Attracting Capital Is Key for Start-Up Bioscience Companies

By April Giles | Sep 09, 2013

Raising capital is hard work involving guaranteed travel and time away from home, with many calls to investors followed by a large number of pitches and hopefully funding. It’s a lengthy process where passion about your work and perseverance are critical elements to survive the desert before the monsoonal downpour. Well, okay, not really a downpour, but funding that will allow you to reach milestones to raise your next round.

Every other year the Colorado Bioscience Association, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, brings investors and funding partners to our home turf with the Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor & Partnering Conference (RMLIPC). We work hard to vet 30 fantastic presenting companies and intrigue 50 out of state investors – angel, VC, venture funds and business development arms to strategic partners – to Colorado to look at an undermined, yet highly valuable bioscience community.

This process is especially critical in our industry, because so few venture firms call Colorado home. We have four venture firms currently investing in bioscience: Boulder Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Lightstone Ventures and High Country Venture. Compared to over 100 in the Boston area alone, this is a significantly low count. Numbers matter in the venture capital world; investors tend to stick together and follow the trends.

The good news is that we do have a strong track record of launching incredible technologies out of our state’s major research institutions; we have a highly educated young adult population of employees; and several high-tech facilities like the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Research Innovation Center in Fort Collins and the BioFrontiers Institute in Boulder.

But providing a reliable pipeline for capital is key to growth of our successful start-up bioscience companies.

As this year’s RMLIPC approaches, we are thrilled to showcase to leading emerging companies from Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Utah. With over 60 company applications, the top 30 technologies went through a significant diligence process and have a lot to be proud about.

The technologies these companies are developing are truly amazing—addressing a number of health issues and diseases states including; chronic pain, infertility, viral diseases, degenerative disc disease, Lyme disease, Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. These companies that are emerging today will be leading our industry tomorrow.

The RMLIPC is an important tool for us as we continually work to spearhead investment in the region. We work with the State and local groups such as Rockies Venture, Impact Angel Group and Colorado Venture Capital Authority (VCA) to showcase the investment opportunities and promote to the rest of the country that Colorado is ready for investment.

September 19th will provide a full day of company pitch presentations for attendees. The keynote breakfast will include Kyle Lefkoff, founder and General Partner of Boulder Ventures, leading a conversation with two of Colorado's premier publicly-traded pharmaceutical companies-Patrick Mahaffy, Founder and CEO of Clovis Oncology and Ron Squarer, CEO of Array BioPharma. The keynote lunch will be a presentation from Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation’s Jeff Calcagno, M.D., Principal, Venture Investments. For more information and registration details, visit

If you are not able to join us at the conference please follow our Twitter feed at #RockyMtnBioInvest.

April Giles is the president and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association, a non-profit trade association providing services and support for Colorado's bioscience industry. With more than 350 members, CBSA actively works to promote the growth of the industry by advocating for a better business environment, growing the state's biotech workforce, fighting for policies that support a strong bioscience industry in the state, and speaking with a single voice on behalf of the industry. For more information, visit