Critical Path, a VilCap Communities Life Sciences Accelerator Program, and partnership among the UB, Launch NY, InBN and WIN, is designed to assist scalable life sciences startups with mentorship from industry and investment experts. Participating companies will use a peer selection process to provide each other feedback and choose two companies to receive a $50,000 investment each from the Launch NY Seed Fund.
Last Fall, Steve Case's Rise of the Rest program recognized the tremendous innovation in life sciences in our region, when the pitch competition awarded $100,000 in investment to a biotech company. Now his follow-on program, VilCap Communities, will accelerate many more promising biomedical startups.
Life Sciences companies present exciting product and business opportunities, but also challenges, given that they typically have a longer road to profitability, require larger investments, operate in a highly regulated environment, and need substantial IP portfolios. Consequently, relatively limited number of investors, who are usually not located in Upstate NY, invest in the life sciences. Accessing industry experts, investors and capital is where Critical Path comes into play.
While a lot of attention has been paid to helping companies develop compelling pitches, the majority of life sciences companies are not adequately prepared for having a prolonged (2 hour) conversation with experienced investors in their sector and/or surviving a deep due diligence process.
Critical Path is looking for 10-12 upstate (LaunchNY territory) life sciences companies (pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, medical devices, contract research organizations (CRO), other R&D and supply chain products and services, biomedical informatics) who will require VC investment in the next 12 months.
Click here to read the full list.
These companies, if selected, will begin an intense “course” from September 2016 through January 2017.
Selected companies will receive email notification of their acceptance by end of day Monday, August 29. The participating companies must commit to attending 10 full days of group work sessions taking place at the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott St. Buffalo:
These sessions will feature:
1) Mentoring, one-on-one and small group interactions with global industry and equity investment experts specialized in business development, marketing, legal, technical, regulatory, finance, and venture captial matters most relevant for life sciences businesses.
2) Peer interactions and peer review
3) Mock Boards, lean startup customer discovery, & presentation practice
In addition to the 10 session days, companies will be given homework assignments and web conferencing sessions will be arranged with out of town experts who will work to address specific weaknesses. Companies will develop a package of documents and other materials that will satisfy a deep due diligence effort on the part of an interested VC.
Click here for the press release.
The Critical Path curriculum was developed in partnership with Village Capital – an international VC firm that is partnering with 16 technology and entrepreneurial rich urban regions; Buffalo is one of 16 across the nation to participate in the Vilcap Communities program.
One feature of all these Vilcap Communities accelerators is peer review/selection of the “most likely to succeed” company participants. In this way, participating companies will select the top two companies who will each receive a $50,000 convertible note investment from Launch NY. Sponsorship permitting, the majority of company participants will be invited to attend “Demo Days” wherein they will be given the opportunity to pitch on the coasts to several sector-appropriate investors.
1) Applicants must have their business headquartered within
one of the following counties: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus,
Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Erie,
Genesee, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario,
Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne,
Wyoming, and Yates. These counties are
the operational territory of Launch NY (see map: http://www.launchny.org/who-we-are.html#whoweserve)
2) Applicants must be legally established and be considered
a life sciences company (medical devices, pharmaceuticals, other
R&D and supply chain products and services, CROs, service
providers, or companies engaged in biomedical informatics).
3) Applicants that are accepted into the program must provide Critical Path a fully refundable deposit of $750 by September 12 (noon). The deposit will be returned to them by January 31, 2017 provided the applicant has fully complied with all program participation requirements:
a) Full participation (1-3 principals) attending all 10 full-day working sessions
September 22 (10 am – 7:30 pm)
October 20 (9 am – 7 pm)
October 21 (9 am – 5 pm)
October 22 (9 am – 5 pm)
November 17 (9 am – 7 pm)
November 18 (9 am – 5 pm)
November 19 (9 am-5 pm)
January 11 (9 am – 7 pm)
January 12 (9 am – 5 pm)
January 13 (9am – 5pm)
b) Attendance at all evening networking sessions (same dates as above) scheduled to introduce participating companies to professionals in a place to assist them.
c) Full and fair participation in the peer to peer judging process (held during the sessions).
d) Preparation of a “Deal Book” – a collection of documents intended to satisfy an investors desire to perform due diligence.
e) Participants are expected to exercise professional discretion and confidentiality regarding technical and business information received by other participating companies.
f) Reading assigned materials and participation in best practices process (National Science Foundation I-Corps) customer engagement process to test some important company assumptions
g) Participation in periodic mentor sessions (conducted over a web conference platform) with professionals specifically selected to assist participants in critical areas.
Applicants understand that compliance is solely determined by Critical Path.
4) Applicants must be actively seeking Venture Capital Investment to support their company’s growth.
5) Applicants acknowledge that the company has undisputed ownership, is not delinquent on taxes, current on its payroll obligations, and free of current or pending litigation.
6) Applicants understand that all information provided or discussed in Critical Path is opinion and that it is the sole responsibility of participants to research its validity and judge its best application. Participants hold blameless all Critical Path organizers, sponsors, and mentors from any decisions or actions the participants make from which there are legal or financial consequences. Similarly, no Critical Path organizers, sponsors, or mentors have any legal right to equity or payment for the advice provided under the Critical Path program.
7) Applicants understand that Critical Path organizers may decide to remove any participant from continuing in the Critical Path program is their participation is determined to be disruptive to the other participants.
8) Participants understand that all breakfasts and lunches and some dinners are provided free of charge. All other participation expenses are the responsibility of the participants until further notice.
9) Participants agree that if chosen by peer selection for one of the two $50,000 investments that the company will work with Launch NY through its typical terms, adapted as appropriate to existing company investments. Funding is in the form of a convertible note with an 18-month maturity, 8%-10% compounded interest rate, up to 30% conversion discount into the next round of funding, and a cap of $2M-$5M (depending on the company's trajectory). Additionally, all award recipients will receive mentoring services from Launch NY’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.
10) Participants are expected to participate as mentors in future Critical Path programs if asked and available.
Confidentiality and Intellectual Property (Application)
Access to the applications is granted to Critical Path (including its officers, managers, members, consultants and agents), the judging committee, and key sponsors (collectively, the “Reviewing Parties”). Critical Path offers no guarantee of confidentiality, either explicit or implicit, in connection with any data or information presented or discussed by applicants. The Reviewing Parties will not agree to or sign non-disclosure agreements in connection with any application or applicant. Applicants requiring non-disclosure agreements should not participate.
Before submitting their applications, Critical Path urges applicants to confirm with appropriate advisers or legal counsel that any intellectual property described therein is legally held or licensed by the applicant, is non-infringing and appropriately protected. Applicants should be prepared to provide reasonable back-up documentation for these statements, if requested by Critical Path.
The authors of each applicant submission will retain all copyrights to the contents of their submission, provided that the Reviewing Parties may make photocopies, photographs, and video and/or audio recordings of any data or information divulged, presented, or discussed by any applicant throughout that applicant’s participation in the Critical Path program. Applicants agree to grant a license to Critical Path and the Reviewing Parties to use such materials without restriction and to conduct such due diligence as the Reviewing Parties determine is necessary or desirable for purposes of evaluating the application and carrying out the Competition as described herein.
In addition, the Reviewing Parties will have the right to publicly post certain information about accepted applicants and their applications in the public areas of the Reviewing Parties’ websites, including, but not limited to, name and category of business, logo, and an abstract. The Reviewing Parties will also have the right to use the content of applicants’ applications for research and other not-for-profit purposes.
Applicant Representations and Covenants
By submitting an application, applicants represent and warrant that:
Critical Path does not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, military status or marital status.
Critical Path reserves the right to modify these Terms and Conditions in its sole discretion. In the event of a modification, all applicants will be notified.
Non-United States applicants are responsible for obtaining any necessary visas and related immigration papers to participate in the Critical Path program.
Waiver and Severability
Critical Path may waive any term or condition herein at its sole discretion. Such waiver will not be deemed a waiver of any other term or condition, whether similar or different. If any term or condition herein is invalid or unenforceable, that provision will be construed, limited, modified or, if necessary, severed, to the extent necessary to eliminate its invalidity or unenforceability, and the other provisions will remain in full force and effect.
These terms and conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States of America and the State of New York, without regard to conflicts of law provisions. Exclusive venue for any litigation arising from the Competition or these Terms and Conditions shall be the State or Federal courts located in Erie County, New York.