Skip to content
MedTech World 2024 Malta

1st July 2024

Against All Odds: Driving MedTech startups through tough times

“There’s always an opportunity with a crisis. Just as it forces an individual to look inside himself, it forces a company to reexamine its policies and practices.” 

– Judy A. Smith, American crisis manager, lawyer, author

During periods of global change, the MedTech and Healthcare sectors continue to flourish, despite increasing difficulty and novel challenges. CEOs and entrepreneurs excel in this way by seizing opportunities, meeting new demands, and strategising for success in the face of evolving landscapes.

Let’s explore some time-proven strategies that help MedTech businesses thrive against all odds.

Directing MedTech in a Changing World

Pandemics, geopolitical tensions, economic recessions, and natural disasters continuously reshape our world. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, has significantly impacted the healthcare and MedTech industries. Healthcare systems faced strain, fueling demand for innovative medical technologies like advanced diagnostics, remote monitoring, and telehealth services amidst lockdowns. In the MedTech sector, firms adapted to supply chain disruptions and heightened demand for medical supplies, accelerating R&D. 

These challenges can seem overwhelming, but despite this, CEOs and entrepreneurs—whether seasoned or new—shouldn’t despair. They can seize opportunities by identifying new market demands, enhancing customer relationships, driving business growth through altered strategies, and more.

Managing an A-team requires an A-CEO

As a founder or CEO, leading effectively starts with transparency, empathy, and authenticity, especially during tough times.

  • Keep your team informed with both challenges and successes, fostering trust and credibility. 
  • Celebrate victories together, no matter how small, to boost morale and recognize hard work. 
  • Outside of work, prioritise supporting employees dealing with personal challenges, especially during times like the pandemic. Ensure those affected receive continuous support and stay connected to the team. 

Investing in employee well-being goes beyond morality. In MedTech and healthcare, fostering loyalty and resilience is crucial, especially in demanding situations. An added benefit is that when your team is in good spirits, it translates into better patient care, significantly enhancing your patients’ chances of improvement. 

“Healthcare professionals need support, guidance, and, most importantly, time for self-care and self-love. When the system fails to provide this, it not only burns out its workers but also becomes a safety issue for patients.”

– Anushka Patchava MD, Chief Growth Officer at Mindstep, MedTech World Speaker

Crystal Clear Communication

Navigating stakeholder communications in MedTech requires finesse, especially during crises. Addressing concerns head-on can lead to bridge financing opportunities, ensuring continued growth and stability in MedTech ventures.

  • Prioritise customers by ensuring they feel valued and informed promptly. 
  • If issues arise, such as platform outages, honesty is crucial—acknowledge the problem, communicate efforts to resolve it, and apologise sincerely. 
  • Internally, transparency fosters trust amid tough decisions like furloughs. Respectful and timely communication with staff builds lasting goodwill. 
  • Similarly, maintaining investor trust through open dialogue, even during challenging times like fundraising, is pivotal. 

By investing in transparent and proactive communication, MedTech companies can secure long-term benefits. A balanced focus on both internal and external communications will drive your business forward, as artfully highlighted by Timothy C. Harvey, CEO and Co-Founder of Owl Peak Labs, during MedTech Malta 2023:

“Establishing trust with those who are truly part of your team—whom you rely on to execute—whilst not neglecting stakeholders fuelling your business is a strategy that drives accelerated growth like nothing else.” 

The True Test of your Values

Startups often talk about having values, but turbulent times reveal whether or not they practise what they preach. 

  • Values should guide you and your company through tough times and ensure your team is aligned. 
  • Your core principles should be discovered early and shared by everyone you hire. 
  • In the MedTech space, your guiding principles might include prioritising equitable, patient-centric care. 

It’s essential that you and your team understand what this outlook truly means for your stakeholders and eventual patients. As Dr. Khulood Mohamed Alsayegh, Head of Clinical Standards and Guidelines at the DHA, recommended during our Dubai event this year, ask yourself crucial questions like:

“When designing with patients and ethics in mind, we must ask: Does it serve the patient? Do they know what their treatment entails? Is it practical and evidence-based, or just flashy? It’s not just about access; it’s about equity in care and quality. Are we all receiving the same quality of care?”

Another good example of defining your startup’s values, particularly around innovation, was highlighted by Professor Greg Slabaugh in London last month. He shared insights into Queen Mary University’s pivotal role in digital health during the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing how it transformed the university into one of the greatest success stories in COVID patient care.

“In the COVID-19 era, digital health became a primary ingredient, catapulting Queen Mary into the limelight of patient care success. Beyond technology, our commitment to community engagement remained steadfast, with staff and students stepping up to support communities on the front lines and beyond.”

Revisiting Strategy

In MedTech, revisiting your core business strategy is crucial. It might seem counterintuitive when immediate issues demand attention, but it’s essential. 

  • Challenge your current approach by asking, “Why are we doing X? Why not Y?”
  • Break down problems and rebuild from the basics. This process can reveal ways to boost cash flow, reduce costs, and extend your financial runway. 
  • Clearly communicate short-term and long-term goals internally and with primary stakeholders as required.
  • By focusing on increasing revenue, cutting expenses, or raising funds, you’ll create a stronger, more resilient business with better unit economics. 

These insights of course come from trusted experts in the field. Raissa Hacohen, Chief Investment Officer at Longevity Venture Partners, emphasised this during our Dubai Roadshow.

“Entrepreneurs must meticulously detail their fundraising strategies—setting clear targets, timelines, and expected outcomes—to instil investor trust and drive forward progress.”

Similarly, Cristiano Fontana, CEO and Founder of Three Bridges M&C and Head of Advisory at Lifeblood, also highlighted the significance of revisiting core strategies.

“Our clients taught us a solid fundraising strategy is invaluable. It’s all about building trust and strong relationships, whether with service providers, industry partners, or financiers. There are never enough hands, and trust is essential.”

Ultimately, taking the time to reassess and refine your strategy now will pay off once the current crisis eases, setting your MedTech business up for long-term growth and stability.

Keeping up with MedTech

Stay ahead of the curve with our latest insights, overviews, and the freshest MedTech news. Don’t forget to bookmark our newspage, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and sign up for our Newsletter!

Psst..! MedTech Malta returns to the MCC this November! Join global investors and entrepreneurs to network, showcase technologies, and explore new opportunities. Save the date and secure your tickets now!