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Investor Advice with Vincent Lepreux

Updated: Mar 6

In this article, we speak to Vincent Lepreux, Investment Principal at Debiopharm Innovation Fund in Switzerland, who gave us insights in the healthcare landscape and tips for startups to succeed.



Tell us more about yourself 

 

Vincent: I have a finance background with extensive experience in financial advisory, transaction services, and venture capital, focusing on the digital health sector. Over the last 18 years, I've developed a strong acumen in sourcing, analyzing, negotiating, and structuring a variety of deals. As an Investment Principal in a corporate VC, I have engaged with numerous startups, contributing to their growth and development.

Other than that, I have been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years even though originally French. I enjoy traveling and engaging in sports, such as running, skiing and kickboxing

 

What do you usually want to see in a startup before you decide to look into it further? 

 

Vincent: First, and this is very specific to my role in a corporate VC, I need to make sure there is a potential fit with our core business (pharma). Then, what I want to see is how profound is the problem the startup is trying to solve and how they plan to do that.

 

Which sections of the pitch deck do you pay more attention to? 

 

Vincent: In connection with the previous answer, I have a close look at the problem/solution parts. I always ask myself the question, is the proposed solution 10 times better than what is currently available.

The 2 other sections I am deeply interested in are:

  • the team: entrepreneurship, academic background and industry experience combined with the coherence of the team; and 

  • market: How large is the market and what are the trends?

 

What is the most interesting aspect of your job? 


Vincent: I love every part of my job, from sourcing new opportunities, due diligence, investment negotiation, to portfolio management and optimization as well as supporting portfolio companies’ growth as a bord member. The networking part is also very enjoyable as this is always a great opportunity to learn more from the industry and people.

 

Which industry do you find more successful to operate in based on the current landscape? 

 

Vincent: As a strategic investor, we have a relatively narrow focus in healthtech. Within healthtech, I am convinced that AI drug discovery companies will be offering a brand-new approach to traditional pharma R&D, opening new massive opportunities for future of the pharma industry

 

What are the top 3 traits that startups should have to be more appealing to investors? 

 

Vincent:

  • Convey a clear and simple message. Even though the technology can be complex, investors need to have a clear understanding of what the startup does by reading the deck. 

  • Complementarity of the team

  • How would the solution be scalable to reach a meaningful exit

 

How can startups in the Pre-Seed stage increase their chances of attracting investors’ interest?  

 

Vincent:

  • Have an appealing vision: how your start-up will transform the industry?

  • Ask for introductions to other investors or to share a deck. When an opportunity arises from trusted investor network, it has more chances to be carefully looked at. 

  • Stay focused and clear. We need to fully understand where you want to go after reading a pitch deck or having the first call. Then you can go into much more details, as needed.

 

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