Other than Tricog, Cyclops, Cardiac Design Labs, Sig-tuple, MedGenome, Sanket, Niramayi Health you will probably not find out too many medical device startups which have survived for long, leave apart success.
We have no shortage of innovations, grants, funds, incubators, and accelerators. And yet, why are we not producing world-class startups in the diagnostics and Med-tech space?
REASONS WHY MEDICAL DEVICE IS HARD
1. MedTech is science(not Tech). Science takes decades for maturity, no shortcuts. Startups are valuation games, commerce. Commerce has no patience.
2. Delivery of MedTech is always through a human network. Scientists are introverts, very few have the ability to create a large human value chain.
3. People whom they bring in to fill that gap are from sales and marketing. They are good when there is SoPs, Collaterals, and Salesforce structure and processes are in place. They are not scientists, and so they can’t articulate the science. Hence they fail to crack the market.
4. Compliances are too many and costly. With all money going to Validation, compliances, design, creation, no budget is left for marketing.
5. Sales cycle is long and always a pilot precedes the sales.
The startup world doesn’t yet know the art of “Commercifying” & “Humanizing” a Science.
One of the reasons why investors have burnt money in this space is because of false notions. Science appears like magic. You have a box, you place hands, and it will tell your cancer. All that is good for initial optics, but in a real-time use case, there are plenty more factors.
Pharma, Pathology, Medical devices, Hospitals, top doctors together create a castle. You have no entry to the castle, no matter how good is your science. If you try to fight the war outside the castle, ie, consumer segment, then also you will lose because consumers will need to go to the castle for treatment. IoT, Video Consultancy is all fine, but they don’t work. Because a patient needs a caregiver, more than a tech.
Any medical device startup will go for a wild challenge after 18 months of inception when it is time to take the product to the market.
Mentors come from established industries. They have no knowledge about ground realities. And so, this puzzle will upset the founder. He would end up blaming all but himself for the mess because he did his job with science.
There is no quick exit from this space, and the chances of returns are thin. They will end up in Wellness, where competition is already bleeding companies out.
It’s a dead-end.
READER and REVIEWER’s VIEWS AND THOUGHTS
If truth to be told, In Indian medtech startup based on Hardward they are not innovating the way ( manufacturing process) as compared to there Chinese counterpart.
In North India, i know only one company which manufacture product for around 13 Medical Hardware Device brand which consist from ECH Machine to MRI Machine. All there company are just doing the 3rd Party Labeling.
Till the time Product Market Fit is achieved and standard Sales and Marketing process established, the Founder has to lead Sales, won’t work without that.Karuna Sharma
Survival of healthtech is possible when merging Tech with retail. There should be JV route only as long as founders leave their ego and seriously interested to penterate the market exponentially. The distributors are still of old thought of school from device prespective so Healthtech has to figure out synergies and build new value chain proposition. Mantra is penetratig market along with innovation otherwise competition catches up fast.Hemant Mishra
I am guessing in addition to incubators and accelerators we will also need robust network of research based universities with funding and PhD students and professors to do more serious research in this area ? Much like drug discovery and research, medtech is high science and not at all like developing a new e-commerce platform
It’s not just the start ups. I have seen companies that are even 40 years old that have not been able to grow even at the rate of inflation. And the reasons are same. No genuine belief in how an organization is build, grown and sustained. They will give you a thousand reasons to justify their journey but when it comes to numbers – they will blame employees or even the Government.Ravinder Bhan
Yes. Some of these scientific inventions take many years to mature and become commercially viable and profitable businesses. That’s why they are usually funded by govts and large corporations in the form of grants. Otherwise you need really patient investors.Syamala Oruganti
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