Medtech is an exciting arena where you can experience the rush of a scientific breakthrough, the dizzying highs of funding success, as well as the gut-wrenching lows of unexpected pitfalls. Here, innovation doesn't come with an instruction manual. 

That's why we're back with Medsider Mentors: Volume V — your backstage pass to the journeys of those who dared to bridge the gap between science fiction and accessible healthcare. 

I’m hoping these mentor compilations serve as a front-row seat to a seasoned entrepreneur roundtable. If you haven't had the chance to explore our previous volumes, make sure to check them out. In each volume, you’ll find a diverse crew of leaders who've overcome hurdles and achieved success in fundraising, broken through regulatory challenges, and persisted through development hiccups; veterans who’ll share the inside scoop on navigating investor skepticism, mastering the art of the pitch, and turning brilliant ideas into tangible medtech solutions.

Gabriel Jones on Doing Well by Doing Good

Gabriel Jones’s CV is a choose-your-own-adventure novel across continents and industries. His vast experience includes engineering roles in Asia, high-stakes mergers on Wall Street, and tackling global healthcare challenges with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, he is redefining surgical precision with AI through his latest venture, Proprio. We talk about building an ecosystem that fosters collective success, navigating the ever-shifting fundraising landscape, and harnessing the power of storytelling as a leader.

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Kirsten Carroll on Giving Patients Agency

A quarter-century in the trenches of neurovascular disorders has honed Kirsten's expertise to a razor's edge. Kirsten tackled product life cycles and navigated industry giants like Boston Scientific and Stryker. However, her heart’s calling has always been helping stroke survivors, which inspired her to found Kandu Health, a startup poised to revolutionize post-stroke care. Kandu is transforming the healthcare landscape by building a holistic ecosystem that empowers survivors and significantly improves their journeys to recovery. Kirsten talks about how innovation doesn’t equal invention, the secrets of process-driven leadership, building diverse talent pools, and understanding the true needs of all stakeholders.

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Parag Gad on Bridging Academia and Industry

Parag Gad is an academic who saw the transformative power of science firsthand and refused to let life-changing technology languish in labs. After a 12-year tenure at UCLA, Parag ventured into entrepreneurship by founding SpineX where his team has secured FDA's Breakthrough Device Designation for two non-invasive bioelectricity devices, one for adults with neurogenic bladder, and the other for children with cerebral palsy. Parag delves into the challenges and triumphs of transitioning into medtech entrepreneurship, how to manage the steep learning curve, and alternative funding strategies beyond traditional venture capital.

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Dr. David Albert on Consumer-Friendly Medtech

Dr. David Albert is a physician, scientist, inventor with several patents to his name, and even a YouTube sensation! His journey took him from the hallowed halls of Duke University to the University of Oklahoma, ultimately leading to the creation of the groundbreaking Kardia brand under his company, AliveCor, which stands at the forefront of personal EKG technology. Dr. Albert shares how having realistic expectations helped his transition from academia to the entrepreneurial world, how he utilizes available resources effectively, how to build a network of allies, the game-changing effects of showing up with a prototype, and his bold approach to consumer marketing.

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Shyam Natarajan on the Future of Medtech

Shyam Natarajan finished his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at UCLA and remained there as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Surgery before taking a remarkable leap into the business side of healthcare. As the founder and CEO of Avenda Health, he is at the helm of an innovative venture that leverages artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art imaging to transform prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. Shyam delves into the critical aspects of understanding market needs for medical products and services, how he builds prototypes to get all stakeholders on board, and shares insights to fundraising in the complex and challenging landscape of medtech.

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Bill Colone on Connections that Create Companies

Bill Colone is a seasoned serial entrepreneur who has raised tens of millions of dollars for his medical device ventures over the past several decades. His extensive entrepreneurial experience, coupled with his 13 U.S. patents and background in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University, position him as a proven veteran in the industry. Today, he is the CEO and Chairman of SinglePass, an innovative company in the field of electrocautery devices for deep tissue biopsies. Bill shares his journey as a serial entrepreneur, his take on the venture studio approach with practical and risk-averse strategies on capital efficiency and goal-oriented planning, and how his network has been an invaluable asset throughout all of his varied startups.

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Dr. Alberto Rodriguez-Navarro on Embracing the Scientific Approach

Dr. Alberto Rodriguez-Navarro is a skilled surgeon and medtech visionary with multiple patents to his name. He is the current CEO of Levita Magnetics, a startup pioneering the next wave of minimally invasive surgeries with its groundbreaking magnetic technology. Dr. Rodriguez-Navarro advocates for the scientific method in product development — from hypothesis formulation to MVP creation and iterative improvements based on real-world feedback. He shares his insights regarding the nuances of transitioning from clinical practice to the helm of a startup, the importance of understanding regulatory landscapes, and his firsthand experience in various roles, like sales, to better grasp the business dynamics of Levita Magnetics.

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Kelly Roman on Following Unconventional Paths

Kelly Roman, the co-founder and CEO of Fisher Wallace Labs, is an exemplar of how diverse paths can lead to groundbreaking achievements in medtech. He has made a remarkable transition from literature and marketing into the world of medtech — inspired by his work on the graphic novel adaptation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. He now spearheads Fisher Wallace Labs’ mission to knock down the stigma against mental health treatments and to help sufferers with a wearable neurostimulation device that targets issues like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Kelly delves into the challenges and triumphs of bringing a novel mental health treatment to the market and reflects on the importance of adaptive thinking, the power of embracing unconventional paths to regulatory approval and capital fundraising, and the critical role of focusing on the end-user experience in product design and clinical trials.

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David Hochman on Building Creative Partnerships

David Hochman, founder and CEO of Orchestra BioMed, is a trailblazer in the medtech industry. With an impressive background in healthcare entrepreneurship, he has created a legacy of leading successful startups through significant mergers, acquisitions, and fundraising triumphs. David delves into his risk-reward-sharing approach at Orchestra, and how this unique business model fosters collaboration over competition and propels high-impact technologies. We discuss the intricate process of aligning interests with global medtech giants and the critical importance of long-term strategy in driving sustainable industry innovation.

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Greg Bullington on Pioneering New Standards

Meet Greg Bullington, the innovative CEO of Magnolia Medical Technologies, who has significantly improved the accuracy of sepsis tests through the company's groundbreaking device - Steripath. With a rich background spanning biotech, healthcare, and software, Greg has skillfully guided Magnolia to not only create a new category with FDA, but also achieve widespread adoption of Steripath throughout the United States. Greg discusses the critical role of robust clinical data in establishing new medical standards and how Magnolia continues to conduct studies to validate Steripath’s efficacy, even after regulatory approval. He shares insights on using this data to influence entities like FDA and other government bodies in public health, and the strategic importance of maintaining and leveraging these relationships for long-term success.

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Each of these conversations has been a treasure trove of insights that’s enriched my journey as I steer FastWave Medical forward. I trust that this volume will offer you as much inspiration and practical knowledge as it’s offered me.

Thank you for your continued support as a reader. I'm always open to your ideas and suggestions for future Medsider Mentors features, so don't hesitate to share who you'd like to hear and learn from next.

Best Wishes,

Scott Nelson Signature