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Physicians can prevent the next Theranos


Theranos is a story (very much like Thanos) of a venture that over-promised and then went bust. Theranos went bust because the promises were a fraud with no tech support in the background. Now that everyone is blaming the CEO for this epic failure, no one is questioning the role of investors and board members in monitoring the moral compass of the executive team. Would a different kind of investor have prevented the boom and bust of such venture(s) in the healthcare industry?


A typical investor cares more about numbers than the core product or technology. In the case of Theranos, everyone believed that the tech is already built and now everything is a function of market expansion. Investors of Theranos cared for just one number: How many blood tests can be performed in a day or week or year? The cheesy financial projections blinded the investors to the importance of due diligence and real-time soft policing.


Going forward, a different class of investors does exist that would not let health tech startups repeat the mistakes of mighty Thanos and Theranos. Physicians are very strategically placed in the healthcare ecosystem. They have the core knowledge, understand technology, are into the roots of the systems, and are wealthy enough to be able to invest in startups. A physician led investor group would prioritize clinical validation over financial speculations. For health tech co-founders, it is symbiotic to associate with strategic investors like physicians. A physician will help in building technology, product testing in a clinical environment, open clinician networks for market access, and invest significant sums of money at multiple stages.


Only for Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans:

If bad startups are Thanos, good co-founders are the Avengers, and physician investors are the S.H.I.E.L.D.


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