Banking

See the 28-page pitch deck that Compass used to convince Founders Fund and Otsuka to bet on psychedelics

  • Compass Pathways is one of the biggest psychedelics companies in the world.
  • Its 2019 pitch deck tells the story of how the giant came to be what it is today.
  • With this presentation, the company won over investors such as Otsuka and Founders Fund.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Today, psychedelics giant Compass Pathways has a market value of $1.5 billion.

But back in 2019, it was a small startup raising cash to turn psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms, into a treatment for treatment-resistant depression, or depression that doesn’t get better with other medications and remedies.

George Goldsmith Compass Pathways

George Goldsmith of Compass Pathways.

Compass Pathways


Insider got ahold of the company’s pitch deck from 2019, which Compass used to raise an $80 million Series B round from investors such as pharma giant Otsuka’s McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development and Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm of which Peter Thiel is a cofounder.

In the fall of 2018, Compass closed a 25 million pound Series A round (around $33 million). Soon after, the company began to fundraise for its Series B, which closed in April 2020.

Compass was the first psychedelics company to get backing from institutional healthcare investors such as Otsuka. Mike Novogratz and Thiel’s venture firm Thiel Capital invested in the Series A, the presentation shows.

“Our goal remains the same: to bring evidence-based innovation to patients for whom existing treatments don’t work, in a way that is accessible and affordable,” said Tracy Cheung, a spokesperson for Compass. She said the company has made significant progress toward this goal since 2019.

Other investors in the Series B included Atai Life Sciences, which started out as a funding vehicle for the psychedelics space; Able Partners; Camden Partners Nexus; Perceptive Advisors; Skyviews Life Science; and Soleus Capital.

The presentation details Compass’ strategy and its timeline for getting treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The growth the company has undergone since then has been immense. After the Series B, Compass became the first psychedelics company to list on the Nasdaq. It raised $312 million through its IPO and a 2021 follow-on offering. Last month it announced that it had finished mid-stage clinical trials, and it plans to publish results by year’s end.

The presentation tells the story of how the startup maneuvered to dominate what was once a fringe industry. 

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