On LP Investing in life sciences with Tej Panesar, Partner at Prism Ventures

Tune in for an inspiring conversation about all things LP and Direct in biotech, medical innovation and life sciences.

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Today, we are joined by Tej Panesar. Tej is a Partner at Prism Ventures, the UK-based institutional LP & active investor focused on the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Prism invests in the best-of-breed funds managed in the US, UK, and Europe through fund of funds and co-investment programs. He previously worked as an Investment Director at British Patient Capital, a UK government-backed institution very similar to the EIF and one of the largest investors in UK venture capital.

With +425M pounds invested in the UK and Europe, Tej led investments into famed firms like IQ Capital and SV Health. Tej and his team have a wide lens across the life sciences and healthcare industries but a strong focus on traditional biopharma and areas like tech bio.

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00:00:00 - Introduction about Prism Ventures
00:03:55 - From Crowdfund Platforms to Venture Capital
00:11:09 - LP Perspective on High-Tech Work
00:14:50 - The Non-Binary Nature of the Life Sciences Sector
00:18:34 - The Exciting Opportunities in Biotechnology and Healthcare
00:26:28 - Adoption Challenges in the Health Sector
00:30:23 - The Value Equation of Learning Technologies
00:34:01 - Symbiotic Approaches in Life Sciences
00:37:50 - Focus on Life Science and Healthcare
00:41:36 - Investing in Europe vs the US
00:45:18 - Portfolio Construction and Diversification
00:49:18 - Building a Long-Term Institution
00:53:04 - Diversity and Culture in VC Firms
00:56:50 - Evaluating Team Culture and Portfolio Construction
01:00:29 - The Importance of a Viable Business Plan
01:04:04 - Scaling the Fund Size
01:07:48 - Investing as a Team

Q: Advice for a 10-year-old younger self.

Trust yourself. Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Follow your intellectual nose.

Have trust that everything will lead you somewhere exciting, a place that might not be obvious to you right now.

Q: What are your top tips for emerging VCs across Europe who are fundraising?

Stamina is key. Starting a new firm is incredibly difficult. It can take up to two years to see wether this thing works out or not.

So, have a lot of stamina at the personal level, financial back-up plans and strong conviction on your investment thesis.

Try to think about a 10-year plan for your plan.

How are you building out? Draw that vision and your journey, and how you are going to explain that to LPs who are looking for that multi-fund, multi-uear stable relationships.

As VC, our job is assessing and selecting investments.

Turn the lens on yoursellf. I often find people and firms that don’t do it, and they look to me to do it for them. Try to sit down and have an offsite. Get a whiteboard and take a honest look at youself, your team, your strategy and your firm.

Does it stack up? Would you invest in your next fund?

Q: What’s the most counterintuitive thing you’ve learned in venture?

First, biotech is supposedly to be a binary asset class.

I don’t think that’s entirely true. It’s an incredibly consistent and performing sub-asset class in venture. It’s not something that I had always known when I first came to the space as an LP.

Second. Emerging managers within VC is important and can never be forgotten. It should plan an important role in LPs portfolios that are looking at venture

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0100 Conference DACH | 📆 28 - 29 February | 🌍 Vienna, Austria

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Nordic LP Forum & TechBBQ | 📆 September | 🌍 Copenhagen, Denmark

North Star & GITEX Global | 📆 14 - 18 Oct | 🌍 Dubai, UAE

GITEX Europe 2025 | 📆 23 - 25 May 2025 | 🌍 Berlin, Germany