Healthcare Venture Capital

My Simple Rules for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

In healthcare on January 10, 2011 at 1:08 am

It’s baaaaaack….the big ugly beast known as the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference is here again.

The tech world doesn’t have an event like this where practically every venture capitalist, public company, start-up, hedge fund, PE fund, mutual fund, and investment banker all show up in the same city for the same 4 days.

The uniting topic in SF this week is healthcare.  The center of the activity is the lobby of the Westin St Francis in Union Square.

Most folks who come here have schedules that are wall-to-wall all week with little if any respite – from 7am meetings to dinners and drinks that go till obscene hours.

This year, official conference registrants are 8700 – up from 7200 last year. Probably at least 5x that many people in SF for the week but not officially registered.

This year, I tried to place limits around my schedule – since in past years the meeting has been just too overwhelming for me.

My guiding principles in 2011 for JP Morgan were:

1. Minimize first time meetings with companies – I will be a better listener to your pitch next week or the week after – I promise.

2. Try not to schedule meetings with Bay Area people or companies – since I can see them any other week

3. Focus on seeing people not new pitches. ie, on spending time with CEOs, founders, board members, VCs, senior folks from larger companies

4. Minimize formal scheduling and maximize “time in the hallways” and by the famous (and now long gone) “Clock” in the lobby of the Westin. The clock can be the best place to see people you want to run into.

(Edit – Jan 7, 2012: The clock is back – and has been back for a couple of years. Thanks to those who pointed it out)

5. Try to get a full night of sleep every night – will be tough.

So with that in mind, a few notes:

1. If you are a new company that happens to have passed muster and are pitching to me this week, please keep it short – like 15-20 minutes max. I will forget anything else you tell me. Enough so we know if there’s a basis for follow-up.  No more than 5-10 slides – really. I don’t need to know who is on your SAB, for instance or the background of your Director of Manufacturing.

2. If I’m late to our meeting by a few minutes, I apologize – not usually my style. I blame it on the craziness of the week.

3. For this week, let’s pretend that psychiatrist billing methods apply. If I schedule a 60 minute meeting, let’s wrap it up at minute 45 so we can each get to our next meeting.

4. Please give me a full week or a bit more to get back to you. There will be lots of following up to do after the meeting.

5. If you see me in the hallway and want to give me the “elevator pitch” – I’d love to hear it. 90 second version is great – especially if you include your brief background in the talk up.

6. Not looking at new biopharma deals now – sorry.

7. Very interested in innovative health services and health IT companies at any stage and medical devices that have US revenues.

That’s it for now – I wish you all good luck and happy networking this week.