Pitching a life science product is different than in other fields. Not only do you have complicated technology to explain, but you are also addressing investors who have numerous other pitches to review—and they probably do not have the same educational backgrounds. If you are a student like Cody Moxam or a biotechnologist, engineer, or other professional with an idea, you are going to have to convince investors one day why your product will revolutionize your respective industry. This process can be daunting, so here are a few tips that should help get your project funded:
Keep it simple
When you are giving a presentation or submitting documents, keep all of your material simple. Many life science investors have some knowledge of the science itself, but graduated business majors do not have the same educations as biochemists with PhDs. Don’t overwhelm your audience with technological intricacies that consume long chunks of time explaining. Your goal is to pique their interest and start a conversation, not explain every detail upfront.
Tell a story
On a related note, be aware of how many technicalities you include. While you will certainly need to discuss the science behind your concept, you might be tempted to talk only about the science because you have been living and breathing it. It’s understandable that you are excited, but it’s imperative to step back and show investors the big picture. Why are you doing what you are doing? How will your business make a difference in people’s lives? Convey your passion (which investors will notice and appreciate) through your story, and let investors know that there is a place for your idea in the market.
When telling your story, though, avoid cliches as much as possible. Ori Luzia of the company Virtuozo notes that expressions such as, “What if I told you,” “Imagine a world,” and “That’s where we come in” are redundant and overused. Investors know you are a capable scientist (and hopefully, business person), but this part is where you need to flex your narrative muscles. Luzie also mentions that investors can easily tell when presenters use Shutterstock images and give people fake names (such as “This is Mary”), so use real individuals and real examples to make your pitch more powerful.
Keep your audience in mind
Research individual investors before you present to them. What are their past investments, so what are they more likely to respond to? They see hundreds of business ideas every year, so find a way to distinguish yourself.
Zachary Rapp and Frank S. David, M.D., Ph.D. from Pharmagellan say that when it comes to the outline of your pitch deck:
“…you can identify specific components that warrant extra emphasis based on your particular situation. For example, a therapeutics company may spend more time covering the lead asset’s novel target or mechanism of action, whereas a diagnostics firm may stress its business model, reimbursement strategy, and predicted profit margin.”
When pitching to investors, tell them what they will get out of investing in you. Remember to talk about milestones as well: how will you get to where you hope to go, and how much funding will it require? How will their money advance your idea and make your company less risky? It’s also practical to suggest a point when they can exit or decide to invest further (they’ll figure this out eventually, but they’ll appreciate honesty and preparedness upfront).
Talk about your team
Investors are not only paying attention to your story and product—they are assessing your team. They know that your product is only feasible if the people behind it can pull themselves together and make it happen. They will be curious about how well your team works together, interoffice politics, personalities, experience, contributions, and more. Talk to your audience about how excellent your team is because they are not just funding your technology; they are funding you.
Be ready to answer questions
Remember, you want to spark a conversation with investors. They may get back to you after your initial presentation, but they will use questions to test your understanding of your endeavor and enhance their own comprehension. Be prepared to give them further information about your product pipeline, risks, any potential technological hiccups, competitors, and more. When you answer quickly and wisely, you demonstrate that you know what you are doing.
Figuring out the best way to pitch your life science product to investors can be challenging, but you and they have something in common: you are interested in innovative ideas. What do you always try to do when pitching to investors?