In this issue:
Jeanne Lam - The World’s Most Innovative Social Network
Nataliya Langburd Wright - Strategy in a Global Digital Economy
Global Deal Syndication:
Pandemic Pivot leads to Dramatic Revenue Increase
Scaling health tech businesses in COVID times
HBSAA Global Angels News
Upcoming Virtual Events
Wattpad - The World’s Most Innovative Social Network THIS THURSDAY, November 5, 2020 10:00 am Pacific, 1:00 pm Eastern, 6:00pm London, 7:00pm Continental Europe RATE: $25 for members and $35 for non-members Presenter: Jeanne Lam - Wattpad, MBA'12
Strategy in a Global Digital Economy
December 3, 2020 10:00 am Pacific, 1:00 pm Eastern, 6:00pm London, 7:00pm Continental Europe
RATE: $25 for members and $35 for non-members
Presenter: Nataliya Langburd Wright, HBS
Global Syndication Investment Presentation
Dover Microsystems November 19, 2020 8:00 am Pacific, 11:00 am Eastern, 4:00pm London, 5:00pm Continental Europe RATE: Complimentary for HBS Alumni Angels Members Presenters: Jothy Rosenberg, Founder & CEO of Dover Microsystems and Trevor Bond, MBA'89, Screening Co-Chair, HBSAA New York
Pandemic Pivot Leads to Dramatic Revenue Increase
While millions of business around the world struggled to survive the economic woes wrought by the pandemic, a handful of companies were able to deftly pivot and adapt to the new environment to their advantage. Prior to the pandemic, Descubra o Mundo was in the business of enabling students who wanted to study abroad to overview the opportunities in different countries. Thanks to their early recognition that the online market for education was changing rapidly, they introduced a new marketplace innovation, Skola, a platform for colleges, universities and providers of secondary education to post their offerings online direct to students – expanding their value proposition to both audiences and demonstrates how they did a smart pivot:
•Descubra o Mundo: A marketplace for students that are willing to study abroad, we connect those students with more than 80.000 programs in 25 countries.
•Skola: Is the "VTEX / Shopify for Education" that runs as a SaaS-enabled marketplace. We are disrupting the trillion-dollar educational market helping universities and educational providers to book and manage their students booking directly on their website, with a state of the art technology.
According to Descubra o Mundo CEO Bruno Passarelli, “We built a next-generation platform for selling exchange programs (language courses abroad at Descubra o Mundo) and now we launched Škola our Edserv Platform for universities, language schools, life long learning, and all the educational vertical.” Passarelli continued: “ I truly believe that we add exceptional value to educational providers, helping to scale their bookings with a digital platform, in a unique way.”
Scaling Health Tech Businesses in COVID Times VP PORTFOLIO RELATIONS - Varun Athi Almost no industry has escaped the disruption from COVID-19. Notably, in the healthcare sector, stretched capacity along with delays in life-saving non-Covid related diagnostics and procedures has created a massive challenge to healthcare economics as well as overall health outcomes. As a founder, it's important to preserve the value of your enterprise to ensure the company effectively solves the underlying problem and realize its potential. This article from HBR gives a useful framework for measuring the impact of COVID-19 on your business. Many health tech companies have not seen a reduction in long-term value despite the early concerns. However, the most successful firms have been applying plenty of course corrections including:
Manage the runway by reducing cash needs, reprioritizing overall spend, and working with investors for securing additional capital. The HBSAA team, for example, has been involved in several such capitalization initiatives.
Selectively reprioritize essential spend. For example, clinical trials were adjusted to accommodate the reduced bandwidth of healthcare professionals who were dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and freezes from lockdowns.
Revise expectations about revenue growth in order to adapt to the new normal.
Modify sales and marketing strategies by selling into a new market or new buyer personas. Some firms adapted selling into low margin markets in the short run, where sales cycles are shorter to create cash flow.
Clinical trials represent significant expenses for health tech companies. High-value applications of health technology products often need longer, tailored trials to demonstrate the appropriate health and economic outcomes. COVID outbreak and subsequent lockdowns have impacted clinical trials as procedures were delayed and research staff furloughed. The associated time delay is expensive for a growing health tech firm and needs significant adaptations to preserve value. For example, a HBSAA portfolio firm, SIA (Surgical Innovation Associates), has developed an innovative product that can significantly enhance clinical outcomes for breast cancer patients and as well lower the costs associated with reconstructive surgeries. Its DuraSorb Monofilament Mesh is designed to integrate into the patient’s tissue in order to provide strong support during the critical initial phases of healing, and then slowly absorb within one year, leaving the patient free from foreign material. Durasorb is cleared for use in general soft tissue support, but promotion for use in breast reconstruction, where the product benefits are greatest compared with competitive offerings, requires successful completion of a clinical trial. The company had planned to commence selling in the more competitive surgical segments through a modest rollout early in 2020, carefully balancing the costs of adding salesforce with limited revenue expectations while laying the foundation for the more valuable future indication. The pandemic shifted all commercial expectations and implementation by two quarters, but as of the third quarter the company has been able to add key personnel and quickly achieve an annualized run rate in excess of $1M with high gross margins. While this delay was modest compared with the timeline disruption for other medical ventures, it still required accessing additional capital to shore up the company’s runway. HBS Alumni Angels participated in a bridge financing round for this purpose, adding new investors to the group that participated in seed financing last year. Alexei Mlodinow, CEO and co-founder says, “We were fortunate to be in a position to pivot with a delayed hiring plan, a near-term focus on a more easily-accessible market, and a modest bridge round to ensure capitalization through our Series B with the help of Harvard Business School Angels. HBSAA helped us think through our options. They also set the ultimate terms of this bridge to maximize the appeal within their organization while positioning us well for an upcoming raise. This is exactly the kind of support that makes us proud to be part of the HBSAA portfolio!” Simple and efficient adaptations as this need a sound understanding of the healthcare system and understanding of the ground reality at Customer organizations. In times like these, these adaptations are necessary to realize the long-term benefits of an innovative technology. HBSAA is proud to support a diverse portfolio of health tech companies, which are taking such innovations forward and improving the cost-care paradigm across the board.
NEWS FOR THE GLOBAL ANGEL NETWORK HBS Alumni Angels new Website! Welcome New Officers & Chapters in the Global Angel Network
HBS Alumni Angels is looking seeking an incredible individual to fill a key roll at the global level: VP CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS
HBS Alumni Angels welcomes new Chapters:
Australia GCC (Gulf Corporation Council)