Starting a company can be tough. I always wonder who’s crazy enough to start their own company in medical school, because going to medical school by itself is pretty daunting. I recently watched a panel which was hosted by MD++, and thought it would be interesting to write up some of the things that I learned. The founders on the panel include:


  • A lot of people take time off during medical school to start a company. You can get runway to start a company during medical school, but it’s hard to start one while in medical school. There is no way that you can start one and do it part-time.
    • Every school has different policies about taking time off, so definitely make sure that you are in the bounds of the school.
  • Look for advisors and mentors, as well as angel investors, in your professors. They are physicians, so they must have some idea about how the business will pan out.
  • Focus on finding ideas in the hospital, and then work around that as you go through your clinical training. It’s important to be curious about the inefficiencies in the process.
  • Try to figure out whether you want to be a tech person, who makes healthcare applications or a clinical person who works a little on tech. That way, you will be more clear about your role in your company.
  • Finding a co-founder is integral in your search to become a startup. Working with people who have integrity who you have worked with before is important to do if you are trying to start a company.
  • Reaching out as a medical student offers you a lot of credibility for investors. You have to go to alumni panels, have an advocate (network), have to understand why you are doing this, etc. in order to succeed at entrepreneurship. Reach out to KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) in the area (which are professors) in order to get a warm introduction to other investors.
  • As a medical device company, you need to have the paperwork (after defining user requirements) that the FDA requires. You need to talk to the hospital, suppliers, in order to develop it into a commercial product, and build your network to reach out to others.
  • What is the usefulness of your app? How does it relate to the products that the hospital provides: namely, care for patients? How does it impact revenues?
  • Provide a story, some statistics, and more tangible ways that they could happen. Write more about the things that you want to change. Build a credible brand in the space that you’re trying to impact.
  • As a medical student, you can read and analyze data in order to make a business plan. You can build products as a clinician which is very valuable to people. Being from the inside gives you empathy and insight into how clinician-patient dynamics operate.
  • Here is an article how you can mix the two cultures courtesy of Chrissy Farr (see the section based on Tech & Medicine). This is important because outsiders have a lot of perspectives that clinicians often miss because of their bias which comes with being an insider.
  • There are a lot of fellowships which should be available to segway into health entrepreneurship (5/10 hrs. per week)—this could help getting your feet wet in entrepreneurship.
  • When you try to build a venture, make sure you find a good co-founder which has the same, aligned incentives as you do.

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