Olivia Cheng, CEO of Aurora Imaging Technologies, is passionate about fighting breast cancer. But she can't help save lives if nobody buys her product, a breast-specific MRI machine. So when a hospital or clinic says "no, thank you" to the $1.5 million price tag, Cheng, 50, comes back with an offer they can't refuse: Aurora will provide the machine at no cost and even pay rent for the space to use it. Then, Aurora pockets the insurance payment for each use of the machine--about $1,000 per patient--for the following five to seven years.
Although selling one machine means a one-time profit of over $700,000, the same machine placed in a hospital or clinic can generate $15,000 a day--enough to pay for the machine and its management, plus put $2 million a year toward Aurora's bottom line. "This is the best-kept secret in medicine today," says Cheng. She expects Aurora to double 2005 sales, growing to over $20 million in 2006.