No Stone Left Unturned at ‘Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur’ Program
North Carolina life science entrepreneurs gained lucrative insight from a panel of seasoned peers and investors last week in a thorough 14-module presentation from the Small Business and Technology Development Center.
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center hosted the popular “Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur” event for the tenth time.
The program serves as one of SBTDC’s educational tools in its mission to advance North Carolina industry and level the playing field for entrepreneurs as they prepare to enter the private equity investment process. Since 90% of capital funding for companies in the seed or early stage comes from angel investors, the event focused on proper market positioning and an inside look at what catches an investor’s attention.
One of the first topics covered was the panelists’ views of the North Carolina funding landscape. While Ed Pettiss of RTP Capital Associates described the Research Triangle area’s funding landscape as the epicenter of a vibrant and flourishing ecosystem for the state, Eva Doss of The Launch Place countered with her perspective that she has seen a negative trend for the quality of investment deals. Morningstar Law Group Attorney Kip Johnson had a separate view; he believes RTP is lush for new ventures at the early stage but bigger deals must find funding outside of North Carolina. However, the panel all agreed on the importance of the “three-legged stool:” idea, market, and management team.
Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, shared her “Four I’s” that are vital to a management team’s success: integrity, inquisition, intelligence, and initiative. A leader who is focused and customer driven will meet market needs while maintaining a business through unwavering ethics and a passion for solution. The venture must have value that solves a problem and can endure a tough market.
This was a particular topic of interest for the Pfizer-NCBiotech Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows in Gene Therapy, as most investors do not get involved with single-dosage therapies. Morningstar’s Johnson suggested that the fellows gain credit from grants to legitimize their research. Finding an investor for pharmaceutical therapies is no easy task; it takes persistence to find one that has a personal drive for the solution at hand. Other topics such as intellectual property in the med tech industry were of high value to the attending fellows.
The full-day program was both engaging and interactive; discussions often left attendees inquiring more. SBTDC has scheduled another IRE event this fall at East Carolina University in Greenville.