2023 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: medikana, MIT (Sloan)


MIT, Sloan School of Management

 Industry: HealthTech

Founding Student Name(s): Corina Negron

Brief Description of Solution: Medikana is an MIT-backed platform that streamlines and automates international medical device commercialization. We make it easy for medical device manufacturers to sell their technologies and expand to new markets while providing distributors access to innovative products. We aim to create transparency within the global medtech industry and drive the availability of life-changing medical technologies, with an initial focus in Latin America.

Funding Dollars: $40K non-dilutive grants (currently kicking off pre-seed round)

What led you to launch this venture? My co-founder and I grew up in Venezuela, and experienced first-hand the impact that a lack of medtech had in our community. When we came to the United States to study biomedical engineering and saw the medical innovation that was available, we learned that the medtech gap with LatAm was bigger than we thought. At my first job, I worked at a small medtech company selling a novel preterm birth test internationally. I experienced firsthand how difficult it is to commercialize medtech abroad. The process was slow, manual, and expensive. It took me nine months to sell one device in one country, but later I automated steps that led to time and cost savings capable of systems level impact and launched in 30+ countries. At medikana, we aim to streamline and automate international medtech sales, making it easy for medical device manufacturers to sell their technologies in new markets while providing patients access to innovative products.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Our biggest accomplishment has been completing the MIT delta v accelerator, the university’s flagship accelerator. During its Demo Day, we got to share our vision with more than 1,200 attendees and received very positive feedback from potential investors, customers, and partners. So far, we’re in the process of onboarding four manufacturers and have signed up 35 distributors to our platform and are excited to continue our progress.

What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced in creating your company and how did you solve it? The most significant challenge is changing the mindset of medical device manufacturers and demonstrating that selling their devices internationally is not only impactful for these markets, but also a great business opportunity.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? Pursuing my MIT Sloan MBA was a transformative experience, crucial for the development and success of my venture. First, the emphasis on innovation allowed me to think out-of-the-box and create a solution to disrupt an outdated industry. The insights and mentorship provided by our faculty and alumni were invaluable, and their guidance helped inform our strategy. Additionally, the emphasis on real-world applications allowed me to apply theoretical concepts directly to medikana. Collaborating with fellow entrepreneurs was inspiring and instrumental in solving startup challenges every day. The combination of MIT Sloan’s curriculum, faculty,  and supportive ecosystem provided me with tools, practical knowledge, and the network necessary for the creation and success of my startup.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? The leaders behind the two startup experiences I had before Sloan inspired my journey. Kevin Lustig, co-founder of Scientist.com, is revolutionizing the drug discovery industry by building an AI platform that connects pharmaceutical companies to labs to outsource research, speeding up clinical trials. Oriana Zoghbi and Anna Jeter, co-founders of AOA Dx, aim to transform the diagnostics industry by developing the first liquid biopsy test for ovarian cancer. Apart from being great leaders and mentors, these founders inspired me to create a positive impact by developing groundbreaking solutions and utilizing technology to disrupt outdated industries.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? In Professor Catherine Tucker’s pricing class, I learned about pricing strategies and intricacies around designing a successful business model. I was able to apply those lessons directly to medikana and position our product effectively in the market.

In Professor Michael Cusumano’s platform strategy class, I learned how to architect a platform from the early days of my startup. I learned the dynamics of being platform-based, how to leverage network effects, and how to mitigate potential pitfalls.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Professor Arathi Mehrotha was my Communications professor since the MBA Core Semester and the most influential. Her passion, mentorship, and dedication made me a better presenter, communicator and storyteller, which have been invaluable skills for leading my startup.

Professor of practice Bill Aulet and Paul Cheek, executive director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, were also pivotal. The methodologies behind Bill Aulet’s “Disciplined Entrepreneurship” curriculum guided us from the beginning, and their mentorship and support were instrumental in our development.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? MIT has been pivotal for our success and the MIT entrepreneurship community has been an invaluable resource for our venture. The Trust Center, including its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, and our board that participated in the delta v accelerator not only provided mentorship but also opened doors to potential investors and customers. Grants and lessons from MIT’s Sandbox, Legatum Center, and PKG Center communities were instrumental for our progress in the early days. Finally, the wealth of knowledge and support within the Sloan academic, student and alumni communities have been instrumental in shaping our strategy and overcoming challenges.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? We are motivated and convinced that even a few medtech innovations can create a huge regional impact. We are going to start with LatAm, but the process of commercialization is similar to other regions, so our vision is to create transparency and streamline access across the medtech industry globally. By creating a scalable platform to commercialize medical devices, we are simplifying a problem that is currently so complex that many manufacturers don’t even think about pursuing it. Once we prove that it is not only seamless, but highly profitable to enter the LatAm market, we will be able to change a mindset that leads to companies overlooking the region. We will provide Latin America with medical innovation capable of improving the lives of millions of individuals, driving systems-level change.


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