Medical Device Entrepreneurs Converge on Wings, a New Angel Investing Network

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of medical technology—therapeutic and diagnostic devices; healthcare IT; healthcare delivery; and unregulated biotech development tools, otherwise known as scientific instruments. Once the Wings group has put its stamp of approval on a startup, then it hopes to form syndicates with other established networks like Alliance of Angels, Keiretsu Forum, and Zino Society, who have long been interested in this field, but lack members with the expertise to properly screen these business plans, Rivera says.

Wings has already moved past the concept stage. It has articles of incorporation written up. The first investment event is scheduled for April 14, and the deadline to submit a business plan for consideration is March 1.

Despite some of the storm clouds hanging over the medical device field, these are still the kind of investments that can appeal to angels. It generally takes much less capital, and much shorter development cycles, to develop a new medical device than it does, say, to create a new biotech drug for cancer. Wings foresees its angels making seed investments of anywhere between $500,000 to potentially $3 million to provide some early proof of the concept, which will spark venture capitalists to carry the torch further along in development.

Success will be judged in a number of ways—like the number of deals generated, the number of members who get involved, how much follow-on financing flows in later, and how much the Wings investors can generate in returns.

The big fear? “Nobody shows, or the deals suck,” Wilcox says. “If we don’t get good deals, it won’t work.”

The fact that three busy people like Kraemer, Wilcox, and Clement have volunteered significant time for several months to get this going is noteworthy. But they stressed that they aren’t the only ones involved. Wings has a 12-member board. The group includes: Rivera; Dick Rohde of Perkins Coie; startup consultant Janis Machala; Adam Fountain of Broadmark Capital; Michael Hovanes, a medical device and imaging entrepreneur; Loretta Little of WRF Capital; H. Stewart Parker, the founder and former CEO of Targeted Genetics; Jens Quistgaard, the former CEO of Liposonix and general manager of Medicis operations in Bothell, WA; and Wayne Wager, a medical device entrepreneur and CEO of Confirma. Kraemer is the board president, and Wilcox is vice president.

The idea to bring all these people together started to coalesce at a pair of meetings last year, in May and September. The first, a private dinner at the Rainier Club … Next Page »

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