Medical Entrepreneurship Is Not Just for Big Pharma

More opportunities -- and more funding -- means more open doors.
Medical Entrepreneurship Is Not Just for Big Pharma
Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

When you think of medical technology, Big Pharma comes to mind -- conglomerates and public traded companies that spend billions of dollars developing drugs and devices to use in the medical field. Kind of takes away the incentive for the everyday entrepreneur wanting to get into the industry, doesn't it?

Don’t get me wrong, entrepreneurs have always made an impact on the industry, but many are deterred based on how difficult it is to crack. Well, times are changing.

Related: 4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Innovate in the Healthcare Space

More people willing to take risks.

Doctors graduating from medical school are thinking about one thing -- getting a job. Regardless of their entrepreneurial spirit, they know that big companies are taking care of the technology, and they need to secure employment to help pay the bills.

“When I graduated from college, I figured that the safer route would be to first get a job, get my feet wet, and learn the ropes from inside my air-conditioned office, er, cubicle,” wrote Donny Zanger, about why he decided to forgo medical school and become an entrepreneur. “But the entry-level, staid, plain old 9-to-5 just wasn’t for me.”

Zanger is not alone. Many people are forgoing medical school and even turning to entrepreneurship shortly after graduating. They find out that the traditional office job just doesn’t cut it for them. Their entrepreneur spirit takes over, and they use their medical education to venture into medical entrepreneurship.

Doctors are great entrepreneurs.

Many doctors have become great entrepreneurs. While this could be a coincidence, others think there is a correlation. Doctors are prone to be great entrepreneurs according to Arlen Meyers, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He cites things such as being able to build clinical judgement, deal with uncertainty and knowing how to question, observe, connect and associate. 

Related: 10 Lessons From My Experience As Doctor and Entrepreneur

Funding is more available.

Funding for medical entrepreneurship is becoming more available for entrepreneurs. One concept that is becoming more popular is doctors who fund other doctors. The startup Doctorpreneur was founded by Jay Joshi to allow doctors looking to diversify their finances by investing in early stage healthcare-related startups.

“Physicians want to invest in other physician-led startups,” Joshi said in an interview with Crain’s Chicago. “It takes out a lot of risk. They are living and breathing the market innovation they're trying to create.”

Others have gone to Kickstarter to raise funds for their venture. One World Labs founder, Mike Simson, saw crowdfunding as the best option to finance the company’s software that connects medical researchers with manufacturers. Crowdfunding is also becoming more attractive to potential investors. “Crowdsourcing, an area with many potential applications, is growing in interest in the scientific community,” said goBalto CEO Sujay Jadhav.

Bigger companies will let smaller companies do the preliminary work.

As with most industries, the smaller companies are perfect takeover targets for larger companies that want their technology. This makes perfect sense as larger companies can allow the development and marketing of the product, and lawsuits that go along with it, to be worked out prior to deciding to make the purchase.

So, while larger companies would normally want to put the smaller ones out of business, you will likely see them left alone and then swallowed up if their product becomes viable for the market. This will save the larger players from dumping money into something that may or may not work out in the long run.

Related: Healthcare Franchises May Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

Summing it up.

Being a doctor does not guarantee you will be a successful entrepreneur. However, if you are a doctor, you likely have the traits that make a great entrepreneur. Since more people are now willing to take the chance at entrepreneurship and funding is more readily available, the world of medical entrepreneurship will soon be disrupted by the smaller players.

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