We were delighted to host Karl Handelsman, Partner at Roche Venture Fund in Vancouver last week.
Over 100 participants came to his talk at BC Cancer Agency where he talked about “Winning Strategies for Biotech Startups”. Afterwards, we held a private dinner where he met several companies he had expressed interest in connecting with. The following day we went on a fishing trip with where Karl had an opportunity to connect with the biotech entrepreneurs one on one for several hours.
Why did we invite Karl?
We live in a geography where there is a dearth of Venture Capital funding. Most funds are located in San Francisco and Boston and unless our Canadian clients are visiting those cities on a regular basis, they would not have exposure to many VCs and family funds. We are spearheading an effort to create awareness on our innovators. If we can not all go down south, let’s bring up serious VCs to connect with our companies.
Specifically, we liked Roche Venture Fund and Karl as they are interested in investing in companies that are developing early stage ground-breaking ideas. We have many of those in Canada. In addition, Karl in his previous life was involved in building a company that was sold to Amgen. We find VCs that were entrepreneurs in the past to be better investors or at least more understanding of the challenges of biotech entrepreneurship.
Why did we go fishing with Karl?
Investors invest in people with ideas, not just ideas. They need to meet you, feel comfortable with you and know that they can trust you. They need to know that you will listen to their advice and you will take care of their investment.
No matter how smart your idea is, ultimately investors are giving “YOU” the money. By organizing a fun fishing trip we created a non-hostile and fun environment for Karl to get to know the potential investees.
We already have several requests from other venture funds that are interested in joining us in future events. We look forward to organizing those events.
I would like to thank my trusted friend and advisor, Jonathan Polak for organizing this event, Lesley Esford, CEO of LifeSciences BC for sponsoring the talk and Sarah Lee of BC Cancer Agency for providing us with the auditorium at BCCA.
Ali Ardakani is the Managing Director of Novateur Ventures. His passions are his family, using technology to advance life science, travel, and helping entrepreneurs be successful.