6 Questions about Screening Applications at Trendlines Medical

Edith_small headshot

Edit Goldberg, D.M.D. VP, New Ventures, Trendlines Medical

Trendlines Medical receives hundreds of new company inquiries annually.  As VP, New Ventures, Edit Goldberg screens these inquiries and is most often the first point of contact with the entrepreneurs, physicians or scientists behind the project.

Prior to joining Trendlines Medical, Edit held senior management positions at Omrix, Johnson & Johnson and LifeBond. She received her D.M.D. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

We asked Edit six questions to understand what factors she considers when she looks at potential candidates for Trendlines Medical.

Q 1: Where are these inquiries from?

We receive about 230 inquiries each year from medical technology entrepreneurs, who may be experienced engineers, researchers, physicians or businesspeople. Most referrals are word-of-mouth recommendations — personal connections through our own employees or those of our existing (or graduate) portfolio companies. Our reputation in Israel’s medical technology community is very strong, which is a huge pull factor for us.

Of these inquiries, we only establish 4 to 5 new companies every year. The competition is tough!

Q 2: Why would an entrepreneur or inventor with a really great idea in the medical device space want to join a government-franchised incubator?

Many early-stage entrepreneurs don’t have the ability to finance their own project with personal funds or those from friends and family. In the past, angels, VCs or commercial companies represented potential investors for very early-stage companies. Today, that’s changed. Joining an incubator for initial funding presents one option for early-stage investment.

As opposed to an app or software development, the process for developing a medical device is more complex and takes time — another reason to turn to an incubator.

In addition to the funding, an incubator provides CEOs (especially those who have yet to hire a team) with an environment where they can draw on the experience and knowledge of professionals and other entrepreneurs.

Business development opportunities are multiplied through the business network and connections the incubator provides. This may significantly increase the success rate of a company to secure follow-on funding.

Q 3: What are the main criteria you use when evaluating an entrepreneur’s idea for candidacy to the incubator?

  1. First and foremost, the entrepreneur or team leading the company. We make sure the person has the abilities and focus to push the project – and company — forward in the best possible way.
  2. The clinical need and whether the proposed solution addresses this need. To assess this, we consult with end-users and key leaders in the field both in Israel and abroad.
  3. The market size and competitive landscape. We assess the ability of the idea to penetrate the market or attract global players in that market.
  4. The resources required to bring the product to market along with a critical assessment of the milestones that can be reached during the incubator period (two to three years).
  5. Initial assessment of the intellectual property and technology proposed.

Q 4: Why does an entrepreneur or an idea get turned away?

  • There are certain types of companies we prefer not to invest in, for example, pharma. These companies need resources beyond the scope of the incubator investment to reach significant milestones, which makes them incompatible with our model.
  • The market is too small or the clinical need is not clear enough.
  • Sometimes an entrepreneur doesn’t have the required knowledge or experience to take an idea to the level needed for success.
  • During our evaluation, if we realize the technology is not patentable, we may not accept the application.

Sometimes we make mistakes. We’ve turned away projects or ideas that have gone on to succeed. That’s all part of the game.

Q 5: What advantages does Trendlines Medical offer to medical device/technology companies?

Through our intense involvement in our portfolio companies, we say we provide an entrepreneurial environment for success.

The Trendlines Group has a staff of 30 to provide mentoring and knowledge sharing, technological knowledge and development assistance, business development, marketing communications, finance, legal, and administrative support to enable the entrepreneurs to meet development and business milestones.

We provide access to our global network of connections and organize events such as our annual company showcase and roadshows to boost our young companies. At Trendlines Medical, there is always someone on hand to point the entrepreneurs in the right direction.

Our success rate speaks for itself: Through our extensive network of investors, most of our companies succeed in raising Series A or follow-on funding after the initial incubator investment. And we’ve had four exits since August 2013.

Q 6: What advice do you have for an entrepreneur or inventor who is starting a new medical device company?

  • Define your competitive advantage accurately by doing a thorough analysis of the market and the competitive landscape.
  • Consult with as many objective end-users as possible to understand the needs.
  • Understand the technological development required to develop the product.
  • Assess the challenges you will face all the way through.
  • Develop a proof of concept/initial prototype as early on as possible — at the minimum cost.
  • Outline a two-year work plan, including the intended achievements for that time frame.
  • Understand your IP position.

To hear from Trendlines Medical’s latest companies, meet their teams or talk with Edit and others on our team, register for our Annual Trendlines Company Showcase.

 

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