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“Aim high and build a strong team”

Jonas Jendi

Jonas Jendi is an Investment Manager within the life science sector at Industrifonden, an evergreen venture capital fund, based in Stockholm, focusing on early-stage companies within life science and technology. In the current life science portfolio he is responsible for Nuevolution, Smartfish and Airsonett.

What kind of companies are you and your colleagues focusing your investments on? And what stages?

“As a foundation and VC fund we have a split focus on life science and technology. On the life science side our current focus lies on pharmaceuticals/biotech, medical devices, and digital health. We invest in early stage companies with global potential, and a first ticket is normally between 10-50 million SEK.”

What are some of your basic criteria to invest capital in a company? What factors do you consider especially important?

“Obviously, the science and the team are key factors. We also seek out opportunities where there is a great unmet medical need, as well as a willingness to pay for innovation.”

Could you give an example of a common mistake among startups?

“We often see entrepreneurs underestimating the challenges in the transition from relying on soft funding to relying on equity funding. Another thing we see is unstructured cap table (crowded, too many owners and owners unaware of large upcoming funding needs).”

Could you mention a current strength or trend among Sweden’s life science companies?

“Sweden has a large pool of experienced experts and executives, and in addition to that many risk-taking early stage investors, also with a deep expertise within the area.”

What advice do you have for small and mid-sized life science companies looking to raise capital?

“Invest in the early, pre-clinical work, even when that work is not appreciated by all funding sources. It will pay off later when pitching to international equity investors. Also, compare yourself directly to international peers, also in terms of fund raising, and aim high. And finally, build a strong team, with skillsets that complement each other.”

Photographer: Margareta Blom Sandbaeck