CPG Advisor was proud to participate in the Sensors Summit in December 2019 in San Diego, and to moderate a dynamic panel discussion on M&A in the fast-moving world of sensor technologies.
A key topic at the Summit was rapidly emerging sensor capabilities. On the biomedical side, I’m impressed at the speed of commercialization of both consumer and clinical health monitoring and diagnostics devices – wearables (watches, patches, glasses) and even stickers and tattoos as future options. An especially compelling example was around the life-changing potential of continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes patients. Huge changes for the better coming in capabilities for in-home health care, and tremendous business opportunities (including M&A for both start-ups and strategic players) to market these to patients that can benefit.
Also at Sensors Summit in San Diego, a novel audience participation format was used. In addition to compelling presentations, the Summit features “Roundtable Discussions”. In these, participants gather in groups, self-selected by interests, and a facilitated dialog takes place amongst all. Wonderful way to get everybody into the conversation and learn from many viewpoints. An unbeatable networking opportunity to boot!
The Plenary Panel on Sensors M&A (moderated by Dr. Andrew Gilicinski) was wide-ranging and explored the confluence of rapid technology progress and disruptive business potential, in areas ranging from industrial IoT and autonomous vehicles to biomedical diagnostic systems. We explored hot trends, lessons from failures and models for success in this rapidly evolving area. A key learning was the criticality of early guidance for entrepreneurs to fall in love with the market problem – not just their excellent technical solution – to create a viable, scalable business that will attract acquisition interest and create synergies in M&A.
The panel discussion also covered hot trends in IoT, transportation, wearables and patient monitoring to guidance for entrepreneurs and best practices for successful M&A (especially post-deal integration). Large firms driving sensor applications are often not as nimble as entrepreneurial start-ups, and our panelists pointed to the criticality of M&A to round out tech portfolios and help evolve offerings in rapidly advancing fields.
One of the new learnings for me was the role that SBIR and other R&D government grants can have in validating a start-up’s technology. Even more than the dollar award is the credentialization of the company’s tech proposition making it through the review process – gives confidence to potential strategic acquirers in the technical foundation of the firm. Thanks to Roger Grace for that question for our panel.
Kudos to my outstanding panelists: Peter Bartek (Berkshire Hathaway) to represent capital/investing, Dr. Ali Tinazli (Fluxergy, and HP prior) to provide strategic acquirer perspective, and Dr. Joshua Windmiller (Biolinq) with startup/founder experience and insights. These panelists interacted wonderfully to ensure a great session. Their backgrounds are listed below. Thanks also to the Cambridge Innovation Institute team (including Craig Wohlers and Ben Lakin) for their support, including interactive audience polling during the engaging session.
Dr. Josh Windmiller is co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Biolinq, a venture-backed medical device firm commercializing nanotechnology through applications in healthcare and personal wellness. He is an internationally recognized expert in printed biosensors. Josh earned a PhD at UC-San Diego.
Peter Bartek, is President of Focused Technology Solutions, a division of the Marmon / Berkshire Hathaway Group, with the mission to develop, manufacture and acquire state of the art technology that improves productivity and safety in the expanding transportation sector. He earned an Executive MBA/GMP from The Wharton School. Peter is also an Angel Investor, and previously founded and sold a start-up company that was acquired by a Fortune 1000 strategic in 2015. He holds 11 granted and 6 pending US patents and is a leader in IEEE.
Dr. Ali Tinazli is Chief Commercial Officer at Fluxergy, a leader in medical testing devices. He oversees commercial operations, strategic planning, sales, and strategic partnerships. Ali previously led global strategy for Healthcare and Life Sciences at Hewlett-Packard. He earned a PhD in Biochemistry at Goethe University in Germany.