Business & Finance

At one with nurture: Helping start-ups develop

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At Med-Tech Innovation Expo, Ian Bolland sat down with Simon Maurer and Patrick Druggan from SiMed to discuss the company’s approach to start-ups and how it feels it differs from others.

SiMed’s offering is that of one which can incubate and nurture start-ups and help in areas they are struggling. Maurer says SiMed’s approach to start-ups is different in the way that instead of running away from certain challenges and companies, SiMed is prepared to embrace them and take them on.

As well as being able to work with companies to develop their products and bring them to market, but also offers itself as investment partner as it seeks out and identifies investment opportunities within the medical technology space before the companies mature. Overall, the focus is on identifying and nurturing start-ups, and delivering worthwhile investments.

“There are many brilliant ideas out there and there’s a huge amount of life changing, potential devices and potential things that early diagnostics, which covid has very much brought back to the forefront, can pick up.

“A lot of people to always struggle. They’ve got an idea but how do you take the idea and then actually put it into the market? Obviously, there’s stages in order to do that. So, you need a strategy. You need to get to a regulatory approval, which is a minefield in itself.

“We always look for the next great start-up or the next great idea and get involved with them at the very early stages.

“I think what people want is they want to be going on a journey you want be on that journey with people next to you, and who are passionate.”

Maurer feels this is where SiMed’s offering differs from others, and at Med-Tech Innovation Expo, SiMed was showcasing the Virion device from Kidod Science and Technology which is a rapid COVID-19 test which provided results in approximately 50 seconds. That’s not the end of their projects as he referred to tests for women’s health and innovations to combat gum disease.

He revealed that prior to the company’s appearance at Med-Tech Innovation Expo that SiMed has embarked on partnerships with four other companies.

“We want to go on a journey with early-stage start-ups. We’ve got a track record of something that and, like I said, there’s a lot more of that journey for us to go on together.”

Dr Patrick Druggan, director of regulatory affairs and quality management at SiMed, referred to findings from MIT a decade ago outlining a high rate of start-up failure – saying it wasn’t down to technical capability or money, but a failure to understand regulation, and a lack of understanding marketing when it came to distribution sales.

He said: “What we’re doing is trying to take from where you get one in 10 succeeding today to get to one in five.

“Every time one of those start-ups fail, there’s a potential solution to a problem. There’s an ethical issue here. By integrating people into a quality management and regulatory strategy, we can get market two-three years earlier. There’s less suffering in the world and that’s the ethos driving behind it.”

This includes nurturing the people behind the technologies and developing their kills rather than operating in a style that sees people simply move onto the next contract, SiMed wants to see investment in the people behind the technology and ideas too.

Druggan summed this up saying: “We need to be invested in nurturing people. Rather it be vulture capitalism, let’s have nurture capitalism.”

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