Unraveling the ‘Secrets of Sand Hill Road’ and the VC thought process, with Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


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Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos sat down with Scott Kupor, managing director at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to dig into his new book Secrets of Sand Hill Road, discuss his advice for new founders dealing with VCs and to pick his brain on the opportunities that excite him most today.

Scott gained inspiration for Secrets of Sand Hill Road after realizing he was hearing the same questions from different entrepreneurs over his decade in venture. The book acts as an updated guide on what VCs actually do, how they think and how founders should engage with them.

Scott offers Connie his take on why, despite the influx of available information on the venture world, founders still view VC as a black box. Connie and Scott

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Leave A Ladder Down


This post is by Ros Deegan from LifeSciVC


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This post was written by Ros Deegan, President and CBO of Bicycle Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.  

In May 2007, I trekked to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Situated at an altitude of over 17,000 feet, Base Camp is the starting point for an ascent of the world’s highest mountain. The first feature on the climbing route is also the deadliest: the Khumbu Icefall. The Icefall is a frozen waterfall that cascades for more than two miles in length – and 2000 feet in height – from a spectacular hanging valley known as the Western Cwm to a point just a few minutes’ walk from the tents at Base Camp. At half a mile wide, you can’t go around the Icefall: you have to go through it.

The Khumbu Icefall is an especially formidable barrier to aspiring summiteers because of its imperceptible yet relentless downward

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All A-Board


This post is by Samantha Truex from LifeSciVC


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This blog is written by Samantha Truex, Atlas EIR and CEO of a stealth-stage biotech, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

In a 2014 analysis  of biotech boards and a reprise analysis in 2016, Bruce Booth worked with life science recruiter Catalyst Advisors on this board talent blog. They estimated the demand for talent at >600 biotech Board Director spots needing to be filled in the few years following October 2016.

A critical question posed by Bruce and Catalyst Advisors was, from where will the talent come?   This issue is not unique to biotech.  According to Spencer Stuart’s 2018 board report on S&P 500 boards,  428 new directors were appointed to S&P 500 boards during the 2018 proxy year, the most since 2004.  So the search for talent to fill board seats is vast.

In the original post, Bruce stated, “When I’ve brought this

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Leadership At All Levels In Biotech


This post is by Deanna Petersen from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Deanna Petersen, CBO of AVROBIO, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC

Biotech is an industry that calls for leaders. It requires people who are willing to take risks, conquer new science, and have endurance for the many years it takes to develop a new medicine. In addition, professionals who thrive in biotech have the know-how, confidence and guts to tackle business goals that are covered in uncertainty and complexity. These are ‘hard core’ leadership traits, and they are highly valued in biotech companies at all levels of job responsibilities.

In my many years working in biotech, I have seen professionals at all levels and in all functions use their leadership abilities to open doors to new career opportunities and rise in their organizations. I’ve also come to appreciate colleagues and collaborators in my current and past work life who display leadership.

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Generations: Talent Dispersion in Biotechnology


This post is by Tariq Kassum from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Tariq Kassum, COO of Obsidian Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

The evening of April 26, 2009, I walked from my hotel room to the nearest bar. The bar was called the Asgard, and it was on an unfamiliar road called Sidney Street, in a place I barely knew called Cambridge, Massachusetts. I wanted some comfort food before my big job interview at Millennium Pharmaceuticals the next day. I ordered a beer and burger, but as I took my first sip, a little voice in the back of my head reminded me that expensing a beer was probably not the best idea when traveling for an interview. I paid for the drink myself and stuffed the receipt into my jeans pocket.

I was seeking to leave Wall Street, where I was a hedge fund analyst, because I was tired of

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Fleece vs Future: How Small Companies Can Help Build Biotech Talent


This post is by Aoife Brennan from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Aoife Brennan, CEO of Synlogic, as part of the From The Trenches features of LifeSciVC.

A lot has been written about the biotech talent war in the Boston area including the availability of talent as the major limitation to venture creation and the increasingly lavish perks designed to attract and retain experienced staff. As the leader of an organization attempting to grow within this ecosystem, I am acutely aware of the challenges. I also have an additional vantage point however due to an affiliation with several academic programs and mentoring organizations. I frequently meet with talented and ambitious men and women who are frustrated by attempts to get a foot in the door or to explore career opportunities beyond their current role. I believe that small and mid-size companies can and should do more to contribute to the development of a broad and diverse talent

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Fleece vs Future: How Small Companies Can Help Build Biotech Talent


This post is by Aoife Brennan from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Aoife Brennan, CEO of Synlogic, as part of the From The Trenches features of LifeSciVC.

A lot has been written about the biotech talent war in the Boston area including the availability of talent as the major limitation to venture creation and the increasingly lavish perks designed to attract and retain experienced staff. As the leader of an organization attempting to grow within this ecosystem, I am acutely aware of the challenges. I also have an additional vantage point however due to an affiliation with several academic programs and mentoring organizations. I frequently meet with talented and ambitious men and women who are frustrated by attempts to get a foot in the door or to explore career opportunities beyond their current role. I believe that small and mid-size companies can and should do more to contribute to the development of a broad and diverse talent

Continue reading “Fleece vs Future: How Small Companies Can Help Build Biotech Talent”

Biotech CEO Pay: Inflation Held At Bay


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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The private biotech sector is awash in capital today: funding over the last few quarters has been record-breaking, up over 250% since 2013, as biotech CEOs have worked hard to strengthen their companies’ balance sheets.  But in the process of filling up their corporate coffers, have they also filled up their own wallets?

To examine this question, I worked with Jody K. Thelander and her team at J. Thelander Consulting, a compensation data and consulting firm, and explored their recently completed 2018 Private Company Compensation survey dataset.  Several interesting findings worth noting.

First, as you might expect during the journey of a startup, the total cash compensation (base salary plus target bonus) for biotech CEOs goes up in a remarkably linear fashion as companies raise more capital – up until they approach public company CEO compensation. Here’s the latest 2018 data:

Second, over the past 6-8 years,

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Caravans of Biotech Immigrant Executives


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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Recently there’s been talk of a caravan of immigrants marching towards the United States, principally focused on Mexico and Central America.  But there’s also another caravan, this one at work in the biopharma business: the long term migration of science and technology professionals into the US-based biopharma ecosystem.

This caravan is critical if we are to successfully tackle the myriad of health issues that plague humanity: scientific exploration and drug R&D are global enterprises. In the words of MassBio president Bob Coughlin, “The greatest minds from around the world made this industry what it is and it will take the greatest minds globally to cure cancer, Alzheimer’s, and the hundreds of diseases impacting human health.”

Biotech leaders have been vocal in the past about DACA and other immigration issues (here).  Seven biotechs showed the impact of immigration on their workforce last fall with these fantastic

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Beyond the CEO: Building An Effective Leadership Team  


This post is by Ankit Mahadevia from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Ankit Mahadevia, CEO of Spero Therapeutics and Atlas Advisor, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

 

The biotech twittersphere recently engaged in very thoughtful debate (resulting in a great piece by @lifescivc) about age, training, and other qualities that link a CEO to an organization’s success. It’s a critical topic, but in my opinion only one dimension of the conversation since nobody can develop drugs alone.

My view, formed from leading later stage and early organizations and observing several in the boardroom, is that the best measure of CEO leadership is the team he or she recruits and how they work together.  Truly great organizations should and will become more complex than any one individual’s ability to dig into it all. As such, the team and culture that a CEO builds to manage this complexity now and for the future are

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Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech


This post is by from LifeSciVC


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Biotech venture investors often prefer to back executives and entrepreneurs with a bit of grey hair. Seasoned industry veterans that possess leadership charisma along with years of experience, and the oft-accompanying learned judgement, are highly sought-after in biopharma’s seemingly endless war for talent.

Earlier this month, I tweeted about how talent was the biggest constraint in biotech. I highlighted that the number of VC-backed startups in biotech remained constrained (relatively flat for years) despite huge increases in aggregate funding flows, and that this was caused by talent bottlenecks rather than limits on ideas or capital. The pool of executives/entrepreneurs with both demonstrated leadership skills and bona fide R&D/BD expertise is very limited.

This observation unleashed a storm on Twitter: I was apparently exhibiting rampant age-ism and ignoring the return-generating exuberance of youth; it was evidence that a biotech VC cartel actively keeps young people out; hedge funds apparently try to

Continue reading “Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech”

Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Biotech venture investors often prefer to back executives and entrepreneurs with a bit of grey hair. Seasoned industry veterans that possess leadership charisma along with years of experience, and the oft-accompanying learned judgement, are highly sought-after in biopharma’s seemingly endless war for talent.

Earlier this month, I tweeted about how talent was the biggest constraint in biotech. I highlighted that the number of VC-backed startups in biotech remained constrained (relatively flat for years) despite huge increases in aggregate funding flows, and that this was caused by talent bottlenecks rather than limits on ideas or capital. The pool of executives/entrepreneurs with both demonstrated leadership skills and bona fide R&D/BD expertise is very limited.

This observation unleashed a storm on Twitter: I was apparently exhibiting rampant age-ism and ignoring the return-generating exuberance of youth; it was evidence that a biotech VC cartel actively keeps young people out; hedge funds apparently try to

Continue reading “Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech”

Snow, Skiing, And My 2018 Outlook For Biotech


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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As 2018 begins, and we prepare for the biopharma sector’s annual kickoff in San Francisco next week, my thoughts are focused on the snow. I’m literally watching bombogenesis unleash a blizzard white-out in Boston right now. As a winter sports enthusiast, I really love a good snow watch.

Last year I offered up some crystal ball predictions for 2017 on a bunch of topics, and I got a few of them right (and a couple wrong). This year, in light of the weather, I’m going to share my snow-infused thoughts on biotech’s 2018 outlook with a few things to be both excited and worried about for the year and beyond. And with a strong reference to skiing and the mountains, I just can’t help myself…

Reasons To Be Excited About 2018

  1. The pace of innovation today is truly breathtaking and likely to continue.  The biopharma sector is discovering

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Hiring:  Using Your Team To Build A Team


This post is by Ankit Mahadevia from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Ankit Mahadevia, CEO of Spero Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

Much has been said about who and when to hire in this blog (here and here for example), but the how is just as important.  What I’ve observed having built teams across multiple companies is that the support one enlists to build a team can dramatically impact the quality of the process.  I will spend a few paragraphs on the cast of characters that can help this important process be as successful as possible:

Board and Team

We are big believers at Spero in the power of the collective in assessing cultural fit.  There is a lot of formal scholarship supporting this [here for a reasoned explanation about the power of consensus].  A good fit means that a star hire can spend energy on

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Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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We’re excited to announce Kevin Bitterman has joined Atlas Venture as a partner!

Kevin is well known in the Boston biotech ecosystem, having spent the last dozen-plus years on the life science team at Polaris Partners. He brings a great mix of experiences, skills, and interests to the team, and is a superb fit with the group.

Kevin trained as a molecular biologist, getting a PhD in David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard where his work focused on chromatin silencing, cellular metabolism, and stress response pathways (the latter of which has helped him become a great board member). He also learned to appreciate the true joy of endlessly splitting HEK293 cells into new culture flasks, so understands both the inspiration and perspiration required in science. The desire to move those insights from bench to bedside – and the accompanying potential to impact patients – is what really drives him, and is

Continue reading “Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman”

Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We’re excited to announce Kevin Bitterman has joined Atlas Venture as a partner!

Kevin is well known in the Boston biotech ecosystem, having spent the last dozen-plus years on the life science team at Polaris Partners. He brings a great mix of experiences, skills, and interests to the team, and is a superb fit with the group.

Kevin trained as a molecular biologist, getting a PhD in David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard where his work focused on chromatin silencing, cellular metabolism, and stress response pathways (the latter of which has helped him become a great board member). He also learned to appreciate the true joy of endlessly splitting HEK293 cells into new culture flasks, so understands both the inspiration and perspiration required in science. The desire to move those insights from bench to bedside – and the accompanying potential to impact patients – is what really drives him, and is

Continue reading “Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman”

Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We’re excited to announce Kevin Bitterman has joined Atlas Venture as a partner!

Kevin is well known in the Boston biotech ecosystem, having spent the last dozen-plus years on the life science team at Polaris Partners. He brings a great mix of experiences, skills, and interests to the team, and is a superb fit with the group.

Kevin trained as a molecular biologist, getting a PhD in David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard where his work focused on chromatin silencing, cellular metabolism, and stress response pathways (the latter of which has helped him become a great board member). He also learned to appreciate the true joy of endlessly splitting HEK293 cells into new culture flasks, so understands both the inspiration and perspiration required in science. The desire to move those insights from bench to bedside – and the accompanying potential to impact patients – is what really drives him, and is

Continue reading “Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman”

The Inescapable Gravity Of Biotech’s Key Clusters: The Great Consolidation Of Talent, Capital, & Returns


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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Two key geographic clusters dominate the biotech landscape today. These two areas, Boston and San Francisco, combine a unique blend of biomedical science, venture capital, entrepreneurial talent, risk-taking culture, and geographic density. Other regions have some or all of these elements, but not in the same magnitude or momentum that Boston and San Francisco have today – and the gap is just getting bigger.

Last year, GEN ranked Boston #1 and San Francisco #2 in their biotech clusters report (here). Others have covered these clusters and the rivalry between them (here), as the Economist did with “Clusterluck” earlier in 2016. But rather than draw distinctions between them, I’d like to focus on these key clusters relative to the rest of the biopharma ecosystem.

Context

Relative to the US biotech scene, Europe is often viewed as a laggard in the biopharma space from an entrepreneurial

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Talent In The Biotech Gig Economy


This post is by Jeb Keiper from LifeSciVC


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This blog was written by Jeb Keiper, CBO of Nimbus Therapeutics LLC, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

Walking the streets of Union Square in mid-January torrential rain, we had the good fortune of sharing the Nimbus story with a number of investors, bankers, and pharma types. All of them were keen to hear what Nimbus was up to next, but some were surprised to hear that Nimbus was still around, as many thought our whole company was bought by Gilead ($GILD) last year. It wasn’t, and here is more on the why / how.

The most common questions to our team were: “How many people do you have?” “Where are your labs?” “What capabilities do you have in-house?” (polite ways to get at understanding a company’s scale, cost structure, expertise) Nimbus’ answer: 25 employees brought a pipeline of 5 programs forward, including

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Onboarding New Talent: Post-IPO Turnover Of Biotech Boards


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


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A biotech’s Board often plays important roles in shaping the company’s success or failure: contributing strategic guidance, providing proper governance, stewarding fiduciary responsibilities, raising a startups’ profile, aiding business development, to name a few.

Over the life of a biotech, the role and contributions of the Board of Directors, and in particular the independent Board members, change. As drug discovery startups, often having research expertise from veterans that have served tours of duty in R&D can be helpful. Moving towards and into development, translational and clinical experience can be important value-add. Entering the public markets requires more financial expertise. And all companies can benefit from good perspectives on operations and strategy. Having great independent directors across the biotech lifecycle is one of the keys to highly functioning biotech boards (see post here).

Importantly, a big period of evolution for biotech boards occurs after they’ve gone public.  As emerging

board-directors_oct-2016
age-and-gender_current-biotech-boards_sept2016

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