MIT Business Forum: Building a Successful Medical Device Business


Event date: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: ONLINE EVENT – Zoom


  • 6h00 – 7h00: Speaker / Panel Discussion
  • 7h00 – 19h30: questions and answers
  • 7:30 am – 8:00 am Preciate Social / Networking



What does it take to start and grow a successful medical device business in Santa Barbara? Speakers at this event will give attendees an overview of the opportunities and challenges they encountered in doing just that. They will share their lessons learned and successful strategies from a number of different perspectives:

The start-up How to turn an idea into a business? What are the unique benefits and risks of having a medical device company located in Santa Barbara? How did this company maximize the benefits while minimizing the impact of risks? Consider funding, resources, manufacturing
The flourishing business How did the founders of this company deal with the growing difficulties of their medical device business as it progressed from an early stage to a thriving business? How has being located in Santa Barbara helped and what creative ideas have helped the company overcome the challenges of being in Santa Barbara?
Serial entrepreneur What are the guidelines across businesses – common success factors and risks. How do you know it’s time to sell / let go? What makes Santa Barbara a good incubator for medical device companies? What strategies have been successful in creating, developing and selling businesses here in Santa Barbara?
Talent management There are many wonderful aspects of life in Santa Barbara, but it is a small community. What strengths should a Santa Barbara-based medical device company tap into when trying to find top talent? What are the weaknesses and what suggestions are there to address them? How do the challenges and opportunities change when a business moves from a start-up to a successful one? What are the critical elements to consider when acquiring from a talent perspective?

What we will see:

  • Can a Successful Medical Device Business Be Founded in Santa Barbara?
  • Can a business grow and prosper in Santa Barbara?
  • What strengths and opportunities does Santa Barbara present?
  • Weaknesses and threats (aka risks) against which a company must protect itself?

This program will be moderated by Astrid McNellis of Terumo BCT.


  • Sumita Pennathur, professor, mechanical engineer, UCSB
  • Alison Bauerlein, Founder, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance, Inogen
  • Bree Hendrick, co-founder, VivaHire
  • Sandi Hirsch, President and CEO, Zyris

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