What are we getting out of the program?
There are a lot of benefits of participating – we have carefully tailored the program to help you quickly move through high-risk commonly challenging stages in your path to market. To rattle off a few of the biggest value-adds:
Strategy teardown with experts (with focus on how to play globally – Australia is a great small business, but might not be largely investor backable standalone because the market size is too small to generate large enough ROI and/or exit opportunities that trigger a liquidity event)
Industrial design support & OH&S considerations in your product design (you mentioned you will do this later… why not get it right the first time, especially with respect to OH&S considerations of the design?)
KOL (key opinion leader) engagement plan as part of marketing strategy
R&D tax incentive support (turns your $2.7M into almost $4M)
Rigorous IP review & analysis
Health economics calculation
Product support requirements
Legals: founders agreements, bylaws/structure/articles of incorporation review, template agreements generated for your specific company (e.g. terms & conditions, warranties, etc)
Brand development support
Website & SEO development support
Media spokesperson training
Mapping the sales process
What specifically will participating companies be doing to grow the business?
Masterclasses are designed to be hands-on facilitation from expert suppliers, with some of them delivering specific reports as an outcome of this engagement. Every sprint is focused on common critical weak points for medical device startups. During “off weeks”, teams will be working towards achieving milestones. This is mentored but self-structured.
If time commitment is a problem, am I still eligible?
Maybe – we have structured an intense program that attempts to meet each team where they are at, surrounding you with the expertise, resources and infrastructure to accelerate your path to market. The program requires full time participation by someone core to your team. We aim to be as flexible as possible. If you want to participate but your 100% commitment for 12 months is not tenable, come have a chat with us and we’ll work with you to evaluate the path forward.
I just want to get on with it – will your program be a distraction and slow me down?
We hope not! Our masterclasses are intensely focused on generating key deliverables, with facilitators that will meet you where you are at. You won’t find yourself sitting in lecture after lecture, and you have full control of your 3-week downtime in between masterclasses in the first six months, and full control of your time full stop in the last half of the program.
What is ‘seed stage’?
Seed stage for medtech typically means that you have secured prior funding through some combination of grants, self-funding, friends & family investment. You have a prototype developed, and probably have some initial preclinical data.
What about medtech for non-human applications (ie veterinary)?
The Actuator program focuses heavily on helping our portfolio companies navigate the pathway to regulatory approval. If you are on a regulated pathway, you are eligible to participate and will get great value from your participation. If you are looking at an unregulated pathway as a faster path to market for an MVP with ambitions toward a regulated device at a later stage, have a chat with us as you may still be eligible.
What about consumer health tech?
Our sprints are focused on a range of commonly problematic commercial development milestones for early-stage medical device products, many of which focus on the regulatory pathway – regulatory approvals, reimbursement codes, labelling and clinical trial planning. If you are not on a pathway that involves regulation and clinical trials, large portions of our program structure will be lower value to you as compared to other potential participants. If you are really really keen, we will always aim to be flexible and inclusive wherever it makes sense – come have a chat with us.
Do I have to be based in ___?
You can be based anywhere in Australia! For the first 6 months, we have monthly 1-week masterclasses. These national masterclasses are in a location that rotates around the country. You are responsible for participating fully in these sessions in person – participation is a funding tranche milestone consideration.
How do I get nominated to access the ‘partner’ preferred equity stream?
If you are currently a student, faculty or staff, alumni or collaborator of a partner organization, contact us for the point of contact to discuss getting a nomination letter. Each partner organization has complete discretion over which companies they nominate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I’m already working with a supplier for x? I don’t want to work with supplier y.
We don’t require you to work with any of the expert suppliers in our program. We have simply vetted market-leading suppliers to provide reduced-rate services to our portfolio. If you want to work with someone else for any reason, you have complete freedom to do so.
Can I see the term sheet?
Sure! We love transparency and know you want to know what you’re getting in to before you invest the time in a full application.
Can I reference check the program? What’s your track record?
Hey, we get the due diligence process and understand you can and should do your diligence on us. There are lots of sources of capital, and what’s right for one startup isn’t right for another. The Actuator is a brand new program with the first cohort kicking off in February 2018. Chat to our priming program past participants (e.g. MedTech’s Got Talent), chat up our mentors and partners that are in-network for you, ask one of our staff to take you out for coffee to dig into our specific expertise in accelerating early-stage medical devices to market.
How did you determine $1M valuation for portfolio companies?
This is called the Silicon Valley Method of valuation. Because early-stage startups are very difficult to accurate value, this method assumes that all startups at certain stages are roughly of a certain value, understanding that the model will be off a little bit one way or the other.
I think my startup has a higher valuation, can you give me better terms?
In order for our accelerated model to work, we have chosen to adopt the Silicon Valley Method of valuation. Therefore, our valuation is consistent across all portfolio companies and we are not able to offer different terms. We recognize that this may not be right for all startups, and are happy to refer you to other programs as appropriate.
Does this program offer a competitive cost of capital?
Seed stage medical device companies can expect to give up between 15-30% equity, depending on many factors, including valuation, investor competition, market trends. For the Actuator, we have a flexible engagement model, meaning that the full ‘cost of capital’ for participation in the program can range from 5% to 27.5%, depending on how much funding you receive (1% equity for every $10,000 provided up to a maximum of $200,000) and whether your project is from a partner organization (must be formally nominated by this organization). The following compares cost of capital across other Australian accelerators:
Actuator full funding, partner: $200,000 invested for (20%) = post-money valuation = $1,000,000 + 5% equity for participation in the Actuator Accelerator
Actuator full funding, non-partner: $200,000 invested for (20%) = post-money valuation = $1,000,000 + 5% equity for participation in the Actuator Accelerator
Startmate: $75,000 for 7.5% = $1,000,000 post-money
AngelCube: $20,000 for 10% = $200,000 post-money
Ignition: $20,000 for 8% = $333,000 post-money
PushStart: $20,000 for 8% = $250,000 post-money
Muru-D: $40,000 for 6% = $666,000 post-money
EnergyLab: $50,000 for 10% = $500,000 post-money
How is your program different than other accelerators?
There are no other medtech seed to Series A accelerators in Australia. There are some great generic or ICT-focused ones, but if you have deep medtech, this program will help you navigate the regulations and path to market issues that will not be touched at all or mentor supported in generalist or non medtech-specific programs. The program has been designed carefully to push the boundaries of the timelines, rapidly derisking our portfolio companies – this cannot be achieved through incubation or other programs that do not provide the same milestone momentum and specialised support.
Why wouldn’t I just get funding from other places?
You can! That’s why we have an “unfunded track” and have flexible funding such that you can access funding in $10,000 increments up to $200,000. If you don’t like our terms, or don’t need our money in the first place – but still want to access the program benefits, you can absolutely do that, in exchange for 5% or 7.5% equity, depending on whether you are nominated by a partner organisation.