The Big Orthos are hunting for early stage orthos with cameras, not guns.
I have conversations with startup leaders each week about strategics. I have seen this trend for the last decade.
Here is some honest advice for my early stage orthopedic friends. Please stop courting the Big Orthos for funding. They are wasting your time.
STARTUP: We had a great meeting with a Big Ortho last week. They are really interesting in our technology.
ME: Are they investing ?
STARTUP: Not yet. They are running it through their Bus Dev process, but we have another meeting next month.
These investment meetings are an energy drain. They de-focus your time that should be spent on creating a working prototype, completing testing, and getting regulatory clearance AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.
I have been inside those Business Development Meetings with the Big 5 strategics. The people working in the Big Orthos are good people. They mean well, however, they literally cannot make a decision to invest in an early stage company. They will inadvertently tease you with their interest in your early stage business and they will drag you through their bureaucracy. It’s a sad fact that it has come to this. Today, the Big Orthos have become so risk-averse that they can only take pictures. They cannot shoot to kill.
Note: Years later, you may have different conversations with the Big Orthos. The Big Orthos can make a decision to acquire you when you get into the $40-75M sales range with healthy margins and a nice sales trajectory. At this point you have real regulatory clearances, real sales, real customers. The risk has been retired.
Stop wasting you time on funding meetings with the Big Orthos.