The following was written by Beth Goldstein, one of our ATI Interns who is currently working with member company, Terapio, about her takeaways from the last two classes in the Product Realization and Technology Commercialization seminar series. You can see previous write-ups by following the links below:
We really appreciate Beth taking the time to write up her takeaways on the series! She even says “I’m sad the series is over, I really enjoyed it! It certainly got me thinking about technology from a different point of view.” This is just one example of the education and learning opportunities we provide our interns.
Entrepreneur as Innovator and Technology Venture | October 16th, 2009
The speakers was Mr. Charles Griffin who worked at CarboMedics for 25 years, first as a Research Engineer and most recently as President, until the company was acquired and moved to Italy. The company made artificial heart valves and Mr. Griffin was able to use his experience in the medical device industry for his next venture. He was contacted by Santé Ventures, a local VC firm, to be President & CEO of BioStable Science & Engineering, Inc. The company is developing products for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Mr. Griffin used his contacts from CarboMedics to put together an experienced management team. The first product they created was the HAART device used in aortic valve repair. This decision was based on research showing that it is better to repair then replace the heart mitral valve and there was currently no product on the market for the aortic valve. Future plans are to expand product development to maximize market revenue. Mr. Griffin had some advice:
Develop Philosophy & Culture
- Do it right every time
- Learn from failure
- Let your employees operate freely within constraints & understand their motivations
- Hold people accountable
Build a team
- Select vendors and treat them well to get good quality
- Only hire when it’s necessary to get the best people
Build a business to treat an unmet need (or disease) not to commercialize a technology
- Develop a good plan
- Stay focused
Market Launch | October 23rd, 2009
The speaker was Mr. Rick Wittenbraker who is a general partner at Stage One Capital, an early stage VC firm, and also works as an independent advisor to other ventures. Previously, Mr. Wittenbraker was Chief Operating Officer at Patton Medical. This company created a device that minimizes injection puncture sites (i-port® Injection Port). He discussed the importance of taking technology and turning it into a product.
VC questions (mentioned multiple times during the semester so they must be important)
- Is there a need?
- Does the product meet that need?
- Is this the right team to get it there?
- Stat with technology (focus on R&D) but once you decide to bring a product to market you have to focus on $$
- Determine company goals, work backwards
- What is your competitive edge?
- Who are you as a brand?
- What is your strategy? What are you selling?
- Who is your audience? What is your message?
- *Be careful, you might have more audiences that you anticipate*
- Consumer, Partners, Distributor & Acquirers
- Relationships are critical to find, build & maintain
- Focus on strategy
- Intelligent spending
- Revenue is top priority
- Follow the plan (but revisit often)