5 Boston entrepreneurs explain issues in healthcare startupsIf you’re a startup working on a product for the healthcare industry, Boston is the place to be. During a trip to Bean Town, I was curious to hear what startup founders found most challenging in a city so rich with resources. The gripes I usually hear elsewhere, like troubles with seed funding or U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation, didn’t come up as much. Instead, these founders seemed to find the more personal elements of entrepreneurship most challenging. Many times I found myself talking to people who had made a shift from working in tech or research to becoming a business owner.
The community realizes that, though. In addition to numerous startup accelerators and incubators, Boston is home to lots of collaborative startup space.
Here are a few of the most interesting responses.
“At the outset, when you just have an idea, and you don’t necessarily have support around you or outside investors driving a time line, it’s setting those time lines for yourself and knowing where you should be and when.” — Clifford Culver, founder, OnDeck Bitoech (network of service providers for biopharma companies)
“Figuring out how to focus and how to scale. We get five to 10 emails a week from people who say, ‘I absolutely need this chair, please send me one,’ and we can’t send single chairs yet. And we have to stay focused on the expansion strategy that we have so that we don’t overreach and make sure that the quality stays good.” — Mario Bollini, Global Research Innovation & Technology (rugged wheelchairs for developing countries)
“We purposely are not advertising anything yet because we can’t handle the traffic at this point. We keep getting these inbound requests for accounts, and you can’t help but want to help them. [...] The thing you have to be careful about is that you don’t leave people with a bad impression.” — Veera Anantha, Constant Therapy (remote communication therapy for brain injury patients)
“My biggest challenge is actually a human resource challenge: How can I, in a cost-efficient way, replicate myself to do the things I need to do to grow the business, and find that right person. I could either find somebody with a lot of dental knowledge, or somebody with a lot of horsepower in business knowledge who I could train in dental. Where do you find the right person who can be a Jack of all trades?” – Jeremy Benedict, CEO, Guided Surgery Solutions (surgical guide system for dental implants)
“I think the biggest challenge for all health IT companies, especially the consumer-facing health IT, [...] is that there’s still questions about how do you monetize and what’s the business model. The game is really going to be won by companies that figure out the best way to generate a sustainable revenue stream from engaging patients around their care, whether that’s selling to employers or pharma companies or insurance companies or the pharmacy chains. I think most of the companies in this space are still trying to feel that out.” — Jacqueline Thong, CEO, Ubiqi Health (migraine-tracking app)
[Photo by - LifeSupercharger]