Season 2: 10/10 VC Series — Raising Capital in Down Markets 👀

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Published in
5 min readFeb 14


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Overview: 10 Questions to 10 Early Stage Venture Capitalists

This topic series brings together perspectives across a variety of early-stage VC funds to help readers gain insight into what investors believe to be key to their growth and success. In our belief that perspectives should be well-rounded and not monopolistic, we chose to feature 10 different investors rather than to dive deep with just 1 or 2 individuals. We have a lot to learn from each other and hope that by sharing 10 unique viewpoints, we may all come to our own insights faster. Our posts will be organized by question and cover topics including investment criteria, portfolio support, industry trends, and general advice.

We are honored to feature investors at:

Boehringer Ingelheim, Breakout Ventures, Arkitekt Ventures, Time BioVentures, B Capital Group, NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners, NFX, Not Boring, Mayfield Fund, & Alix Ventures

We asked our guests:

“How does your investment criteria change in a down market environment?”

“Honestly, not that much. As seed and Series A investors, we look for early disruptive biology in big indications. While we may somewhat rethink investment horizons and valuations, we still firmly believe in getting involved early and providing far more that a check.”

Kanad Das — Investment Director @ Boehringer Ingelheim

“Honestly, if we are doing our job correctly, only on the margin. We are early-stage investors investing in large, future defining themes that will take years to materialize. We will be with these companies for years — through good and bad funding environments and open and closed IPO windows. So often the question is — are we thinking big enough in the potential application of this technology to balance out the technical risks of getting there? Are we focusing on fundamental milestones that will be inherently value creating? In any market, this is how we think about building defensible value for the long term. In a year like this, though, we do spend more time considering near term financing risk. Your next set of customers include the investors that will support you, whether you are early stage or a public company. So you have to pay closer attention to the health of that customer and how they are making decisions, and recognize finding that alignment will take longer.”

Julia Moore — Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Breakout Ventures

“I believe it takes an even higher level of conviction from a founder to take the risk and start a company in a recessionary environment. So my criteria doesn’t change much — I continue investing in the best founders that are building businesses with solid business models that can have a massive impact on healthcare.”

Pavan Choksi — Partner @ Arkitekt Ventures

“Only in one way: we put more attention on financing risk.”

D.A. Wallach — Co-Founder & General Partner @ Time BioVentures

“Our core investment criteria remain unchanged as they are anchored in fundamentals, i.e., solid science and product(s), proven business model in a sizeable market, world class team. That said, in a recessionary environment, we expect companies to stay private for longer. As follow-on capital and exits are becoming uncertain, our sense of caution is heightened around immature technologies, entry valuation, and cash needs to hit meaningful value inflections.”

Widya Mulyasasmita — Sr. Principal @ B Capital Group

“Our investments are driven by fundamentals and long-term outcomes so macro-market trends and volatile periods don’t alter our investment criteria much.”

J.C. Lopez — Principal @ NEA

“The goal of identifying the best companies will not change. We’ve always been focused on business model fundamentals and efficiency and I’m glad the conversation is broadly shifting this way. I recently studied 52 public and private companies to understand fundamentally what KPIs were best in class vs average in digital health (Learn more here). We are hoping to change how these companies are valued to match how efficient and scalable the different business models can be.”

Sofia Guerra — Investor @ Bessemer Venture Partners

“The recessionary environment hasn’t changed how we do investments. Our decision to invest/not invest in a company has always been centered around 3 questions — Is your solution big enough? Do you have defensible magic? Are these the right people?”

Omri Amirav-Drory — General Partner @ NFX

“It doesn’t. History making problems do not come and go with economic cycles, nor do history making entrepreneurs. However, funding amounts and milestones need to be adjusted for a longer runway (at least 24–36 months) with a clear value inflection point achieved.”

Arvind Gupta — Partner @ Mayfield Fund

“At Not Boring, Packy and I spend a lot of time thinking about the big opportunities opened up by the current macro environment. We have conviction that it’s a great time to build Hard Startups that do ambitious things in the physical world. In other words, the biggest returns will come from a return to the basics of venture capital, where fortunes were made financing truly frontier technology like semiconductors and computer networks.”

Elliot Hershberg — Partner @ Not Boring

“Recessions, like other macro events, cause change and often disjointness in markets. With crisis comes opportunity. We fully intend to pursue the possible and strive to back founders building enduring companies that will not only survive the circumstances around them, but be strengthened by the surrounding macro events.”

Chas Pulido — General Partner @ Alix Ventures

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Alix Ventures, by way of BIOS Community, is providing this content for general information purposes only. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Alix Ventures, BIOS Community, or its affiliates. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by Alix Ventures employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alix Ventures, BIOS Community, affiliates, and content sponsors.

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The Nucleus of Life Science Startup Innovation — By Alix Ventures