Look for the Wringing Hands
I love med device start-ups, I always have. More years ago than I’d like to admit, I was so enamored of them that I’d chase business from anyone using the ‘start-up’ moniker but it didn’t take me long to figure out the error of that infatuation.
Don’t misunderstand me, I still love start-ups. We do a considerable amount of business with them and will keep looking for the right stuff for as long as we stay in recruiting. What we’ve learned though is how to avoid the mistake of chasing ‘me too’ business and looking for the ‘novel product’ that has a real chance to succeed.
The hard lesson in this process has been that very few of these businesses will succeed. In fact, worse than the 80/20 rule applies because less than 20% of med device start-ups will survive the whole process of development and regulation. That’s daunting!
So, what do I mean by “wringing hands”? When you hear lines that begin with, “If only” or, “With just a bit more money, or time”, walk away. Really.
The other thing to know is that Relationship Selling is much more important with start-ups than with other businesses. They’ll share things with you that you’d never hear from another client and how effectively you share with them is the ‘payback’. Compare that to the big 3 med device companies. They could who care less who you are, why you exist, and how you could be arrogant enough to believe you could help them.
All of this to say that working with a really good, well managed start-up is extraordinarily fulfilling. These guys are the way I stay close to the process because no matter what your relationship is to a start-up; you’re close to the process. Before my closing sentence I need to say ‘thank you’. Thank you to the start-ups we are doing business with today and those we’ll engage with tomorrow. You keep us on our toes but also keep us close to the patient which is where any good med device recruiter should be.
Here’s a great article from angelmd about the investment side of this and the best line in the article is “The day you invest is the day the work begins … not ends.”