The startup of this week is Implandata Ophthalmic Products founded in 2015 and operating in the digital health industry. Their tagline is: "Preserving eyesight by remote monitoring and virtual management of glaucoma patients"
Implandata is a transformational ophthalmic digital health/device company, which will improve the life of millions of glaucoma patients and help preserve their eyesight and quality of life with the proprietary breakthrough EYEMATE system for precision medicine in glaucoma.
"I enjoy to identify unmet medical needs and find and develop technical solutions to address these needs in order to improve the quality of life of patients, to enable physicians to provide more effective and efficient care to their patients and to improve the health economic outcome for the society."
Max Ostermeier explains that in order to run a startup up a broad skill set is needed including persistence and resilience to overcome technical, clinical and regulatory challenges and the ability to identify the best market access strategy. However, as he explains, one of the highest satisfactions is to realize that the product is appreciated and adopted by patients and by health care specialists. Running a startup is quite challenging and as Max Ostermeier describes:
"Running a start-up company is like a journey, with different challenges in the different company phases. First you need to identify the best technical solution. You have to realize and validate it, which always can come with surprises. Once there is a functional prototype, it has to be tested in a clinical environment, which again can show unexpected results, requiring design modifications. And then you have to ensure that the product meets all regulatory standards and requirements, which can be challenges in the current regulatory environment in Europe and the USA. And finally you have to make sure that the solution is reimbursed and that users are incentivized to use your solution. Along this journey you have to ensure that the company is well funded, so fundraising is a constant task for an entrepreneur. And you require the right team with the right skill set in the different phases, which can also present a challenge, given the tight market for good experts. To conclude, the most challenging part in running a start-up is to keep it well funded to keep the momentum high and to find the right people for the team."
Another challenge for all startups is to secure funding and to the question about the biggest challenge Implandata Ophthalmic Products faced while looking for funding Max responds:
"The biggest challenge in fundraising is always, when external factors like the current situation in the financial markets and the economic uncertainty, where investors in general are more cautious to engage themselves in new investments. In such phases it is important to have loyal shareholders and investors, who help you through these phases. Another challenge I have experienced in the past was, that we have been way ahead with our solution and the business model was hard to understand for investors, as such solutions have not existed on the market so far. Here it is important to work closely with the medical opinion leaders and to get their buy-in into such a solution, as this increases the confidence for investors that there is a need and thus a market for your solution."
To the question, what is the most rewarding aspect of entrepreneurship, Max Ostermeier replies:
"Establishing an innovative solution, which is helpful to its users and the society and meeting important milestones on the journey to realize such a solution. In health care such milestones are functional prototypes, first in-human clinical validation, successful clinical studies, regulatory approvals and finding ways to make money with your solution. So there are several reward points on this journey, but the most rewarding aspect is, when you see that the solution is accepted and demanded by its users."
I would like to thank Max Ostermeier for taking time for our interview and for providing us with an important perspective of Implandata Ophthalmic Products