Dave Uffer, General Inception - AMOI Interview | LSI USA '23

General Inception partners with inventors to ignite innovation and create transformational companies.
Dave Uffer
Dave Uffer
VP, MedTech, General Inception



Ben Glenn  0:11  

Say hello to my guest Dave offer LSI 2023. Dave,


Dave Uffer  0:16  

Thanks for coming by the studio. Pleasure to be here, Ben.


Ben Glenn  0:19  

So this is day three, a little bit past the 50 yard line. How's LSI been this year for you,


Dave Uffer  0:26  

As always, each year growing more and more in size and excitement. It's been a tremendous conference yet again.


Ben Glenn  0:34  

You're a VC. Now tell me more about that transition for you.


David Uffer  0:37  

It's been fantastic, a journey coming from large strategics working in strategy and business development, flipping to the other side and investment banking, selling companies raising capital, advising them. And now to actually investing as opposed to strict VC. We're more of a venture studio. So we are investing very early stage companies and pre seed to seed round, and not just investing we take a very operational role with our company. So it's been exciting for me. So general


Ben Glenn  1:07  

Inception is a good fit. And an early stage partner is that is that what they're that's your strike point.


David Uffer  1:12  

great fit for me great fit into the ecosystem where we come in with very early stage companies, technologies that have been sponsored by university research and hospital systems that are doing clinical research, and developing products, not for core research, but really research toward a commercial product, we come in and take the first institutional investment into these companies, form the companies as co founders, and then inject into the company, executives that can help lead them through the pathway toward a milestone or inflection point where we bring in the serial investors. 


Ben Glenn  1:51  

So this is a space that you've been at for, I think, maybe about 9 10 months now. So are there are there any trends that you can share with us or investments that you've made to give us an idea of where you're going to take this portfolio,


David Uffer  2:05  

the portfolio as far as direction in any particular clinical segment is pretty agnostic. I've spoken with management saying we will find pearls in pretty much any area, it's our job to sift through all of these different opportunities to find those ones we think are going to be appreciable. Of course, I do 30 years in medtech, I have quite a strong relationship with all the strategics. So I know where they're looking to go with technology development. In the future. These are technologies that will take years to get to ready for m&a activity. But we always have to build for what the commercial leaders are looking for. And what the clinical community has got to respond to. The real job at task for us in early stage, though, is getting the companies prepared through their technology development, their build out to have that next level investor. So as an investor conference here at LSI, we have just 200 Blue Chip investors here that we are actually engaging to ensure that we're investing those areas that they're motivated and can assume that the next investor is lined up to take over our portfolio and funding.


Ben Glenn  3:14  

So General Inception, you will go in alone with this early entrepreneur, do you do you have a consortium that comes in with you? How does that how does that get structured?


David Uffer  3:23  

No, I'd say almost by rule, we are the sole investor at that stage. We come in, as I said, co founder for common shares. So it's almost co founders shares, common common shares come to us as co founders, we then build the company to an inflection point, whether it's regulatory milestone, commercial readiness, validation of the of the technology, and its build out, and then we bring in that next investor.


Ben Glenn  3:54  

So what's a good time for an entrepreneur to reach out and, and get in touch with General Inception.


David Uffer  4:01  

I would say our investment thesis is to go once we have something that's been engineered, we can't take a disclosure and start a company out of that that's not our job in our role. I'd like to know those people that are building those technologies and creating those ideas, starting some early intellectual property around those areas as probably a setup and give them some direction to what would incent us to come and invest. But I don't need pure science experience. I'm looking for companies that have already started with the technology build out something that's been engineered to a device, at least a prototype so we can respond to say, okay, we can bring this to a developer or bring in r&d internally to develop this technology to the next stage. We can take it through some preclinical testing with our funding, and then go out and bring the next series of capital and


Ben Glenn  4:52  

So is there anybody that you've met here this week that you're particularly excited about?


David Uffer  4:57  

That's really not our purpose for LSI I do think we will find a few companies, we have over 250 Presenting companies here, there could be maybe one or two handful numbers at most, that would be for us, most of our companies will be much earlier than those presenting here, the ones presenting here typically raising anywhere from three to $30 million, I'd say probably more so in the middle ground five to $15 million. In most of the companies I've seen presenting raising here, that's not really what we're doing here. Our purpose is really to be injected into the ecosystem across many different areas, a to ensure that we have the relationship with those venture funds that are going to be our next investors into our portfolio, touching base with the strategics, making sure that we know what's on point for their future horizons that we're investing in building companies that would be of interest to them down the road. And then all of the other service providers, we work with contract developers every day, with our portfolio companies looking for best in class in any particular technology that we're building out. Those folks that can help you be advisory, whether it's regulatory, we're going to have to go into clinicals. With some preclinical testing, all of the ecosystem partners that are also part of LSI, just representing companies are really important for us. And that's our purpose here.


Ben Glenn  6:20  

And Dave, you know, you as you said, you've been around medtech for 30 years big, you've been an advisor you bought, you know, what do you tell these entrepreneurs? How do you it's a big complex play to get into the regulated industry of healthcare? What kind of advice do you have for these early stage entrepreneurs?


David Uffer  6:38  

My advice to them, knows no, but no is just from us sometimes. So my job is to get to know him as fast as possible to be efficient for myself, and more so for them. So they're not sitting around thinking that we're interested that they're thinking they have capital coming in young entrepreneurs, have to stick to their conviction that they are building something valuable. And when they find a lot of data points that tell them to pivot perhaps in direction to understand what the markets telling them, both from investors, what the markets, telling them from clinical need, from the health systems that will try to incorporate these technologies. And there's a lot of learning to be done here. Not every great idea is of valuable idea. But those that are encouraged enough by the community to say keep going forward. there's 200 investors here as well. And you'll probably get a no, from 50 investors on day one and day two and invested number 55 might say yes, so everybody has a different thesis for their investment. And it's not that your technology in your company is not of interest, it might not be of interest to the fund. And the same thing for me. You most of my companies are not that they're not of interest, it's that they're at the wrong stage are fit for us.


Ben Glenn  8:01  

Well, Dave, unpack that a little bit. I think I think that's an area where a lot of entrepreneurs I find even with my own clients, oh, it's just an investor. Ben, do you know any investors? Well, it's the right kind of investor, what are some what some thinking that they can add to getting to know whether or not this investor is going to be a good fit, you've already really established General Inception, early stage, you know, if you're, if you're commercializing and raising, you're probably too late. But what are some other things they can use to help them get to know investors and know whether or not this is even investor you should be talking to?


David Uffer  8:35  

That's a great point, no, just just don't keep throwing darts at a board, you're going to make it inefficient for yourself, you're going to spend a lot of time with the wrong people, you're going to waste a lot of their time as well. You can go to somebody's website, nearly every VC firm now puts out their portfolio out there. Do you see 15 out of 16 are theirs are in cardiovascular and interventional medicine, don't go to them with your wound care technology. You can see certain theses in where people have strengthen their team to diligence things or have a preference for investing. Or you can see people that are I would say, investing in singles, doubles or homeruns. I mean, we do have some investors that are looking for major billion plus dollar exits and other say I want to get to a fairly reasonable timeframe exit and three to $500 million is a sweet spot. We don't expect to invest collectively over $200 million in this company or technology. So everybody has a different thesis. You can do some homework on that and then talk to the community. Most people that have participated in our community know what the thesis for a lot of the investors, right, they change a little bit from fund four to five to six, but for the most part, we know where their typical cheque sizes we know what round they're investing. We know what their thesis is. Maybe they've moved a little bit we do see a lot of movement more downstream firms that were investing, say post regulatory early commercial them might be saying we want a little bit more commercial activity. Call us when you've crossed three or $5 million. But for the most part, the firm's have stayed true to their previous fund and investing in the same space.


Ben Glenn  10:18  

David, it's always great to see you. Is there anything else you want to share with us today?


David Uffer  10:22  

I would just you know, invite anybody that has interest in looking at medical technology, understanding the our ecosystem seeing amazing amount of presenting companies with quite novel ideas, and investors that are helping drive our echo system come out to LSI Barcelona or LSI 2024 here in Dana Point.


Ben Glenn  10:43  

Dave, thanks for coming. Good to see you. 


Thank you, Ben. 


Behind the Scenes  10:47  

That that hit it. It was, is so kind of riffing. You're easy to talk to Dave. You're really easy to talk to. He's so good.




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