Q: What’s in store for the medical device sector in 2014?
With the dramatic growth of the IT sector over the last decade, novel commercialization models like the start-up accelerator have emerged. A typical IT accelerator provides a small investment (usually $10,000 to $50,000) alongside rigorous mentorship in a focused, timeline-intensive program with the goal of identifying and achieving a minimum viable product with which to seek investment, partnership, or market uptake. IT-focused accelerators have generated massive portfolio values—for example, Y Combinator’s portfolio value approaches $8 billion. This model is now being translated to non-IT applications like medical devices.
Ignition Labs in Sydney, Australia just announced their first cohort of four medtech companies into their six-month $25,000 program; STC in Melbourne, Australia is running a student accelerator MedTech’s Got Talent; Zeroto510 in Memphis, Tennessee is running their second cohort of FDA 510(k) path devices.
These programs have modified the “traditional” accelerator model to suit unique market drivers, regulatory pathways, and cost to reach market. It remains to be seen if medtech-focused accelerators can deliver the same accelerated technical derisking and streamlined path to market considering post-program funding and business development resources represent major hurdles to a fledgling start-up’s success. If they can, this model may change the landscape of medtech start-ups in 2014.