5 strategies for biotech startups to survive a down market

Founders in the biotech industries are no strangers to challenges. Success is impossible without substantial investment, time and technical expertise. While life sciences startups came out relatively unscathed last year, the ongoing economic climate is turning fundraising into a never-ending marathon. Inflationary market dynamics and continued fiscal tightening continue to pose significant risks to capital commitments. A successful increase in 2021 feels like ancient history.

As a venture capitalist specializing in early stage life science companies, I work with startups that have the potential to revolutionize the world in the fight against biothreats, pandemics and more. Every day I see new biotechnology that inspires my team and our investors to put capital to work. Many of these startups were well capitalized last year, but are now facing difficulties as they try to raise.

To survive, it is essential to explore alternative funding methods rather than relying solely on classic fundraising. This is especially true for biotech startups, where investment needs are greater and timelines for success can be much longer.

If you’re an entrepreneur in the biotech industry, it might be time to make practical turns to ensure your business can thrive. Here are five strategies that can help your biotech startup navigate a cooling fundraising environment:

To survive, it is essential to explore alternative funding methods rather than relying solely on classic fundraising.

1. Set lower fundraising goals

During an economic downturn, it may not be feasible to raise a large amount of money, and the time and resources you invest in fundraising could be better used for important business initiatives. Raising less allows you to prioritize survival, conserve your most valuable resource (time), and keep your focus on meeting short-term inflection points. With a smaller pool of investors, you can also maintain stronger influence over your company’s strategy.

2. Target experienced investors

When raising, it’s critical to focus on building relationships with investors who share your vision and can provide more than just capital. Investors experienced in your industry can provide valuable guidance and connections that can help you navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities. This type of investor is valuable in a recession because they can advise you on technology-specific strategies.


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