Welcome to Startup 365

Welcome to the debut post of Startup 365. As my website was getting a much needed upgrade, I figured this was the time to start the blog as well. My intention is to chronicle the challenges, hurdles and (hopefully) successes of running a start-up medical device company in central Maine. Those who scanned my home page may have noticed that O’Brien Medical was founded in 1999. This leads to the inevitable question; how can a company be a start-up at the venerable age of 12? While the business has been around for a while, I was inventing and licensing out concepts not manufacturing them.  Becoming a medical device manufacturer is a significant leap in terms of complexity, time commitment and resource acquisition.  From this perspective, O’Brien Medical is at the start-up phase of its transition from licensing entity to device manufacturer.

This transition was inspired to an extent by the electronic tuning fork concept I worked on with UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC). The project, partly funded by a Maine Technology Institute (MTI) seed grant, took about a year to complete.  The prototype that resulted has been producing excellent results in clinical trials. This has given me the confidence to commit to forming a manufacturing entity around the device which is now called NeuroCheck.

Another exciting part of the transition to manufacturer is my participation in the Top Gun program (run by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, MCED). I am enrolled in the 2011/12 class which begins in January.  The program is designed to accelerate the growth of small established companies and start-ups based in Maine.  Even before the start of classes, Top Gun has helped me connect with members of Maine’s entrepreneurial community. These contacts would ordinarily take months or years to develop on my own.  Paraphrasing one Top Gun graduate, the program compresses about four years of business experience into an intense seven month period. I’m excited to officially start the program and ramp up my own entrepreneurial skills. A good part of this blog in 2012 will be devoted to my experiences in the program.

Lastly, a word about the origins of the blog’s name. Several years ago I was reading a book on entrepreneurship. The author had a chapter about the early start-up phase of building a company. In addition to the usual advice about keeping your “day job”, he stressed the importance doing some meaningful work building your company every day.  I took this message to heart. Even if you can only give an hour, taking the initiative keeps forward momentum toward your goal.  I’ve become convinced that maintaining that momentum is critical to the success of any start-up, including mine.