Tag Archives: Quarterly Venture Breakfast

Jul. 26, 2011 SVForum PWC Biotech

On July 26, 2011 in Palo Alto, SVForum with Pillsbury Winthrop and PricewaterhouseCoopers held their Quarterly Venture Breakfast on Biotech. Tom Thomas of Pillsbury Winthrop moderated panelists Steve Bengston of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Casper de Clercq of Norwest Venture Partners, Jonathan MacQuitty of Abingworth Venture Capital and Eric Shiozaki of Apposite Capital.

Developing drugs can be a slower and uncertain process in America than launching in Europe. Despite that, venture capitalists are still plowing what looks like an unsustainable amount of early stage funding into biotech. Savvy investors look for later rounds after new drugs or devices pass FDA scrutiny, which has become a financial gauntlet for small startups. A growing number of clinical trials are taking place in emerging economies but less regulation means less reliable results. This outsourcing risks losing America’s ability to develop drugs domestically. It also is slowing and some cases stopping new products from reaching patients.

The exits are more likely a buyout from a big pharmaceutical company than an IPO. Many of the pharma giants are looking for something to replace their expiring patents next month. Investing in new life saving drugs is as risky as taking them.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 12, 2011 SDF PWC

On April 12, 2011 in Palo Alto SDForum held the Quarterly Venture Breakfast with Pillsbury Winthrop and PricewaterhouseCoopers on “The Mobile Revolution.” Stan Pierson of Pillsbury Winthrop moderated panelists John Balen of Canaan Partners,  of PricewaterhouseCoopers,  Vispi Daver of Sierra Ventures, and Katie Rice of EPIC Ventures. The panel discussed the trends and and how the market  will look over the next year.

The economy and investment in North America continues to improve. Supply disruptions in Japan and the Middle East may be counterbalanced by other countries. The investment growth is still in Silicon Valley and still heavily in the mobile space, which can be seen in the telecommunication, network and software sectors.

The shift from hardwired PCs to mobile devices is as big as the original shift to PCs. The introduction of the Apple iPhone and the Google Android put the US at the front of the mobile innovation for using the Internet. These devices break the hold of traditional telecommunications over access to the wireless market. Mobile devices like the iPad don’t need a monthly contract. They just use WiFi to access thousands of apps.

While there is money developing and selling those apps, as in any gold rush, more money can be made selling the tools. Companies that make it easier to develop apps across platforms, sell to global markets, or collect financial transactions. Another opportunity is helping corporate IT systems adapt to the consumerization of IT networks particularly with security. Beyond smart phones, in emerging economies there is still growth in phones that use SMS or texting.

It was a crowded event with a lot of questions. The mobile revolution is more disruptive than anyone realizes.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 19, 2010 SDF PWC

On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 in Palo Alto, SDForum with Pillsbury Winthrop and PricewaterhouseCoopers held a Quarterly Venture Breakfast on “Clean Technology.” Allison Leopold-Tilley of Pillsbury Winthrop moderated panelists Steve Bengston of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sven Strohband of Mohr Davidow Ventures, Don Wood of Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Rick Yang of NEA.

Steve Bengston of PricewaterhouseCoopers delivered Wayne Hedden’s report “Clean Technology Investment Trends October 2010” that included data from the MoneyTree Report and Thomson Reuters. After taking a dive with the economic downturn at the end of 2008, cleantech investments rose again only to decrease in the third quarter of 2010. The largest deal was $106 million for Trilliant who provide wireless network solutions for grid management. The cleantech sector is maturing and starting to behave like the sectors for biotech, medical and software.

One of the unique parts of cleantech are the large capital requirements for developing infrastructure to the last mile, best seen in smart grid or power generation startups. The other is the lack of Moore’s Law in the efficiency of photovoltaics. While the efficiency of solar panels is increasing, it is not increasing exponentially like semiconductors. What can increase dramatically is energy efficiency. If twenty five percent of US electricity is consumed for lighting, the potential for savings with sensors and LEDs could drive down it down to five percent of consumption.

The panel saw the next big growth in the cleantech sector as water. Just as smart grids can increase efficiency in electricity, smart pipes can reduce waste. Better measurement and management will be necessary as more of the world population moves into cities and consumption increases. Look for opportunities in water desalinization that requires less or even no electricity like forward osmosis developed by Oasis.

It is important to remember that like the old energy sector, the cleantech sector is very much a product of government policy and subsidy. China, Germany and other countries are making progress because they have a national consensus despite political changes in government. Recognizing and dealing with the inevitable changes we face will reward investors and the countries that move toward cleantech.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.