Innovation isn’t always about creating something entirely new. Sometimes, it’s about taking lessons learned and applying them in a way that could benefit others, which is what Patrick Kelly and Joanne Frogge are hoping to do with BidMed LLC, a company that helps health systems manage their surplus assets by facilitating the selling, buying and trading of refurbished medical equipment.
Kelly and Frogge both have backgrounds in the surplus medical equipment business. They both had worked for medical auction house Centurion Service Group, and Kelly also had experience with MEDmarketplace, but the co-founders felt that these services weren’t meeting all the needs of their clients.
“So, we decided to build a company on best practices of what other people are doing,” said Frogge, who serves as the company’s chief operating officer.
BidMed wants to provide hospitals with the most competitive bid on the equipment they’re trying to dispose of, she said, but sometimes hospitals just don’t know the value of the equipment they have on the secondhand market. The company has an appraiser on staff who helps start the process, and through partnerships with vendors, the company can also refurbish and re-warrant the equipment before listing it to its international network of buyers.
BidMed has just raised $300,000 to launch an online marketplace that will serve as a bidding space for medical equipment sellers and buyers, like an eBay for hospitals. When the site launches in October, BidMed will be able to run auctions for its clients, or broadcast their items for sale online. Or, another feature will allow listings to be seen only by other material managers in the same health system, so that equipment can be transferred within a system. But it’s got a lot of competition on the Web –aside from Centurion and MEDmarketplace, there’s the lead generation site DotMedand MedWow, just to name a few.
“All these other companies go to hospitals and say, ‘this is our service,’ and make the hospital fit the service,” Frogge said. “We want to go to hospitals and say, ‘tell us about your process,’ and build a solution around them because each hospital is really unique.” They also tend to sell equipment as is and take weeks to get companies the payment for their items.
Like other companies, BidMed takes a portion of what a hospital’s equipment is sold for. And it’s already bringing in revenue, Frogge added, and is trying to grow as organically as posisble. The Chicago-based company formed in May and now has two sales employees. For now, the team is focused on sales and building the online marketplace. As soon as that’s launched, she said, the team plans on pitching to more health systems.