Startups are engines of innovation for the orthopedic industry, and attendees of the Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference (MNVC) will receive an outlook on these companies from product ideation, investment and acquisition standpoints.
“We’ve seen a lot of peaks and troughs in the 17 years we’ve been hosting MNVC. With that perspective, I would describe the current [startup] environment as healthy,” said Gary Stevenson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MB Venture Partners, who hosts MNVC along with Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “During MNVC, we will explore the strong areas (extremities) and the weaker ones (spine), with presenting companies from all segments.”
Held October 29-30 in Memphis, MNVC is expected to attract 200 professionals and connect musculoskeletal startups and entrepreneurs with investors, including capital funds, angels and strategics. (ORTHOWORLD is an MNVC sponsor, and we’ll be attending the conference.)
The Emerging Companies and Technologies
Twenty-two private companies developing new and emerging technologies, including hardware, biologics, software and diagnostics, are expected to provide pitches at MNVC.
Well-known companies and industry veterans will speak, including Spinal Elements and its President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Blain, as well as Anthony Viscogliosi, John Viscogliosi and Marc Viscogliosi, who will represent Woven Orthopedic, Centinel Spine and Spine BioPharma, respectively. Memphis-based companies Active Implants, CrossRoads Extremity Systems and SweetBio will be returning to provide updates.
In reviewing the lineup of presenters, we found the number of software companies to be of interest. Augmedics, Muvr Labs, OrthoGrid and Statera Spine are on the agenda and offer solutions throughout the continuum of care. It makes sense. Orthopedic strategics have been purchasing and partnering with software startups to gain access to their technology and their people in recent years.
Convergence of the software and hardware spaces remains in a nascent stage, with progress needed to achieve its full potential, Stevenson said.
“For example, we have presenting companies that are developing products that tap the potential of 3D-augmented reality in the operating room. Others have established databases of thousands of electronic images that could be critical in rapid fine-tuning machine learning solutions. Others use software and hardware to improve surgeon and robotic visualization,” Stevenson said. “The potential of combining software and hardware to create new solutions is an investment theme that has dramatic potential for the next 10 years.”
The Investment Environment
In addition to individual company and product updates, MNVC attendees will gain insight into important topics affecting the industry today, including M&A and investment strategy.
J.P. Peltier, Global Group Head, Healthcare Investment Banking at Piper Jaffray, will speak on the M&A and equity market environments. A panel discussion with perspective from John Chopack from HealthpointCapital and Wayne Wallace from Mutual Capital Partners will highlight investors’ interest and approaches.
Stevenson, who has spent more than two decades in the healthcare equity market, said that he’s encouraged by the increasing M&A interest of the industry’s largest players and the investor market’s welcoming tone toward medical device startups. It has provided a path for startups to successfully exit.
Our industry is ultimately a human business, Stevenson has often reminded us. While MNVC offers a forecast for commercialized technologies and investments, it also affords attendees the contagious enthusiasm and passion of industry’s entrepreneurs. Something we could all use to expand our minds.