Accessing Capital and Navigating M&As with Yari Mitchell and Greg Kunst


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Yari Mitchell spent nearly 13 years with AcuFocus, an ophthalmic device company, before overseeing its acquisition by Bausch + Lomb. As head of Y Factor Consulting, she now helps innovators move their product from the lab to a funded company.

Greg Kunst, President and CEO of Aurion Biotech, a cell therapy company, led the start-up to a $120 million raise in 2022.

Both Mitchell and Kunst sat down with host Carey Powers to discuss two topics they’re more than familiar with: raising capital and navigating M&As.

When you’re working to raise funding, a gift for storytelling will take you far, they said. That story must show how your product will take market share or otherwise deliver value. The story must be unique enough to spark interest, but not so unique that it scares off investors.

“You need to have a clear unmet need and you have to be different,” said Kunst.

Start-up founders must also consider reimbursement paths as early in the process as feasible.

Mitchell and Kunst also advised listeners on how to stand out when you have a limited budget. Hint: an organized pitch deck trumps a flashy but disjointed presentation.

Navigating topics ranging from product differentiation to pitching complex scientific ideas to running out of money, both Mitchell and Kunst came back to a quote commonly attributed to Zig Ziglar:

“It’s never as good or as bad as you think it is.”

Listen to the podcast today to discover:
• Start-ups solve scientific problems in many ways. Does that approach make it easier or more difficult to sell to investors?
• The areas that are most critical to invest when you want to differentiate yourself from the competition—without blowing the budget.
• The importance of physician voices when building a brand.
• How Mitchell and Kunst overcame some of the biggest obstacles in their paths.
• Advice to stay financially and emotionally stable while building a start-up.
• The importance of disconnecting.
• Their thoughts on ChatGPT and its impact on patient education.

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Yari Mitchell:
Greg Kunst:
Y Factor Consulting:
Carey Powers: