For a first-time entrepreneur who is seeking angel funding to launch a life sciences company, the “exit strategy” may not be top-of-mind. It is for angel investors, those high net-worth investors who individually or as a member of an organized group provide seed and start-up financing in exchange for an ownership stake in the company, usually in preferred stock or convertible debt.
The exit strategy refers to the merger, acquisition, venture capital (VC) funding or initial public offering (IPO) that will reward angel investors with a strong financial return five to seven years after their investment. “We have three objectives. The first is to make money,” says Lauren Flanagan, cofounder and managing director of the Wisconsin-based Phenomenelle Angels Fund. And, their goal is to make money now, not in the distant future. “Angel investors often joke that their investment should benefit them, not their grandchildren,” says Steve Flaim, Ph.D., who heads San Diego Tech Coast Angels.