Mom! I want to play in the Medical Device sector

11 April 2019
Medical device robotics
Table of contents0

Who thought life could get more fun after launching your robotics startups! If you still haven’t read it, this article will provide some food for thought to succeed with your robotics startup.

Hey, you always drawing the short straw! I have been there, I pity you. We both read how the global medical device market is expected to reach an estimated $409.5 billion by 2023, and it is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2018 to 2023. We even felt gracious working in a field that supports enhanced quality of life for elderly, care extended by technology, reduction of physical and mental burden for caregivers at the end of the day health benefits for all.

First came the business

On those first days, when trying to build your initial business model canvas you started to realize you either had several types of customers or you had no clue who your customers were or most probably you were mixing users with clients.

While a product may be directed to a user perceived as a patient that does not make them the buyers of your product: it could be them, it could be their family, the doctor, the hospital…

Who will buy your product? Who needs your product? How will it be worth for your customer to buy a product that benefits someone else? What is the benefit for the customer? And who will prescribe your product?

Medical devices: marketing to doctors or patients? Nicely illustrates this dilemma. “A lot of medical device manufacturers will find that the answer is both -which unfortunately means you’ll need to develop distinct strategies, people and campaigns for each. That’s double the work, which makes it worth analyzing whether the dual focus is worth the trouble for your business, or if sticking with one audience or the other is the smartest move for you.”

Globalization and your carry-on suitcase

In this era of globalization that brought us all together you are about to encounter the so called socially enriching diversity at its highest. Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to enjoy distinctiveness in life, I just don’t like it in my markets. Public health sector and private health sector are not exactly cut from the same cloth and geographical scalability is not straightforward due to the significant differences among countries in insurance coverage, reimbursement models and recognized practices. Hospitals, pharmacies, orthopedics, laboratories and long-term care to start with might have varying competences depending on the geographical location, bright side, you are about to get your frequent traveler card on fire.

Plea for clemency your Honour!

No, no judges involved, not that I know of at least! The regulatory process is served by the medical device regulation that acts as a high entry barrier to the market with its associated high cost both in human and economic resources. Such a long process is usually accompanied by the need of clinical trials, which even if non-required are usually necessary to show clinical evidence. Planning and executing clinical trials needs approval from ethical committees and very good synchronization with the development process timing as to not add unnecessary delay to your product reaching the market.

Money € Money $

Every cloud has a silver lining. When your product reaches the market and surmounts the purchase decision taking process margins will be higher than in other markets, even in other healthcare business areas. And isn’t it ‘all about the money’?! ATKearney expresses “Historically, the medical device industry has been highly attractive, with 5 percent average annual growth and operating margins between 23 and 25 percent.” Third (or fourth) time’s a charm.

Don’t be discouraged! Here in TECNALIA together with Tecnalia Ventures we have launched successful startups in Medical Device sector such as Fesia, Textia and Neos Surgery.

In RobotUnion we have encountered adventurous, motivated and tenacious companies like Cybersurgery, Tendo, Accrea, InteSpring and Somnox. Check where they are at for inspiration and if you have started to feel lonely in your endeavor or you could use a friend by your side, apply to RobotUnion before April 30th !

Together in the RobotUnion accelerator we can launch your startup through 223k€ funding free equity, technical mentoring from top European RTOs, business mentoring from ISDI and their network and corporate support from FENIN as well as PR events and media coverage led by MWC.

Come on board and surf with us on blue oceans!

Leire Martínez Beitia


Leire Martínez Beitia

Gestor de proyectos en el área de Robótica Médica de Salud en TECNALIA. Ingeniero de Telecomunicaciones por la Universidad de Deusto, lleva más de diez años en el ámbito de la I+D y ha participado en varias iniciativas europeas (RobotUnion, Florence, Amigo, Smarttouch, Trust4all, AmIE) en temáticas de ambient intelligence, ambient assisted living y robótica asistiva, colaborativa y médica.

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Author:Leire Martínez Beitia
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