An interview with On The Mend Adviser, Kevin McDonnell
We ‘sat down’ virtually with On The Mend adviser Kevin McDonnell who shared some of his experiences in health tech, why he is helping On The Mend and the importance of having great advisors!
OTM: Kevin, can you start by telling us how long have you been involved with health tech and what got you so interested the space?
KM: I’ve been involved in heath tech since 2005. But I’ve always been interested in healthcare, having started my career at the laboratories of Guy’s Hospital. But my current journey in health tech started in 2005 when I joined a startup which I eventually led to exit in 2013 to EMIS Group.
OTM: Can you share a bit more of that experience of exiting to EMIS?
KM: EMIS was a really good home for the business as they weren’t currently operating in the market segments in which we were but there were lots of opportunities to offer a broader proposition through integrations across the businesses within the group. We had an exit strategy in place, along with a data room so the process of selling was very straightforward and took less that 8 weeks.
OTM: So what did you learn from the experience of selling a health tech startup?
KM: Definitely the importance of being prepared. If you have aspirations to exit then you should have an exit strategy set well in advance of selling the business. Otherwise you risk being distracted from business as usual whilst going through due diligence, and it can mean not being in the best position you could have been when you come to finally exit.
OTM: What has your career taught you about what makes a health tech start-up succeed?
KM: A heath tech startup has to be providing a solution that addresses a real problem, but also a problem that’s big enough for someone to want to solve. So it’s important to always consider the scale of the problem you are trying to address as well as understanding the stakeholders involved. It can be easy to think of your users as customers but in reality it could be an ICS or other healthcare payer so knowing where each of the key stakeholders sits within this process is critically important.
OTM: What made you decide to become a full-time startup advisor and NED?
KM: I’ve been really fortunate, developing a startup with an amazing team into a market leader in the UK before internationalising, acquiring our main competitor, integrating them then exiting. I’m thoroughly excited by the cut and thrust of early stage businesses as the levels of agility and innovation can quickly be translated to value. I’ve developed a lot of bruises and scars from starting and funding early-stage companies and wanted to share those experiences with others going on a similar journey.
OTM: What attracted you to work with the team at On The Mend?
KM: Their passion and desire to truly add value to patients and the clinicians supporting them while recovering at home. I believe healthcare is moving from outside the clinic and if we are going to support this transition then we need to be effective at supporting patients at home with their recovery.
OTM: What role do you see yourself playing at On The Mend?
KM: At the moment I’m a strategic advisor to the team. I’d like to think that can transition to a NED, to advise the board and help the company achieve its aspirations for the future. Fundamentally thought it’s about providing help and support to the team.
OTM: How do you think you can help On The Mend succeed in its mission?
KM: It’s a multifaceted question with many different answers but ultimately its about having a product that meets the needs of its users and having a relentless focus on user experience that ensures the solution is effective in addressing the wider problems it is trying to solve.
OTM: What do you see are the biggest opportunities for On The Mend in the short/medium/long run?
KM: Short term is evidencing that you don’t always need to ask patients back into clinics to address their recovery needs. Medium and long term will be using the learnings of the intervention that On The Mend are providing to apply to wider recovery use cases and countries.
OTM: When is the right time to start to internationalise a health tech startup?
KM: You’ve got to have certain traction in your domestic market as it gives you a broader use case when you enter another country. Put simply, you can internationalisable when you can translate your learning to other countries.
OTM: And finally, what is the right approach when you are ready to expand overseas?
KM: Firstly, you shouldn’t think you can do it from the UK. You need to immerse yourself in the country. Secondly, you need to find a panel of experts who can help you navigate in each country’s systems.
Thanks to Kevin for sharing such great insights to the health tech landscape. If you would like to find how On The Mend can help bring digital transformation to your organisation then please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Have a great day!