Start up support
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Start ups have a unique set of needs: they need everything, Unfortunately, having experts at everything as a partner or on the payroll is simply not practical. Mission can help. Mark Fisher's, owner and principal of Mission, has 30+ years of experience conceiving, designing, developing, testing and manufacturing a wide range of products. Mark takes a very wide view of product development including user needs, design, testing, costing, reimbursement, key hiring, regulatory, distribution strategy, manufacturing strategy, vendor selection, and all the other things that make for a successful product. Here are a few examples where we can help.
Design and development - Speed
Most product design firms hire relatively young, inexperienced people to create products for clients. The processes used are well proven and work very well....but they can be slow and expensive. Mark and Mission have many years of experience to get clients to the right answer faster. We follow the same process, but we can do it faster simply because our experience allows us to better understand what will and will not work from a user standpoint, for manufacturing or for the business. Perhaps more importantly, we design with both the next milestone and the end goal in mind. If the next milestone is getting venture funding, we do not design a beautiful, final device rather we design a functional device that is optimized for gathering the data you need at the lowest possible cost and as fast as possible. Getting to a first functional unit fast is critical to maintaining funding and getting to positive cash flow.
Expertise - Filling in the gaps
SBIR funding, venture or angel funding all expect a start up to field a team that can get a product over the finish line. Often, the start up is spun out of a company or a university with people with very specific (and critical) expertise around biotechnology, optics, surgical equipment or materials. Mark and Mission can provide the additional expertise to fill out a team until the company is large enough to justify their own engineering and manufacturing organization. We can also help to set up engineering organizations and help to hire critical personnel. Our goal is to make your company successful and we are happy to put ourselves out of a job to do it!
Mark and Mission maintain a deep network of organizations who can quickly make prototype and short production (e.g. clinical trial) parts and assemblies economically. We can select the best process for the task at hand whether that be laser cut plastic, 3D print/SLA, CNCed, sheet metal or simply foamcore and tape. We typically use all these approaches in a given project and have sources that can deliver the right part quickly.
Manufacturing strategy, particularly in a regulated environment, is critical to the success of any device business. Do you need high volume consumables requiring high cavitation injection molds and assembly automation? Do you have a highly specialized piece of research equipment where total production may be 50 units? These examples demand very different approaches to manufacturing methods and supplier selection. Perhaps your product requires both manufacturing of a small number of devices and millions of consumables. We develop manufacturing strategies to help companies start with smaller production volumes with low capital outlay and move toward very low cost products at higher volumes.
Often a start up needs to pull in multiple partners to design and develop a product. This requires project leadership that understands the larger, complicated system and is able to coordinate the partners to produce a complete system. Often the start up has extremely deep expertise in one area, but not necessarily the broad understanding across disciplines and project areas. We can help coordinate and manage partners or we can simply help set up a project management approach with periodic check-ins for design reviews.