By Brita Belli
The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute hosted a panel called “Idea to Implementation: How to Start a Company in Today’s Healthcare Environment” as part of the Yale Healthcare Conference on Friday, April 10. The panel, moderated by Erika Smith, Deputy Director of YEI, featured: Anthony Sabatelli, Partner at Dilworth IP; Tim Shannon, General Partner at Canaan Partners; Wendy Davis (SOM ’14), Cofounder and CEO of GestVision; Sean Mackay (SOM ’14), Cofounder and CEO of IsoPlexis; and Jesse Rich (SOM ’16), Cofounder of Revai. The panelists addressed everything from the importance of patents to examining incentives to legal concerns in founding a startup. Here are some highlights.
1.“Sometimes IP for a fledgling company is the only asset you have. Investors are typically interested in two things—is there IP? And do you own it?” Anthony Sabatelli, Partner at Dilworth IP.
2. “Never assume the IP is taken care of and done. It’s like a child that has to be monitored. The product is always changing and evolving.” Wendy Davis, (SOM ’14), Cofounder and CEO of GestVision.
3. “You need to do something where all the incentives align for your benefit. Building a startup is really hard. If those incentives don’t align, you’re dead in the water.” Jesse Rich (SOM ’16), Cofounder of Revai.
4. “One of the things we look at is will this thing get paid for well and easily? Incentives and disincentives drive what we do.” Tim Shannon, General Partner at Canaan Partners.
5. “Talk to clinicians early—before you even know what the product is. Ask ‘What will make a difference in treating your patient’?” Wendy Davis, (SOM ’14), Cofounder and CEO of GestVision.
6. “You need lawyers not only for handling IP, but other aspects of forming a company—operating agreements, shareholder agreements, raising financing rounds, partners together, branding, HR issues.” Anthony Sabatelli, Partner at Dilworth IP.
7. In relation to a question about how to set your startup’s valuation: “You have to be able to chart out what the company looks like in two rounds. Ultimately, it’s market price.” Sean Mackay (SOM ’14), Cofounder and CEO of IsoPlexis.
8. “I worry that healthcare technology investment is going to Silicon Valley, and that’s not where the health disparity lives. We need to find ways to address those needs.” Tim Shannon, General Partner at Canaan Partners.