Great post on an awesome, if not concerning, space, Kate! You bring up some good points around naive investors entering this space and not understanding the timelines for digital health. I agree completely. One thing I’m curious about though is your advice to invest in companies with experienced founders. Because digital health is such a nascent space, how many founders in it are truly experienced founders? I’d be curious to see. I went to med school with some digital health founders and it is their first entrepreneurial venture ever. And they’ve raised something like $20M in multiple rounds. They fulfill the industry knowledge part of your criteria and have gotten backing from notable HC investors. I hope some investors stay willing to take a chance on new founders (like you and me!) well into the future.
These are some fantastic ideas, Vibin! I like the ideas of traveling together and working on a smaller project together first. However, I think the smaller project idea is a bit challenging in the current environment of everyone saying “let’s start a company together”. I suppose it makes sense while we’re in school and have a few months over summer or some spare time during the school year to do an IP. However, to truly found a company, will today’s founders want to set aside this precious time before they launch a company to do a “practice project” with other potential co-founders. In your parlance, if someone bought a wedding dress and paid for the venue to get married, do you think they really want to go on a bunch of teaser dates and wait? Unfortunately, I think the answer is no. But you provide some good advice for those willing to take things slow and get to know potential soulmates first.
I like this post, Arnold. A central thesis surrounding several of your tips is “maintain perspective” especially on ego, withholding information, and waiting for the next deal. I agree with your point when you’re “waiting for the next deal” that sometimes you need to have the foresight to ask your self, is that check really going to make it for our company? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with this business? Because some checks have made companies (Jessica’s deal with the Nigerian government to purchase the soccer balls brought in just enough cash for her to keep the company going. Rather than avoiding some of the moves, as you suggest, I would want founders to maintain perspective and know when to wait on that next deal or withhold a fatalistic viewpoint if it means saving the company in the long-term.