Why healthcare entrepreneurs shouldn’t get caught up in features
As part of the Kauffman-sponsored Energizing Health Collaboration Series, we've turned over eMed to Guest Editor Zen Chu, the chief architect for the Boston leg of the collaboration conference and an entrepreneur in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Through his work at H@cking Medicine, Zen has collaborated with a number of healthcare entrepreneurs. Here are insights from one of them.
Hermes IQ is a healthcare IT company that creates software to manage clinical information, gathering analytics and insights in the process. Like many other healthcare startups, regulatory strategy has been a major issue for the company, said co-founder Akansh Murthy. "When we started, we had many different ideas for where we wanted to go," he said. "We didn't realize what we were getting into."
One way to streamline the process is to focus only on your company's bare concept, Murthy said. While many entrepreneurs get caught up in the features of their product or service, he said, the core product can often be simpler to get through the regulatory process. "Figure out what your core product is," Murthy said, "and figure out if what needs regulatory approval is a feature or the core product."
Here are other entrepreneurial insights from Murthy:
Steel yourself for co-founder issues -- "If you're getting into a startup, you should be prepared for a tough ride with co-founders," Murthy said. "Use your gut feeling to determine whether it's going to be a good fit." It's imperative to clearly define each co-founder's equity stake, Murthy said, and an equal split isn't always the most equitable. "It can be completely disastrous," he said, if eventually one co-founder decides to go part time, for instance.
Find local connections via the web -- Boston-based entrepreneurs like Murthy can sign up for newsletters, including Greenhorn Connect and VentureFizz, to find out about local entrepreneurship events. "There are an immense set of free resources for entrepreneurs to get their startups off the ground," he said. "You can find these through newsletters." Entrepreneurs who aren't local to Beantown can use Twitter to find out what's going on across the country. Murthy suggested searching Twitter using hashtags such as #entrepreneurship and #startups, while also following well-known investors and VCs.
Don't underestimate the emotional -- The emotional issues surrounding entrepreneurship aren't well publicized, Murthy said. "There are many times at which things might not seem like they're going anywhere," he said. "That's not something that should stop you or deter you at all." Murthy said he thinks every entrepreneur feels that way sometime or another. "Those feelings are completely normal in the journey of entrepreneurship," he said.
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