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Angel Investor Group Profile
Life Science Angels, Inc. (LSA)
Since its inception in 2004, Life Science Angels, Inc. (LSA) continues to provide seed capital to early stage companies that focus on medical devices and biotechnology industries. These start-ups are usually below the threshold of traditional funding sources such as venture capitalists and lenders, and LSA was founded to support emerging companies in their vision to provide services in these industries.

LSA's founders, that include more than 100 elite executives, life science entrepreneurs, and fireball angel investors, formally launched the company in January 2005 and were backed by 15 big sponsors from the biotechnology and medical devices industries. LSA likewise formed a syndicate with capital investment groups such as venture capitalists, outside investors, and other angel firms to invest in companies that need bigger funds. The group's head office is located in Palo Alto, California.

How does the selection process go among aspiring start-ups for initial funding? Investment committees are divided into two: the Biotech and the Medical Device. Executive summaries and business plans submitted to LSA are managed by a committee of at least 12 members, all expert on their respective fields. Membership meetings are held every other month to proceed with the presentation of one or two start-up companies shortlisted for an investment. After passing a strict due diligence process, successful companies are given their initial investment through a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to be managed by a single investor. Seed capital ranges from $250,000 to $750,000 and further financing through syndication can be anywhere from $1.5M to $6M. By agreement, LSA gains a seat in a company's Board of Directors and gets involved in its management and operational plans. To attract potential investors in subsequent funding, LSA members also help start-up entrepreneurs by providing expert advice in company management and capital-raising strategies. Being a non-profit organization means good news among aspirants -- no management or override fees are collected among members and entrepreneurs vying for investment application.

The LSA Operations is financed by life science firms that include PricewaterHouseCoopers (PwC), Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR), Boston Scientific, and Jefferies. As LSA's networking aims continue to improve over the previous years, the group also has an exclusive list of top VC firms in the country as members: Skyline, DeNovo, Vulcan, CMEA, and Clarus among others.

As a self-governed angel investment group, LSA conducts annual business events to gain opportunities and to further develop networks with other financing groups in the industry. LSA likewise coordinates with universities and colleges across the country to promote networking and possible syndication. These programs are aimed to provide investment opportunities to start-up companies who passed the due diligence process.

In its portfolio, LSA had already invested $8M in 14 medical device and biotechnology companies since April 2005. These companies include CoMentis, Novasys Medical, Pegasus Biologics, Breathe Technologies, and Bioabsorbable Therapeutics, which in return had raised a follow-on funding of $200M from VCs and other investors.

Life Science Angels Website

Useful and informative, the Life Science Angels website is a good start for young entrepreneurs looking for an initial investment to run their business. The main page of the site efficiently sums up the history, objectives, membership, sponsors, industry affiliation, and selection process among start-up companies to qualify for a seed investment. The site also provides links to additional information regarding activities, events, press releases, and fact sheet related to LSA's programs.

Interested browsers can click on the tabs above the main page for a comprehensive discussion of articles concerning LSA's history, committees, management team, sponsors, portfolio companies, and events. Furthermore, these articles contain links of sites with regard to specific information such as team profiles and LSA activities.

The Downloads page includes an overview of LSA, a submission form for start-ups, and a bunch of news and press releases available to anyone who needs them -- for free. The press release downloads contain articles that range from LSA's launch last January 2005 to Athenagen's $50M financing from different investors.

Furthermore, the Contact page allows feedback and suggestions from parties who are interested in becoming a member or sponsoring LSA events and projects. The page also encourages start-up entrepreneurs in biotechnology and medical devices to submit their executive summaries or business plans for investment application.

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