State of the Market: The Goalposts

  1. Full Analysis: First and foremost, rosy projections and stories about low probability revenue are done. Time to be honest and map out exactly where we are, what we are unsure of, and what levers we have to pivot as new information is discovered. A useful exercise even for a perennial optimist. Try to use probabilities as best you can to stratify across criticality. Start to plan against <at least> a longer next raise than expected.
  2. Bear Hug: If you are talking to a strategic partner, or even better, already in a deal, now is the time to bear hug them. Their inboxes are full of deals that are being shopped right now as everyone is “feeling the heat,” so you want to command their attention. Tease the data they want to see due to pipeline failures. Create case studies that illustrate your capabilities clearly. Accelerate check-ins and touchpoints with new data and idea sharing. The onus of creativity on how a partner sees your platform is on you.
  3. Be resourceful: You know that grant you were thinking about or hadn’t renewed yet? Time to turn on the jets and submit those applications. If too swamped, try to get in with an agency before their inboxes fill up too. Following an initial grant, the likelihood of continued, subsequent funding increases dramatically.
  4. Focus on the core competency: The last few years have been a tour de force of amazing new biochemical platforms. Typically, platform companies either come from or spawn a core competency. Maybe it is computer vision, maybe synthetic lethality, or maybe even ingredient production. As you synthesize a plan including forward-looking uncertainty, stick to your core. If you don’t know it yet, define it. State it clearly. This will help in resourcing trade-offs when you inevitably have to make platform vs. asset decisions as well as strategically finding aligned value through partnerships.
  5. Don’t “turtle”: Although almost reflexively as humans, we turtle when things change direction, recognize this and resist. We did this knowing if we went down, we would go down fighting! To that end, don’t hesitate to phone a friend. Reconnect with advisors, investors, and other founders — these networks are rich data sources for you. As an investor, we <hopefully> make our money supporting you (as well as pick investments). We are all too familiar that this statement does not always hold up in the ecosystem, something that fuels our fire.

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KdT Ventures

KdT Ventures

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KdT is the standard for early-stage science venture investing. We help founders and their companies re-architect the world at a molecular level.