‘Building a company takes patience, a healthy dose of suffering and dedication’

14 Apr 2022

Samuel Levy. Image: Lauxera Capital

Lauxera Capital’s Samuel Levy discusses investment opportunities in the health-tech space and why entrepreneurs have to ‘love the journey’.

Samuel Levy is a founding partner of Lauxera Capital Partners, an investment firm founded in 2020 with bases in Paris and San Francisco and a firm focus on the health-tech space. Earlier this year, it closed its debut fund at more than €260m.

Levy grew up in the US and studied biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, before going on to the Pasteur Institute in France. After two years at McKinsey, he went to Harvard Medical School and ended up inventing a medical device with a classmate. They started Allurion Technologies and commercialised the device, which is sold in more than 40 countries.

Levy is now focused on investing in commercial-stage health-technology businesses with Lauxera Capital.

‘If you are choosing between a more conventional career and entrepreneurship, don’t choose entrepreneurship for the lottery ticket’

In your opinion, which areas of science and technology hold the greatest scope for opportunities?

I invest exclusively in healthcare, a sector that is both offensive and defensive. Covid proved that owning hotels is less defensive than it felt in 2019.

The underlying demographics of our society and the emergence of transformational software, devices and biopharmaceuticals yield an astonishing degree of attractive investment opportunities.

What are the qualities of a good founder? Are good entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

I believe that the most important quality of a successful founder is grit. It’s easy when things are going well, but success is not a straight line.

Getting up after you have been hit by a two-by-four is what it takes to drive success. I think this trait is learned through repeated exposure to failure, disappointment and turbulence.

What does a successful entrepreneur need to do every day?

Prioritisation is critical. You must focus on the things that matter most. Talent farming is also critical. Building a network of transformational operators to ultimately seduce them to your cause is mission-critical.

What is the critical ingredient to start-up success?

Market can be so-so. Product can be so-so. A great and determined team that listens to customers and adapts to facts on the ground will win in the end.

How can founders assemble a good team?

Don’t be greedy with equity. World-class talent will only join your team for world-class remuneration.

What advice do you have for founders who are starting to look for investment?

Don’t focus on dilution. Focus on surrounding yourself with people who increase the likelihood that your business reaches scale.

What are the biggest mistakes that founders make?
  • They don’t listen to customers and adapt to their feedback
  • They leave the wrong people in the job for too long
  • They let near-term success go to their heads before the battle is won
What are the qualities one should look for in a mentor?
  • Humility
  • Patience
  • Selflessness
What’s the number-one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

If you are choosing between a more conventional career and entrepreneurship, don’t choose entrepreneurship for the lottery ticket.

Creating value by building high cost-of-capital companies takes patience, a healthy dose of suffering and dedication. You have to love the journey!

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.