The Mobius Life Sciences Fund, a new investment fund focused on providing seed finance for early stage bioscience, pharmaceutical, medical technology and healthcare life science companies, was officially launched on Thursday 1st October 2009.
The Fund is designed to fill the considerable gap in early-stage venture funding for a sector which is notoriously high risk and money-intensive. At a time when many private venture funds shy from seed funding in this area, the Mobius Life Sciences Fund provides the crucial bridge in finance and expertise which will enable these supported companies to succeed in subsequent funding rounds.
The private venture fund is managed by BioCity Nottingham, one of Europe’s fastest growing bioscience and life sciences incubators. Mobius Life Sciences funds are securely generated through the incubator’s internal operating activity. It will coivest alongside other early stage investors, including business angels, and will act as a feeder to later stage funds. In addition, Mobius Life Sciences Fund has won the support of Nottingham City Council in the provision of unsecured loan finance alongside the Mobius equity investment.
The decision to create a funding stream was a major development for BioCity, the life sciences business incubator which has seen growth in occupancy to near 85% capacity, and demand for seed-funds rising.
PR at launch and ongoing as required would provide immediate recognition of the existence of the fund, crucial to attracting applications as well as fellow investors.
Relations needed to be built with the early-stage firms and University spin outs in search of funding, their advisers, Tech Transfer teams, co-investors and professional services firms.
The PR brief for the launch was to attract media interest from East Midlands media, national financial press, national and international bioscience media. It included assisting with the planning and execution of the launch ‘celebration’, handling media enquiries and photography as well as seeking feature article opportunities.
Integra advised that not only would the new fund be news-worthy, but that the dual-nationality MLSF chairman, Lucy P. Marcus, would also be an ideal media spokeswoman and focus for news. Lucy’s profile was written for media use and new photos requested.
The Campaign – Ongoing
The Mobius Life Sciences Fund is to be regarded as an innovative, practical response to an urgent need for early-stage seed funding of the sector. Target audiences are Nottingham-based early stage bioscience firms, University research spin-outs, regional venture capital funds, and national investment funds. Potential incomers relocating to the Nottingham City-region are also a target.
A small number of financial and science media correspondents were briefed about the planned launch of the Fund. They were invited to the launch event at BioCity on 1st October.
The launch release was constructed with input from Lucy P. Marcus, Nottingham City Council and BioCity. It was targeted at a national audience, with a second version aimed at international interests.
Following issue to selected journalists, web-based media and on the wire, Integra made follow-up calls to encourage news coverage and feature article interest.
The event consisted of a late afternoon gathering of over 200 guests at BioCity; presentations by Glenn Crocker, Lucy P. Marcus and Councillor Graham Chapman. Networking over drinks and canapés followed serenaded by a jazz quartet.
Twitter and Linkedin
Social media channels Twitter and Linkedin were used to spread the word about the Fund. Several leading science commentators were encouraged to tweet on the day of launch, including former Tomorrow’s World presenter, Maggie Philbin.
The launch attracted over 49 pieces of coverage, including Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, BioCentury, Mednous and the European Venture Capital Journal. Regional coverage was achieved in the Nottingham Evening Post, Business East Midlands, Nottinghamshire Today (social pages) and Midlands Insider.
A profile of Lucy P. Marcus was carried in Director magazine Dec 2009.
The evaluation of the launch event confirmed it as having been one of the most impressive gatherings of national and regional bio-sector experts, investors and innovators.