How Life Sciences start-ups can secure funding
Phil Groom, Commercial Director at Bond Digital Health shares first hand insight on how to secure funding for your innovation in a competitive environment
Bond Digital Health is a software consultancy specializing in digital connectivity (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi & NFC), App development and Cloud data management for innovators in biotechnology and life sciences. As Commercial Director, Phil Groom has had first-hand insight into the growth and development of this start-up.
In this interview, he shares why a committed and balanced team is key for securing investment, why you should seek out relevant expertise and how to find the right investor your company.
Pharma IQ: What do you think is necessary for a start-up in the life sciences to receive the right type of funding?
Phil: “I would say it’s all about the team.
The product is important. But I was told this 30 years ago and it is still true: people buy people.
When it comes to investors, they will review an idea, do the necessary due diligence, see if there is a market and potential. But ultimately, they want to know about the team.
Who are these people? What is different about these people? And why hasn’t any other team of people done this before?
Sometimes, you can have a slightly inferior product, but if the people behind it are passionate, committed, flexible and fully invested to succeeding, then that’s what you want.
Effectively, if someone is going to invest their money, they want to know that the people are genuine and they can deliver.”
Pharma IQ: So what makes a team a good investment?
Phil: “Well, there’s got to be no gaps. You’ve got to have everything covered off.
It’s great having a visionary but unless you’ve got a finisher in the team with exceptional attention to detail then it won’t work.
You need technical competence, a visionary, someone who is really good at managing the cashflow, and so on. You need complete balance.
It’s about having all the pieces of the jigsaw in place and if there’s something missing, knowing what you’re going to do about it.
So if you know you’re missing a role, maybe you need to look for an investor who can help bring in that expertise.”
Pharma IQ: How do you go about finding the right type of investors for the company?
Phil: “For us, we sought out the help of an investment advisor. Effectively a middle man who knows the options and can make the introductions.
This gave us the final decision of whether we like them and they like us. But it means that as a small start-up, with limited resource, we don’t have to use all our time going out to look for people.
Others might invest in a chairman who goes out to their network and represents the team.
Or they might go after investors who they know can help them break into new markets or sectors.”
Pharma IQ: When you’re looking to convince an investor to choose you, what is the “secret sauce”?
Phil: “A red hot pitch deck.
It’s effectively a CV for your company that goes over everything – your team, your progress so far, the market, financials, your five-year plan.
In my experience, pitch decks have different styles and can go in an out of fashion. It can be worth getting in some expert advice on pitch decks in your industry so you get it right from the start.”
Pharma IQ: What has been the differentiating factor for Bond’s success?
Phil: “Well, we’ve got a fantastic business model and game-changing idea. That always helps.
And from day one, we’ve been in revenue and in profit, which is virtually unheard of.
Most importantly, we have a team who is truly committed to going flat out for the growth of the company. We’re in a sector that is so dynamic that we can’t wait around. So we are all ambitious in what we believe the company can achieve in the coming years.”
Pharma IQ: What advice would you give to companies that are just starting out in the industry?
Phil: “Get the best advice you can, even if you have to pay for it.
It can be scary when you’re starting out to invest when you don’t have much money, but it’s worth it. Although, before you buy or invest in anything, always do your homework and find out if this person is the best and if they can do what you need.
Proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance.”