The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute released a report that says Kansas City needs more venture capital for its biotech industry.
Just how much venture capital? That is up for debate.
Wayne Carter, Life Sciences Institute CEO, said $100 million is the common amount thrown around in conversation regarding Kansas City’s need, and while “it’s a good place to start, it’s not enough,” he said.
“Saying we need $100 million in venture capital funding is not the end game,” he said. “We need to create an entire ecosystem of funding.”
Despite a growing life sciences community that is recognized for drawing interest, risk capital investment is a weakness in the Kansas City area Carter said, summarizing the findings of the report that Life Sciences Institute and Deloitte released this month.
The report identified and prioritized opportunities for the region to be more successful in life sciences, and investment was a primary strategy.
“It’s almost like we’re pushing companies away,” Carter said. “We just don’t have money here. If you’re an early stage business in Kansas City, you’re probably going to start with meeting investors in regional states, but more than likely you’re going to have meetings in California or Massachusetts.”
And what happens if Kansas City doesn’t get to that magic number of $100 million in venture capital?
Carter said it’s likely the region will continue to grow, but at a much slower rate. Furthermore, if outside investors sign a deal with area companies, the businesses almost always relocate, meaning the region will miss out on prospective jobs, revenue and other economic opportunities.