Ulmer Ventures

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Changing the Face of MedTech

It All Started with a Dinner

Something special happened at a dinner this past September when fifteen MedTech executives from operating companies large and small, venture capital and consulting firms met in San Jose California. We gathered to discuss the pernicious problem of the untapped people potential in MedTech. This problem manifested, for me, when I first noticed the “shop floor” employees were largely persons of color. These persons are building the products that are helping people live longer and healthier lives, yet the decision-makers are rarely persons of color. This disparity sparked a conversation regarding how we get more voices involved at every level across the MedTech ecosystem.

Those at that dinner shared their own journey as an ethnic minority in MedTech. The stories were deeply personal and riveting, full of obstacles overcome and lessons learned. They reminded me that, while the journey can be rife with landmines, those same landmines enable a special resilience to be born. These executives had met unique challenges for years and managed to learn, grow and help others in MedTech.

As I participated and listened, I remember being hopeful for a better future. Over the course of just a few short hours, a group of acquaintances, friends, and strangers managed to deftly transition from what’s wrong to what’s next. We scratched the surface with notions of who needed the most help. We pondered how we are best positioned to provide that aid, and wondered aloud who else should be a part of this conversation.

Since that dinner…

MedTech Color was born that night, and since that dinner, three core objectives emerged:

  1. Build a Community. We can leverage tools and establish partnerships to connect sponsors and mentors with aspiring MedTech professionals. We can foster meaningful conversations that build fruitful relationships.
  2. Increase the number of underrepresented ethnic minorities who enter and stay in MedTech. We believe changing the face of MedTech will ultimately result in better-performing companies that reach more patients.
  3. Add tangible value to the MedTech ecosystem. There are untapped experts across the ecosystem that can provide rich content to move the industry forward.

As MedTech Color builds a community, I look forward to sharing our progress through this medium and getting ideas and insight from across the ecosystem. Already, we know that this group represented just a portion of persons interested and willing to give their time to build this much-needed community.

There was a real desire among the dinner attendees to build scalable solutions that go beyond a traditional mentoring program, leveraging the power of decades of experience, and support innovators in bringing their devices and diagnostics to market faster.

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to email me kwame.ulmer@medtechcolor.com or join the MedTech Color LinkedIn group.

Kwame UlmerMedTech