I was in a meeting today for an early-stage medical device company. We were presenting the product and proposed project to potential investors. The product concept is simple, yet in my opinion has a significant market opportunity.
The project is fairly unique. The original concept was conceived about 10 years ago. The inventor pursued advancing the technology, taking the product through quite a bit of testing and actually receiving FDA 510(k) clearance. However, they never launched the product into the market. The current project proposes a redesign of the product, hence the need for funding. Chances are the current product configuration may not be well received in the marketplace. However, we really don’t know and might chase our tails a bit during product development.
But during today’s meeting, there was an interesting revelation: Why not put a few of the original products into use? Find a couple of hospitals, doctor’s offices, etc. who would be willing to use the device and provide feedback on the performance and become an integral part of the product development process.
I’m kind of kicking myself for not thinking of this. It makes perfect sense. We know believe the current version needs modifications. And we could sit around and brainstorm all sorts of fantastic ideas. Sure, before the revelation, we planned to include end-users in the design process. But what better way than to have them use a FDA cleared device?
Makes perfect sense. Do everything you can to get prototypes in the hands of actual users as soon as you can for the fewest dollars possible.