09 Oct Key to the vault part 2. how to secure investment from BioCity
Read time: 2 minutes
Oct 9, 2019
Securing investment is a milestone. A successful funding round means that equipment can be bought, salaries paid and leases signed. Growing ventures can capitalise and build upon existing successes. Start-ups, can, well, start-up.
A crucial step towards reaching that milestone is getting ‘investment ready’, which, among other things, means understanding what potential investors are interested in.
In this second part of our insider’s guide to securing investment from BioCity, we reveal how we weigh up a good opportunity. Missed part one? Catch up here > Key the vault part one.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD LIFE SCIENCE OPPORTUNITY.
When investing at the early stages of development, there are limited metrics we can rely upon to assess opportunities. Instead, we rely upon an incredibly skilled team of investment experts and their in-depth knowledge of each company. Careers spent in industry and the life sciences with years (and years) of experience in developing new products and technology means they are adept at spotting the ‘ones to watch’. They use (alongside due diligence) gut instinct, imagination and experience when weighing up an opportunity. Using their expertise to asses four things…
GOOD LIFE SCIENCE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY – THE TEAM.
The founders and originating team are the people who drive a venture forward, day-in-day-out. A good potential investee is someone credible, who we can trust, personally as well as professionally.
We invest in ‘ideas people with follow-through’. A good potential investee will deliver on the small things (completing milestones) as well as the big (changing the world).
We can’t fund vanity projects, life-style businesses and blue-sky research. We invest in the people who want to make an impact and turn their scientific discoveries into business.
Stuff goes wrong. Of course it will, that’s entrepreneurship. We talk about the necessity of being able to bounce-back when things go wrong in ‘Why the Accelerator Wants to Help You Get It Wrong’ because it is inevitable.
We’re not looking for perfection; we’re looking for tenacity. An ability to pivot, to mark something down as a fail and change direction. To keep questioning, challenging assumptions and looking for opportunities.
Turning a scientific discovery into a commercial business is a balancing act between scientific knowledge and business acumen. The ideal investee has a perfect blend of both. The pragmatic investee has a partner or team with strengths in complementary areas. Together they create a ‘powerhouse team’ that strikes the right balance.
If the team is ‘me, myself and I’, investment is not out of the question. Be up-front. Shout about strengths but highlight the potential weak spots. We cannot emphasise this enough. Acknowledging weaknesses and accepting the need for help is a strength. We have seen many founders who either believe they have all the answers or, are too scared to acknowledge that they don’t. Those businesses will fail unless something changes. And it’s an easy enough thing to deal with, as alongside the capital benefits, we and our co-investors bring knowledge and expertise, investing a lot of time as well as money. Often, we are able to fill gaps in the team with seasoned professionals from our network.
FIRE IN THE BELLY.
Getting in the door with potential investors isn’t easy. Securing investment isn’t easy. And running a start-up isn’t easy either. We invest in people who we think can make it.
Founders who can inspire, motivate and bolster their team, who maintain the same determination they set out with originally, to solve their challenge.
GOOD LIFE SCIENCE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY – THE MARKET.
We’re looking for an idea that is sound and has been validated; ideally, via our accelerator. Our venture development team helps founders explore every aspect of their business; in essence, answering questions investors will ask later.
We need to understand who the customer is, what their problem is, and if the proposed solution meets their, currently un-met, need.
The success and growth of any businesses will be dictated by the size of the market. So, we look at how big it is, how it works, how to get into it, and how to make an impact. A good potential investee will know their market upside down, back-to-front and inside out.
Even at this early stage, when success is a long way off, we look at the market to understand the potential.
We make early-stage seed investments to add value to fledgling businesses to help companies and their founders make it to subsequent funding rounds (which we usually take part in too). We look at the criteria future investors will be using, investing in companies which we think can, with the right support, go on to secure that future investment (if needed).
GOOD LIFE SCIENCE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY – THE IDEA.
We invest in early-stage life science ventures with the potential for real-world impact — the ideas which could solve the health and environmental challenges that affect us all, globally.
We’re passionate about helping science entrepreneurs who want to affect change and make a difference. We welcome great ideas and big ambitions.
It’s the fun part.
(see “key to the vault part one” for a full list of the ‘type’ of ideas in which we invest)
GOOD LIFE SCIENCE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY – THE TECH.
The technology, the product, the device and the science – we need to know about it, but you don’t need to have all the answers just yet.
If, for example, you’re developing a medical device and have a working prototype, fantastic. But it’s not essential. When considering early-stage life science investment, we look past the present and into the future to see what it could become.
As firm believers in lean start-up, we anticipate that tech can and should change when needed. We don’t expect fully polished finished products.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT.
The proverbial ‘key to the vault’ and what you need to know if you’re looking to secure investment from BioCity.
For us, a good life science investment opportunity is a credible founder/team who is flexible and open with a validated idea and a sound business model, looking to enter a large market with a big idea that has the potential to solve health or environmental challenges.
That the founder/ team is the first and most substantial point on this list, is not inconsequential. So, if after reading this, you as a founder feel ready for investment, but you know your idea, tech or business model isn’t, get in touch.
We take a holistic approach, so if early-stage investment isn’t right for you right now, there are other ways we can help.