How much to ask for?
How much to ask for?

This is the “View from the Valley” update, from Joelle Faulkner. I am an engineer/lawyer/business person who has spent time developing medical devices at Stanford in the Silicon Valley/MedTech Mecca. Today’s post is the result of a conversation with you; specifically, a reader: a corporate president of a small medical device company.

It’s a question on commercializing technology. About money (how much to ask for and how to ask). My answer is: Stop being so lovely (and Canadian) and ask for as much as you need to build to the vision. Below I detail the question and my answer.

I would love to have more questions for next time, so email and comment away! Also, I imagine that many of you will have comments that will be valuable and insightful, so please comment away. Good luck to the respondents and let me know how we can help you further!

QUESTION: We have a technology that, thanks to much Canadian funding, is ready for patients. How do we commercialize? We have a plan where we can invest $2M and have $10M in revenues in 5 years, or where we can invest $5M and have $50-60M in revenues by year 5.

JAF Answer: Ask for the money you need to build the company you want. It’s lovely that you have two plans, and one only requires $2M in funding, but seriously – why would you want to stifle the company’s potential and ask for less than you need to build the company you want. That is, you answered that you would like this technology to reach as many people as possible and in the same sentence gave me two plans. The question here is how you will get the $5M you need, not whether you can get $2M. For a good understanding of the dynamics of medical devices, it is worth noting that companies routinely take $30-$50M in funding, so your ask for commercialization seems extremely low!

There is one other thing worth noting here: if you don’t have someone who can sell doing the selling then you also are unlikely to build the company you want. For this, I reiterate my fundamental belief: having many people build the company is extremely valuable. You want a person to be an expert in whatever area they are going to run, but Canada lacks experience in medical devices (though there are pockets), so find the experts elsewhere and ask them for help!

Now — more questions? Please send them to me!  In addition to providing answers I will try, where I can, to help provide the connections to others I know.

All my best,

Joelle Abra

Joelle has a background in chemical engineering, business and law. Joelle has led two successful entrepreneurial ventures and recently completed the Biodesign Fellowship in medical device innovation at Stanford University. She now works at Stanford providing business and IP strategy consulting to the most promising biomedical research and provides a “View from the Valley!” See more…