What Happens When Doctors Begin Dating Startups?

by Arlen Meyers

What Happens When Doctors Begin Dating Startups?The matchmaker business model, connecting one party interested in connecting with another party, whether it be with romantic or business intent or building a community of interest, is common.

Now that doctors and startups are interested in working with each other or doctors are interested in finding clients for their side gigs, the dating docs models are expanding. Like all dating services, however, their value depends on matching the right person with a problem with the right person who can provide a solution. Getting to yes presents some barriers:

  1. Few doctors have an entrepreneurial mindset
  2. Doctors interested in working with startups don’t have the business knowledge, skills, abilities or compentencies to add value
  3. Expectations are not clear between the two parties. Sorry but you won’t be making as much as a practicing orthopod if you become an advisor to a startup.
  4. The only qualifier for doctors to be on the platforms seems to be the letters after their names. Many of those smiling faces on the website are just hood ornaments.
  5. There is a disconnect between techies and docs, particularly for non-sick care entrepreneurs
  6. One or both sides of the dyad don’t honor their commitments or have the same sense of urgency or aligned incentives to deliver results
  7. One or both don’t have a clear job preview and don’t understand the startup world and challenges
  8. There are differences between what’s needed in a startup v a scale up v a mature company
  9. Administrative hospital chief medical officers are different from startup or corporate CMOs
  10. There is no CMO school,,,yet
  11. Doctors won’t learn bioentrepreneurship in their formal training, so most of it will be expensive and risky on the job training. We need more entrepreneurial medical schoolsand demonstrating competencies in the business of medicine should be a 7th ACGME competency.
  12. Expect to be ghosted and learn to deal with how it makes you feel or what to do when your white coat gets the pink slip

Connecting people is but the first step. Connecting the right entrepreneur or investor with the right doctor will require doing a much better job of educating , screening and vetting the interested parties. Then, and only, then, should you ask for a coffee date, or , if you are really adventurous, dinner. But, be sure you agree on who will pick up the tab in advance and never have your first date pick you up where you live.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

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