Ingrid Teigland Akay is Managing Partner at Hadean Ventures, a life science fund manager that invests in life science companies across Europe, with a particular focus on the Nordic region.
What kind of companies are you and your colleagues focusing your investments on? And what stages?
“Hadean Ventures is a Nordics-focused, European life science VC fund manager. We invest broadly in the life science space, including pharma/biotech, medtech, diagnostics, and digital health. We are a typical Ser A investor, but we also mix in some later stage investments.”
What are some of your basic criteria to invest capital in a company? What factors do you consider especially important?
“We look for companies that can solve an unmet medical need, and a solid market potential needs to be present. The asset needs to be protectable, typically through patent protection. We furthermore look for management teams/founders whom we believe we can work well with for many years to come – through “thick and thin”. That doesn’t mean we expect a management team to be complete – we often help recruit to the team through our network, as the growth and development of a start-up requires different types of skillsets.”
Could you give an example of a common mistake among start-ups?
“Many start-ups underestimate the challenge and time it takes to raise capital and start this process to late. You should start initial conversations with investors early, preferably long before you need any money – such conversations help to understand what kind of aspects the investors focus on.”
Could you mention a current strength or trend among Norway’s life science companies?
“There are a number of areas of strength, not only in Norway but across the Nordic region. These areas include oncology, immunology, medtech and digital. We have seen a strengthening of a number of life science hubs and clusters across the region that help grow interesting start-ups on the basis of very strong science.”
What advice do you have for small and mid-sized life science companies looking to raise capital?
“There are a couple of things I would highlight. First of all, as mentioned, don’t delay your fundraising process. These processes take a lot of time. Furthermore – know your audience and prepare well. Remember to adjust your presentation, your terminology and the level of details based on who you are speaking to. And ideally, try to team up with investors who can assist you with more than just the capital. The ideal investor is a long-term partner who understands your industry and is prepared to support you throughout the development.”