Health IT

When an entrepreneur seizes the mic: Bold move or act of desperation?

Healthcare startups in fundraising mode occasionally break the rules to get an investor’s ear. Sometimes it works, but it can generate a collective cringe from onlookers.

That was the impression left by the head of a remote monitoring company exhibiting at the conference who failed to make the roster for presenting companies at the 2013 American Telemedicine Conference’s first venture fair. He jumped on the mic during a question and answer session segment and held it for about 15 minutes.

After initially introducing himself to the panelists — Qualcomm Life Fund Director Jack Young, Ansley Capital Group Managing Director Dr. Bryan Bushick, Specialists on Call CEO Dr. Joe Peterson and moderator Alexis Gilroy, a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough, and explaining why he was doing what he was doing — he turned his back to them and pitched the audience before turning around again to get funding and IP guidance.


The tactic used by FlexLife Health CEO Frederick Mindermann, who is exhibiting at the conference under My HealthEcare, paid off to some extent. He spent 15 minutes describing his company’s product, his background and eventually asked a few questions facing other startups such as how to navigate the valley of death between initial investment and generating revenue. And he got answers. He certainly got my attention.

“I kind of threw the dice down today,” Mindermann said. “People may not like it, but I’m going to get the word out.”

His approach occasionally ventured into rudeness, like when he speculated on what the application fee he was charged would be used for — perhaps to pay for the panelists? He could have just approached the panelists after the session, as others did.

The moment was all the more startling because it’s something you seldom see, particularly in the relatively conservative circles of healthcare. And it must have been maddening for the startups that did get picked for the showcase. Some were not impressed by Mindermann’s approach, and it stands to reason that his brash tactics could be a turnoff to investors. It will be interesting to see if it pays off or if he continues to struggle to get in front of investors.

[Photo credit: BigStock Photo]

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