Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2011 (Revised October 2011)

PureTech Ventures in 2011

by Andrei Hagiu, Cesar Castro and Sarah Murphy

Abstract

In early May 2011, Daphne Zohar, founder and managing partner of PureTech Ventures, a life science venture creation company in Boston, MA, was reviewing a term sheet she had just received from a venture capital (VC) firm for one of PureTech's portfolio companies. The term sheet was due to expire in a week, but through negotiations of term sheet items, PureTech could probably leave the discussions with the venture firm open for another month. PureTech had a unique position in the life sciences ecosystem. It aimed to tackle important medical needs by translating scientific innovations into commercially viable technologies, and in order to do that optimally, was structured as an operating company that created start-ups rather than a typical venture fund that simply invested in them. The VC term sheet Zohar was considering outlined a Series A funding round for one of PureTech's newly created companies. Meanwhile, Zohar's team was also in discussions with several large pharmaceutical companies that were interested in partnering or even acquiring the company. These discussions were progressing nicely but would not lead to a transaction by the due date set by the VC term sheet (or an additional month from then). The current situation presented her with a unique challenge. Should PureTech accept the "bird in hand" VC term sheet or turn it down and wait for the negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies to play out? The latter route offered the potential for a desirable, near-term partnership, but risked that the negotiations would fall through, in which case PureTech would end up losing both time and the opportunity for near-term external validation of its portfolio company.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Business Startups; Venture Capital; Investment; Innovation and Invention; Negotiation; Partners and Partnerships; Science-Based Business; Opportunities; Boston;

Citation:

Hagiu, Andrei, Cesar Castro, and Sarah Murphy. "PureTech Ventures in 2011." Harvard Business School Case 712-419, August 2011. (Revised October 2011.)