LunaLec in partnering session with investors. Photo: Carolina Hawranek
LunaLec in partnering session with investors at BTUID2018. Photo: Carolina Hawranek

The ninth edition of Biotech Umeå’s annual partnering event was the first ever to fill up before deadline. Around 30 Swedish and European investors met with 13 startups and early cases. Two weeks after the event participants report an impressive turnout – on average they have retained at least five active leads per company.

The yearly showcase of life science businesses from Umeå took place on February 1st as part of the three weeks long Västerbotten Days at Grand Hotel. The location in Stockholm might seem out of place – but with investors flying in from all over Europe, and Sweden it is one barrier less for meeting up.

“Sparks flying” when projects and investors meet

As previous years, the startups were considered well prepared by the partnering stakeholders.

– The proximity and simplicity give this event a smooth flow. Presentations are great and there are lot of exciting business ideas – although some are very early, said Bengt Åstrand from Pharma Care Consulting when asked about his impressions half way through the day.

Both investors and startups had a busy schedule, but thank’s to Göran Lidgren’s match-making skills, all meeting requests were fulfilled at the end of the day.

– I’ve met with around seven cases so far, but at this last meeting you could almost feel the sparks – we actually started discussing new business ideas on the spot, said Bengt Åstrand.

Time to raise the expectations on participating investors?

The outline of BTUID is well established and appreciated.

– It’s a perfect format, not too big. I also appreciate the organizer’s dedication to prepare the cases this well and that we were given the chance to read about them beforehand, says Sara Fredriksson, CEO of PULS Invest.

Her colleague Jeanette Robertsson adds:

– Both the written prospects and short filmed pitches helped me to recognize new faces once here. In addition, I feel as everyone gets a chance to show their idea and it’s really easy to connect, she says.
Sara Fredriksson also reflected on their own contribution to the partnering and wondered if it’s time to demand more from the attending investors.

– I’m curious if they got a feel for who we are. Maybe we should present ourselves beforehand as well. It’s important that the cases feel understood, because our goal is to help and then we need to make a connection, she said.

Live business development during partnering talks

Some of the partnering cases managed to squeeze in 11-12 meetings during the day, sometimes presenting in front of two investors in parallel to satisfy the amount of meeting requests per case.

– We had very productive meetings during the day and we have received great ideas and questions to take home and work with, said Lotta Berg, project leader for the highly sought after prostate cancer case from Umeå Biotech Incubator.

SDB Biotech was another case that squeezed in a few extra meetings.

– It was a little bit different from what we expected, but we benefited a lot from answering questions from investors, some of which also provided very important market information on competitors, said Xueen Jia, one of the founders of SDB Biotech.

The CEO of Hiloprobe, Lina Olsson, also had multiple investors in several meetings. Upon arrival back in Umeå she already had a handful emails waiting for her in her inbox.

– I thought I was going to start following up on our meetings, but it seems that they beat me to it. We received a lot of positive interest and had great discussions, so I’m feeling hopeful about the future, she said when summarizing her impressions.

Keep yourself in the loop to be first in line 2019

In 2019, Biotech Umeå Investment Day will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary. Keep updated by signing-up to the Biotech Umeå newsletter here (link to email adress for Karin Borge Renberg).


Text and photos: Carolina Hawranek