Bringing ‘Moneyball’ analytics to funding medical device startups

 Reporter-San Francisco Business Times

Aaron Travis isn’t a big fan of the term “crowdfunding,” at least when it’s used to describe his matchmaking service for medical device startups and investors.

Deal Labs Inc., where Travis is moving into the CEO position after joining the Redwood City-based firm a year ago, said the transactions that Deal Labs puts together “look less like crowdfunding and more like traditional funding.” The difference is Deal Labs’ uses sophisticated data analysis to hook up startups and investors.

In the past year, Travis has helped raise $30 million for 17 medical device newbies.

In fact, it is his experience and Deal Labs’ approach that Travis will speak about Sept. 17 as part of the Rosenman Institute’s “D-Series” on medical device development. The forum was assembled by the new institute within the University of California’sQB3 institute.

The forum begins at 5 p.m. in the second-floor library of Byers Hall at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

Paint the landscape for medical device startups today. It’s been a rough kind of 10 years for a few different reasons. The regulatory pathway has gotten more murky and access to funding has been difficult, especially due to all the changes in the way health care payers are organized in this insurance paradigm.

Venture capital and angel investors have had a very rough time in the recent past, maybe the past five years. I believe that’s an opportunity for investors now, and where Deal Labs is focused is on expanding that pool of investors that can help fund these medical device startups.

But so much of what I’ve been hearing is how investors have been rejecting pharmaceuticals for the short development timelines and cleaner regulatory pathway of medical devices. That is correct. When you look at whether medical devices will become standard of care, you have two things to be looking at: improved patient outcomes and lower costs. The way the health care system is set up right now, you sort of need both.


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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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