AVX January 2021 Update

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu

January 7, 2021

It's a mixed day for sending Happy New Year greetings (and Merry Christmas to those Eastern Orthodox observers). While many of us are excited to be rid of 2020 and are looking forward to 2021, please make sure to keep safe and healthy out there. Following the Georgia US Senate run-offs? Or the US Electoral College Certification and the conflict on Capitol Hill today? Or maybe you are following the Grammy Awards being delayed, along with many other events moving fully online like JPM and CES. Or maybe you are wondering if this 25-year-old bet on technology destroying society missed it by a few days? Or maybe you are more interested in getting down to action to launch a university life science startup and are wondering what to look for in a term sheet? Well, buckle up (and be ready to put in the hard work) as we get into the rest of the story.

In this newsletter, I will share some useful think-pieces, and highlight a few events from around the network.

As a reminder, you can see all AVX ventures here: AVX Feed

Conversation Statistics

We are up to 9838 total connections and conversations on the AVX network - 452 more over the last month (5% month over month growth!). We are currently tracking 17 potential match negotiations and another 152 with multi-month long discussions heading toward possible matches (and a handful of matches in stealth). We have now actively connected 509 different ventures (out of 1330+ examined) with 1219 different entrepreneurs and investors (out of a pool of 3000+)

Top December Digital Events

Innovate Next (Jan 7): Innovate Next is an interactive gathering from Silicon Valley Bank envisioned to deliver revolutionary thinking from influential leaders at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Trailblazing change-makers from some of the world’s most pioneering companies will discuss and debate pressing topics shaping the industry and innovative ideas on the horizon.

CES 2021 (Jan 11-14): CES® 2021 will digitally convene businesses, thought leaders, policymakers, media and the broader tech community to launch products, build brands and form partnerships. Hear from technology innovators, see the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world.

STAT@JPM: Facing 2021 (Jan 13): After a difficult year that permanently changed the pharmaceutical industry, what's next? STAT sits down with newsmakers to find out, and to discuss the news from the JPM conference. Hear from BioNTech founders Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci as well as top writers and reporters at STAT.

Some Thought Pieces

A little better all the time in 2021 Holden Thorp's Editorial in Science starts with a (perhaps much needed) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band reference before diving into some of the exciting science and technology breakthroughs we have had in 2020 and can look forward to in 2021.

Term Sheet Recommendations for Launching University Life Science Startups In the Spring of 2020, members from seven university tech transfer offices (Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Penn, Stanford, and Yale) met with partners from six venture capital firms (5AM, Atlas, OUP, Polaris, RA Capital, and Venrock) to discuss challenges both parties routinely face when working on life science deals together. From these meetings, they were able to distill some of their best practices, meant to benefit universities and VCs more broadly. A must read for many of the members of AVX! The same group also have come together to develop recommendations on improving the process of launching life science ventures.

Why Rookie CEOs Outperform In most endeavors, experience is a good thing. But new research from the executive recruiting and leadership advisory firm Spencer Stuart finds that for CEOs, it often carries surprising costs. In a study of 855 S&P 500 CEOs appointed over a 20-year period, the researchers found that those with experience in the role consistently underperformed their novice counterparts over the medium to long term. First-timers led their companies to higher market-adjusted total shareholder returns, with less volatility in the stock price.

The cauldrons of gold theory of media and startups Danny Crichton, Managing Editor of TechCrunch serves up this great new years piece. The beginning? "Why do we need another newsletter analyzing Beltway politics in a world of Politico Playbook, Axios, The Daily 202 and a hundred others? In fact, why do we need the voluminous output of tech-oriented newsletters covering startups (by my count, there are at least several thousand newsletters covering our industry)? Why, in a media world that was supposed to be all about the long-tail, does it seem that every new media startup is targeting the same single niche over and over again?" A quick read I highly recommend.

A 25-Year-Old Bet Comes Due: Has Tech Destroyed Society? "On March 6, 1995, WIRED’s executive editor and resident techno-optimist Kevin Kelly went to the Greenwich Village apartment of the author Kirkpatrick Sale. Kelly had asked Sale for an interview. But he planned an ambush" Read on to learn more about this amazing bet between the proto-early-adopter Kevin Kelly and neo-Luddite Kirkpatrick Sale and find out who wins.

Say You Want to Build a Monolith Remember all the monolith news in 2020 from around the world? Well, the NYTimes went on the hunt and spoke with experts in design and special effects who say the monoliths appearing around the world are not that difficult to replicate. If you are a fan of James Randi-level dissection of this phenomena, check this out.

How to improve your content diet in 2021 "While most of us are willing to invest in our health, we often neglect our "content diet," which refers to the type of information we choose to feed our brains on a daily basis." Polina Marinova (who left Forbes the same day NY went under lockdown back in March) shares some thoughts on how to improve the quality of the content you consume.

DIGITAL EVENTS

Solebury Trout Virtual Management Access (Jan 6-15): Please join Solebury Trout for virtual meetings with life science companies January 6-15, 2021, starting a week prior to the JPM Healthcare Conference to ensure optimal flexibility. Meetings will be organized via Zoom and can be scheduled back-to-back or more spread out depending on preferences.

Innovate Next (Jan 7): Innovate Next is an interactive gathering from Silicon Valley Bank envisioned to deliver revolutionary thinking from influential leaders at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Trailblazing change-makers from some of the world’s most pioneering companies will discuss and debate pressing topics shaping the industry and innovative ideas on the horizon.

CES 2021 (Jan 11-14): CES® 2021 will digitally convene businesses, thought leaders, policymakers, media and the broader tech community to launch products, build brands and form partnerships. Hear from technology innovators, see the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world.

Endpoints at #JPM21 (Jan 11-13): The biopharma world kicks off each year with a frenzy of activity at JP Morgan. Endpoints has been there to chronicle it with wall-to-wall coverage, and our founder and editor John Carroll has convened top newsmakers to provide detailed insights about their strategies. For #JPM21, Endpoints is expanding on our proud tradition with multiple panels addressing the most important issues in biopharma R&D. And we’ll be delivering it virtually.

Biotech Showcase at #JPM21 (Jan 11-15): With a blend of on-demand and live sessions, the virtual 2021 program is designed to provide you with the latest industry updates and flexibility to view content according to YOUR schedule. Co-produced by Demy-Colton and EBD Group.

STAT@JPM: Facing 2021 (Jan 13): After a difficult year that permanently changed the pharmaceutical industry, what's next? STAT sits down with newsmakers to find out, and to discuss the news from the JPM conference. Hear from BioNTech founders Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci as well as top writers and reporters at STAT.

California's Emerging Hub for Life Sciences (Jan 14): Los Angeles might be the best-kept secret in life sciences. From world-class research to a strong funding base, from a growing real estate inventory to some of the most talented people on the planet, LA has a solid foundation for continued innovation and growth in the life sciences. Join us during JPMorgan Week for a fast-paced discussion of what makes LA special and what’s in store for 2021, hosted by the leaders who are making it all happen.

From Startup to $18.5 Billion Deal (Jan 26): Livongo Health is one of the biggest all-time successes in digital health. The company “offers a whole person platform that empowers people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives.” In 2019, Livongo made its debut on the Nasdaq at $355 million, and saw a premium of nearly 45% over its IPO price. Now, a year later, telehealth giant Teladoc is merging with Livongo in a deal worth as much as $18.5 billion, reflecting the growing importance of virtual healthcare platforms. Join us to hear founder Glen Tullman’s story of how he built Livongo.

Finding the Right Fit & Mix (Jan 27): Investments require large capital commitments, extended investment horizons and the right collaborative team to persevere through the multi-phased process. This briefing will provide an overview of the venture capital and corporate strategic investment options. We’ll also explore public funding pathways including the SBIR Programs of the NSF and DOD. Finally, we’ll examine other Biotech accelerators to determine best practices and discuss relevant success stories.

IP Piracy in Life Science (Jan 27): For many life science startups, IP is the most crucial factor that determines whether they succeed or fail. An innovative concept and freedom to operate are essential to winning investment. But hostile foreign and domestic actors want to steal ideas and data from scientists and entrepreneurs. They target the most vulnerable: academics and early-stage companies. Are you one of these targets? Do you want to know what threats you face and what you can do to protect yourself? Join us to hear from FBI Special Agent Nicholas Shenkin, Director of the Strategic Technology Task Force for the FBI’s San Francisco Field Division.

Emerging Technology at Lilly Gateway Labs (Feb 16): In recent years a growing number of industry-leading pharma companies have opened their own incubators to access early innovation in life science hubs such as the Bay Area. In late 2019 Eli Lilly opened Lilly Gateway Labs (LGL) in South San Francisco. As we know at QB3, startup founders are hungry for lab space and keen on learning from other innovators. During this webinar, we’ll learn about Lilly’s approach with LGL, what technologies and/or assets is the company looking for, and what other factors matter. Join us for an overview from Angèle Maki, Vice President of Emerging Technology & Innovation at Eli Lilly and Company.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Will I surprise you with a Monty Python gif? No, not this time. But I thought I'd share a great article on human connectivity along with two fascinating podcasts mini-series that came out this year that should catch your interest.

Maybe you are like me, missing meeting up with friends, and discussing the trivia about the world and life? Or maybe you wonder 'why isn't there an app that can bring us together, but apart?' Or maybe you remember HQ Trivia. Well, The Ringer hears you and presents Boom/Bust: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia. "The live trivia app was once the obsession of the internet, but then it all went wrong" These eight episodes are an exploration of the spectacular rise and fall of the massively popular app, reported and hosted by Alyssa Bereznak.

What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? Rhaina Cohen at The Atlantic starts off with a short and powerful anecdote about the tensions that can be found between platonic and intimate partners on which relationships to prioritize. From that leaping point, Rhaina dives into the evolving norms of relationships in America and paints a picture of what is gained and lost and what could be. A great read.

Finally, while we are living through historic times, it might be worthwhile to consider some past world changing events, like the fall of the USSR. It’s 1990. The Berlin Wall has just come down. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse. A heavy metal band from West Germany, the Scorpions, releases a power ballad, “Wind of Change.” The song becomes the soundtrack to the peaceful revolution sweeping Europe — and one of the biggest rock singles ever. According to some fans, it’s the song that ended the Cold War. Decades later, New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe hears a rumor from a source: the Scorpions didn’t actually write “Wind of Change.” The CIA did. Enjoy the Coen Brothers-esque story!

Happy New Years– Hamdi