The funding landscape for medical devices is becoming increasingly difficult and complex. The purpose of this article is to provide the physician entrepreneur with a review of the main sources of capital available to fund the development and commercialization of biomedical innovations, and to highlight some of the important nuances of these funding sources that the physician entrepreneur should consider.
The article examines the benefits and drawbacks of funding from venture capital firms, grants, friends and family, angel investors, incubators and industry partners from the perspective of the physician entrepreneur, and provides some key points to consider when selecting and working with an investor. The article's recommendations include: in selecting an investor, seek those whose investment thesis, areas of expertise and desired company stage (early vs. late) match the technology and the objectives of the company. In negotiating with an investor, an effective way to increase the company's valuation is to bring multiple bidders to the table. In working with an investor, respect junior staff members as much as senior partners and be wary of conflicts of interest with venture capital entrepreneurs-in-residence.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to each of the funding sources examined here, and the choice of a funding partner depends significantly on the stage of development (in both corporate and technology) of the physician entrepreneur's venture and the role that the physician entrepreneur desires to play in it.
aGraduate School of Business, Stanford University, San Francisco, USA
bOrthAlign, Inc., Irvine, California, USA
Correspondence to Farzad Soleimani, MD, MBA, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 461 28th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA Tel: +1 512 762 9333; e-mail: Farzad@Stanford.edu