Startup Trends in Medtech

October 19, 2012
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If you have access to large amounts of data, your natural inclination is to use it whenever possible to answer specific questions that may arise.  Suffice it to say that, in the area of medical technology startups, I have a large amount of data, since I have been tracking the formation of medtech companies for a dozen years, detailing the contacts (and all of their details), their technologies, their clinical areas of focus and other specifics.

If you have access to large amounts of data, your natural inclination is to use it whenever possible to answer specific questions that may arise.  Suffice it to say that, in the area of medical technology startups, I have a large amount of data, since I have been tracking the formation of medtech companies for a dozen years, detailing the contacts (and all of their details), their technologies, their clinical areas of focus and other specifics.  The formation of medtech startups is, after all, a good indication of where medtech is going (the other way of seeing where things are going in medtech is following the money, which is another set of trends I follow).

Having tracked medtech company formation for this long, I was recently curious to characterize the overall trend (numbers of companies by types of clinical/technology focus) in the number of startups.  Unsurprisingly, the trend from 2000 to 2012 reflects at a minimum the impact of the “Great Recession” on startup formation, with a very distinct drop-off in company formation post 2007, to a level in Q4 2012 that has done anything but rebound.

Trend in Medtech Startups by Clinical/Technology Focus, 2000-2012

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Startups.

So, while I see that the overall trend in startup formation shows that we still have a ways to come back toward the volume of entrepreneurship that was active in 2007, I was then interested to see the trend in types of medtech startup, regardless of the aggregate number of startups.

Below is illustrated the 2012 distribution of medtech startups by clinical and technology focus — and below that, the same for 2007.  I shown these as pie charts so one can readily see the overall “shape” of new medtech in 2007 versus 2012.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Startups.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Startups.

There are a number of conclusions that can be made in comparison of 2007 and 2012.  First, there are consistently strong clinical areas fields driving medtech, including orthopedics/musculoskeletal, cardiovascular therapeutics and surgery.  Second, one can see very distinct trends (borne out by other data we have) in, on the one hand, the growth of minimally invasive technology and, on the other hand, a decline in formation of spine surgery startups.

I don’t need to tell you that you are free to draw your own conclusions.