In the world of medtech, there’s seldom a teacher better than direct experience. That’s why I founded Medsider, to foster a community where we share knowledge and hard-earned insights. And thanks to the numerous interviews I've had with accomplished entrepreneurs in the space, I’ve gained invaluable lessons into the strategies and frameworks that drive innovation. 

In Volume VI of Medsider Mentors, I’m thrilled to present another collection of candid interviews with medtech pioneers. They share the highs and lows of their journeys and the strategies across core functions such as early-stage ideation, fundraising, clinical and regulatory approaches, mergers and acquisitions, and more. If you're seeking inspiration, tactical advice, or simply a glimpse into the minds driving medtech forward, this is for you.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come:

Dan Rose on Positioning for an Acquisition

Dan Rose successfully led his company, LimFlow, to a lucrative exit with Inari Medical as its CEO. LimFlow addressed a critical need in Chronic Limb-Threatening Ischemia (CLTI) treatment by developing an innovative rerouting system for blocked arteries. Dan’s expertise, cultivated over 25 years in medical devices, offers a unique perspective on the entire lifecycle of a medtech company—from early-stage innovation to successful exit. We discuss the intricacies of managing the needs of multiple investors, why you have to design with the average user in mind, and the importance of understanding the reimbursement landscape early on.

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Dr. Steven Mickelsen on Being Creative in the Face of Scarcity

A professional musician turned electrophysiologist and entrepreneur at the forefront of cardiac innovation, Dr. Steven Mickelsen holds a unique edge. He has made some very important contributions to pulse field ablation (PFA) technology, notably through his previous company Farapulse (acquired by Boston Scientific). Now, as CEO of Field Medical, Steven aims to address the critical unmet needs of ventricular arrhythmias with the next generation of PFA technology. We discuss how to build creative but capital-efficient prototypes,the value of targeted expertise in both the clinical and regulatory domains, and approaches to fundraising that prioritize long-term value creation and win-win partnerships.

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Ken Mariash on Breaking Down the Startup Journey

Decades of experience leading healthcare giants like Boston Scientific – where he was instrumental in commercialization and strategy development in the company’s $1B neuromodulation division – brought Ken Mariash to his startup, Sinaptica. Instead of developing pharmaceuticals, Sinaptica Therapeutics is tackling Alzheimer's with a device, a personalized brain stimulation therapy that's shown remarkable promise in slowing the disease's progression. Ken shares insights on how to break down the startup processes into baby steps, how to identify and bridge a company’s gaps for M&A, the vitals for achieving successful commercialization, and the importance of communicating your mission in a simple and comprehensible manner so that your investors will champion it at dinner parties.

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Daniel Powell on Avoiding Unnecessary FDA Red Tape

Daniel Powell found his true passion in neurostimulation in 2006 and has since launched multiple products in the space for companies like St. Jude Medical, LivaNova, and Getinge. Since co-founding Spark Biomedical in 2018, he has been spearheading the development of the Sparrow Ascent, a wearable neurostimulation device designed to alleviate the devastating symptoms of opioid withdrawal. They have secured FDA clearance for multiple iterations of the technology and are expanding their applications to Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome. Daniel talks about the value of early testing when validating product-market fit, diversifying funding sources, and working effectively with FDA.

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Carla Spina on Cross-Pollinating in Medtech

Thanks to her expertise spanning chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmaceuticals, Carla Spina is equipped to tackle complex medical problems from multiple angles. As the founder of Noa Therapeutics, she’s working to develop singular, non-steroidal, small-molecule therapies to wholly address the complexity of immune diseases. Carla shares her unique approach to drug development, how engaging with diverse stakeholders helps identify key milestones required for growth, and the importance of collaboration and fostering strong networks within the startup community.

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Harlee Sorkin on Ruthless Prioritization For Capital Efficiency

Harlee Sorkin co-founded a venture studio that has spun out eight medtech startups including InterShunt Technologies, led a successful company exit, and serves as an assistant professor focused on translating research into real-world solutions. Today, as the CEO of InterShunt, he's spearheading the development of a treatment for heart failure. The company’s minimally invasive catheter system creates a shunt within the heart that improves blood flow and reduces cardiac workload. Harlee discusses his ruthless prioritization framework, why you should be raising friends instead of funds, and why you should be outspoken about your mission to different stakeholders.

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Ananth Ravi on Being Driven by Purpose

Ananth Ravi had to witness the difficulties of cancer treatment growing up in Zambia due to the loss of his best friend to treatable brain cancer. Years later, he found his calling for developing patient-centric solutions when he was working at Sunnybrook Hospital during a Patient Family Advisory Committee meeting where he listened to treatment stories from breast cancer patients. Today, as the CEO of MOLLI Surgical, Ananth is developing wire-free localization technology that dramatically improves precision and patient comfort during breast cancer surgery. Ananth shares his journey from physicist to medtech entrepreneur, why intuitive design trumps everything, and the funding sources you need to tap into as your company evolves.

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Anish Kaushal on Career Transitions and Insider VC Perspectives

Anish Kaushal originally planned to be a physician but instead ended up an investor and writer. When he finished medical school, he went on a detour to find his true calling. After hundreds of cold emails, he discovered the world of venture capital and now plays a pivotal role at Amplitude Ventures, a leading Canadian healthcare VC firm. He’s full of insights on fundraising, networking, navigating career transitions, and the power of persistence. We talk about how to craft the best pitch deck, how and why you should be proactive in fundraising, and the art of building strong networks.

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Trent Reutiman on Readjusting Your Focus

Trent Reutiman, a medtech veteran with 25 years of leadership experience across various small and large companies, intimately understands the journey from concept to commercialization. At Mercator MedSystems, he champions the Bullfrog microinfusion system focusing on precise drug delivery for peripheral vascular disease with broader therapeutic possibilities. We delve into the balancing act between clinical and commercial efforts, explore how CEOs can reassess and shift their focus, and discuss strategies for protecting the integrity of a startup’s technology.

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Benjamin Sexson on Crowdfunding and IPOs in Medtech

First mechanical engineer, then business developer, and now robotics innovator, the CEO of Monogram Orthopedics, Benjamin Sexson, is dedicated to developing the first fully-autonomous robot for knee replacement surgeries. Benjamin talks about why entrepreneurs are particularly vulnerable to the cognitive bias known as the “sunk cost fallacy” and how to avoid it, his tested strategies for confident pivoting, his experience with alternative funding sources like crowdfunding and IPOs, and his approach to building an A-team and maintaining a feracious company culture.

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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 learn from next.

Best Wishes,

Scott Nelson Signature