5 Questions CEOs Should Ask About Fundraising

Scott Ely

VP Product/Information Security Officer



Close your next round by reaching the right audience with the right message.  Focus your efforts by asking these questions about fundraising:

How good is your executive summary and storytelling?

Your pitch should be written to emotionally connect investors to your company. This can be a particular challenge for technical founders. How are you helping patients?  Talk about it. Your company facts should be simple and clear. One page. In initial discussions, investors lack attention for details. The goal is to get to a second discussion — not close the deal.

How many discussions are you having with potential investors?

This is a numbers game and the more connections you make, the more chances you have to get engagement on your deal. If your conversion rates are low, your message is not resonating. Either improve the message or improve the company. Investor engagement is a proxy for the market. Connect your angelMD profile through social media and update the network weekly to get more physicians and investors talking about your company.

Are you measuring investor responses and learning from the NOs?

Track the number of pitches you make and resulting conversions. There is no magic formula, but qualified investors should invest in your deal 10% to 20% of the time if your idea and message are strong and clear.

Do you have good advocates?

You need lead investors and physician advocates that can tell your story and rally support through social proof.  People invest alongside people they know and trust.  angelMD can help your lead investors build and reach your audience.

Are you raising enough capital?

All too often companies raise too little money and are forced into perpetual fundraising mode which hampers progress. While dilution is a consideration, it’s rarely a concern if you can get to a successful inflection point. Make sure there is adequate fuel in the tank.

At the end of the day, raising capital is critical to success. It’s not tangential to the business. It’s core to the business. You have probably heard the phrase, “Always Be Closing.” Well there is one that comes before that: “Always Be Expanding” … your audience of potential investors.

Build your profile on angelMD today. More importantly, submit updates to show momentum and grow your audience.

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Hay Fever a Reminder of the Market Scope of Allergy/Immunology

It’s that beautiful time of year dreaded by many who suffer from grass pollen allergies. Grass pollen allergy creates symptoms of a runny or stuff nose, scratchy throat, and itchy or watery eyes, and can foster a dangerous environment for patients diagnosed with asthma or other breathing conditions. There are companies on angelMD, such as Sparo Labs, that seek to mitigate the dangers facing individuals with asthma. Sparo Lab’s Wing product allows its users to track their lung function on a digital health app using an FDA cleared and over the counter sensor, a feature that could help the precautions necessary for those with asthma during the season of grass pollen allergy.

Overall, this season can have a seismic impact on the allergy/immunology sector. Reportedly*, 1 in 5 Americans have allergy or asthma symptoms, and the average yearly cost of allergies to the health care system – and businesses – is $7.9 Billion. In total, 4 million workdays each year have been lost to hay fever, with the duration of pollen allergy season seemingly extending by 4 weeks over the past 10-15 years.

Whether you are an up and coming startup or a health care professional, these figures hold enough weight to influence your day to day business. According to a report distributed by Miltech, this is what the role of allergies could mean for the wider market:

North America has the largest market for allergy diagnostics, followed by Europe. This is due to the rise in number of people with allergies, better government support, improved medical insurance policies, increased health care expenditure, advanced diagnostic technologies, and good healthcare infrastructure in these regions. The allergy diagnostics market in Asia is expected to experience a high growth rate in the next few years due to developing health care infrastructures, increasing prevalence of allergic diseases, increasing disposable income, and aging population in the region. These factors, along with an alarming rise in pollution across the globe are expected to drive the global market for allergy diagnostics. Moreover, growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, rise in healthcare expenditure, and rapidly increasing global population of children below 14 years of ages are the other factors driving this market. However, high capital requirement and strict regulations set by various governments are some major factors restraining the growth for the global allergy diagnostics market.

Increase in population and growth in economies in developing countries, such as India and China are expected to drive the allergy diagnostics market in Asia. Increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions, rise in the number of collaborations and partnerships, new product launches and increasing research and development activities are some of the latest trends that have been observed in the global allergy diagnostics market.

The major companies operating in this market worldwide are bioMérieux, Danaher Corporation, Hitachi Chemical Diagnostics, HOB Biotech Group Co., Ltd., HYCOR BioMedical, Inc., Omega Diagnostics Ltd., Stallergenes, Lincoln Diagnostics, Inc., Siemens Healthcare, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.

Based on information from Persistence Market Research

* http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-statistics

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Data Data Data: Tips from Mayo CEO on Physician Engagement

Physicians are at the core of healthcare. One way or another every life science startup can trace its business model to physician engagement, from Listen.MD‘s endeavor to offer doctors a machine learning solution to data entry, to Eko Devices‘ revolutionary digital stethoscope that changes the way many physicians conduct their daily practice. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, such as Curtana Pharmaceuticals, Inc., work with physicians to develop treatments, therapies, and drugs.

It’s no secret that physician engagement is crucial to the success of healthcare startups. Physicians are the experts in the industry,  and their knowledge is invaluable for functioning in the business. With thousands of physicians registered on our platform, angelMD is an unprecedented potential hub of medical expertise, a crucial resource for startups on our network.

As we continue our work of connecting the most promising life science startups with leading physician investors, here is some advice obtained from a conversation between Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworth, MD and American Medical Association CEO James Madara, MD, originally published in Healthcare IT News

“Show them value and they will come running to you,” said Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy, MD, during a conversation with James Madara, MD, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association. The two spoke Thursday at healthcare startup incubator Matter in Chicago.

“Physicians are slow to change,” Noseworthy acknowledged. “Just yelling at them will not get them to change,” he told a packed room of entrepreneurs and innovators. “They’re slow to change —until they see the data.”

Show practitioners data on how an innovation can improve their lives or their patients’ lives and they will be interested, according to the Mayo CEO.

“Physicians are, by and large, service-driven individuals,” Noseworthy noted. “Physicians go into the field to serve patients.”

Doctors were trained to do things a certain way, and they often can’t see beyond what their mentors taught them, according to Noseworthy. An innovation has to demonstrate how it might move physicians and their patients to a better place, Noseworthy said.

Some of this skepticism toward workflow changes comes from frustrations clinicians have experienced with electronic health records, Noseworthy suggested. “It’s not completely fair, but they see it as removing all the joy of work,” he said. That reality has turned physicians off when it comes to other technologies.

“This loss of meaning” is driving physician burnout, Madara added, citing a 2013 AMA-RAND Health study on physician satisfaction.

Madara recalled a panel discussion he took part in with Andy Slavitt at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. Slavitt, then in his final days as acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the only thing that he was sure would improve the practice of medicine would be to give time back to physicians.

To that end, Madara and Noseworthy offered advice to startups looking to sell their wares to health systems and physicians.

Mayo has but one criterium driving all of its research and innovation: “What is the unmet need of the patient?” Noseworthy said.

This helps accelerate the movement of innovation from lab to clinic, something that is notoriously slow in healthcare.

Madara said that IT executives and entrepreneurs must understand the incentives they are offering to entice doctors to try something new. In medicine and other cognitive fields, the AMA CEO noted that people are moved by intrinsic incentives, such as time with patients.

But programs like Meaningful Use offered financial carrots — and later sticks — to adopt EHRs. Extrinsic rewards and penalties have a way of complicating the equation, Madara said.

“Classical economics got a hold of this field before behavioral economics came along,” he said.

But if an innovation can help clinicians produce better patient outcomes, it will find a market, Noseworthy suggested. “The work you’re doing, the output of the work you’re doing, we hope, will be rewarded,” Noseworthy said.


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Forecasting Changes in Health Care

In health care, the pace of change has not been as fast as in the tech industry, but that is changing. We’re seeing a revolution toward meaningful personalization of therapies and services, new trends toward consumer-oriented care, transformational opportunities for population health and the convergence of social, mobile, analytics, cloud technologies and their mass adoption –  Lee Ann Jarousse, Senior Editor, H&HN.


The health care landscape is transitioning from analog to digital. New innovation springs forward almost every day, aiding the actions of health care professionals and patients alike. Even the stethoscope, which in itself has remained the same for the past century, is becoming digitized by the efforts of Eko Devices. Telehealth abounds. In fact, angelMD has moved the process of raising early stage capital for life science startups from analog to digital, allowing the entire process to be facilitated on our platform.

Consumers are attaining more and more opportunities to become knowledgeable of their own health and well being, which could very well shift much of what we do in health care from diagnosing and treating to management and prevention. This is concept is described in further detail by Lee Ann Jarousse in thoughts originally published in Hospital and Health Networks Magazine.

Today, patient consumers are taking a more prominent role in managing their health, well-being and the way they interact with health care services. At no time in history have people been so intimately linked with technology nor have they been such prolific generators of personal data.

  • Centralized to Distributed: A shift from hospital-centered care and doctor office visits to retail clinics, telemedicine and virtual visits.
  • Cap-Ex to Op-Ex: Instead of paying for a comprehensive doctor’s visit you pay only for a flu shot. As evidenced by the U.S. health care system, we’re moving from fee-for-service to fee-for-value with improved outcomes.
  • Static to Connected: Wearables, mobile phones and gadgets are recording ever movement. These troves of data can be leveraged with “algos” and a variety of analytics to pivot care to become smarter and more real time

Health care is shifting from diagnosing and treating to more active managing and preventing. Organizations are rethinking care models, channels and structures to design for life care. It used to be about sickness but, now and into the future, care will increasingly focus on one’s life and health span. As profit pools shift, what will matter is managing health span versus just life span.

A wave of new, digital companies are delivering convenient, seamless and personalized experiences focused on advanced 360-degree support, with an emphasis on social determinants and community-based health. These holistic approaches connect hospital to home through primary care, retail and telehealth.

In a community, population health strives to improve the social determinants that contribute to health span. An emphasis on the broader determinants of health, for example, — education, nutritional access, safety — ultimately benefit both the individual and the population in which that individual resides. The deluge of data is enabling businesses of all sizes to make more informed decisions and build solutions through real-time insights. Health care is soon to follow as the digitization of the field has been occurring over the last decade. The use of data and evidence-based protocols to predict and prevent disease and deliver health care in the most precise manner will represent a positive, disruptive use case for health care. Great advancement in imaging analytics, as well as the use of information technology and technology to improve productivity, will also be part of the industrialization of health care.

Featured image credit: Ted Eytan

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3 Tips for Medical Device Packaging

Medical device companies are the second largest segment of startups on angelMD. Given the versatility of medical devices as an industry, we are continuously working to stay up to date with the current challenges, opportunities, and events that influence our startups. Help keep our network informed by posting regular updates to your angelMD profile.

Given the relevance of this field, here’s some key advice for medical device packaging from Brian Whalen of CleanCut Technologies LLC, originally published in Packaging Digest.


1. Start packaging design early in the product development process.

Thoroughly defining the requirements of a packaging system early in the product development process sets the stage for long-term success. Prequalifying those requirements prior to full package system validation will save time and money in the long-run. Preliminary evaluation of product-package compatibility allows for early detection of design or manufacturing problems and affords time for revisions prior to full validation. Identifying possible packaging system failures and addressing them proactively during early design phases greatly increases the chance of successful validation and patient safety. When this step is skipped or left to the final hour, short-cuts often utilized to save time and money can increase the risk of noncompliance with regulations. Instead, during this process different sterile barrier systems can be evaluated and manufacturing methods evaluated to best meet the needs and characteristics of a particular device.

Test failures are not an uncommon occurrence and must be taken into account during the development process. Failure to plan is planning to fail. By starting this process early in product development, these contingencies can be addressed early, and unwelcome delays and added costs can be avoided.

2. Properly size packaging components.

Loss of sterile integrity, one of the most common types of packaging failure, is often the result of improperly sized packaging elements in relation to the device. These packaging elements include the backer card or tray to retain the device, the pouch or lid, the shelf carton, and finally the corrugated master shipping container. If any one of these elements is improperly designed or sized in relation to the other, unnecessary movement will likely create complications during transportation and result in failure of your sterile barrier system.

For example, if the backer card is too large, constant pressure will be placed on the pouch seals. If it is too small, excessive motion within the pouch will create friction and abrasive forces. A pouch or tray lid within a shelf box that is too large will need to be folded or creased; one that is too small will be subject to repeated contact against the inner box, all of which cause stress and fatigue leading to pinholes and pouch failure.

Individual shelf cartons need to fit snugly around their contents to prevent movement during transportation, while the master shipping container must maintain sufficient rigidity and wall strength to protect the inner cartons consistent with the distribution environment of the device. All of these elements must be customized to the device, and they must work in tandem to reduce the risk of failure and successfully deliver your device to market.

3. Utilize a robust testing protocol.

Packaging concerns should be addressed from the very first step of the project to quickly identify unforeseen contingencies in design. Short-cuts simply cannot be taken during this critical testing process. ISO 11607: Packaging for Terminally Sterilized Medical Devices, published in 2006, is the principal reference guide for medical device packaging and includes information on testing requirements. ASTM and ISTA Series distribution testing offer a set of specific test methods for compliance with ISO 11607.

For guidance related to a specific medical device packaging system, collaboration between a project team and an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory is necessary to ensure the proper test methods are utilized. Establishing a protocol prior to testing complete with clearly understood pass/fail criteria is paramount to identify problem areas in packaging design. A robust protocol would include scope, responsibilities, appropriate sample size, production equipment, parameters, and acceptance criteria, to name a few.

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