It’s the Thursday before the Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference (www.mnvc.org) and we thought it would be a great idea to have a conversation with a co-founder of MB Ventures and lead sponsor of MNVC, Gary Stevenson.
What prompted you to start this conference over 12 years ago?
The Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference was conceived by one of our Venture Partners, Bob Compton. Bob is a former venture capitalist and former Sofamor Danek senior executive. His initial motivation was to feature the relative strengths of Memphis in the musculoskeletal industry so he worked with the Memphis Bioworks Foundation to get the Conference started. Our Firm was a sponsor that first year, but we became much more involved as hosts the next year and have been hosts and the largest sponsor every year since. With the help of our co-sponsors, the MNVC has since become the premier event for musculoskeletal entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, and business development executives.
- Since presenting companies are invited to participate, what do you look for when developing the presentation lineup?
We look for an even distribution of companies working on product solutions for spine, trauma, sports medicine, biologics, diagnostics, and extremities, just to name a few. We’re also looking for new ideas, ones that haven’t commonly, or ever, presented at other events. Nothing excites our MNVC audience quite like new ideas they haven’t seen anywhere else. Fortunately for us, entrepreneurs often choose the MNVC as their venue to “break stealth”. It is so flattering to all of us on the MNVC team to know that once a start-up and its investors are ready to make their first conference appearance, they choose the MNVC to do so.
- The roundtables at your conference always generate a lot of buzz; can you tell us about what you have planned for attendees this year?
This year, we have included 3 roundtable discussions again. Over the years, the topics for these roundtables have rotated to include regulatory and reimbursement, just to name two. Of course, we always include a Venture Capital roundtable to wrap up the first day and this year will be no exception. We have a nice mix of returning VCs like Ryan Drant from NEA and Kathy Tune from Thomas McNerney & Partners, as well as new folks like Dan Sheehan from Covidien Ventures and Tadd Wessel from OrbiMed. This year, we will also have a Business Development Roundtable including executives from Medtronic, Biomet and Smith & Nephew. And to wrap-up the Conference on Wednesday, we have invited the management team from Memphis-based MicroPort Orthopedics. A year ago, MicroPort was completing its carve-out from Wright Medical and what a difference a year makes. MicroPort CEO Ted Davis will moderate with members of his management team and will include Dr. Sonny Bal from the University of Missouri. So there will be lots for all of us to learn from the roundtables again this year.
- What do our readers need to do to attend the conference?
That’s simple – to register, visit www.mnvc.org and click “Registration” in the menu bar. The website also includes a complete agenda so your readers can see all of the presenters and speakers we have planned for the 12th Annual MNVC. We hope to see everyone on October 28-29 in Memphis!
- Are there any secrets that you can share with us about this upcoming meeting? Any teasers that make this a can’t miss opportunity?
The MNVC is always an organic and spontaneous event – something surprising happens every year! With 22 presenting start-ups and 3 relevant roundtable discussions, the MNVC is the must-attend event every year for your readers. Of course, its always exciting when we conclude the event with an exciting giveaway – two tickets to the final day at The Masters next spring courtesy of The De Angelis Group. Must be present to win! (Because last year’s winner cancelled at the last minute, I used the tickets – it was a bucket list dream trip of a lifetime!).
If you haven’t already planned to be in Memphis next week, get right on it. This is the can’t miss opportunity of the year.