Medical Devices · Diabetes

We built a disruptive glucose monitoring device. What's the best path to market?

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

Over the past few months we built, prototyped, tested, and patented a disruptive glucose monitoring device called Glucosite (http://www.glucosight.com) Now we are search for the best path to market including but not limited to:
  • Partnerships/Licensing (existing players who will see their market shrink when Verily (Google Life Sciences) gets the contact lense right.
  • Direct (ugly because this include FDA Class 2 cert and building a huge direct team....very expensive $$$$$)
  • Channel (still the same FDA Class 2 costs/time but less cost on the overhead due to a smaller Bus Dev team)
  • ?????

Barry Braunstein Principal at Crossroads Business Consulting

June 27th, 2016

Hi Ken - Depends on what you're looking for - some companies are very successful licensing technology, others not. Clearly the channel is one of the more difficult to build aspects, and leveraging someone else who has the right relationship with your "buyers" will require far less capital and time to achieve revenue goals. Product development can be outsourced - there are plenty of firms (including ours) that can take your core technology and design/build a product. My bias has always been to go this route until you reach critical mass/understand your path and then determine if/how you develop your own development team. Some of this also depends on where you feel the IP really is - sensor, software, etc. - keep the core IP in house, and outsource the rest. Always scratching my head when companies first want to build a full blown development team first before they see a dime of revenue - it takes longer, more difficult (not just the selection of people but also developing the processes/tools/etc. to get them to work together successfully), and (my opinion) costs more to get to market. Get the product out and sold, build up the revenue and then decide. My 2 cents. Best, BB Barry Braunstein Office: (781)237-0495/Home: (781)237-6520 barrybraunstein@outlook.com

Scott Thielman Chief Technology Officer at Product Creation Studio

June 27th, 2016

Hi Ken - I was at a brain science conference last week and both Medtronic and Glaxo Smith Kline were there talking about how they were supporting, funding and encouraging early stage research and start-ups. Mostly without taking a stake in the fledgling companies. Start thinking about the companies that you would disrupt, not as the enemy, but as a strategic partner in the development. Pick the three likely acquisition partners for your technology and have a conversation with their M&A or venture group. You might be surprised that they look at you more as an opportunity and less as a threat. The truth is that these giants need companies like yours to innovate on their behalf. Leverage that to your advantage so you can focus on perfecting the product instead of perfecting the distribution channel. 

Robin Stephens Senior Executive / Board Member

June 27th, 2016

Dear Ken - I think you have an interesting opportunity, but until you have regulatory clearance I am not sure you will realise the value from the technology that you may be hoping for. Any thoughts to take this OUS? May be a simpler path initially than the USA

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

I should add one piece of clarity, to Robin's point, we did find one predicate Class 1 device that would allow us to potentially come to market in the US as a screening device, but Class 2 is still a hard pill to swallow. 

Steve Owens

June 27th, 2016

Your now the third company I have heard of who says they have this product.  They both raised a lot of money.  One has already shut the doors.

My advise is to find and recruit a great team.  This is a great idea, and with great executions, it can make a lot of money.  This is a lot easier said than done, but it is the first and most important thing you will do.  Don't worry about making any of these decisions until you have your team in place.

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

Steve,  I agree...team is paramount.  While we haven't announced ours formally yet, we have a very impressive team (combined foundes/advisors) which will be publicised soon.

I am of the same thought, being an investor myself, every great investment is a "3-legged stool" - market need, solution, and (paramount) a great execution team.

i will drink a bit of our own Koolaid and claim that our technology is NOT a contact lense or scanning the retina.  We look at the responses of the iris and have found great correlation.  This is also a far easier technology to implement as it is an IR camera and software analytics.  The IP is about the software method!  (but yes, I am drinking our Koolaid regularly so time will tell)

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

Barry,

I hear you....we are trying to determine the best path to market before determining what "form(s)" our product should take.  Luckily most of our product is software but there is a device component that will take additional refinement and knowledge.  Please contact me out of band...love to hear more.

Steve Owens

June 27th, 2016

@Ken - what is your teams recommendation?  Presumably this team has done a ton of research on the issues, and held many meetings to discuss the pro and cons.  Clearly their answer is better informed than a group of strangers who simply read a few paragraphs?  Is there some aspect of this issue they just can not get past?

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

@Steve - I stated the recommendations of my team in my initial question but it would be hubris on my part not to consult with such a varied group as those here on FD.

I have a high level of trust in my group but I will never shy away from the insight of others, informed or not.  It is easy to miss the obvious when you are "hugging your own tree too tightly". :)

Ken Steinberg Innovator and Serial Market Disrupter

June 27th, 2016

@Scott, funny you should write that....pretty much where I am at right now...looking at venture arms of the major insurance and device mfgs.  It never (EVER) hurts to go right to the source.