The name of one of Mike Biselli’s most recent projects, ‘Catalyst HTI’ explicitly sums up the man. An innovator and hugely successful entrepreneur who is making big changes within the US health industry. Mike has excelled as a former collegiate athlete and scholar at Stanford University. After graduation, he worked for several medical device companies before launching his entrepreneurial career. Fast forward to 2019, Mike is a hugely successful Community Builder, Health-tech Entrepreneur, TEDx International Speaker and the founder of Catalyst HTI. An exciting new concept designed to revolutionize how the medical industry works in the United States by bringing together startups through to national health organisations and putting them under one roof. The project’s first phase opened in July 2018, and its 180,000 square feet. The upcoming second phase will culminate in another 150,000 square feet by 2022, with several bridges connecting the two buildings.
As an accomplished athlete, you would have relied on Dedication, Determination, Drive, Ambition, and Belief. What order would you place these attributes and how have they aided you in building your business?
I would order them as follows: 1. Determination 2. Ambition 3. Dedication 4. Drive
Although, I do consider some of these attributes to be ‘one of the same’ but if I had to choose one, it would be determination. If someone wants to be successful and make a difference in their field, to be determined is paramount. I have had more ‘no’s’ than I can count in regards to my ambitious ideas in reimagining healthcare. If I had stopped at the 1,000th ‘no’, I would not be where I am today.
In a recent TED Talk, you highlighted how important community support and spirit was to your success. Will this support aspect always remain a cornerstone of how you approach business and in your opinion is it an aspect that should be encouraged throughout the business start-up community?
Community support is literally at the core of what I do. In fact, it wouldn’t exist without it! In order to move forward in reimaging the healthcare industry and stop it from bankrupting the United States, we have to tear down the silos between all the stakeholders (large corporates, providers, payers, academia, etc.) including the patient themselves. Everyone has to work more effectively together to create a new reality for our country and beyond. The industry is too complex for us to work in our ‘glass houses’.
I am the iconoclast for the healthcare industry who is now saying back to them: “the orthodoxy that so many incumbent stakeholders are holding onto (i.e.: ‘this is how it has always been done’) is antiquated and is going to be blown up on my watch. We can do better, we must do better, and we will do better by doing it together!”
In your approach and methodology, how much do you rely on consultation from industry experts who have spent many years in the healthcare industry?
We would not reimagine healthcare off the backs of start-ups alone. The incumbent players won’t do it alone either - we must do it together. To that end I always strongly encourage the experts of our industry to have a seat at the table as we commit to working together for a better tomorrow! We need these experts to solve the very complex problems our industry is facing! I, however, always mention to them that they must meet us in the middle and be open to new ideas, challenge all orthodoxy and come prepared to try new things!
In collaborative projects such as yours, there will be situations where opinions on how to progress will differ amongst the team. Ultimately, one person will have the final say. How would you suggest that this challenge is best resolved?
If that occurs, back it up by data and deliver the results. If the results aren’t there on mutually agreed timelines, then we go back, blow it up and try another solution or opportunity. This is how innovation works!
In your opinion, will big Pharma and big Medico support your new initiatives? Could they see the project as a risk to their bottom like or benefit to it?
We already have them involved. For example, Astellas Pharmaceuticals has an innovation lab on my campus. If they view the project as a risk to their bottom line, then they have already lost. Massive changes are coming to the industry, whether they like it or not. They can either ignore it, or be hit by the innovation/disruption ‘tsunami’ that is quickly approaching the shores of healthcare!
This is a fantastic concept for the health care industry and it is extremely likely that the "take up" of an opportunity such as this by both aspiring entrepreneurs and young tech geniuses could be swift and result in a deluge of cutting-edge opportunities and solutions. Are you set up to deal with the rapid expansion, which could occur?
Yes, this is a massive project and still has another phase to be built. Once complete, it will be pushing a 400,000s/f facility. We are well prepared for all of that.
The demand for such initiatives is global one and many countries will benefit from far better healthcare if the model is replicated. Are there any plans to start similar ventures further afield than the USA?
Not at this time. We will continue to focus on our efforts in Denver. However, I do speak and consult around the world regarding my ‘industry integrator’ concept and help other ecosystems to contemplate these transformative opportunities for their cities and countries.
Clearly, you have transitioned from top-line sports to innovative and cutting-edge business entrepreneur. Are you still enjoying the game and all the knocks that come with it?
1,000%. Is it hard? 1,000%! But, I love the challenge of taking an idea out of thin air, making it actionable and eventually turning it into a thriving business, which makes the world a better place. There is nothing better than that!
In fact, I’m working on my next project, Firepoint Studios. Many great things are happening, which is allowing our team to help large organizations ‘ignite sustainable innovation’. We’re having a blast!