Biotechin.Asia Event [Video]: How to Pitch To a Biotech Investor?

Dr. Eddy Lee (left) and Dr. Yann Chong Tan (right) Photo Courtesy: Biotechin.Asia

Biotechin.Asia conducted its second workshop in the Startup Workshop Series on June 24th to a very attentive audience comprising of startups, researchers and biotech enthusiasts.

The workshop was conducted by Dr. Eddy Lee, the Managing Partner of Coffee Ventures who spoke on what the biotech investors expect from a pitch deck/pitching session while Dr. Yann Chong Tan, who is the Co-founder and Chief Technologist of Atreca, Inc presented his views about the same from a startup’s perspective. The workshop was followed by a networking session with light refreshments.

The talks on “What is important in a slide deck for pitching” from a startup as well as an investor’s perspective gave a well-rounded idea to the audience who were better informed about the elements of a good pitch by the end of the session. [The whole video for the event is now available online, please scroll below]

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From an Investor’s POV:

Dr. Eddy started off saying that the most important thing in a pitch deck is to explain the problem statement in a clear manner. He recommended the use of great videos that can explain your problem statement and show how you are better suited than your competitors to solve that problem.

Secondly, more information about the solution you are proposing like eg. how the product works, what is the sales price and cost of goods sold and the gross margin, what are the marketing strategies and what distribution channels you are adopting, how do you compare with your competitors (He also warned- Never think you do not have competition, there is always one!) and what is the competitive advantage of your solution.

Thirdly, it is important to give a clear idea about your competitive market to the investors. But what is market size? He explains clearly, “It is essentially saying that, if everybody who is suffering from a disease, all of them buys a product from you and nobody else, then the revenue you will generate from it will be the market size”. The total addressable market size can be calculated by a top-down analysis. For Eg. a startup providing a non-invasive glucose monitor costing $1000, one can start with glucose monitor estimated sales this year, and discount for % population who cannot afford.

Fourthly, give a clear roadmap to the investors- Be it a product roadmap or a regulatory roadmap (say in the biotech market). Make sure you briefly explain the regulatory strategy, eg. HSA approval, FDA approval, if needed etc.

Another important thing in a slide deck is explaining about the team, the co-founders, advisors and current investors. Remember that most of the investors invest in a team, and not just the idea.

Finally, the most crucial part of a pitch deck is “The Ask” – How much funding you require, the equity you will be offering, how are you going to use the funding money (salary/monthly operational costs/marketing costs/server costs etc.) should be clearly explained. Budget and expense/revenue projections in particular can be very accurate, so do a thorough job. It is good to clearly mention what specific help you want from the investor.

From a Startup’s POV

Dr. Yann Chong Tan has a lot of experience in pitching as a startup co-founder and chief technologist. His parent company Atreca Inc, completed its Series A round in November 2015 with a total investment of $56 million for advancing the Company’s product pipeline, including therapeutic antibodies.

He gave a few general pointers about how you should pitch to investors about your biotech startup, though this advice may hold true for all startups. He started off by stating the most commonly agreed fact: what an investor wants ultimately is a return on their investment, they want to be successful enough to make profit,hence they want confidence that you will be able to deliver what you promise to deliver. Here are a few pointers from him-

  • The pitch deck should be clean, simple, not overly cluttered, with points clearly presented.
  • It should be a compelling argument that you have: identified a real market need; a workable solution that is better than the competition, and that you have the right team to execute on the idea
  • A typical narrative for a biotech pitch deck is (order can change): Company vision, The problem, The market, The solution, The competition and your   competitive advantage, some non-confidential data, the team, timeline, investment and use of proceeds.

He also gave a list of some important Do’s and Don’ts while pitching.


  • Be prepared – you are judged, not just your pitch deck. Remember they not only invest in the idea, but also in the team (which means you). It is important to get teammates with relevant skill sets.
  • Just because the pitch deck is condensed, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know your entire business plan. If investors are interested, they will ask further questions and you should be prepared to answer them
  • Try not to have anything not well-researched on your slides that opens up a can of worms and derails the momentum of your presentation/cast you in an unfavorable light . For eg. Do not have hockey stick revenue charts. Yours will be more believable if you base it on actual data or reasonable/even slightly conservative assumptions. Make sure the audience knows that – they will appreciate it


  • Think you have no competitors (Either there is no market, or you have not done your homework!)
  • Pull numbers/figures out of thin air

He kept reiterating the importance of having patents that can protect one’s intellectual property. He mentioned that it is one of the first things investors in a company look into- whether you have any valuable IP that can be protected.

Typically a startup may pitch to various investors and the feedback from different investors will differ, but if there is one common issue(s) that is being identified, then its time to rework on your pitch.

Last but not the least, the aim of your pitch deck should be to keep the investor sufficiently interested for them to ask you for a second meeting! Go ace it!

You can view the entire workshop online here: