Bruce Booth, a LifeSciVC Shining Some Much-Needed Light on Biotech
Techies who want to learn about high-tech venture capital learn quickly they must read blogs by guys like Fred Wilson and Brad Feld. They are insiders who speak with clear, consistent, and insightful voices about an otherwise opaque little corner of the investing world.
Nobody has ever performed this kind of service for biotech venture capital, but that’s started to change in the past year, thanks to a partner at Atlas Venture named Bruce Booth.
Ever wonder how often little biotech companies actually collect the lucrative “earnout” provisions they negotiate for when getting acquired? Curious about how much money certain biotech VC firms stand to make when their portfolio companies get acquired? Or are you simply interested in learning more about how certain biotech investors think?
Booth, 37, has essentially become a go-to source for questions like this over the past year at his “LifeSciVC” blog. It’s full of hearty reading material for anybody who makes a living in biotech startups, life science venture capital, or pharmaceutical business development. A Pennsylvania native who trained in molecular immunology at Oxford, Booth now brands himself a “recovering scientist turned early-stage VC, a biotech optimist fighting gravity.” Through more than 50 in-depth posts over the past year, he has shown that he loves nothing more than tackling industry dogma with data-driven analysis, heavy on the charts and graphs.
It may sound boring, but Booth injects enough personality into his writing to make clear this isn’t just another trip down boring-industry-white-paper lane. One post from July is a good example, which he headlined “Life Sciences: The Rodney Dangerfield of Venture Capital.” Along with co-author Bijan Salehizadeh (another occasional life science investing blogger), Booth tried to show with data why biotech investing deserves more respect than it gets.
I’ll admit that one year ago I had never heard of Booth, and amid the daily frenzy of publishing Xconomy, it’s hard for me to find time to read everything he writes. But this column cannot be ignored, because it so regularly delivers fresh perspective that gets widely shared and debated on Twitter.
And plenty of biotech pros have made this one of their regular reads.
“His column is a ray of smart sunshine cutting through the gloom, doom and confounding info that daily biotech news can sometimes be,” says Gautam Kollu, the vice president of marketing at South San Francisco-based Exelixis. “What I like about his posts is the thought-provoking analysis that challenges conventional wisdom, and the access to data that has been very hard to come by in the past.”