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The latest and greatest about Ruckus Partners

Is Your Business a (Viable) Model or Does it Just Look Like One?

What is a business model?

A.) An entity posing for a picture-perfect business
B.) A kit that comes with of plastic parts and airplane glue
C.) The mix of revenue streams, customer segments, product or service offerings, supply chain, supporting resources and financing sources

If you answered, “C”, you are correct!

As you create and grow your business, you might be asked…

“What is your business model?”  The inquisitor seeks to understand if you have a sustainable and scalable business.  She wants to understand if you have considered all of the factors associated with setting up a successful business: target customer, customer acquisition at a reasonable cost, ability to fulfill the promise (value proposition) and whether a profit can be realized.

Consider these factors as you analyze your business model:

1) Value proposition aka The Promise – the problem you are solving, for whom and how.

2) Revenue – where are your customers and how will you reach them? Are they ready and willing to buy what you have to offer? If not, how do you convince them to engage with you?

3) Cost – how will you fulfill the promise you make to customers and ensure that their expectations are met?  What does the supply chain entail and who are your key partners? Can you deliver over and over again and at the same level of reliability and quality each time?

And remember, as you learn more about your market and as your business evolves, the business model will change.  It is dynamic!

If you have questions about your market and how to reach your target audience and what to say when you get there, email Ruckus Partners at today! We are happy to help you realize your goals!

So, You Want to Launch Your Product. Now, What?

The prospect of launching a new product is exciting and nothing gets the team more engaged than a new beginning and fortuitous horizon. That said, make sure that come launch day you are prepared for a resounding success. Start off with a bang (and avoid a loud thud). But, how?

First, ensure that you are clear about the product market fit.

1. Are you and your crew exceedingly clear about the problem you are solving and for whom?

2. Does your target customer recognize the problem and are they motivated to find a solution?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, you are on the right trajectory.

The next step is to ensure that your message platform resonates with your target customer. Remember, people decide to buy based on satisfying emotional needs. So, in addition to providing your customer with the rational argument to purchase (features and benefits); be sure to highlight the emotional benefit they will receive. For example, they will have confidence that the test result you provide is accurate and with this information they can safely recommend a treatment plan for their patient.

Finally, how will you introduce your product to your customer? Where do they turn to get information to inform their clinical practice? Do they attend scientific conferences or read publications? Do they rely on thought leaders in their community or national organizations for insights in the latest practices? If you know the answers to these questions, you can develop a promotional plan to hit the right communications path that will put your product message in front of them.

To learn more about how to launch a product successfully, email us at and watch your business take off!

The Affordable Care Act (ACA): Standing on a Shore of Shifting Sands

With a new administration comes uncertainty in health policy that feels like shifting sands under our feet. This has been true for every Presidential transition in recent memory. With the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unclear, changes from this new administration are expected to be more disruptive than in the past and not necessarily just in the ways we may think.

In addition to expanding access to health insurance, the ACA introduced many Medicare payment reforms. In 2016, Medicare implemented bundled payments for hip and knee replacements (Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model) and proposed to launch a similar program for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac surgery in July 2017 (Cardiac Incentive Payment Model).

With the new President’s Executive Order halting regulatory activity on the ACA, the status of these programs is unclear.

  • Should health systems continue to align incentives across the care paradigm to be prepared for bundled payments?
  • Will bundled payments go away?
  • Will new incentives be created?

The ACA also helped launch the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) movement in the market place which provides incentives via Medicare to encourage providers to develop integrated health care delivery models. Now, the future of the ACO model is uncertain.

  • Will the ACA repeal include the elimination of ACO initiatives?
  • Will ACA stay in place, but will the development of these care delivery models be slowed?
  • Will ACO initiatives from commercial health plans instead drive innovation in care delivery?

Today, the answers to these questions are unknown. So, we are left to watch and wait as Congress and the White House decide the future of our healthcare model.

The good news? You can do something now. You can learn where your technology fits within today’s payment system and be ready to adapt quickly as payment models change. So, while the sands are shifting, we can help you plan for today and be ready for tomorrow. Learn more by clicking here or emailing

Meet with Ruckus Partners at these Events

February 15, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at UCSF Start Up 101 Course, San Francisco, CA

February 19, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, “Pre-Conference Short Course: Coverage & Reimbursement for Advanced Diagnostics” 2-5 PM; Moscone Center, San Francisco CA;

February 23, 2017
The Toft Group, VIP Reception, South San Francisco, CA;

March 1, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at LaunchPad Digital Health, San Francisco, CA;

Start-Up Sessions at Advamed Digital Health Conference, San Francisco, CA;

March 22, 2017
MedtechWomen Women’s Health Series, Palo Alto, CA;

March 29, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at Biomedical Device Conference, “Industry Panel: Reimbursement”, 3-5 PM; San Jose State University, San Jose, CA;

April 25-26, 2017
Digital Marketing for Medical Devices West, San Francisco, CA;

To the Moon in 42 Folds: Exponential Growth for Your Medtech Innovation

Imagine if you could reach the moon with a piece of paper. Alex Bellos writes in The Grapes of Math that this is possible. Theoretically. Assuming the average width of a letter size paper is 0.1mm in thickness, with each fold, it’s width doubles. It takes only 42 folds for it to reach the height needed to touch the moon from earth. Of course, while it’s not possible physically to fold a sheet more than seven times, it does raise an interesting question. What would it take to fold that paper 42 times?


Now, you may be asking, what does this have to do with scaling my business? Answer: Everything!

Business leaders often tell us that they want to scale their business quickly. Yet, to minimize risk, many want to avoid the traditional reimbursement path. This model is feasible if your innovation doesn’t impact the physician-to-patient treatment interaction. However, if it does, it is important to ensure the key stakeholders are ready to accept and support your product. In other words, consider how you are going to fold that paper 42 times.

Let’s take fitness trackers. Consumers have shown that they are more than willing to pay out-of-pocket for the full cost of these products—in fact, the Gartner Group suggested 2016 would realize sales of nearly $29 billion in this category.

However, if your device is specifically designed to help a person manage a diagnosed health condition, then your product falls into a category in which these same consumers consider themselves patients. As patients, they expect their health insurance provider to pay the costs for the innovation. So, if private or public insurers are ready to pay, great. If not, lining up the payers may seem harder than folding a piece of paper 42 times. But, here is the good news: it is more possible than theoretical.

Now, tell us how you want to scale your business. We’ll help with the folding.

Meet with Ruckus Partners at these Events

January 8-11, 2017
JP Morgan Health Care Conference

January 17, 2017
California Life Sciences Association FAST Program Reception, South San Francisco, CA

February 15, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at UCSF Start Up 101 Course, San Francisco, CA

February 19, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, “Pre-Conference Short Course: Coverage & Reimbursement for Advanced Diagnostics” 2-5 PM; Moscone Center, San Francisco CA;

March 29, 2017
Ruckus Partners presents at Biomedical Device Conference, “Industry Panel: Reimbursement”, 3-5 PM; San Jose State Univeristy, San Jose, CA;

(G)rowing in the Same Direction

Swing. It’s a term in rowing that describes that state in which all rowers appear to be moving in perfect harmony with no wasted effort. When each rower moves in synchronization, with every pull, momentum increases and the win is more assured.

pho_growingIt’s race day.
You boat is at the start.
What happens next will set the
tone for the entire contest. Will
you stay ahead of your
competition and come out
victorious? Will the crowds be
on your side? Will your team
achieve swing?

With a thoughtful strategy and planning, the answer to all of these questions can be yes.

Key Factors to Winning a Medical Innovation Race are:

  • The provider is eager to adopt the innovation
  • The patient is open to and accepting of the innovation
  • The payer is willing to pay for the innovation

Develop a (G)rowing Strategy

An integrated brand plan that focuses your cross-functional team’s efforts across all stakeholder groups ensures team alignment—everyone knows what to do and why. They know how to achieve swing.

Think of each target geography as a race. Before deploying a field team consider:

  • How many patients in the community are seeking treatment and from whom?
  • Who are the predominant payers and are they likely to cover your innovation?
  • Who are the providers and do they accept patients with the insurance plan that covers your innovation? Are the providers considered early adopters or are they slow to accept innovation?

By understanding these deep customer insights, strategies and tactical plans can be devised to ensure that the race will be won.

Now, tell us about your (g)rowing strategy.

Meet with Ruckus Partners at these Events

August 30, 2016
WEN-WITI-MTW Driving Innovation in Tech; San Jose, CA

September 13, 2016
MedtechVision: Global Markets; Menlo Park, CA
CLSA FAST Fall Cohort Session Reception; South San Francisco, CA

September 22, 2016
LaunchPad Digital Health: Finalist Showcase; San Francisco, CA

October 20, 2016
The Toft Group Reception; San Francisco, CA

October 26-28, 2016
G2 Conference: Navigating New Regulations & Incentives; Washington DC

Creating Opportunity through Storytelling

Once upon a time, there was a fabulous medical innovation that met a critical unmet need for lots and lots of people. It was quickly approved by the FDA, physicians incorporated it into their practice as soon as it launched and payers happily reimbursed it at a premium.

While this may seem like a dream, it can be reality. The original MULTI-LINK® stent from Guidant enjoyed a rapid FDA review and market share leadership within weeks of launching. BYETTA® (exenatide injection) for type 2 diabetes realized nearly $800MM in product sales within 18 months of launch. pho_storytelling

There were many factors that led to the early success of these products. An important one is that each of the product development teams had a clear understanding of the problem they were trying to solve. They understood how the product features translated into problem-solution benefits for the customer. Further, the product performance was supported by credible, clinical evidence.

You might ask, “What does this is have to do with creating opportunity through the art of storytelling?” The answer: everything.

All great stories have a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning introduces you to the protagonist (customer) and establishes the conflict (unmet need). Shortly thereafter the hero appears (the product). The customer is able to solve their problem with your product and everyone lives happily after.

You have a great product idea. You fully appreciate the customer’s challenge and how your innovation will address their needs. Tell the story in a compelling way that resonates with your customer and watch your company grow. So, tell us your story.

Recent Comments


    "Ruckus Partners facilitated the development of an integrated strategic marketing plan for my company.  They used a thoughtful process that was inclusive of all key team members input.  The effort aligned us to a common purpose and helped move us to the next stage in our company’s growth."

    Kim Bridges
    President & CEO, Acessa Health

    "Laura’s coaching on our pitch worked. People immediately understood what we are doing and the value we provide, and I had four investors reach out to say they wanted to invest during the event. That hasn't happened before."

    Colin M Carpenter
    President & CEO, Siris Medical Inc.

    "I worked with Laura when she led the marketing team at diaDexus. She is a very skilled marketer, adept at identifying the overarching commercial goals, customer needs and strategies necessary for success. A quick study and super smart. A motivating leader."

    Susan Hempstead
    Senior Vice President, Account Management and Strategy, VIVO West

    "Laura brings her exceptional marketing and product strategy expertise to the portfolio development process…She has the ability to assess a technology opportunity, identify make or break issues, and tactfully communicate these – key to enable sound decision-making."

    Peggy Hawkins
    Business Development & Venture Management, Santen, Inc.