Successful first HollandBIO @Home Webinar
On Friday 26th of June it was time for the first HollandBIO @Home Webinar. Daniel de Boer, (CEO of ProQR Therapeutics) interviewed Geraldine O’Keeffe (Partner at LSP), Arthur Franken (General Partner at Gilde Healthcare), Krijn de Nood (CEO of Meatable) and Jan De Kerpel (Managing Director at Kempen & Co) about the influence of COVID-19 on the biotech financing landscape.
The corona crisis has a huge impact on the public capital market. Initially, share prices dropped and investors got nervous. For two months, Europe did not see an IPO of European biotech companies. Markets dried out and investors had to support their portfolio companies, and managing their company’s cash runway was top of mind for any biotech CEO. In May the public capital market began to crawl back again to normal levels.
Both Gilde Healthcare and Meatable managed to secure funding during the crisis. How did they pull that off? For the new fund of Gilde Healthcare, it was all about fortunate timing and great preparation. The in house groundwork was done in 2019 and all in person meetings with LPs were handled before the lock-down. During lock-down, they were able to retain the interest, none of the investors backed out. In reaction to the pandemic, cultured meat company Meatable strengthened its outreach to investors, shifting focus from a more generalist venture space to new funds in the cellular agriculture niche, that weren’t affected by COVID-19.
Raising capital has changed a lot over the last months. Investors and entrepreneurs had to adapt to a new reality of deal closing without meeting face-to-face, making it harder to get a feeling of the team and business model. But the market bounced back, and deals are being closed via digital platforms. The panelist see a bright future for biotech in Europe, investors are eager to close deals and have the money to do so. Geraldine O’Keeffe advices entrepreneurs to think big, and to benefit from the positive effects of today’s crisis. These digital times seem to make it easier to reach out to investors. Jan De Kerpel echoes her positive, can-do, mindset and stresses the importance to think ahead and be prepared. Because in biotech, there will always be a next crisis.