A conversation with:
Dr. Hubert Zajicek

The Formula to Healthcare Startup Success?

In the rapidly evolving world of healthcare, innovation is not just a buzzword but a way of life. Dr. Hubert Zajicek, CEO and co-founder of Health Wildcatters, recently joined us on the med+Design podcast to share his invaluable insights into the intersection of medicine, technology, and entrepreneurship.

About Health Wildcatters 

Health Wildcatters is a thriving community of startups, mentors, and investors. This ignited health-focused collective fosters an environment where ground-breaking ideas flourish. Dr. Zajicek's leadership and commitment have marked the Dallas innovation scene and globally influenced the healthcare landscape. With the Health Hacking Crisis Network, they address global health challenges, particularly in crisis times, by harnessing ingenuity and swift action.

Dr. Zajicek's Journey 

Having initially trained in medicine in Austria and then moving to the United States to further his career in research, Dr. Zajicek has candidly shared his path to entrepreneurship. A significant turning point was his decision to also pursue an MBA. His learning journey through SMU in Dallas led him to a love for entrepreneurship and invigorated a sense of exploration in different careers outside of clinical work.

Insight into Healthcare Startups 

Dr. Zajicek highlights the importance of traits such as the ability to innovate, risk-taking and intelligence for physicians venturing into startups. Yet, he also warns about the challenges presenting from possible self-assurance and risk aversion. Embracing roles outside of their medical fields may prove daunting for some physicians but collaborating within a startup requires knowledge diversity and teamwork. He emphasizes that entrepreneurship is less of an intelligence test and more about unity and collaboration.

Harnessing the Power of Networking

An interesting facet of Dr. Zajicek's career is the crucial role that networking has played. The immersive realm of business meetings and startup discussions was initially daunting. However, perseverance and continuously venturing out of his comfort zone ultimately paid off. He encourages all entrepreneurs to challenge themselves through frequent networking, pointing out that it can take time to build meaningful connections but the rewards can be transformational.

The Future of Healthcare: A Human-centric Approach

In contemplating the future of healthcare, Dr. Zajicek believes in a human-centric future. With the evolution of technologies such as AI and telemedicine, he sees enormous potential to augment human capabilities. He anticipates these technological advancements will vastly enhance the power, reach, and impact of healthcare professionals.

The Bottom Line

The innovative spirit and unyielding drive of Dr. Hubert Zajicek personify entrepreneurial valor. His journey is a testament to the power of vision, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of innovation. It reminds us all that the path to success may require navigating uncharted territories, but the destination often holds unimaginable opportunities.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jared: Hello, everyone. And welcome to another exciting episode of the med+Design podcast, where we delve into the heart of medical innovation and entrepreneurship. Today, we're honored to host Dr. Hubert Zajicek with us, a visionary leader and a pivotal figure in the healthcare startup ecosystem.

Dr. Zajicek, CEO and co founder of Health Wildcatters is not just an entrepreneur. He's a catalyst for change in the healthcare industry. He's seamlessly bridged the gap between medicine and business. Creating a platform that propels healthcare innovations from concept to reality. At Health Wildcatters, Dr.

Zajicek has nurtured a thriving community of startups, mentors, and investors. Fostering an environment where groundbreaking ideas in healthcare can flourish. His leadership has not only elevated the Dallas innovation scene, but has also made a significant impact on the global healthcare landscape. Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. Zajicek's journey is a testament to the power of vision, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of innovation. His work, especially in times of crisis

through the Health Hacking Crisis Network demonstrates his commitment to addressing global health challenges with ingenuity and swift action.

Today, we're excited to explore Dr. Zajicek's journey, his insights into the world of healthcare startups. And his vision for the future of healthcare innovation. So let's just dive right in. Welcome Dr. Zajicek. We're happy to have you.

Thanks for having me.

So just getting started you had a really impactful career so far with Health Wildcatters and obviously went the nonclinical route.

And so when along your journey, did you decide that nonclinical was your route? And also, were you always just interested in being an entrepreneur in just the business world in general?

[00:01:30] Hubert: Thanks again for having me. And I love telling this story because I think it, it pervades the fact there's hope.

Even things go much different from what you think there's a path for you out there. So I studied medicine in Austria and then came over to the United States as a postdoc and I did research for several years, then got some grants from NIH and joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in Nephrology and Cell Biology.

So this was fun research work, but really not attached to business at all. But during that time, I decided to pursue an MBA. And actually an MBA that was the regular MBA, not a specialized position MBA. And that was the point where I decided to, okay, I'm going to explore some alternate careers that don't mean pathway back into clinical work. Even though I had started that, too, and started taking U. S. M. L. E. S. And things you need to do. My wife was a clinician. So I saw that let's explore some other things. And I give credit to S. M. U. Here and Dallas during my MBA really discovered entrepreneurship as something that I loved and gravitated towards, and then graduated almost 20 years ago and have worked in health startup innovation since since I graduated pretty much.

[00:02:46] Jared: Wow. The whole time. Something I've been curious of too, is what about certain physicians make them well suited for, working in startups and innovation? What are some of the traits that you've seen help people and, physicians particularly succeed in the path that you've gone down?

[00:03:01] Hubert: We should stay on the positive track here, right? There's some traits that are not so good as well. So we'll look at both ways. Don't worry. I I think there's actually something that makes physicians inherently uncomfortable with this because we're wired to do no harm.

We're wired to preserve life and to value life above all, and certainly not to experiment around with stuff. So I think for the most part, we've been filtered away from risk. And so every now and then you run into someone who bucks the trend. And there's certainly also some specialties that are more likely to engage.

And then you have another set of things you're going to have to evaluate. If you're looking at a physician entrepreneur I think number one all have some interest in innovation. They're loving their patients. They want to have an impact. They want to appeal people.

And when they see something that does a better job at it, they're excited about it. Not all of them wants the risk associated with being the first to try it. And that's totally understandable. But so I think everyone sees and observes and it'd be hard pressed to also make the statement that they aren't generally a fairly smart bunch.

So there aren't un dangerous in that regard. Certainly not all of them will do something about that actively, and they don't have to. On the negative side. What I see sometimes is that, being a very successful physician sometimes means that you become pretty self assured and and entrepreneurship and startups are a whole nother thing.

And like I said earlier, you may be actually, not the best positioned or trained for this journey that comes next, which means leaning on others who are specialists in their respective area. No, this is not an intelligence test. You passed your intelligence test. This is about collaborating in a startup, which is going to require many people that help you.

And no, I don't want you to become the legal expert, the engineering expert, the design expert, the marketing expert. No, I want you to find great people that can work with you and that you can work with every now and then you do run into a, such a physician who has not just mastered their own professional medical career, but also becomes a patent attorney, but I think that is extremely rare and generally I would rather have you focus on the things that you're good at. So it's a mixed bag and I guess what I'm getting at is if we can get the physician to be a team player, then that's going to be important and key.

Some of the most, innovative physician subspecialties don't necessarily sort for that. I'm treading lightly here. But there are generally risk taking high risk, high reward type of subspecialties where it is important that the physician makes decisions on a moment's notice he or she has to act decisively there'd be surgeons, there'd be anesthesiologists, radiologists, various subspecialties, which, it's valued those traits are valuable and important they may not and this is important at that point, may not be the best traits to carry over into your startup where you need to have others you work with.

[00:06:10] Ty: You were reminding me of the Dunning Kruger principle. Have you run across that?

No, go ahead.

So it's the idea that any time you're entering into a new domain, and this is a human trait, that you will overestimate your capability

early on to accomplish something. And so there runs like this chart where like you start climbing the peak of Mount stupid where your confidence level exceeds what your skill is, and then reality hits and you go into the pit of despair. And eventually you start climbing towards the plateau of enlightenment.

And so it's for some of the physician entrepreneurs, their first time engaging in a startup, it's been a while since they've encountered Dunning Kruger. It would have been medical school since they first got hit with that. Complete lack of background. And just acknowledging that anytime you're doing a new startup, you have to engage with Dunning Kruger and just recognize we're going to way overestimate how easy and quick this startup will be like, yeah, this'll be a quick startup.

We can flip it in two years. And then, like 15 years later, you're still working on the same startup.

[00:07:11] Hubert: Yeah, I know. I fully concur. Yeah. And I have heard of that, of course. I didn't know the name anymore, but it is an important principle. And I think we see that on occasion. It's also very prevalent to have just people walk in and say, I've done the invention.

Here it is. Here's the patent. You're the business development person. Go for it. Now make it in something. 90 percent is mine, of course, because I invented it. And then we just have to break the news that an idea or even a patent without execution is worth less than the paper it's printed on because you're probably in the hole a bunch of dollars.

So that's a very difficult to get across we run into that with physicians who invented something and say, okay, now, find me some people that can do this thing that you just commercialize it. And there are, of course, enough examples out there where that indeed has happened. But recognizing that is the outlier and not the norm is something that we forget to talk about.

Just like you'll inevitably get somebody to quote Bezos or Musk or Zuckerberg to you. As if that's the norm, and I would then add to that, if you've been struck by lightning seven times in a row, you're just as likely as being one of those three, for instance. That's the piece that people forget about, that this is just not, but that's just a social media phenomenon and just the world we live in, where people know these incredible individuals who've just...

Absolutely. Killed it.

[00:08:32] Ty: That survivorship bias that comes from watching the lottery winner.

[00:08:35] Jared: I did want to talk about health wildcatters as well. Just for a little bit. And so you founded it roughly 10 years ago, and this was a time when Dallas was not necessarily known for being an innovation hub.

And so where did you feel like it was the right time to start something like health wildcatters in Dallas? What were sort, the pieces that had to come together for that to take place.

[00:08:58] Hubert: Sure. It takes a lot of people to get something like this started and it's the same with Health Wildcatters.

In my case, I had worked at a nonprofit medical device

incubator for several years and It doesn't exist anymore , but

it was a great six years or so that helped build it and build a network of people and contacts and just, the type of people you need to know. We touch startups on a daily basis.

We didn't have a fund. There were certain very important things that we could not do because we were a nonprofit. But certainly we had a lot of the things you would want, like access to laboratories and offices and advisors. So it was a great a great start. And then when the time was right we partnered as a couple of people I'd met through NTECH we partnered with an accelerator to get Health Wildcatters launch and we'd have started it independently and we all had backgrounds in healthcare.

So my partners and I all, deep healthcare background. So it was no question that we would do it in healthcare. As far as Dallas goes, I guess since I had been involved in that incubator for many years where we had been able to build a national brand as well. I wasn't too scared of it. Maybe I should have been, maybe I was that full of myself on that curve.

But the new element was certainly fundraising. My partners had a little bit of that and ultimately all three of us that are still in the organization had brought in a third of the capital each. In my case, I was the wild card because I didn't know if I knew people with money turns out I did.

And they called and they wanted to be in the fund, but then very quickly we took startups from all over the U. S. and even internationally, even in year one. And I think that's as much a testament to them as to us meaning that they had to give us the benefit of the doubt doing this for the first time.

On the other hand fast forward now today. Dallas plays a much more prominent role. It's a much more viable business location for a health care startup. You can find funding here and not just because we say it, but because we have done it and we have shown that it can be done. We've raised just over 13 million dollars from mostly regional angel investors and family offices to fund our 11 funds over the last 10 years.

So those are regional, mostly regional angel investor and family office dollars that are by definition extremely hard to knock loose in a accelerator that invests in unproven pre angel health care, which means a longer tail. Startups.

[00:11:21] Jared: And when you talk about this, like it's a longer term investment, and it's also very early on and can be maybe more of a risk on type of long term investment.

And so what have been some of these principles that have helped you keep Health Wildcatters going to not to where you guys are killing it. You've invested in like over a hundred companies or almost that much. And so there's a lot to it to where.

You've had to, navigate this to be so successful.

[00:11:45] Hubert: Yeah I think number one, just like when I talk to my entrepreneurs, I can very credibly or correlate to their adventures. Like you said earlier, Dallas wasn't known to be a hotbed of early stage health innovation and so we had to just see if it works, and it did, and a lot that happens thereafter is grit determination and staying at it I also believe staying true to your principles. You stumble across a really cool and flashy people along the way concepts, and just like any other startup, you can be pulled in a million different directions pretty quickly.

If you surround yourself with good people who are qualified, able, and willing to work, and in our case, also investors who are willing to give up their time, because almost all of our investors are also mentors in the program, usually with relevant backgrounds in building businesses and healthcare, and then you have to do a lot of gardening.

I know that's a strange word to use here, but that's what I call it. And what that means is that there are accelerators out there and incubators out there, and somebody's got a mind to shop. So somebody's got to put their own effort into making sure that the right people align themselves with


We have business relationships with organizations that have high ethical standards and

are willing to do good work for good pay, but not lacking one or the other. And so we're building this on the principles of conscious capitalism.

We have the advantage that all of our startups are going to make a difference in human lives, which is something that energizes me personally. But yeah it takes a lot of, continuous work and ultimately when it all comes down to it, you got to love it, right? Because what is it you're going to work hard on is something you're going to feel makes a difference, fulfills your own personal goals and that you personally love and get fulfillment off, not just money.

There's other ways to make money. So that's, I think a synopsis of that. So this is where it's dovetailed for us. And and those 10 years, weren't all a smooth sailing, there's COVID in between and all sorts of other things that might discourage you. And another very important thing, and again we teach this to, I hate to say teach, we share this with our startups, but I share it with our startups, is there's always gonna be people around you to do stuff.

That might sound really cool, that moment. And, it gives you that moment at night where you think, oh, I wish I, how can I ever win? And the answer is because you will not waiver on your principles. You will get up and do it again the next day. And almost all, and you just don't notice at the beginning, but almost all these other people are not.

They're going to quit. They're going to do something else, they're going to fail. They're going to compromise on the principles. They're going to not get up and do that extra piece of work. So you can't control them. What you can control is what you do and what you're known for. And so that's really what we stuck to boring, but a lot of fun actually.

And we connect good people. It's all about the people in the startups and in our shop as well. And so that gives me personally joy. I love it.

[00:14:42] Jared: Yeah, you touched on something that I wanted to ask you about as well, which was essentially how startups tend to fall into the shiny object trap.

They chase a brand new technology and they think, Oh man, we probably need to be innovating this now because this is where all the money is going and we got to chase that. And then they start to lose the ethos of why they even started doing what they were doing in the first place.

And so it's, what we like to say is, you're sticking to your North star based on user needs and your user need is what you're innovating for. And you're also saying as well, which I think is interesting is. Just staying true to yourself, staying true to your core principles of who you are and not like changing that.

I just thought that was really interesting. So another piece that I wanted to ask you about, just cause it's just happened was your pitch day. And was it 10 different companies or 10 different startups? What was the process like for these startups up to that point, how did they even get to where they were there?

What kind of stuff did you coach them up on for that moment? And yeah, just how to go.

[00:15:42] Hubert: Thank you. Yes. So this was our 11th pitch day. We now have 109 startup in our portfolio. And that kind of longevity brings with it, the things in successful accelerators which means exits and entrepreneurs become investors, entrepreneurs become mentors, entrepreneurs become part of your extended ecosystem. And so those are all very rewarding moments, of course. But as far as this cohort goes and if you're listening out there, you're the best cohort ever. I was asked that repeatedly and I'm like, Yes, I love the process.

I love the fall. I love meeting these new people who are doing I think one of the most courageous things you can do out there and that is put yourself out there drop your professional career and make yourself vulnerable to the fact that you might fail and on average have a high propensity to fail.

Most startups will fail and it takes a lot of courage to do that. And it also takes sometimes a lot of courage to take the help, to go to an accelerator and join it. And by that signal somewhat I haven't figured it all out myself. A serial entrepreneur might be able to say I've got my network.

I can do it. So when you do this for the first time. Why not join up with people that have done this many times before, as long as you believe they're good people, as long as you believe they're in it for the right reasons,

along with your goals making you successful.

And align professionally and ethically.

I think this process in the fall that we go through is a lot of fun. We bring a lot of speakers in. We've got over a hundred programming events during that time. That doesn't even count all mentor meetings, which is hundreds and hundreds of individual mentor meetings. Probably close to a thousand that we facilitate.

And that's a lot of the magic is... All these things happening at the same time together and then for the cohort also to do it all at the same time experiencing some of the same things. They learn a lot from each other as well. You always have some super, super duper specialists and one of the other thing in there as well.

And they're willing to help each other too. And then each day comes around with what our premises is that we take startups that are may Probably pre seed and we put them through our own due diligence and make them what we believe is investable for angel investors. Obviously, we can't guarantee that for anyone.

That's the goal. But, we make sure that we teach and show them the best principles on how to make a startup work on the legal side, how to set things up. We're not the ones telling there are professionals coming in that share that with them. And then we have speakers that have been around the block a few times, serial entrepreneurs, very successful entrepreneurs that come and speak one on one with them, and that's sometimes where the magic happens too, because you can put on a lot of shows, but when you have. Founders of very successful startups come in to speak to the 10 startups. So one of our speakers is Michael Gordon, for instance, co founder of Teladoc, and comes in and sits down there with them for dinner and just talks, shoots the breeze for a couple hours. That is just something you can't make up. We're all busy people.

So he has the passion that he wants to help with that. And we've got many, many like that, and they feel that they feel special to have that access and get these insights. And our entrepreneurs, our speakers are very honest about the troubles they're having too along the way or they have, it might all look wonderful now.

But golly, just a few years ago, things, I went to bankruptcy or so they're very honest about the journey. And we want to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to speak about the things they're not sure about and can be honest with us. If we know about it, we can help them potentially fix a problem or reffer the right people.

If we don't know about it then, we can't. So it's a lot about creating that trust between us and them and each other for the credible purpose of making them better and more sustainable.

[00:19:31] Jared: Absolutely. And I think your answer begs the question, the very large question actually Dr.

Harvey Castro asked it in the chat here, which is what makes a healthcare startup stand out in the eyes of an experienced investor. I think that's interesting side of an experienced investor. And also one of the kind of follow up questions to that, that I have lined up to is just you've talked about telling a story of a brand, telling like being able to tell your story the right way.

In a compelling way, is that maybe a piece of it as well of how to be investable.

[00:19:58] Hubert: Yeah. On the pitch and on the story, yes, there is mechanics to it. There is operational excellence to it. There is practice because as a startup educated us on just last year that we had in here a first impression is formed in milliseconds.

So if you meet someone in less than a second that an opinion is formed about you and yes, it is just plain old human nature. Okay, so everything goes into that. I might like that face. I might not like that face and then, of course, that's bendable. You can recover from that if it's a primary negative or primary part in either way.

But our goal, of course, is to have a first good first impression. And so those are very simple things just to get that benefit of the doubt that somebody would listen to you. But more importantly, the attention span is in the sub 10 second segment. So if you are lucky, you will get 10 seconds of attention from someone.

So you get about 7 seconds. Really, before somebody tunes out, and so in those 7 seconds, you got to say something that piques their interest.

You just told them that. With

a startup that cures breast cancer. And then maybe people think, Oh, I'm out. I'm not investing in those.

And it doesn't mean that I'm not for it. They're for it, but they're like, eh, tell me something cool. Even within investors, very few investors are interested in health care only or in health care at all. A real estate investor is oh, that's cool, but they're tuning out after seven seconds because you've just said breast cancer or something that doesn't interest them from an investment point of view.

They may be a customer or they may be interested in other ways, but just now, and you're really trying to capture someone, so they will listen to you further. So probably breast cancer is a bad example because almost everyone wants to have an impact there. But I'm just saying a healthcare topic in itself can be an exclusion for the majority of angel investors.

It is, it's too complicated, too risky. It takes a long amount. So I think that's something to keep in mind about your story. And then you do want to weave the story together in a way that makes sense. It is very typical for an inventor to say, Hey, look at my gizmo. Look at it. It's so cool.

It can blink. It can do this. Now, what will it do? What will this in three years accomplish for mankind or for the investor on returns? Tell me that. Tell me where it's going to take me. And yes, I understand you're in love with your gizmo. Okay. Get over it. So we teach them not to completely get over it, but to not lead with that because it's not ultimately about this device.

If this device looked like a lot more fun, this pretty heavy still. So you can come over later. It doesn't matter if this can cure a disease. I don't care if it looks like this. So what it can do matters. How credibly it can get there matters how credible you are in that process of making that happen to get this device to have this type of impact.

And in most cases, it's understood that if you have that type of impact there will be returns. I don't want to ignore that. In some cases, it's incredibly important to outline the business model as well. And I'm not saying that isn't important, but in certain segments, if you devise something, you can prove it through the clinical process that it has a certain impact.

You will find funding and follow on partners. So you don't necessarily have to flesh that out. In other cases, you may be talking about something that's depending on a business model. And that's where sometimes our European and American startups crash a little bit because just because it works in Europe doesn't mean it works here.

Our health care systems are very different. Motivations are different. You got to know the players, understand who's interested in it, understand things that are often more of a business nature and how to get people on board part of your mission, but so exemptions from all that.

It's not always device. It's more likely to be something you can. But just because you have a better mousetrap, then you're going to be more successful and beta max. Is a leading example, which probably no one understands anymore, except business school grads, because they have to read the case that is VHS versus Betamax.

[00:24:06] Jared: What about just the human side of things as well? Is there a side of like traits to where people are, you're investing in the person at the end of the day as well, the person that's leading the startup does that feel come down to, cause you have the story and you have your pitch down, but then also can the person not pass the sniff test in a way as well.

[00:24:26] Hubert: Yeah. If you're pitching me your startup, then I want to understand why it is that you are pitching that startup, and it doesn't have to be that because somebody in your family was afflicted with this disease, or it doesn't have to be a story that is a personal mission, frankly, that can be one of the detractors, because we are investing in startups that are, I need them to have commercial viability.

And returns and an impact if you're leaving out the first two and all you want to do is have an impact, you might leave out the piece that you need to be making money for this to be able to actually go out there. So sometimes you could screen against someone that is just passion driven and will literally sometimes tell you, I will never stop doing this. There are points when you need to really look in the mirror and say, should I still be doing this? That's a personal decision. But investors like us who have seen literally tens of thousands of startups in my case, might have opinions on that.

And that is not passing judgment on you, it's just extrapolated from experience and having seen tens of thousands of startups and what happens. We're not always right, obviously also as investors. We screen hundreds and hundreds of startups just to get to the ten that enter our accelerator, and we're not always right there either.

It's impossible. If anybody had a lock on that, that would have long ago happened. But what we do know is that we start with people who are excellent and dedicated in their field. So don't put too much into what I said before of not giving up. First of all, no, you're not giving up anytime soon.

Ever. That's a bit, that's a bit tough, but yeah, I want to see perseverance and credibility in the person that's doing that, obviously trust is at the core of everything. What is this? I'm saying I'm going to make this device and you give me a bunch of money.

You're not even saying that you even have one in most cases, or there's a lot of trusting. I got to trust you that you're going to be doing this. And yes, we do background checks on our entrepreneurs it's not a sniff test, but yeah, there's, you see a lot, you meet a lot of people, you have certain reservations on when you hear red flag, there's red flags, somebody can say something that might lower my confidence level in them.

Now, most cases that I think this is important to understand is everyone has something going for them and something going against them. With our entrepreneurs, we're very open about that and we're going to tell them either in public in front of everyone else, or we pull them aside and say, Hey, and that can be very personal.

You got to have a good relationship with your entrepreneurs that you can tell them that, and they have to believe that you want the best for them. There's absolutely nothing but that you want them to be successful. For instance, a good example is couples or married couples that are co founders who are running the start up.

We have some and we tell them sometimes to their consternation that they have just introduced additional risk for us. And they're like, what do you mean? We've been married 20 years. And I'm like, yes. And that's positive and I'm happy for you, but you're introducing the risk that there may be a divorce and, the majority of marriages end in divorce and many of them end up not just in a divorce, but in a bad situation and that business is going to probably fall apart and die in that process. Many do. And so we want you to know that even if we don't discriminate, we don't, we have several startups that are founded by couples, but we want them to be aware that when they have a conversation with an angel investor, they are likely not as forgiving.

And they're going to put a negative, a notch in the negative column on that. And so they gotta be a little bit better, a little bit better than the startup that doesn't have that to make it into the investment side. And also not getting an investment is normal. The vast majority of startups don't get an investment.

And on any given day, you talk to a hundred investors, three might raise their hand and say, I'll invest. We're in the business of changing those odds. Of course, with our network, we have 150 angel investors and family offices have made a five digit investments in one of our funds. So that's a good start, right?

150 individuals and family offices that have already made one super high risk investment in one of our funds. That's a preselection that's I don't know where else you would find that, actually, frankly. But yeah, so we want to be open about some things that might and I'm not, and also when we bring that up, I'm not saying I don't want you to get divorced now, so your business can be successful.

Don't worry. We're not saying that either. It's you got to, Hey buddy, you got to take one for the team here. We're not saying that we love our entrepreneurs that are married. We just wanted to be aware of it. When you walk into that room and you feel there's, some you want to be able to address it and

it can be addressed with founders agreements that have that eventuality built into him as should most startups anyway have vesting agreements and, agreements for where

to follow up so that the investors that invest don't also lose the company just because you two couldn't get along with each other.

And so those are important things. But when you introduce the emotional element even though co founders are almost married as well. If they're not truly married. It's pretty emotional, even if you're just in the startup. So anyway, there's just some things that might be a known positive or known negative.

And so our entrepreneurs that are physicians, I'm going to tell them that some people are going to be wondering whether this entrepreneur is gonna be coachable. It's a valid question. And trust me, they don't like to hear it because I was Phi Beta Kappa, AOA, best in my class. What do you mean? This is not an intelligence test.

This is not about you being the smartest. We're happy to give you that. It's about, you will have to be a team player. And some are not cut out for that. And that's a stereotype. And that doesn't mean we don't take them. We take them. If they're one of the top 10, we'll take them. And that was part of the calculation.

Oh, that was a little. See if we can work with this person or not. Obviously, if we can't, then we can't take them. That's probably the only hardcore rule we have is our core team has to see themselves working with you. If they can't effectively do that, then you're losing a big portion of the value proposition that we bring to the table.

It would be unfair to us and you to bring you into the program.

[00:30:32] Ty: Such a great point, too, for your physician entrepreneurs to know they would have to address that going into any conversation with an investor and try to hit it head on of let me demonstrate how I'm coachable. I'm curious to learn from you.

And you mentioned something early on. I wanted to circle back to, which is around, business model commercialization and even just getting hospitals to adopt say, the new device, the new digital health solution that you might have. And this kind of circles to a question that Lauren Orlek posed where she's got a device she's working on and she's running into some frustrations asked about if you could talk to your experience with dealing with hospitals who are inundated with innovations that are trying to change devices that haven't changed a hundred years, and maybe if you could speak to maybe getting buy in from hospitals, particularly from a purchasing side to your innovation where like it's very much for good reason, a risk averse community. If you could share some light on that would be helpful.

[00:31:30] Hubert: Yeah, that is a tough one. And was it Lauren? I feel for you.

We've got many of our startups in the same position, even if they come through the accelerator. It is not. given if they make a better device that the hospital wants to trial it. So it's a big deal when hospital or physician groups agree to trial your device. Most are not set up for that. They're going to look for a million different ways to assess the risk they're entering into with you.

And of course, being part of an accelerator like ours does help a little bit because there's preexisting relationships. People know us. They know that we have a process as well. It should help. And we have relationships with hospital groups as well. Sometimes, a hospital has their own kind of accelerator type of thing going.

That is very specialized on these are the 3 things we want to do. And we're going to develop our own technologies. So there is no good answer. It's tough. You want to keep an eye out for the most innovative hospital systems the ones that have maybe the highest amount of population that you would be touching. And yes, anything is game. If you have an uncle that knows someone, bring it on. Because if your device is truly better and can be trial, and piloted right now, then it's somebody giving you the benefit of the doubt. And it's very hard to quantify what that will be.

Once again, it's not just being the best. It is about someone on the right, in the right position at the right time, feeling like they can take on the risk. They have the coverage from their up superiors to do this type of stuff and there's an innovation culture in the hospital that is willing to, and sometimes when we have startups that have done pilots in other countries. Because some other country would allow them to do it. Sometimes you just need to see if the user experience is good and it's a dummy device and I'm not talking about taking advantage of other countries laws because they are easier or human life isn't worth as much.

I'm not even talking about that but the cost structure in many countries is lower. And in other cases, too, there's a little bit more of a willingness to try things out and all you need is just some feedback sometimes from physicians or nurses or whoever uses your device. If it's good and this works and that works. So if there is no clear solution for it. And I think you will try to find organizations that have relationships or sometimes competitions or pitch competitions. And I would focus on hospitals that have specifically don't worry about geography. Our startups are all over the planet, literally all over the planet with trials in Australia and South America and

Europe and the US and Canada. You name it. So it's finding that 1 believes in you and it's going to give you a benefit of the doubt. So I would narrow my search on who has a particularly high reputation in that area or a large population group. And then secondarily, is there anyone I know that I can pull aside at Thanksgiving and twist their arms?

So not time to be shy. So good luck on that, Lauren.

[00:34:24] Jared: Yeah, thanks for that answer. We've had another question come up a couple of times. So I do want your opinion on this as well. And so it's around, how do you see evolving technologies like AI, telemedicine and blockchain impacting the healthcare industry?

And what role do startups play in this evolution? I think probably a pretty big part. But then, as we're talking about these sort of, more popular technologies at the time. We also had a question of just what is Health Wildcatters specifically geared towards investing in within the healthcare space as well?

[00:34:53] Hubert: Yeah. So Health Wildcatters is we are a generalist, if you will. So we'll be looking at anything that can move the needle in healthcare. My personal motivation or motto is to relieve human suffering, and I think it's very closely aligned with our brand and our organization.

Of course, in Health Wildcatters case we need to do that in an instance where that also creates a startup that then has returns. But again, what motivates me is to see that as a trained physician, to see startups that might never make it now make it and have an impact on people a hundred fold thousand fold more than I ever could with my own two hands is personally motivating for me.

But most of our investors feel that way as well. That said, I completely forgot what you were asking me.

[00:35:36] Jared: The other part was just around how do you see evolving technologies like ai, telemedicine, and blockchain impacting healthcare and the role that startups play in and the evolution of those.

[00:35:45] Hubert: Yeah. So we're, so that's why I was getting on, we're generalists and so we look at anything that moves the needle in healthcare so that means we have AI startups in healthcare. And devices and diagnostics and even pharma companies and tech enabled services. So we'll look at anything else anything that can move the needle in healthcare and on new technologies, there's always some cool new things happening. And none of us are immune to that. You'll just see it in the application pool. A few years ago, it was, everyone's doing blockchain and I think we recognize that blockchain is a tool can and should be deployed in some cases, but it's a tool. I think if we just say AI would probably be the same because it just to me, it just means smarter software.

So do you want smart, do you want software startup or do you want a smart software startup? Basically I'm like let's take the smart software startup winning, right? So of course AI is a little bit more than that,

but we really go into some of those areas like I or Harvey Castro is on this call I

was a specialist in that. You're getting into areas where can this type of software make decisions for humans? And I think we're at this awkward moment and probably have been there for a long time in healthcare where. You have to figure out where to draw boundaries. And so I don't expect any of us to be able to set them today for even the next 10 years we'll have to see, we'll have to see what's appropriate to see what we get comfortable with.

I think there are a lot of applications where interactions with smart generative AI humanoids could be helpful. I think there when you emulate the experience of human interaction, you can get better results. Can this be translated? And I always go back to the physician's touch, right?

And, or it could be the nurse's touch, but the human's touch has an actual physical impact on you and that's extremely hard to explain, right? Because in this world of software, and it's where our worlds collide. Sometimes, for the most part, you'll find us interacting with teams that have some physician or medical knowledge on board.

Not just the computer side. Computer programmers came up with something really cool that should work smarter and better and everything else. And because, your customer, ultimately, until the bots go shopping, is a human, and you're in healthcare, there's no other current solution but the end consumer being a human.

It's the definition of healthcare. It's going to be human. And such human will not act in a rational and straightforward way, like a computer counting ones and zeros. So there are other things at work, which means you can be motivated to do things and you can be demotivated to do things and you are absolutely, as we know, now going into any kind of holiday of the year, you can be enticed to do absolutely the wrong thing for your body by eating ginormous amounts of food when you know you shouldn't and eating sugary foods when you shouldn't.

And a computer would never make that mistake, but we're human. So your end consumer is always going to be human. And so there is. that space where that plays a role. And the question to me is more about how can the treatment be facilitated with knowledge like AI algorithms, generative AI, and how can I be made better, a better patient with the help of such solutions?

How can the doctor be more empowered or be more optimized in getting through to you. Why not? Doctors go to med school and I've always said, we talk about bedside manners, but for the most part, that's not, you've got to have college degree. And, it's all numbers.

Your bedside manners don't get measured to get into medical school. A little bit, you have an interview, but for the most part, yet your impact as a physician may end up being that you get through to people that they trust you because if you want to blow up an industry in a second, you could just say this, why do personal trainers exist here?

This is a very simple, why? So half of our people on this call have a personal trainer or at least know that this is a billion, if not trillion dollar industry in the world. And yet they're going to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it. And so I see value in some of those things. Of course, I personally.

I'm all for it, but technically it shouldn't work. Why would you do 15 reps in a certain way? Just because somebody stands next to you and you trust me, you have had them. So you're going to do them the right way and they're going to get after you. So it shouldn't rationally exist. And the answer to that is simply that we care as patients if somebody else cares credibly about us how is that explainable? If that robot that has generative AI built into it, that Android that walks next to me and assists me in my home and talks to me and can have conversations with me, I might end up being motivated to do things that otherwise wouldn't do.

So I could see it in that vein, but ultimately as of right now, it's going to be that somebody that credibly cares about you stands there or sits there and you want to not disappoint them. So it's where medicine is not just science. It's art and science. It's humans. That's the fun to right?

So those of us who are involved and can have an impact, saving 1000 machines, maybe a lot less fulfilling than saving 1000 humans with a new device.

[00:41:07] Jared: I did want to, I know we're like really close to the end here, but something that I thought was really interesting from listening to just your past talks was about actually the power of networking on your career and how like you use networking essentially to build Health Wildcatters in the very beginning with all the connections you built up.

And I know that this is a skill that people build over time and a lot of our audience here is like physician entrepreneurs, people that are like just getting started and they don't necessarily have this skill built up yet. And so just curious of number one, I guess the impact that networking has had on your career and Health Wildcatters, but then also how can people build that skill? Is it just muscle repetition? You just go going to the gym, you just got to go out like, all right, I'm gonna go talk to five people today at Trader Joe's, or just curious of how you've built that muscle.

[00:41:55] Hubert: Yeah. It's another, and this is helpful to me next in Health Wildcatters by the way, because many of the things that I share with our startups, I personally experienced myself.

I was awfully awkward postdoc in a room full of business people when there were some over 20 years ago, an organization that had these kind of meetings about startups and innovation in Dallas and be mostly business people and consultants to go there and lawyers and I'd be there. Before I go to the lab, I went to that meeting and I know for certain that nobody wanted to talk to me as soon as I said I'm a postdoc. Let's give a couple people credit. Let's just say a couple people did, but for the most part, it just was miserable. I know no one walking into this room. It is awkward as hell. I don't have the basis for conversation with anyone.

And then I go over and, you grab a sticky bun or something and somebody else grabs a sticky bun next to you, you can have a conversation and it's very likely this person is going to ask you what do you do? And so you have a chance and maybe a small conversation arises. Talk about horribly awkward and, then you do it again.

But the next time I went there. I had shared a sticky bun with someone. And guess what? That poor person was in the room and no, he didn't want to talk to me because now he knows I'm a postdoc and I can't do nothing for him. I'm not a professor with inventions. I'm not, but I'm like Hey, Joe. Hey, Hubert, if I'm lucky, if I'm not, he will remember my name.

And now somebody else knows that I know somebody else. And it literally was like that. It literally was like that, I had nothing to give, but some people got stuck with me and had to talk to me. And, then you had the fifth meeting, the whole three people know you, and you can talk about talk three talks ago where something cool was presented.

And so slowly, once a month. You build up a few people that you know, and a few more that you know, and is this work? I, believe it or not, was on the shy end of the spectrum, and it's still not easy for me to walk in a room where I know no one. I'm not your consummate networker that can just pat everyone on the shoulder.

It takes me time to warm up. But I just took back from this because some of these were sucker punches. You're just walking, why did I get up at six in the morning, go to this meeting, and I have no, nothing to do there. I have no, so I would say anyone out there, and I tell this to my startups too, challenge yourself to go to something that's outside of your comfort zone once a week.

Start once a month, if you want, but I would say once a week, go somewhere to a group that you have an interest

in. It could be any group, but I would just, let's

do something that you have an interest in. If it's healthcare, it should be a healthcare networking group, or maybe it's a business networking group, a chamber networking group, or something like that.

It doesn't even have to be networking. It just can be a talk. And so I did a lot of that. I still do. I still go to meetings that I'm firmly convinced I know no one in the room. If they fit into my interests and my interests are in a healthcare innovation space, and there's a ton of I could go to several a day here in Dallas now.

Just physically go to let alone all the zoom ones. You could go to, but I have other interests too. And I have an interest in history and current affairs and kind of world things like that. So I'm part of a couple of groups like that, and that's pretty healthy to go out there somewhere.

And if that's an interest of you, just join them and, again, eventually these things will come together. And of course it's different. Now we go to join a group. I'm the president of the Dallas Rotary Club right now. And that's a wonderful group of incredible people. And of course I know them.

It's wonderful to go there. And everyone knows me and do some cool stuff in the community. Very fulfilling. But just know that this isn't how it started. And I, I am living proof of that, that I would have walked into that room. As crickets like no one and yes, that has changed. And but yes, it is it's going to be you motivating yourself to do it.

[00:45:44] Jared: No doubt, we're here at the end. And I just, okay, before, before we let you go and you already alluded to the answer, but I just want to give it to you formally which was my favorite. I have some family members that work in like biotech and med tech and at Thanksgiving, this was my favorite question to ask, which just was a huge debate is the future of healthcare human?

[00:46:05] Hubert: The future of health care is human. I am firmly convinced in that because I'm going to take it as your end customer is a human. If health care as in taking care of android robots and AI software once we broaden our horizon that health care includes coddling and serving the health care problems of such then it will be.

So it is human. That said, I think we'll get ever better assists on all sides because AI can be used to develop better drugs as much as it can be devices as much as can be conversational interactions or, ways to augment human. So I think the human element will always be involved.

But I'm excited about the types of things that we can do that multiply the power of physicians and healthcare workers incredibly much. So 5, 000 folds. And that can have a huge impact. And I think it will, that definitely will happen and continue to happen in our lifetimes.

[00:47:01] Jared: No doubt.

Doctors Zajicek. Thank you for your incredible insights today. And thank you for everything you do for the startup community. And we're just really excited to see what the next 10 years of the Health Wildcatters has in front of them and for yourself as well. And thank you so much for your time today.

I really appreciate it.

[00:47:15] Hubert: Thanks for having me and everyone else for listening in and also for what you do because every single one of us plays a role in the ecosystem and still, it's still a tough battle out there to attract dollars and interest and moving innovation forward.

So thank you.