Showing posts with label Exits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exits. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

There's some traction (in exits') for Indian VCs & that ain't bad!

Expectedly, there was some excitement & some skepticism over the recent acquisition of redBus by Ibibo. My comment on one such recent article "Is the redBus exit really good for the VC ecosystem inIndia?" on StartupCentral is as follows;

My comment:
What you have said above sounds (to me) like;
If only the ‘sheer-return achieved on one exit’ by the VC is looked at in the broader context of ‘performance of the fund’ as such (disbursed funds?) rather than merely as a nX return on investment made into that particular company, only then will the overall picture emerge.
Now, just because you mentioned 200mio USD fund in your article, I wish to know if I can assume that one of the three VCs (or all three as an average) who disbursed funds of ~200Mio USD across past 7 years among multiple portfolio companies has hitherto managed only one attractive return of ~15-20X? (of RedBus) & this sheer return still doesn’t amount to being anything substantial to the LPs from whom the 200mio fund was raised?
If the answer is yes, I agree with you that for the Indian VC universe ‘Dilli abhi dhoor hain..’ (loosely translates as ~miles to go before resting on ones' laurels...)
Of course I’d also be cautiously optimistic when I say that if only the VCs that invested into RedBus used a similar good-sense & judgement while identifying, nurturing the other portfolio companies within this 200mio fund, then it is likely they’d still see some more good exists, including some from an IPO even.
Overall I guess there’s some traction & that aint bad. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Will Mylan's acquisition of Agila benefit Accel Partners?

Okay, the story goes like this....

Way back in 2007, Accel partners committed to invest & invested over the next three years 1.5mio USD in a Bangalore based start-up called Inbiopro. This investment turned into ~10% shareholding (guestimate) when Strides Arcolab acquired 70% stake in Inbiopro in 2010. It’ll be useful to slip-in here that somewhere in 2011/12 Strides separated out Inbiopro from Agila as a separate business entity called Agila Biotech.

Now, post the Mylan deal, Strides Arcolab committed to invest USD100mio into Agila Biotech, Given this impetus if Agila Biotech vigorously pursues the commercialization of its pipeline of 8 biosimilars, its valuation could go up to anywhere between USD200-500mio** in the next five years, depending upon how many registrations are successful. At which time if Strides again succeeds in finding a buyer for Agila Biotech (Mylan again, given its Biosimilar ambitions?), it is likely this will turn out into a USD20-50 million exit for Accel Partners, i.e from a decent 13x to a good 33x ROI.

My take away from this is, scout around for start-ups that have chosen 'quicker to market innovations' as their research focus, invest in them early on & work closely on the selection of a local partner & monetize during the multinational acquisition - Not a bad mantra for a decent-value exit in a market like India :-)

**The valuation guestimates are based on the expected worth of approvals (EU/ NA) which are primary assets in this context. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What could VCs learn from the recent pharma deals involving biotechs with very early-assets?

My response on the blog post "Preclinical Biotech Structured Deals: Reflections on 2013′s Solid Start" by Bruce Booth - posted on 01/Mar/2013

The news of structured-deals/ buy-outs of ‘tight/ single-EARLY-asset’ biotechs both pleases & scares me… pleases, as I feel this will trigger a healthy change in the way start-ups choose their programs & scary because I (CRO/ CMO) will now start losing clients/ programs much before the conventional PIIA - read-on…..

While I totally agree with the points you’ve raised & the surmises made, I’d like to add the following;

  • This in some fashion is an endorsement of the importance of early venture seeding by the very same stakeholders that typically enable the high value exits for VCs, viz., the mid-sized/ big pharma companies.
  • As you say, there seems to be a promise of reward for innovative organizations that know their science – however I’m not sure if there’s any message about preference for a single asset/ tight set of assets, It is rather a niche focus/ platform & this aspect I’d think always mattered to the investors.
  • Do I also see some de-risking in the form of going in for companies who’s lead/ pipeline candidates are inherently safer (recombinant proteins; antimicrobials et al) & hence highly likely to breeze through Phase-I
  • Interestingly, though the indications are rare/ orphan, the therapies themselves seem to be more maintenance than curative & hence more attractive to the investing company
  • This lure of an early alliance/ deal may now encourage the new enterprises to come up with more compelling technologies rather than me-toos… & thus help put drug discovery enterprise model on a correction course
  • Is this the emerging new avatar of the CVC? - CVC 2.0? (Perdona, Baron.... :-))

Now, having seen a lot of my clients getting lapped up by mid/ big pharma & their programs either killed, shelved in favour of the larger companies competing pipeline, I would be a little cynical till I see the next instalment is released/ option executed.

Finally I would like to ask if there is a message in here for the VCs? – towards an opportunity, a need to structure the initial funding deals differently so that they could still keep an option to enhance their share whenever such early alliances crop-up eliminating  avenue of series-B funding?

Post Thought:

Quite a coincidence that I was just reading an article in HBR (Mar 2013) titled “How Competition Strengthens Start-ups” by Andrew Burke and Stephanie Hussels of Cranfield University.  The authors postulate that exposure to competition in the early stages of a firm’s life increases its long-term survival prospects – competition in this context including competing against a lean-funding scenario & hence learning to stay creative, efficient & productive – Since for all four companies here the early pressure is almost eliminated of by the reasonable/ comfortable funds received (upfront instalment OR buy-out), I was wondering if that makes these companies less long-term in light of the above study.

Of course I do understand that it’d be foolhardy to apply an academic study arbitrarily to any context, particularly in life sciences, where the author’s themselves have made a provision indirectly through their statement “Of course, early competition has a downside: Some new businesses fail before they have time to build up the immunity we describe” which sure sounds like the business of designing drugs.