California-based Sanderling Ventures specializes in biomedical investment--it's the only type they do. About half of the firm's activities are focused on therapeutics, while the rest of its energy is spent on medical devices and medical information sciences. When the VC firm chooses to put money into a company, it's in it for the long haul, explains managing director Robert McNeil. Sanderling likes to come into a company early. "It helps in gaining ownership, which is an important rate of return. Ownership a big question for us," he explains. After supporting a company with early-stage funding, Sanderling exerts a substantial amount of time and energy building their portfolio companies into meaningful ventures. "We actually do the books for the company to save money. We don't want to go out and hire someone because it turns out to be a lot of expense," he says. McNeil believes this hands-on approach differentiates Sanderling from other investment firms. Being actively involved with its portfolio companies is just one of Sanderling's goals. McNeil says the firm is very oriented toward building a real product and a real company. "We believe strongly that if you build a company, that's where the real significant return on investment comes. Short term investing is not the best way to do things." He adds, "We're in company-building mode." McNeil sees the ongoing economic challenges as a prime time for the firm to act on its company's creation mission. "There's more opportunity than there have been for a long time," he observes. "Some of the best companies are created in the worst times. Half of the Fortune 500s were in recession or depression times." While financing is by no means easy, it does give VCs a great opportunity to find new ideas that have the potential to bloom into the next big medical breakthrough. "Financing is tough, but if you can build a real company, that trend of success during hard times will continue."