• Ditch the exit strategy – and four more insights from a health tech entrepreneur

    • Murray Whyte wants more immediacy in medicine – and he’s not alone. The global point-of-care testing (POCT) market expects to grow to US $36.96 billion in 2021. And while North America accounts for most of the global POCT market, followed by Europe – Asia-Pacific’s POCT market is expected to grow the fastest.


      “Real-time feedback matters. Whether the outcome is agony or elation,” Murray observes, “patients don’t want to wait for answers.”

      With decades of experience working in the medical device and in-vitro diagnostics space,

      Murray and his colleague, Kevin Fallon, found themselves at a crossroads. During the years of R&D they noted that there were very few contract Research, Development and Manufacturing organizations that really understood what it took to take a diagnostic product to market and manufacture at volume.


      FlexMedical Solutions was born.


      “In the beginning, everyone asked what our exit strategy was,” reflects Murray. “But there wasn’t one. We wanted to help people, give back to our local economy and community and create jobs.”


      Take it from a seasoned start-up


      Perhaps you’re scheming and dreaming of starting something new. Murray offers a few helpful hints, drawing from his deep well of experience:


      1.  Go into business with someone like minded. You should have complementary skill sets, because you go through ups and downs together.  

      2.  Do your due diligence. Everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel. What are you trying to achieve and who are you trying to help and why?

      3.  Never give up. Your results won’t land on day one or, even, year one. It takes lots of time. But people will remember conversations and come back to you.

      4.  Always be brave. Starting your own business is scary. You’re “betting the farm” on it. Be willing to risk failure to succeed.


      Go into business with someone like minded


      Murray works closely with Maggi Tebrake, 3M Technical Specialist, to identify the right adhesives and films for devices. “I’ll tell Maggi to bring a biscuit and tea,” he says, “that’s the kind of relationship we have. It’s built on understanding and trust.” During the 10 years they’ve worked together, Maggi and Murray have prototyped and problem solved – even if, in the end, it meant he went with a competitor product. “There’s a mutual interest in growing together,” Maggi explains. “You have to be honest – if the product doesn’t work in the application it would be wrong to push it!” They both want to do right by the end user.


      Do your due diligence


      When Murray and Kevin decided to launch a business, they noticed a need: few Scottish companies could build medical devices from concept to commercialization. They had the desire to dive deep and backed it up with decades of experience and research.


      Never give up


      The FlexMedical team tries to coach clients in the same way they coached themselves. It takes time to build a business – and to transform a revolutionary diagnostic idea into a tangible device. “There’s an awful lot of people who have great ideas, but who don’t know how to realize them,” Murray explains, “we turn an idea into reality to help improve welfare globally.”  


      Always be brave


      “I fell in love with what I do 23 years ago, when I started chopping up blood glucose strips,” Murray says. “It makes a difference. Every day, I come into work and I enjoy it.”