USA, Europe, and China.  I am an MD, Ph.D. by education.  I graduated from Duke University and initially worked in academic and pharma research.  Later, I moved into venture, private equity, and corporate/business development.  I have worked on helping entrepreneurs with commercialization for many years, and have been involved in transactions and operations in China for 15+ years before founding Julz.

Claire Jeong: How many RESI conferences have you attended? What was your first impression of the RESI Conference series?

Z Haroon: I have attended 5 conferences to date and found them to be a very fast-paced and active environment. The timeline of RESI is great because it allows us to go through companies we have interviewed in depth and make our decision regarding next steps and then prepare for the next event. Overall, the experience we have had with companies at RESI has been very positive.

Claire Jeong: In general, what do you think of the companies that attend RESI?

Z Haroon: There has been a constant improvement in the quality of attending companies, and our interaction with them has always been positive. In comparison to other similar events, there are more early-stage companies and we like that mix. Some conferences are therapeutics-focused, some are medical-device-focused, but at RESI there is a very good mix of all sectors and we enjoy this diversity.

Claire Jeong: What successes have you experienced through RESI?

Z Haroon: We just closed an investment in a company called PhotoniCare. This is our first successful investment in a company we’ve met at RESI.  We first met the company at RESI San Diego in June 2017 and continued a great relationship that eventually led to an investment. (You can read more about this investment in-depth at http://www.julzco.com/2018/03/09/photonicare-secures-series-seed-funding.)

Claire Jeong: In your opinion, what are the greatest strengths of RESI?

Z Haroon: One of RESI’s greatest strengths is the partnering platform, which is a very approachable system for reviewing companies and scheduling meetings. You make it extremely easy for investors to attend your conferences and engage with companies. It is only a one-day event but highly efficient and a win-win for both sides.

Also, from the investor perspective, it is helpful to be able to touch base on a periodic basis with companies that we previously spoke with.  This enables us to continue to build and strengthen relationships with companies. What we have found from many companies is that they are very responsive to the feedback we provide, and we find them significantly improved since our initial RESI meeting.

Claire Jeong: Do you have any suggestions for RESI?

Z Haroon: I would suggest RESI expand to other geographies, such as the Midwest. Currently, most of your events are done in the West or East coast in major biotech hubs, but we would be curious to explore technologies in different areas. Companies with innovative technologies that may not have enough bandwidth for travel would find your conferences very helpful and valuable.

RESI would also do well internationally, in regions like Europe or China. RESI’s partnering system is great for small companies, so a start-up-focused event like RESI would definitely gain a lot of international momentum.

Claire Jeong: As an active investor and partner seeking early-stage opportunities, do you have any advice you would like to give to startups?

Z Haroon: The biggest gaps we see in early-stage companies when they present to us is that they themselves are not very well caught up with their technology and business plan. Like other sophisticated investors, we get to the nitty gritty very quickly. I would encourage start-ups to do their homework: understand what they are trying to accomplish and be focused about it. If we see that the management team is not on top of the technology and commercial landscapes and are vague or elusive in answering our questions, we will likely pass on the opportunity.

The initial meeting is where you have to create the right impression about the company and the management team, educate us on the market opportunity and technology, and explain how you are seeking to scale and enter the market. Answering these questions well and leaving us with a good impression will lead to a great, long-term relationship and potential investment.

We obviously enjoy our time at RESI and it is always very exciting. Keep it up!

About Julz Co:

Julz Co is an investment management company focused on investing in early-stage healthcare companies in the area of therapeutics, medical devices, services and digital healthcare. The company has offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA and Suzhou, China. Julz invests globally in companies that have novel and proprietary technology addressing a vital market need and are driven by experienced management teams.

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 1: Multi-Family Office Rapidly Making New Allocations

9 Jan

Allocation Information

A multi-family office based in the Western US is an active investor in the medical device sector, and is interested in opportunities worldwide.  Initial investments are typically about $50,000 with the potential for follow-on investments totaling $500,000, and may be structured as equity or as debt.  The office does not invest in seed rounds.  In the recent past the office has allocated new investments at a rate of approximately one per month.  The firm offers support and expertise to portfolio companies but does not seek a board seat.

Sectors & Subsectors of Interest

Within the medical device sector, only devices with a basis in mechanical engineering, such as electro-mechanical medical devices, active implantable devices such as pacemaker technologies, and surgical instruments are of interest.  The family office invests only in companies that have already developed a prototype of their product and filed a patent application; the firm prefers that companies that seek an allocation have in-human data but does not require this.

Company & Management Team Requirements

The family office seeks to invest in strong management teams with prior experience in the medical device industry, preferably with previous successful exits and with a strong reputation in their niche.  The firm invests only in privately-held companies and prefers to make investments with the potential to exit within 3-4 years.

Hot Life Science Nation 2: Family Office Makes Direct Investments in Several Areas

12 Dec

A multi-family office based in the Central US is looking to make direct investments in a variety of sectors including healthcare & life sciences.  Investments from this firm in early-stage companies are typically in the form of equity, whereas debt investments in later-stage companies may be considered.  The office’s allocations are highly variable, but are typically at least $3 million.  The firm primarily invests in US-based companies, but Canadian companies may also be considered.

Within the life science sector, the firm has diverse interests, with a primary focus on medical devices and medical service providers (including biotech R&D services and healthcare IT companies). Investments in therapeutic drug development may also be considered. The firm is a generalist investor, and is open to investing in both preclinical and clinical-stage companies and considers opportunities on a case by case basis. While the firm will consider investments in almost any indication, they prefer to invest in large markets, and do not consider investment opportunities in rare diseases.

This family office seeks to invest in solid management teams that have developed a product based on proprietary, patented technology. While the firm does make investments into pre-revenue companies, they require that the company have a clearly defined path to revenue.

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 3: European PE Seeks Early-Stage Companies, Has Long Timeline to Exit

5 Dec

A private equity firm that was founded in 2001 and is based in Europe controls €550 million in assets under management across institutional and retail funds. The firm typically makes equity investments ranging from €1 to €20 million over the lifetime of the investment, and is also interested in the in-licensing of early stage assets. The firm has an 8-year period to exit, and plans to make 2-3 investments over the next 6-9 months. The firm invests in companies located throughout Europe with a focus on France.

The PE is currently most interested in companies developing Therapeutics and Medical Devices, and is also considering investments in Diagnostics. In the Therapeutics space the firm is open in terms of indication but has a preference for companies in immunotherapy, vaccines, and biologics subsectors though they are also open to small molecules. In the medical device space, the firm has a strong preference for investing in cardiovascular devices, but considers other opportunities as well. The firm looks to invest in very early stages of company development – generally when lead assets are preclinical and technologies are still in development.

This firm looks to make seed investments and in some cases be involved in the formulation of a company. The firm is not likely to invest in companies that have already received significant institutional financing and looks to lead investments rounds. The firm also participates in spin-offs from larger companies that are looking to sell non-strategic assets.

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 2: US-based PE Invests Widely Across Healthcare Space

6 Nov

A private equity group based in the Central US has committed $150 million of capital, and typically invests in companies with EBITDA of $2-15 million; investments are generally acquisitions, and may consist of up to $20 million equity with the potential for leveraged investments of up to $75 million. The firm invests in the USA and Canada, and may consider investing in other countries on a case-by-case basis.

Healthcare is a focus industry for the group, and they invest widely across the sector. As the firm prefers to invest in companies that are cash-flow positive, investments are generally in companies that have products on the market. The PE group considers investments in any indication (including rare diseases).

The group prefers to invest in family companies or other companies that have a small number of shareholders. The firm looks for strong management teams, but has no fixed industry or academic criteria for assessing managers. Thus far, they have only invested in privately held companies, but the firm may consider investments in public companies.

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