Healthbox accelerator VP sees more physician-led startups

Andrew Laver has long worked with life science startups through his work as an angel investor, venture capitalist and investment banking. Now he’s getting that perspective from one of Healthbox’s newest accelerators in Salt Lake City. As I mentioned in another post, it’s interesting that an accelerator would take on so many medical device companies […]

Andrew Laver has long worked with life science startups through his work as an angel investor, venture capitalist and investment banking. Now he’s getting that perspective from one of Healthbox’s newest accelerators in Salt Lake City.

As I mentioned in another post, it’s interesting that an accelerator would take on so many medical device companies (four). But as Laver points out, it goes with the territory because there are so many in the region. Salt Lake City has the biggest concentration of medical device manufacturers in the country, according to Utah’s economic development corporation. It has more than 100 medical device companies.

Laver observed that many of the medical device and health IT companies that applied for a spot in the Healthbox accelerator are led by people with a medical or healthcare background, particularly physicians.

Laver’s own background is steeped in the investment world of Utah. He initially trained as an engineer but moved into investment banking and then venture capital before co-founding Salt Lake Life Science Angels.

He also suggested the regulatory pathways for the companies selected for the accelerator won’t be burdensome. “A lot of the companies we are looking at will not require extensive regulatory processes. All of them are going after areas with a lot of need — from how healthcare is paid for to specific clinical needs. They have targeted real problems and have great teams behind them.”

Getting the companies into a position where they are prepared and know what they need to do to satisfy regulators is a big help. Laver said it could also help with contacts, mentors, lining up prospective customers and getting them connected to the best companies for their needs. “We can get them down the right pathway and help them avoid dead ends.”

In response to a question on funding sources for early stage medical device companies, Laver said: “I think really a lot of the interest is happening from the strategics and not as much from the [private] investors, but these things are cyclical.”