The Medici Effect: Founder Matching at Cicada MedLab

Since 2000, Cicada has been home to more deep tech startups than anywhere else in the country. But we know building a startup is a tough game. There are more founders that don’t realise their ambition than ones that do.

Australia’s always punched above its weight in deep tech with the likes of Cochlear, Radiata, ResMed and Elastagen trailblazing for many that have come after them. Although Australia produces excellent research, we are terrible at making it available. In fact we are ranked last of 33 OECD countries for collaboration between researchers and business.

This challenge is at the heart of how Cicada thinks about how it helps deep tech founders. We scanned our database for the companies we’ve worked with that succeeded and that failed to understand this better.

Those that succeeded had any number of reasons as to their success; great technology, impeccable timing, visionary founders etc.

But for those that failed, one reason stood out.

It wasn’t getting outplayed by the competition, not being able to raise capital, or the technology failing.

It was team.

Team is paramount in any business and founders along with early employees set the culture, vision and ambition to build the momentum that’s needed to get off the ground. It’s complicated with individuals’ personalities, circumstances and chemistry.

But business is a team sport and almost always requires a different set of skills and experiences to productise and commercialise a technology.

Frans Johansson said in his book The Medici Effect, that innovation comes from diverse industries, cultures, and disciplines when they all intersect, bringing ideas from one field into another. We strongly believe is.

So that’s why we’ve extended an initiative we announced last month for agrifoodtech founders to medtech and it’s called Founder Matching at Cicada MedLab.

We want to help teams that already have great science and technology with commercial and marketing chops that’s essential to building a great business.

Our goal is simple. Can we either:

  1. Bring teams together than wouldn’t otherwise startup; or
  2. Supercharge teams that already exist

What we’re doing about it

Step 1. Finding the best medtech breakthroughs

We will be hosting workshops for clinicians and researchers who might be at the earliest stages of commercialising their technology or have been curious about what it takes to build a medtech startup.

For technologists (honours, PhD or academic) who don’t know where to start, we will be coming to medtech centres of research excellence and providing free half day workshops to see if this could be the right path for you.

You’ll learn the basics of Lean Startup Methodology, meet like-minded people and sharpen your idea. You’ll come away with a clear set of next steps to take if a startup is right for you and your technology.

Step 2. Bringing technical and commercial people together

Ok. So now we’ve identified a bunch of breakthrough technologies and the boffins behind them. The step is to make it easy for commercial gurus to matchmake with these amazing inventors.

We’re looking for curious, passionate and experienced commercial people who want to make their mark on the world and there’s no better place to make an impact than the Australian medtech scene.

  • Are a serial tech entrepreneur looking for a global and worthy problem to solve?
  • Are you an executive that’s harboured a desire to launch your own venture?
  • Or are you just finishing an MBA and want to forge your own destiny?

We are looking for you!

Our role is to take out the friction for you to find your entrepreneurial simpatico and catalyse the formation or supercharging of game-changing teams.

Once we have pre-screened technologies and people, we’ll bring everyone together. We will do this in two ways:

  1. “Speed networking” style events where we’ll invite people from commercial and technical worlds to come together; and
  2. One-to-one matchmaking: where we think it’s appropriate, we will make individual introductions.

So, are you a researcher? A commercial expert passionate about medtech? Reach out, we’d love to get you involved!

Step 3. Moving forward as a new or supercharged team

The excitement of a new team joining forces to achieve an ambitious goal is intoxicating. But overcoming the startup inertia and figuring out how move quickly, make decisions and bed down a shared vision still takes work.

We’re still planning out what we’ll do to assist but some thoughts:

  • Holding a weekend bootcamp to help you and other teams think through the highest priority matters and set you on track
  • Offer Cicada Innovations as a place for teams to meet
  • Tap into our amazing network of MedLab mentors

Stay tuned for more updates and we look forward to hearing from you!