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Jeff Williams: Advice for securing venture capital during a tough economy

Tangent Medical is focused on the development and commercialization of IV therapy products. Founded in 2009, the company’s patented NovaCath™ Integrated IV Catheter System is the only safety IV catheter to cost-effectively integrate advanced catheter stabilization, next generation tubing management, closed system blood control and passive needle encapsulation. Based on extensive clinical research into the needs of both healthcare workers and patients, this next- generation system is designed to establish a new standard in catheter design, functionality and performance.

Rake Narang: What best practices can you share with Medical Device or Diagnostic CEO’s who are early in their career?

Jeff Williams: Never forget the primary objective of your company, regardless of its stage of development, is to ultimately generate a profit and significant cash flows that more than justify the investment in the company. The job of the CEO is to secure both human and financial capital, then determine the proper allocation of these resources to make sure the company achieves this primary objective.

About Jeff Williams

Rake Narang: What are the key things you look for when hiring a management team?

Jeff Williams: Hiring a management team for a start-up requires a very different approach than the standard hiring practices of a larger, more established company. That said, I think it is most important to find candidates with rich, proven industry experience. Beyond experience, it’s important to have leaders who work collaboratively and contribute beyond their functional area of expertise. We focused on building a high caliber team that could develop innovative approaches in all aspects of our business regardless of whether it was new product development, operations or commercialization. When working within a start-up, it's important that each team member have an orientation towards creative problem solving and execution.

Rake Narang: What lessons have you learned through the recent commercialization of the NovaCath?

Jeff Williams: The short peripheral IV catheter market has seen very little innovation in the last 50 years. Although we have developed a highly innovative product that addresses the short-comings of existing IV catheters, it looks radically different and requires explanation. Utilization of traditional marketing channels (e.g. print media) can be extremely difficult based on the uniqueness of our device. We have had to really lean more heavily on multi-media and live product demonstrations to tell our story. We have generated an incredible amount of excitement and clinical demand through product demonstrations. Clinicians are quick to acknowledge it as game-changing technology which will change the standard of care.

An additional learning has been that exceptional clinical demand and excitement for the product can have unintended consequences. Once a nurse has experienced our product, they generally want their institution to immediately evaluate the technology. Many hospitals are struggling to achieve compliance with new regulatory requirements and manage costs. As a result, the evaluation of new technology does not always occur at the pace our clinicians want. This can create a considerable amount of frustration with clinicians. We are learning to work with clinicians and their hospitals to streamline the evaluation process while developing the business for accelerating product adoption.

Rake Narang: What is your advice for securing venture capital during a tough economy?

Jeff Williams: Make sure your company is capable of attracting and securing venture capital prior to approaching venture capitalists. Too many CEOs approach venture capitalists too early in the process and then receive a rejection from the venture capital firm. The company must be able to demonstrate it is pursuing a large (preferably >$1 Billion) and rapidly growing (preferably >15%) market, the product or service will meet a need, and the company will be able to ultimately generate significant positive cash flows, i.e. the cost of goods will be low enough to enable a sufficient gross margin to cover all operating expenses and have a significant operating profit left over. Also, it definitely helps to network to achieve an introduction to a VC firm rather than submit an unsolicited business plan.

Company: Tangent Medical
8170 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103 U.S.A.

Founded in: 2009
CEO: Jeff Williams
Public or Private: Private
Head Office in Country: Ann Arbor, Michigan - United States
Products and Services: The NovaCath Integrated IV Catheter System

Company’s Goals: We always want to create something really new and gain the aim that FabulaRosa become the common procedure for any login We are looking for partners.
Key Words: IV Catheter, Peripheral IV Catheter, PIVC, IV, IV Stabilization, Secure IV Catheter, Short-Peripheral IV, Infusion Therapy, IV Therapy
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