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“no one gives $ if they don’t know you”

March 23, 2012

Follow on thought(s) to my last post…

Celia Economides with BIO tweeted this on March 19; “Erly stg fncing-Wendy Johnson, ProQuest- no one gives $ if they don’t know you<–proof networking crucial but wht abt the science? #bes12

First, Wendy Johnson is all right in my book.  We’ve never met in person, even though I think we’ve talked to one another on the phone while in the same hotel at the same conference!  But she’s been very helpful via e-mail and phone over the years.  But, that’s not the point of my post.

This is; “no one gives $ if they don’t know you.

As I said in my last post, and posts before, I think Louisville is at a disadvantage in growing life science companies because of limited capital resources and because there’s a dearth of experienced people.

A bit of “chicken or the egg” cliche for the ‘ville.

Look, I can network deals until I’m blue in the face.  But, to date, I haven’t made Atlas Venture money.  Or Third Rock.  Or Access BrideGap.  Or…  [A little for the University of Louisville Foundation, but you get my point.]

And that’s broadly true for Louisville.  We don’t have ten Michael Gilman‘s walking around, as a topical case in point.

“No one gives $ if they don’t know you.”  I’m making the assumption that the best–not the only, but the best–way of getting known by VCs is to have made them money on a previous deal.  (Please, correct that assumption if it is wrong!)

Louisville hasn’t had a bunch of life science deals get funded by investors outside the Commonwealth.  Is it a people issue at the core?   

More capital here might help.  But it’s not so much about physical infrastructure.  Yes, we must have good science.  Maybe what we really need is experienced people?

Maybe it’s further indicative of, we might need to send a few deals Shipping Up to Boston (Or Seattle.  Or Honolulu!)  Along with a few people.  Or, after a deal has run its course, export the people from Boston back to Louisville.  Just a thought. 

And just because it is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.  “Proof networking crucial.”  I brought my lunchpail.  Still slogging away!


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  1. Postscript to #BIO2012 « louisvillelifescience

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