Last December promising projects from the Business Acceleration Academy pitched in front of the BAA selection committee at BioInnovation Institute to secure a spot for the spring run of the program starting March 2020.
The committee consists of experts within the industry and we sat down with one of them – Jeroen Bakker, Senior Associate at Novo Seeds. In the past years, he has listened to hundreds of companies at many different maturity levels pitch for investments.
We asked him what he looks for in a pitch and the common mistakes he sees.
What is the BAA committee looking for?
When we hear teams pitch for a spot in the program, we look for two components. One is breakthrough science that targets an unmet need and has the potential to change people’s lives and society. The other component is the people on the team – we like to see that they have experience and know what they are doing.
When a project really stands out what has the team typically done right in their pitch?
The projects that come to mind are the ones who make sure it is immediately clear where the project fits in. They are very clear on what they do and why they do it and they address a need that resonates with the wider community in pharma, medtech or biotech.
It is also very important to connect the solution or technology to a relevant problem. When teams focus too much on the problem, they lose sight of the solution. If they focus too much on the solution, they sometimes end up with a problem that is irrelevant, so finding a balance in that is essential.
What common mistakes do you see?
Sometimes we see pitches where teams are a bit too secretive about their science because they don’t want to share too much. However, that is often an opportunity waisted because to convince the people you pitch to you will need to share the really valuable information you have.
What is your best advice?
Talk to people who have been in front of investors before. They will be able to help you understand what a committee or investor is looking for. If you are being asked questions, you cannot answer it is absolutely okay, but try to be comfortable enough in the pitch to speculate on the spot. And be clear that you are speculating.