Why Early Stage Medical Device Deals Aren’t as Bad as You May Think: Interview with Mike Carusi, General Partner at Lightstone Ventures

Warren Buffet is often quoted as stating, “The best time to be greedy is when others are fearful.” But can this same concept apply to the medtech space?

Can limited partners (the investors in a venture fund) be sold on the idea of bankrolling early-stage medical device companies?

In this interview with Mike Carusi, General Partner at Lightstone Ventures, we learn why his firm believes the current medtech environment represents an incredible investment opportunity.

Interview Highlights with Mike Carusi

  • Because of the challenges involved with raising money for early-stage medtech deals, will there be a large innovation gap in 7-10 years?
  • Is there any sort of mandate within large strategics to keep the medtech ecosystem alive?
  • For those “bloated” medical device startups that have raised $100+ million, how much pressure are they under?
  • Why early-stage medical device companies should look at biotech and pharma in order to discover creative ways to fund companies.
  • Will the build-to-suit (“exclusive incubator”) trend continue?
  • VC firms win by trying to hit home runs versus singles.  But if you can be efficient with capital, can hitting singles be a viable model?  In other words, can Fred Khosravi’s success be duplicated?
  • Is there room left for the traditional model of incremental product improvements (with minimal clinical data) at higher market prices? AKA the “fast follower” approach.
  • Are we in a renal denervation bubble?
  • How does a medtech engineer, physician, or entrepreneur get the attention of Mike and his VC colleagues?
  • What are medical device acquirers looking for in pre-revenue startups?  In other words, what markets should startups be pursuing?
  • Best practices for “de-risking” a potential acquisition.
  • How Mike’s early experience in sales helped him throughout his medical device career.

Listen to the Interview with Mike Carusi

Read the Interview with Mike Carusi

Download a copy of the interview transcript right here.

More About Mike Carusi

Mike is a General Partner and Team Leader of Lightstone Ventures. He focuses on biopharmaceutical and medical device investments out of the firm’s Palo Alto office. Mike also joined Advanced Technology Ventures in 1998 and serves as a General Partner. His representative investments include Altura Medical, Ardian (acquired by Medtronic), EndoGastric Solutions, GI Dynamics (ASX: GID.AX), GluMetrics, Holaira, MicroVention (acquired by Terumo), NeuroVista, Plexxikon (acquired by Daiichi Sankyo), PowerVision, TranS1 (NASDAQ: TSON), and Second Genome.

Featured on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of top technology investors, Mike is a recognized thought leader in the industry and a frequent speaker at healthcare-related conferences and trade shows. He serves as a faculty member of the Stanford Biodesign Emerging Entrepreneurs Forum, sits on the Tuck MBA Advisory Board, and is an advisory board member to the UCSF/Berkeley Venture Innovation Program.

Mike holds an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and a B.S. from Lehigh University.

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