Houston’s health tech innovation community is expanding rapidly as the city’s economy evolves beyond its oil-boom roots and moves toward becoming one of the country’s top destinations for health innovation.
A confluence of events including Houston’s consideration for the Amazon HQ2 site as well as the mass migration of Californians to Texas–a process that has only been accelerated by the pandemic–has led to this moment: An opportunity for Houston to capitalize on its potential to become a global leader in medical innovation, leveraging the robust healthcare and research infrastructure.
With no shortage of tech experts, scientists, and medical professionals, Houston’s next step toward leading the nation in health tech is hiring experienced executives who know how to bring innovations successfully to market.
Companies are looking in the healthcare industry and beyond in search of leaders with the right mix of experience and perspective to bring market feasibility and efficacy to medical device and digital health solutions.
Houston is home to a plethora of health-focused companies that have gone through rounds of proof of concept development with grant and seed funding. Their solutions and implementation models have been clinically validated and de-risked, they are ready to take on executive talent to push them forward in the commercialization process. These companies are often led by technically brilliant founders, and we at TMC Innovation have conducted diligence on the clinical validity of their concept as well as the feasibility of their market access strategy.
At TMC Innovation, we have the capacity to connect experienced executive leaders with the startups from early to growth stages. Facilitating these connections is a vital aspect of our strategy to propel Houston to the number one destination for healthcare innovation. In the past several years, our company-executive matchmaking has led to multiple transformative hires within Houston’s health tech ecosystem.
Take for example the case of Adam Berman, Chief Executive Officer of Alleviant Medical. Alleviant Medical is a medical device company developing potential therapies for congestive heart failure. Ready to move to the next level in growth, Alleviant hired Berman, an experienced executive that brought them through their subsequent milestones. More recently, Dave Giarrocco was recruited to Houston-based Noninvasix through TMC Innovation network connections, and Houston-based Jason Pesterfield was recruited to lead UK-based Optellum.
When it comes to considering what type of executive experience is well suited for a transition into a digital health or medical device startup company, we most commonly see three distinct pathways: tech, industry, and hospital.
Tech: Many successful healthcare startup executives who transition from tech have experience as product leaders, sales executives, or customer success managers. Tech companies move quickly to keep pace with the evolution of the technology landscape, so startup executives transitioning from tech are often well-suited to the fast-paced startup environment. Healthcare innovations often center around new technology that can be applied to improve the patient experience or the workflows of clinicians, so an understanding of the tech ecosystem, development process, and sales strategy can lead to success.
Industry: Healthcare startup executives who transition from the world of business often have experience in product development, sales, marketing, and commercialization. These are crucial skills for building a successful company around an innovative product. In the process of developing their concept, it’s common for startup founders to lose sight of external factors such as creating a market access plan, thinking through the payor model, or understanding the potential competition in the market. Executives with experience in these fundamental business principles are often successful in helping startups move from the development to the commercialization stages.
Hospital: Former hospital administrators or operations managers bring an invaluable perspective to the upper management teams of healthcare startups. Innovation in healthcare often includes applying new technology to improve patient outcomes or clinician workflows. Yet hospitals are understandably cautious when it comes to adopting innovative tech into their operations. Failure is an inherent piece of innovation, but failure in healthcare comes at a high cost. Individuals who understand hospital workflows and priorities are well-equipped to develop a healthcare startup’s product in a way that’s de-risked and implementable in the hospital. Alternatively, these individuals can be well suited to sales, partnership, and customer success leadership roles. Their background understanding of health system operations contributes to the ultimate success of the product and the company.
At TMC Innovation, we are always excited to hear from talented executives looking to make the leap into the healthcare startup ecosystem. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an introductory call. We’ll discuss our portfolio of promising startups whose growth needs are aligned with your particular skills and experience.