Life Science (and particularly Biotech) is an ambitious, innovative and fast-growing sector. But although it has enjoyed a surge in investment following its crucial role in the battle against Covid-19, the sector is also fiercely competitive, high risk and capital intensive, requiring significant initial investment to cover research and development.
So how can founders steer their companies safely through the VC process and avoid the pitfalls that make 67%1 of startups fail to exit or raise follow on funding?
A strong brand identity could be the answer
In a recent analysis of startup post-mortems2 , CB Insights identified 12 common reasons why startups fail – and creating a unique, compelling and coherent brand identity can go a long way to addressing some of the big ones.
‘Running out of cash/failing to raise capital’ is the leading reason given by founders for the untimely demise of their ventures. Equity investment and innovation grants are the lifeblood of the Life Sciences, more than any other sector.
In the UK, 64%of life sciences companies have relied on equity investment and 54% have received innovation grants. The average funding raised by Life Sciences companies is nearly double the average across all sectors – so the need to convince VCs and other sources of funding is crucial to success.
A professionally designed life science brand identity combines language and visual elements to convey your ambition, expertise and impact to investors and industry partners. It delivers a striking first impression to help you bring the right people to the table and a solid central narrative to underpin discussions.
Applied consistently across all interactions right from the start, a strong brand will amplify your core messages and build an image of commitment and reliability.
Aligning to a clear market need
The second most commonly cited factor in early failure is ‘no market need’. Customers and investors alike must be able to quickly and clearly identify the purpose, relevance and quality of your product.
Your brand identity acts as a signpost to highlight the unique benefits of your offering and align these to a clear and pressing need. In a highly technical sector like life sciences, driven by complex, cutting edge research understood by only a handful of experts worldwide, establishing a clear link to real-world benefits is twice as important (and twice as difficult).
Rising above your competition
Third in the list of ‘crash points’ is ‘being outcompeted’. In a world where two-thirds of startups don’t even make it past the VC process, you must stand out from your competition to survive and thrive.
Your brand is the outward embodiment of your company. It paints the first picture that partners, customers and funders will see through your website, presentations and marketing materials.
An expert brand consultant will make this picture memorable and unique, speaking directly to the values and ambitions of your target audience and aligning them to your strengths and potential.
Attracting the right team
Number 7 on the ‘don’t’ list is ‘failing to put together the right team’. Without the right combination of skills to take it forward, even the brightest idea will sink without a trace. But top talent will only take a risk on a new venture if they believe in its potential and identify with its values and goals.
A strong brand is both outward and inward-facing, speaking to current and potential team members as well as investors and customers. It will not only reflect your company’s culture – it will build and shape it.
Why use a specialist?
Although there are many talented brand consultants, an expert in the life sciences can add a lot of value. An unusually high proportion of life science startups spin-out from research institutions and are driven by scientific discovery rather than commercial imperative – meaning that branding, marketing and promotion are often not among the key skill sets.
The best biotech and pharma websites use language and visuals that are carefully designed to speak to scientists, healthcare professionals and business experts with equal clarity and persuasiveness.
Sector specialists Arttia Creative understand both science and business and can speak persuasively to both audiences, creating a solid brand identity that expresses the unique potential of your company, aligns with market drivers and resonates with all of your target audiences.
Belinda White | Creative Director