Run away!

I believe that surgeon-founded/owned orthopedic startups are doomed from the beginning. This belief is based on decades of ortho history.

Note: The exceptions are surgeon-founded/owned startups who hire a solid CEO early in the company’s life to run the business.

Surgeon-founded/owned startups look great from the outside. Strong clinical focus. Good product design. They launch with a bang. Show alot of promise and early sales with the insiders surgeons, but they are doomed as a long-term business.
Read – Easy to Start, Hard to Grow

Four Primary Issues

1/ Surgeons who run startups are poor company operators.

For more insight into why, read – The Founder Effect in Orthopedic Startups

2/ Surgeon-owned startups cannot scale.

If sales are coming from “inside” surgeon customers, then the business does not have the systems in place to seek and win new business. Farmers, not hunters. They know how to harvest, but they cannot hunt.

3/ Surgeon-owned startups tend to lead by ego.

Another big problem is that surgeon, who is also the CEO, is always the smartest person in the room (even when they’re not) and they don’t know what they don’t know. Surgeons are known to have big egos and that follow them from the operating room to the board room.

4/ Surgeon-owned startups battle pushback on contracts.

It is impossible to get IDN contracts with many/most IDNs if you have any surgeon ownership as a private company.  In 2022, hospitals have gotten savvy and have started to ask the “ownership question”.

So if you are ever approached by a surgeon-owned startup…

run away.