Healthcare: How to Earn Your Wings Working with Angels

Healthcare: How to Earn Your Wings Working with Angels

Lincoln's first inaugural address on March 4,1861 ended with, " I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

There are 3 basic ways physician entrepreneurs can be better angels:

1) Angel investors,

2) Entrepreneurs seeking angel investments

3) Consultants, advisors and mentors involved in the due diligence process. We must not be enemies.

There are many different models of angel networks. Some invest in life science companies and many do not because of unfamiliarity with the sick care industry and lack of domain expertise. Some invest in seed stage while others are looking for more mature opportunities.

One way for physicians to help get ideas to patients, is to help angel networks with industry and market intelligence and specialty specific domain expertise in the early and later stages of due diligence and investment recommendations. Most will not pay you to do this, but there are several reasons why you should consider including participation in your side gig portfolio:

  1. You can provide clinical insight that is lacking in the group.

  2. You will help in the process of getting ideas to patients and preventing those that should not get to patients because they do not achieve the quintuple aim.

  3. You will expand your network of investors.

  4. You will learn the life science funding landscape and how it's done.

  5. You will become a more educated physician investor should you choose to be one.

  6. It will help build your brand equity.

  7. It will expose you to future technologies and potential innovations in the pipeline.

  8. It will sharpen your critical thinking and analytical skills.

  9. It may lead to a paying position in the future.

  10. It will expose you to how non-sick care industries are solving sick care problems.

  11. You get to meet people around the world in global networks.

  12. It helps to build your regional innovation ecosystem and give back to your community.

Here are some examples.

If an angel network asks you to help, say yes. Your background, insights, perspective and guidance is as valuable, if not more, than your money. At least you will get some free food, maybe a place to park and it's a great way to earn your wings

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Facebook.

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  • Cynthia Bishop

    So it's basically investing in startups and hoping to have gotten lucky.

  • Joanne Gilbert

    Most of the successful business got rejected by VCs. They're too much over estimated.

  • Matthew Lloyd

    Just pitch to 100 investors, you only need ONE yes

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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