Wednesday, June 11, 2014
An Interview with: Michael Bolick, Selah Genomics CEO
It is fair to say Selah Genomics CEO, Michael Bolick, knows a thing or two about angel investment. As a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in the life science and healthcare industries, Bolick
most recently sold Selah Genomics to EKF Diagnostics, fifteen months after leading a management buyout of Lab21 Ltd’s US-based operations. Prior to co-founding Selah Genomics, Michael served as President of Lab21 Inc., which was formed following Lab21 Ltd’s acquisition of his prior company, Selah Technologies LLC in 2009. Bolick founded Selah Technologies LLC in 2006 to commercialize healthcare focused nanotechnologies licensed from Clemson University. Investors include ACA
member Upstate Caolina Angel Network.
How did angel investment affect Selah Genomics?
Angel investment was instrumental to our success. We completed a management buyout in December 2012 and our angels invested in the summer of 2013. We were blessed with the opportunity to leverage those funds and rapidly move our business into fast growth mode and profitability, which led to the acquisition.
Our plan for angel capital was intentionally crafted to demonstrate our stewardship responsibility for the big picture. For example, to help avoid a down round, we made a point not to raise more funds than necessary but enough to demonstrate significant progress before we expected to need additional capital. We presented this plan primarily to angel investors who had invested in my prior companies. These angels had enough confidence in our plan and team to invest. With the funds in place, we
achieved a critical value inflection point, which increased shareholder value in four months and an exit in nine months. In short, a win-win for everyone.
How important was access to Angel investment?
Angel capital was fundamental to Selah Genomics’ early wins and to our recent successful exit. More broadly, angel capital is a critical link in the continuum of capital sources for Selah and others moving in high growth mode.
Any last thoughts about your angel investor experience?
We worked with a broad range of angels—from larger angel groups to individual investors not affiliated with a group. Across the board, these investors were highly professional, astute and extremely business-savvy. From an investment standpoint, they clearly understood the potential risks and rewards of investment. However, beyond investment, especially in my earlier companies, we looked to our angels for important business counsel and contacts.
At this time of high unemployment and sluggish growth across parts of our great country, the last thing our government should contemplate is constricting access to capital for growth mode businesses here in America.