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Stop faking it to rip off MedTech startups

Stop faking it to medtech startups
Stop faking it to medtech startups

So I am going to go on a rant on this one- because I'm sick and tired of the perpetuation of failure in MedTech startups by charlatans and imposters.

I watch post after post of "Medtech start up summit - entrepreneurs meet the investors." 

I see garbage incubators with panels of "Experts" to help MedTech startups.

I see a list of Linked in "MedTech experts" that are utterly and totally clueless about medtech startups.

I see University "MedTech hubs" that are just grant sucking failure after failure.

I'm watching great idea after great idea get suckered into advice from people with zero clue about medtech start ups. Then fail.

So I'm going to start to call them out and stop the charlatans! These schemes and the people behind them are a big part of the reason that MedTech starts ups have such a dismal success rate. It needs to stop!

If you do a google search, or just spend some time searching on linked in you will find two types of organisation and events. The first are bonafide - genuine - helpful and knowledgeable events like LSI, or Device Talks and others. But for every serious organisation there are ten imposter organisations. These organisations claim to be "Medtech hubs of this and that" - and organisers of amazing events for budding entrepreneurs to crack the MedTech startup code and "meet the real investors" and "Experts."

This week alone I got three invites to such events - and I just wanted to scream at the messages. "Join us in X location to be part of the premiere event in MedTech - with the biggest names in investors and experts to teach you how to do it."

I take a look - and I see firstly the people behind the organisation. On one company - just one of the six "experts" had any experience (and that is utterly minimal) in MedTech. The others are from event planners - accountancy firms - maybe some consultancies that dabble in medtech. Embarrassing. Utterly disgraceful.

Then worse: I look at their panels. It ranges from "experts" in Medtech startups - that are on their first tiny start up (as a meet the CEO). They have about 2 years in dealing with medtech startups. Green as green can be.

I see a couple of names of people that have run some area in a big medtech company - that are about to advise people on Medtech startups - yet they have never been near one in their lives. But hey! they know how to do a quarterly review on an established product that has been on the market for 26 years - and it has a big attractive company logo next to them. (Just because you have been a VP of a big company does not mean you know anything about medtech startups - see my other rant posts!) 

It gets worse. I see biotech people on their panels - WTF? I've done 32 years of MedTech and admit I know zero about BioTech - because it has zero to do with MedTech. Why oh why are biotech and pharma people even allowed in the same room? It's bizarre - arrogance or stupidity. (Told you it was a rant.) I am sure they are experts in biotech and Pharma - but that has NOTHING to do with medtech!!!!!

You have utter unknowns to the world of medtech being put up as medtech experts. Worse - they have nothing to do with start ups - and are being hailed as "Medtech startup" experts. Really?!!!

And the most disgusting thing is that they are setting up these events with some wine and cheese and charging young hopefuls good money to go and listen to utter nonsense. It's just praying on the hopeful.

I even look at the funds that go to speak - and again 80% have never dealt with medtech. They have invested in biopharma - or some consumer health apps - or biotech - yet are speaking about the investment world of MedTech. 

Do people understand what Medtech is?!?!

I see University after University panelist who have run a "medtech hub" in academia for ten years - giving advice. It staggers me. All but one so far has ever actually been in a real medtech company - be that big industry or startup. They have zero real world - commercial experience. Zero. Yet profess to be able to run internal University Incubators.

So they are telling University research teams the theory of how to go forth and run an R&D based medtech startup - with zero clue that 80% of it is hard core commercialisation. It's madness. I've seen their course structures. It has nothing to do with running a real world start up - nothing !!

It's the same with incubator after incubator. Very few have actually any pedigree. (some are amazingly good - I can count them on one hand.) The rest seem to be schemes to perpetuate government grant after government grant to pay their salaries to run the incubator. And most of them cannot point to a success (I mean real success) they have incubated. I asked - several hung up on me!

One of them confessed to me that their metric was to get fifty new ideas - no matter how bad the ideas were - to be on their four month program - and then spit them out - giving the best one a 100K grant from your tax money. Unless they churned fifty ideas through... they didn't take the full government grants. So it was all about a number - not success. 

It is so saddening and maddening. 

But when you see all this nonsense - fakery - charlatans - selling snake oil. It becomes more and more obvious why we have such a shocking failure rate of startups in medtech. Be ashamed of yourselves if you perpetuate this garbage.

To anyone that wants to start a medtech company - and is thinking of going to a pitch event - an incubator - a medtech startup summit or any where where they are asking you to pay good money to listen or participate... ask these questions:

1) How many people who run the society or the company - incubator - event - have actually been in Medtech companies for more than ten years? (if it's not more than half - be super concerned.)

2) How many of them have founded or run a medtech startup? (Better multiple start ups) (If half have never founded a medtech startup - run away!)

3) How many have failed in a medtech startup? (Unless they have someone that has crashed a startup - they don't know the real errors and issues. They know theory.)

4) How many have exited a medtech startup? (If none of them have successfully exited - why should they be advising you?)

5) How much money have they raised for their start ups? (If it isn't around $50 to $100 million, sorry but they know very little about real medtech start up and burn.)

6) How many panelists are from Pharma? (if there is even one run away - Pharma has nothing to do with MedTech. It's a useless panel.)

7) How many biotech / biopharma people on the advisor list? (If it's even 1 then run away - they have nothing to do with MedTech - nothing!)

8) How many investors will be there with a specific "MedTech" fund - not generic health fund. How many investments do they have in MedTech? (if it's none - they are not worth talking to.)

9) How many "big company" panelists are there? (If it's more than 20% you are wasting your time listening. Unless they are a Venture arm of a company - or that person has been in multiple medtech startups - they will tell you about managing a vertical in an established company.)

10) Ask how many alumni they have from their course - event - incubator - and ask: What % of them went on to be a success and successful exit? Can you name the companies? (then do your research) - How many became Unicorns? How many got more than $100 Million funding? How many got acquired and by which companies? How many have gone IPO?

Ask - Ask - Ask !!! Before you pay.

There are some great incubators - events - institutions - but they are very few and very far between. The rest of them are snake oil selling charlatans that are just taking money from well intentioned - innocent - naive entrepreneurs.

If you've fallen victim to one of these sham events - incubators - groups - and feel that you just got nothing out of it, then send me a private message and let me know who they are; as I'm making a naughty list... I'm not going to tolerate this any more.

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