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18th December 2023

From ideation to commercialisation: Experts discuss serial entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship, a journey marked by challenges and triumphs, remains a fundamental force of nature in driving innovation and change. 

Last October, Med-Tech World hosted a panel of experts, curating a compelling discussion delving into the minds of serial entrepreneurs to uncover the motivations and resilience that drive them in their challenging and often formidable pursuits. 

The panel was part of a series held in the timeless La Valette Hall of the Mediterranean Conference Centre during the Med-Tech World Summit. The event brought together investors and entrepreneurs from the USA, Canada, Europe, Israel, and the Far East.

What drives us to innovate?

Aptly named Serial Entrepreneurship: Why We Continue?, the panel was moderated by Julie Adrian, Founder and CEO of Alverium Health. 

Alverium Health, a pioneering contract biotech company, redefines the journey from scientific ambition to commercial reality. Boasting a highly experienced and functionally diverse team, Alverium is dedicated to creating maximum value for assets, companies, and patients through a unique approach to the commercialization journey.

Alverium’s distinctive approach, marked by functional integration, a global footprint, shared risk, and adaptive strategies, positions it as the ideal guide for discussions on serial entrepreneurship within the MedTech industry.

Adrian was joined by Lloyd Diamond, CEO of Pixium Vision; John Slump, CFO of Volta Medical Inc.; Youssef Biadillah, Co-founder of Anchor Orthopedics, CEO at BariaTek Medical, and CEO of Holistick Medical; Greg Walters, CEO/President and Co-Founder of Excision Medical Inc.; and Mike Wallace, Co-Founder and Venture Partner of Early Bird Medical and ShangBay Capital. Together, the speakers highlighted the core value of what motivates them towards serial entrepreneurship.

Passion for innovation

Embarking on entrepreneurial journeys, the serial entrepreneurs share a resounding passion for innovation, an unwavering drive that propels them forward.

“You may love building and creating. Despite that, you still have to really believe in the mission,” expresses Lloyd Diamond, underlining the entrepreneurial journey’s requirement of resilience.

Similarly, Mike Wallace, driven by his engineering background, finds joy in applying engineering principles to solve medical problems. For him, the “cool factor of innovating” and the excitement of doing something new and different define the essence of his entrepreneurial spirit.

The essence of serial entrepreneurship lies in a profound purpose, where innovation is not merely a pursuit but a targeted response to pressing needs. For many in the startup field, it’s about channelling passion into purpose-driven innovation—identifying critical challenges in healthcare and crafting solutions with a clear intent.

Navigating the startup landscape

Traversing the challenging terrain of startups, insight was shed on the panellist’s strategic navigation through uncertainties, underlining adaptability and resilience.

John Slump highlights the significance of recognizing when to step aside and let the right leader drive the company. “Don’t go solo. For first-timers, stepping aside from the founder’s CEO role can be a game-changer. Sometimes, success means getting out of your own way, recognizing when to build a formidable team, and embracing roles that fuel collective success.” 

In Slump’s experience, the painful lesson of hiring the wrong CEO shaped the trajectory of his early ventures.

Wallace strategically positions himself as an early fast follower, minimising risk while seizing opportunities. He encapsulates his deliberate approach to market entry, stating “We coined it yesterday – early fast follower. My co-founder and I, with five ventures together, believe in finding new areas and being the second, not third, fourth, or fifth.”

He described how the risk associated with being the second entrant is portrayed as less than that of leading the market. If the initial leader encounters challenges or fails, the market dynamics might stagnate, presenting an opportunity for the fast follower to capitalise.

The imperative of commercialisation

The journey of a startup isn’t merely about ideation and innovation—it’s about bringing those ideas to market, and the speakers collectively stress the imperative of commercialization.

Diamond emphasises “If your product is approved, you have an obligation to launch it.” This echoes the sentiment that commercialisation is not just a business milestone but a responsibility to stakeholders.

Greg Walters reinforces this view, drawing from his experiences: “The ultimate acquisition strategy is not needing one. To achieve this, ensure your product is commercialization-ready, putting you in the driver’s seat of negotiations.” His perspective underlines the strategic significance of making a product commercially viable, enhancing its appeal to potential acquirers.

Hop aboard the Med-Tech World innovation train

In 2024, Med-Tech World is pushing boundaries once again. Within a brief span of two years, the Med-Tech World Summit has emerged as a global influence, creating ripples in cities like Dubai, Toronto, Belgrade, London, and Istanbul. The excitement persists as the journey extends to new frontiers in Barcelona and Berlin.