This proposal provides clarity to the VitaDAO community on how the Longevity Dealflow Working Group operates.
The group’s purpose is to make good deals happen (ie fund longevity projects) on behalf of VitaDAO.
The dealflow process has been designed by experienced investors, entrepreneurs and scientists to meet two objectives:
- To maximize the number of high-quality longevity projects VitaDAO funds
- To upskill the community such that #1 is more likely.
By providing more people with clarity on the core activity of VitaDAO we can scale more easily.
The highest impact actions are:
- Source relevant longevity projects
- Shepherd projects
a. Gather information and due diligence
b. Get 3-5 independent reviews (2-4 Scientific Advisory Board members and 1-2 business/IP experts)
- Negotiate and close deals
- Assist current portfolio projects to advance towards commercialization
- Improve the process. See one, do one, teach one.
Relevant projects would be aging research / longevity projects that are seeking funding (sponsorship, investments, grants) and open to sharing IP / revenue / some mutual benefit / upside.
We are aiming for 80%+ of our resources to fund early-stage, translational aging research (pre-startup), bridging the valley of death. The remaining percentage is to fund longevity startups that have a high potential to get to market fast.
We are looking for projects that we can help advance towards commercialization, usually a therapeutic targeting aging. A good model for what is in-scope and out-of-scope is Karl Pfledger’s outline of What Counts As Aging For AgingBiotech.Info
This usually implies the researcher, company and/or institution (TTO) signing a contract with an agent like Molecule GmbH, a Swiss company. This can be a standard Sponsored Research Agreement, Royalty Agreement, providing attractive non-dilutive financing.
Projects can be either referred to us by the community, discovered through outreach (by scouts or internal sourcing squads), or inbound via the website.
Anyone can be a scout or form a sourcing squad to increase efficiency in sourcing projects.
The current bounty (until March 15th) is $500 or $1000 in VITA per relevant project you introduce to us (up to a reasonable cap approved by no less than 2 stewards, see full terms here). More bounties can be seen below.
How? Reach out to researchers, TTOs, communities, conferences, prioritize promising leads, develop relationships.
Once a relevant project is identified, a deal squad is formed (2-3 members, based on skill and interest) with a shepherd as the main point of contact.
The squad works to advance the deal through our funnel (where we can view at a glance the stage, details, or bottlenecks of the deals). See the workflow here: Miro | Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration
Before we spend resources on shepherding, we first need to verify that the project checks a few boxes:
- aging research / relevant longevity project (if unsure, ask a steward)
- can have a pathway to generating Intellectual Property and potential commercial value
- is seeking financing in exchange for sharing some form of upside with us
- the team has access to appropriate facilities for the work proposed
Otherwise, it can of course be proposed but it’s separate from this dealflow process and incentive structure.
The shepherd coordinates with the applicant to get any follow-up questions answered and potentially help refine or create a path to commercialization.
Gather information, due diligence in a Project Details document (see template). This will be access-controlled, with careful consideration to whom is given access, based on the level of confidentiality required.
The shepherd will send the Project Details document (containing all info, including our review form) to 3-5 independent Senior Reviewers (2-4 Scientific Advisory Board members, 1-2 business/IP experts) for discrete, unbiased evaluation (kept secret until after the review stage is over).
We are maintaining a list of Senior Reviewers and candidates in the Dealflow CRM, and for each person in there we have “Shepherds”, team members maintaining that relationship. If you don’t have a relationship but want their review, you can reach out to one of the shepherds of that relationship to introduce you as a team member and make sure random people don’t spam Senior Reviewers.
Reviews, if possible, can be visible internally (although anonymized).
- These could be restricted to the shepherd
- I’d want to know who reviewed so I can continue the conversation, and can keep it confidential
The squad will make a summary of the senior reviews (including the conviction) and gauge the level of excitement.
We have 4 tiers:
A) Very exciting (stellar team, exciting tech etc). We keep a healthy dose of skepticism but all we need to close is final dd and negotiation.
B) Potentially strong, worth following up → set up a call or send a list of questions
C) Unconvincing. Wouldn’t be worth talking unless they show us X,Y,Z (big changes) → tell them what we’d need to see for it to be an (A)
D) Out of scope or surely not gonna work, not worth talking with them → tell them why, but re-application is welcome
If the deal falls in Tier A from above, we post the project on the Discourse governance forum as a Phase 2 proposal, for broader community feedback. They will get a “stamp of approval” from the Longevity Dealflow WG, with a quantitative score (1-5, highest being 5) and qualitative brief reviews from the Senior Reviewers.
Tier B is the most common. While we get the follow-up questions answered, we can post the project for community feedback in the “Projects in review” section of our Discourse forum or as a Phase 2 VDP.
If we don’t yet have that precious “stamp of approval” from a panel of experts, projects can still go to a Phase 3 vote, but we’ll clearly inform the tokenholders that the Longevity Dealflow WG doesn’t yet recommend funding this project.
Public Discourse posts will be done with assistance and agreement from the applicant.
For Tier C or Tier D, we’ll send a "not now” email asking for more data or whatever changes we need to move it to Tier A.
Until they make the necessary changes, applicants can submit their projects to our “Projects in review” section, allowing for community feedback and involvement.
This wouldn’t be a recommendation from the team.
We shouldn’t send a clear “NO” email to any project unless we all agree that it is out of scope or stupid. Passing on good projects is the nightmare scenario, and VitaDAO is not (and should not be) so risk-averse. The danger is the status quo, with promising projects overlooked by regular investors not getting the funding that would advance longevity therapeutics.
If the Phase 2 vote passes, we move to Phase 3, for a token-based, final vote.
The squad negotiates with TTOs, gets consensus around terms (ticket size, ownership stake, etc) and works to close the deal.
The ultimate goal is to advance research towards commercialization as longevity therapeutics. That may involve helping with company formation or further fundraising, hiring, partnerships, synergies and community involvement.
Anyone can get involved and “see one, do one, teach one”.
Our goal is to fund a lot of quality projects. To do that, a good objective is 2+ IP-NFTs to be voted on per month.
We have built a wonderful crowd in longevity/dealflow, and we are hereby moving to improve the structure and compensation scheme in an effort to be more efficient in sourcing, shepherding and closing deals.
Most existing contributors and potential contributors can do bounties (outlined below and in Miro) and show proactivity, resourcefulness, expertise, results and alignment towards becoming a part of the “core dealflow team”, aligned with a vested governance allocation and/or on a monthly basis.
The highest impact actions outlined above, creativity and internal recognition (acting as a glue, helping in multiple, unpredictable ways) will be highly compensated, outside of bounties.
Current structure and incentives: Miro | Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration
Shepherd - someone who leads project acquisition, ensuring the internal reviewing, and if passing that the on-chain voting. This person needs at least one other person in their squad member who believes in the project and who contributes effort to seeing the deal through.
Sourcing squad - a small, nimble team working together to source new projects. They do outreach campaigns, talk to researchers, enthusiasts, TTOs to discover projects that might be fit for VitaDAO
Deal squad - a small, nimble team working on a specific deal. Can be a team that is specialized on a specific vertical. They are empowered to put projects on-chain.
- Agree with revisions (please comment)