5 Obvious Signs that will set life science VC Alarm Bells Ringing

Most life science VCs pride themselves on being able to pick winners. They have to have a nous for spotting good opportunities. In there search for these opportunities, there are certain tell tale signs that a project is doomed to failure.

We’ve interviewed dozens of life science venture capitalists for the production of our ebook  in the run up to our VC focused event on 23 October to be held at Johnson & Johnson Innovations‘ office.

Through this research, we’ve put together a list of a few of the signs that will almost certainly raise alarm bells in their head about the potential of a project.

1. Weak IP or no IP strategy.

If the IP on a technology is not up to scratch no VC will invest. But also, if the strategy behind IP is poorly thought out, it gives an indication to the VC that the founder may not be the right kind of person they’d like to work with.

2. You haven’t done your homework.

If you speak with a VC and you haven’t done your homework on market potential, the competitive landscape and where your USP truly lies, you are setting yourself up for trouble.

3. Lack of transparency.

If a founder is anything less than 100% honest and transparent with their data, their track record, the equity structure of their business or anything else fundamental to an investment, a good VC will seriously doubt the viability of the investment.

4. Equity black holes.

If a VC uncovers an incredibly complex equity structure already in place in a venture he is considering backing, this is usually a sign that a difficult path lies ahead. If a founder has given away too much equity to angel and seed investors, or has structured the equity deals in a risky way, a VC will smell trouble.

5. Poor Pitches.

If you can’t articulate your USP in 30 seconds or less you are in trouble with a VC. You need to be able to say why your technology is truly revolutionary succinctly and you need to say it with conviction and passion. If you can’t, alarm bells will be sounding in the VCs head.


To learn more about what our interviews with VCs taught us - including 16 audacious challenges keeping VCs awake at night, 9 surefire signs that your life science asset is investable, 5 signs that will set VC investor alarm bells ringing and some of the best pieces of advice a VC can give, download a free copy of your ebook today.


Nigel Pitchford will be speaking alongside Jeanne Bolger of J&J and Hakan Goker of MS Ventures at our evening event on VC and Growth Capital for Biotech on Oct 23rd, hosted by J&J innovations. Click here to find out more.

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