How Tactical Networking Can Increase Your Chances of Medtech Startup Success


In this playbook we highlight medtech innovators who have shared their insights on the keys to building and leveraging strategic networks to push boundaries and move the needle forward.

Key Lessons From This Playbook

  • Get friendly with the FDA: Gaining regulatory approval is challenging, but those challenges are there for your product to reach its full potential. Building a positive and proactive relationship with the necessary parties can offer you vital learnings early on.
  • Choose the right financial partners: Securing capital is not just about the funds but also about finding investors who are genuinely interested in your work. Be intentional about building enduring relationships with capital allocators who can offer wisdom, experience, and ongoing support.
  • Focus on relevant voices: Streamline the input involved in your decision-making processes. By focusing on the core questions that matter most to your business, you can reduce noise and accelerate the impact of your initiatives.
  • Nurture and retain teams: Invest in the right people and keep them in-house if you can. Success in medtech often requires full-time dedication and uninterrupted attention. Building a robust and dedicated team enables you to iterate quickly and respond swiftly in the face of changing tides.

Secure Capital That Aligns With Your Vision

Mara McFadden, CEO of Endolumik, couples her engineering background with refined business acumen honed at companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Philips Healthcare. Her current venture, Endolumik, is pioneering an innovative esophagogastric calibration system. 

When it comes to early-stage capital, you might think, “The more, the merrier;” however, Mara has learned the hard way that fundraising isn’t just about securing dollars — it’s about securing the right dollars. Her advice? Understand the financial side of the business, avoid overcapitalization, and know the value proposition for future stakeholders. 

She recommends targeting pitches to investors with a proven interest and expertise in your field rather than throwing punches in the dark.

Shift Your Perspective on Regulatory Bodies

Dr. Brett Wingeier is a force to be reckoned with in neuromodulation. His work at NeuroPace and Halo Neuroscience, as well as his current role as the co-founder and CTO of Magnus Medical, skillfully blends medicine, biology, and engineering.

We all know that cooperation with regulatory parties is an essential part of the medtech industry, but Brett advises viewing regulatory entities as allies rather than adversaries. It’s crucial to establish meaningful connections with these stakeholders to ensure they understand your mission and can effectively support your efforts.

Look Beyond the Initial Capital

With his rich history in guiding medtech and biotech companies, Lloyd Diamond, CEO of Pixium Vision, brings a unique entrepreneurial perspective. Pixium is developing a revolutionary retinal implant system that brings hope to patients with advanced macular degeneration.

His advice is to be fastidious with potential investors. It’s important to seek those who align with your company vision and can offer ongoing support in addition to funding. This means focusing on building relationships with investors who bring more than just money to the table. There will be many cases where wisdom pays better than venture capital alone.

Cut Through the Noise for Focused Success

Rob Ball, CEO of Shoulder Innovations, and a seasoned medical device expert, is a living example of the power of strategic focus. With over 30 issued or pending patents and a professional life dedicated to medtech, his contribution to companies like Tornier, where he grew revenue from $40 million to $300 million, cannot be overstated.

In Rob's view, tuning out the noise is an essential part of strategic networking. When designing a clinical study, for example, he warns against having too many voices at the table. Instead, he encourages cultivating a focus on key questions that truly matter. 

By coalescing a narrow network of individuals who can help answer those vital questions, you’ll boost efficiency and accelerate your eventual success.

Build a Powerful and Dedicated Team

Joe Rafferty, CEO of Vesteck, brings with him a wealth of experience designing, building, and commercializing medical devices. He recognizes the challenges and opportunities in the field and uses these insights to lead Vesteck, a company at the forefront of developing solutions for aortic aneurysms.

Joe credits much of his success to the guidance of his mentors, highlighting the importance of having a reliable network and being open to learning from others. His strategy in the medtech business is based on building a powerful team and keeping them focused full-time on the task at hand. 

By recruiting the right people and keeping them in-house, you can quickly address any challenges along the way at full capacity with greater control.

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