On October 25, Health City and Valhalla Private Capital teamed up to bring Alberta-based life sciences companies the opportunity to learn more about raising capital. Attracting investors is often a daunting task for life sciences companies, an issue that both Health City and Valhalla are looking to alleviate.  

The public event, which came together in partnership with Alberta Innovates and TEC Edmonton, with support from Innovate Edmonton, drew in approximately 50 attendees, attracted a broad audience that included members of the innovation community. The panel featured expert life sciences Angel Investors from various parts of North America:  

  • Faz Bashi: Chair, Life Science Angels – San Francisco, CA 
  • Neeraj Gupta: Founder & CEO, FormulateIP – Calgary, AB 
  • Konstantin Kostov: Chicago Archangels – Chicago, IL 
  • Ziad Moukheiber: President, Boston Harbor Angels – Boston, MA 
  • Randy Thompson: Chairman and CEO, Valhalla Private Capital   

The overall theme explored the nuances of raising capital, including what investors will look for in a life sciences deal, key investment criteria, how to spot a bad deal, and why investors may be skipping over deals.  The event also shed light on the potential Edmonton has to offer with regards to health, tech, and life science innovators; as well as an opportunity for local companies to interact and connect with and connection with individuals who can help take their companies global.  

Dr. Rahul Samant from Rehabtronics, an attendee of the event, stated, “The panel provided valuable feedback and insight that will improve our investment pitch and business model.”  

Select companies also had the opportunity to engage with the investor panel during individual 90-minute sessions to receive personalized feedback. One attendee who utilized the opportunity, Claire Dixon from Neuraura Biotech, a Calgary-based company said, “their original feedback was instrumental in refocusing our investor pitch to explain our broader vision, clarify the uses of funds to progress our technological and regulatory pathway and outline the commercial opportunity in terms of different revenue streams and multiple exit opportunities. Furthermore, the investors’ insights and guidance last week have shone a light on some of the untapped opportunities and key strategic risks Neuraura is facing.”  

When asked about their impressions of the companies they met, the panelists saw some common threads to help the Alberta-based companies compete globally.  

We have seen companies in a variety of stages and degrees of management experience that have different needs but I think a common thread is that they are quality companies that have significant merits, stated Konstantin Kostov. “Another common theme that I see though is many that many of these companies have gotten easy funding from oil and gas wealth and are somewhat, and sometimes strongly, resistant to fairly standard and balanced investment terms. The gap and jump from being local to becoming national and international is a key challenge that they face, not only in terms of attracting financing but also in developing appropriate regulatory, reimbursement, and ultimately sales and marketing approaches.”  

Panelist Faz Bashi said, “there is a definite need for candid advice, guidance and mentorship – my sense is many of the Entrepreneurs would have benefitted from this level of candor prior to embarking on their startup journey.” Faz added, “The Entrepreneurs are all smart, capable, committed and dedicated to bringing their products/solutions to the market. They varied however in the levels of “investor readiness” with respect to full team, IP or barriers-to-entry, Market entry, Distribution, Financing needs, and Exit strategy… My sense is while the resources are available, they are not sufficiently integrated to effectively support/guide seedling startup entrepreneurs manage expectations and de-risk their opportunities.” 

Health City Director of Business Development, Antonio Bruni, caught up with Co-Founder of Valhalla Private Capital, Ryan Heit, to get his impressions of the event: 

For more information on what Health City is doing to help Alberta-based companies go global, visit this page.