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9th February 2024

Into the fray of Early Capital with veteran MedTech CEOs

“No company has ever died from dilution, but they have died from no capital.” 

-Renee Ryan, former CEO of Cala Health

Embarking on that maiden voyage as a CEO comes with both its triumphs and tribulations. First Time CEO War Stories: Raising Capital emerged as a pivotal panel by MedTech CEOs amidst the prestigious Med-Tech World Malta 2023 conference. It delved into the intricate challenges of securing capital in the MedTech industry. 

Held at Valletta’s iconic Mediterranean Conference Centre, this enlightening session shed light on the heart of capital acquisition, captivating audiences and igniting discussions concerning the industry’s forefront.

Lessons for First-Time CEOs in the MedTech Industry 


This panel came to fruition through the strategic partnership of Lifeblood, a renowned talent acquisition firm specialising in MedTech startups, and Med-Tech World Summit. In October 2023, the synergy between these two entities fostered a culture of collaboration, uniting the MedTech community for one massive show.

Effortlessly guiding the discussion, Giovanni Lauricella, Managing Partner at Lifeblood Capital & Talent, swiftly set the stage, outlining the panel’s breadth and depth.

“As first-time founders, navigating the terrain of raising capital will be daunting. Today, we’re sharing experiences from the inception of fundraising. There’s invaluable insights and lessons on the table.”

The panel boasted a staggering lineup of six experts, each equipped with their own compelling war stories to share.

  • Aashiish Agnihotri, PhD, Founder & CEO, xDot Medical Inc.
  • Joseph W. Rafferty, CEO & Founder, VESTECK Inc.
  • Jordan Pollack, CEO, VeinWay Ltd.
  • Victor Suturin, Founder and CEO, Aliform Inc.
  • Bryce Klontz, Advisor, CEO at New View Surgical, Inc.
  • Ina Laura Perkins, CEO, Scandinavian Real Heart

Here are some of the key insights shared!

Taking calculated risks beyond comfort zones 

Biomedical scientist Victor Suturin recounted his transition from academia to securing VC funding for his startup, Aliform Inc. He detailed the daunting task of constructing a lab from Amazon components after departing from his teaching career.

Initially lacking connections in the investment realm, Suturin underscored the significance of securing VC funding for the seed round in June, which significantly boosted their prospects.

He stressed the value of discerning when to venture into new territories, citing instances of scouting investors abroad and utilising honeymoon gift money to finance essential journeys.


“Knowing when to seize new horizons, to push beyond comfort zones, is the ultimate test of entrepreneurial grit. For us, it meant wagering our honeymoon fund on a pivotal trip to Dallas, Texas, where we met an accelerator with early-stage backing that had identified our potential… my poor wife!”

Similarly, Aashiish Agnihotri reflected on his path as a first-time founder, initially depending on his network of physicians for funding due to limited connections with investors. However, he discovered that the fundraising process was more time-consuming than expected and acknowledged errors made along the journey, stressing the importance of gleaning insights from these experiences.

“Those objections in the beginning—that we were too ahead of the curve—were all we were gonna get. They taught us invaluable lessons along the way.”

Agnihotri underscored the significance of honing his fundraising narrative by engaging with investors early on, despite encountering rejections along the way.

Embracing the role of CEO means more face-to-face

Joseph W. Rafferty recalled his past involvement in startup operations, particularly in fundraising efforts as part of the operations team.


“The transition to the CEO role marks a significant shift, as you become the face of the company, particularly during fundraising endeavours.”

In the same light, Jordan Pollack underscored the importance of networking and in-person interactions in navigating the fundraising terrain. 

He underscored the hurdles of cutting through the clutter of email pitches and stressed the importance of personal connections and introductions in fostering substantive relationships with investors.

“Prioritise face-to-face interactions and personal networking. Investors and stakeholders are people, and that’s how you form genuine connections with them!”

Persistently pursue fundraising opportunities

Bryce Klontz shared his initiation into the fundraising realm as a novice CEO, humbly acknowledging the missteps and wisdom accrued through trial and error. Transitioning from the corporate sphere, he grappled with the absence of connections in private equity and venture capital, posing initial hurdles in fundraising endeavours.

Klontz emphasised the unpredictable nature of fundraising triumphs and extolled the virtues of persistence and networking in surmounting challenges and securing vital initial capital.

“Building that network, understanding key players, and kickstarting the process required that initial catalyst. You never know where it might come from, so seizing every opportunity, engaging at every conference, and connecting with everyone was key.”

Ina Laura Perkins illuminated the importance of not solely focusing on product narratives but also on managerial transitions, reflecting on her evolution from CSO to CEO, a transformation recognized by grant evaluators.

“Upon my transition as CEO for my company, feedback from the jury underscored the importance of change in management. They recognized the shift and observed the subsequent adjustments in our team building strategies.”

Ina Laura Perkins, drawing from her scientific background and experience with writing lengthy documents, highlighted the importance of resilience when facing rejection. She encouraged seeking feedback and persisting through multiple application attempts.

“Remember, every application invites feedback, and that’s your success prospects soaring higher. Embrace the process, seek feedback relentlessly, and keep pushing forward.”

Join us for the Med-Tech World UAE Roadshow | February 26th, 2024

Save the date for our forthcoming UAE Roadshow, revving up the sands on February 26th.

Embarking on its 2024 global journey, the Roadshow debuts in Dubai on February 26th, graciously hosted at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City.

An eagerly awaited event, this roadshow promises an avenue for in-depth exploration and dialogue on the latest breakthroughs in medical technology, fostering collaboration and steering the trajectory of healthcare forward.

Join us for what promises to be an unparalleled opportunity to dive into the vibrant tapestry of possibilities emerging in the UAE, where innovation converges with investment.