A Southeast Life Sciences Q&A with Mammoth Scientific COO Kimberly Mackrill.
Mammoth Scientific occupies a unique position in the world of life science investing. Its founding team, which includes experts in medical, spinal, financial advisory and fintech all found venture investing cumbersome for most investors. Mammoth is built to fund quality companies, while seeking to provide a modern, transparent and quality experience to investors who previously found access to high potential, early stage life science innovators out of reach.
“Financial advisors are always looking for an edge to better serve their clients,” Mammoth COO Kimberly Mackrill told Write2Market’s Paul Snyder. “One way to do that is expanding offerings beyond what’s available in the public marketplace, especially in life sciences. Many of those opportunities don’t move into the public market because they’re ultimately acquired by large organizations who innovate through acquisition. But prior to that stage in their commercial life cycle, those companies are out there with world changing ideas and sufficient financial support to continue innovating and creating the future we want to live in.”
Essentially, Mammoth seeks to democratize early stage investment access, enabling wealth managers to access high potential VC opportunities in the life sciences. We hope you enjoy the following Q&A with Ms. Mackrill.
How did you get here?
I started in the nonprofit world, focusing on finding ways to motivate people without any financial compensation. I wound up working in marketing at a publicly traded company and then pulling back from working outside of my home while I had infants. I created my own boutique marketing firm and was highly selective about who I would work with during the early years of parenting. After my partner’s company was purchased by a PE firm, my partner and I founded Mineral – a fintech and financial advisory focused on design and marketing. Mineral received Best Advisor Innovation, Fuse 2017 and XYPN Fintech Award 2018 for software we created that helps advisors onboard clients. Mineral was acquired in 2018 by a national RIA. We worked inside their firm for two years – helping them redesign their client portal and accelerate their marketing offer.
Our ability to brand build and create innovation technology contributed to over $3B in increased valuation across our portfolio of experience.
Watching the impact of private equity on the firms we’ve served throughout our careers, gave us deep insight into the way both brand and technology influence valuations. We’ve seen how equity changes the game for both companies and individuals and believe that now is the time to bring the world of private investing – specifically venture capital, into this modern, accessible landscape.
Where is your sweet spot investment range?
Mammoth is built for accredited investors, qualified clients and the fiduciaries who serve them. We work with Registered Investment Advisors to help overcome the potential compliance hurdles and marketing pieces that their clients need to properly understand this level of investing and how it can impact not just their own portfolio, but the broader world for good. Additionally, Family Offices and Institutional Investors are all a part of the balanced mix of investment in our fund.
Mammoth is built to invest in innovative life science companies at the Series A level and beyond. We look for companies that have maturing revenue models and proven intellectual property who need to develop clear paths to regulatory approval and reimbursement. We currently do not invest with significance in the pharmaceuticals market, but everything else life science and medtech is in play with two surgeon GPs doing significant work in due diligence.
What are the should haves your invested companies bring with them?
Should Haves: A clear business model, quality research, a strong and experienced team and validated intellectual property.
Our Value Add: Our team includes members with extensive experience in FDA and EU regulation along with determining reimbursement pathways to help guide the long term market aspirations of our portfolio companies.
What turns you off when exploring a new prospect?
- Lack of a clear perspective and unfocused leadership,
- Inability to drive revenue with their early stage business model, and
- Lack of patience and grit necessary to build a lasting company. Being vulnerable, admitting non-alignment and a willingness to shift or pivot in order to move forward is an underrepresented strength in founders of life science startups that need help to realize their potential. Make-or-break activities and milestones like reimbursement pathways and strategies can take multiple rounds of discussions with regulators to advance. Ultimately, we feel success is rooted in a commitment to tackle adversity head-on. We all feel those moments of mettle testing. When teams successfully meet those moments to a positive result or outcome, it is powerful to witness them come through the other side.
What do you wish more founders knew?
First, the amount of time it will take for them to achieve their long term goals. Depending on the technology, life science innovations can take several years and millions of dollars to realize their exit or commercial potential and the associated returns for investors.
Second, the dimensions they have to understand to really see the potential of their business.
Pure startups using friends or family for branding is often not strong or specific enough, for example. Those startups have strength and early success in other areas, but that branding and marketing dimension often does not mature at the same pace as other pieces. As such, valuations suffer, or are not indicative of real potential, because branding and marketing is lacking.
We look at these dimensions for our portfolio companies and investors. What needs to mature, or ‘grow up’ to play in the same space as the rest of your life science technology has to offer?
What common mistakes have been around too long for life science startups seeking Series A investments and beyond?
- Lack of unique research,
- Underinvestment in marketing and brand,
- Failure to build a strong advisory team, and
- Lack of detail in long term vision and strategic roadmap. At series A and beyond, we expect potential portfolio companies to have a well developed strategic road map including product market fit, IP, regulatory pathway confidence and in some cases a pre-submission meeting with, and feedback from, regulatory bodies like the FDA. Iterating and adjusting potential process and pathway refinements and acceleration is where we can come in.
What are the hallmarks of young companies that should be getting to know you?
Proven leaders, deep research, a strong understanding of the health sciences market, protected intellectual property and a vision for building a strong business.
AdvanSE 2021 is fast approaching! Will you join us?
Southeast Life Sciences thanks Ms. Mackrill for sharing her insights with us. We look forward to her keynote presentation on Thursday, October 28th at AdvanSE. Come see the best of what the southeastern U.S. life science ecosystem has to offer at the 2021 edition of our flagship event October 27 – 29 in Charleston, SC.
About Mammoth Scientific
Mammoth Scientific is a venture capital company that specializes in health science and technology funds. Co-founders Dr. Jay Yadav, Tommy Martin, Kim Mackrill, Dr. Matthew McGirt and Jud Mackrill provide venture capital for health science and technology companies maturing beyond seed rounds. The Mammoth team includes seasoned physician entrepreneurs and highly successful operational managers, representing a twenty-year track record of creating and investing in multiple successful start-ups with large exits to major global companies (e.g., Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson) or to the public markets. To learn more about Mammoth Scientific and its $100 million Mammoth Health and Tech Fund, visit Mammoth.vc.