The single most important thing a biotech can do to win over a VC?

Whether your searching for VC capital, appealing to generalist investors or looking for new pharma partners, you need to be able to tell your story effectively. We’ve been asking a few VC’s what single thing they’d want from biotechs in the run up to our event this Thursday at Johnson & Johnson Innovations. A number of them revealed that biotechs often get the basics wrong. Sounds simple, but getting your pitch right comes out as paramount.

Why is your elevator pitch important?

For example, the other day I asked David Grainger of Index Ventures, a leading VC in the UK, what the most important piece of advice he could give to biotech’s seeking to raise capital was and his answer was almost instantaneous:

‘It’s the old fashioned elevator pitch. A VC can worry about whether the details are correct afterwards, but if you can’t tell a VC (or anyone else for that matter) in 30 seconds why what you’ve got is revolutionary, you’re probably going to struggle to raise capital.’

‘The single piece of advice I would give to a biotech is to simplify, strip out everything that’s not core and tell me what the USP really is. Make it crystal clear.’

So what can you do to ensure your pitch is bang on? I’ve distilled 5 pieces of advice taken from the several interviews with biotech and pharma top executives. Here they are:

How to get your elevator pitch right

  1. Be clear and concise. Don’t use jargon. Keep it simple and to the point.
    As David points out, you have to be able to convey your message in 30 seconds.
  2. Be passionate. Tell the story with conviction and passion. Evoke an emotional response.
  3. Focus on the USP. You need to be able to make it crystal clear what makes your product revolutionary.
  4. Demonstrate your commercial value. It’s not a science project, it’s not about you and your science and Nobel Prize winning. It’s a business and all businesses are about customers. For an investor, this is a commercial enterprise, so make sure your pitch reflects your understanding of this. Which leads to my last tip:
  5. Focus on the customer. If you are trying to appeal to generalist investors you need to give them the really strong sense you and your company are a group of people that understands that the business is about customers. Focusing on the customer also humanises the story.

VC’s and other investors are time short and swamped with great ideas. Get your pitch down to 30 seconds or less and convey your USP’s as clearly as possible. Worry about the details later.


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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