Is crowdfunding the best route for Ideas in Medicine?

Graeme Smith explains that with Ideas in Medicine, money isn’t everything and crowdfunding may not be the best way to get your medical device project off the ground!

Recently the value of the global medical device market has been estimated as approaching the $300 billion mark. It’s potentially a lucrative sector, but one question we are often asked at Ideas in Medicine is: ‘How can I get the money I need to make it happen?’

If you have a great idea for a medical device project, one route for strapped-for-cash medical innovators is Crowdfunding.

Taking advantage of the growing rise of internet-based funding of projects connecting inventors with entrepreneurs who can give them the cash they need to get off the ground, is one way of funding a project. But is it the best way?

‘It’s not just about money!’ comments Ideas in Medicine founder Graeme Smith, ‘There are people all around the world with amazing ideas – they just don’t have the contacts in the sector to realise their dream.’ At Ideas in Medicine, our international base of trusted contacts is made up of leading scientists, innovative technology owners and developers, problem solvers and thought leaders.

Many of our contacts are actively seeking to add value and expertise to medical device development in the field of biomedical engineering. ‘If you’re not connected to big companies or have a large amount to invest yourself, it can be very difficult to get funding for your idea.’ Graeme continues.

Many of the concepts we at Ideas in Medicine are presented with are bourne out of personal and family circumstances and often initial funding comes from the friends and families who will benefit from the innovation.

Graeme explains ‘These are often problems that people don’t talk about in general conversation, but address unpleasant conditions suffered by family members. We don’t tend to talk about leaking bladders or inserting a catheter.’ TV programmes like “Embarrassing Bodies” in the UK show – evident by the programme title – that people within the medical industry are reticent to discuss some medical issues.’

‘One of the amazing things about the medical device industry is how important friendships and contacts are. If you deliver and don’t let people down then your reputation is enhanced. We are very lucky to have a core of top quality contacts that are feeding the growth of businesses all over the globe, as we address their business growth needs.’

With sources of funding from venture capitalists becoming scarcer for new entrepreneurs, the dearth of investors is bad news for inventors of small medical devices, which often don’t require huge sums to get the project off the ground.

Graeme continues ‘A number of projects we are dealing with need funding in the region of $70,000 to $100,000. A ball park figure for developing a concept to the stage where it is ready for a second round of funding, with an eye toward manufacturing and marketing the devices. But it’s the expertise that will enable you to get full value from the investment.’

So, back to the original question: Is crowdfunding the best way to get your medical device project off the ground? ‘Let’s assume the idea is sound and have market potential.

Let’s also assume that the idea is able to be patented.’ states Graeme. ‘Basically, great ideas will always attract funding and raising finance through crowdfunding is fine. But working with a business like Ideas in Medicine will result in a project having far greater chance of realising its potential.’

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