Up and Running with Vita Group – Medical Alley Association

Up and Running with Vita Group

Vita Group is an innovative, research, design, and development agency. Utilizing over 75 years of experience within the medical industry; we specialize in serving healthcare innovators through patent applications, product prototyping, product manufacturing, FDA regulatory, distribution, marketing, and sales. Vita Group has successfully brought multiple products to market and offers turn-key manufacturing to our clients, surgeons, and medical care professionals.

Give us Vita Group’s elevator pitch.

Richard Thompson: Vita Group is an innovative medical device incubator.  We specialize in offering full-service R&D development to our clients, doctors, and healthcare innovators with creative funding partnerships and commercialization options to make developing medical products simplified.  Our skilled internal team allows us to easily navigate the challenging patent applications, prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, regulatory, and distribution process.  In addition, we leverage our 40+ Vita Solutions plug-and-play sales group for directly launching products as well as during development for specialized product knowledge, user research, and product testing.  As a result, our unique company has successfully commercialized and exited multiple products and is in development with over ten more. 

Mohamed Mohamed: Vita Group is a Medical Device Incubator that will bring physicians’ ideas to life and to market.

Brett Herdegen: Improving patients lives one device at a time

Jacob Wilson: It’s a flexible and capable company dedicated to filling needs in the market and in the patient physician experience.

What led you to Vita Group?

Richard Thompson: I spent 22 years leading the development of medical products for other small and large med device companies within a consultancy environment.  I would bring products from napkin sketch to commercialization ready, and I saw and dealt with all the inefficiencies and challenges with that business model and multiple consultants and funding problems and lack of understanding the user and not capturing any upside of the products when sold.  So, I knew there must be a better way.

Mohamed Mohamed: My vision for Vita Group was to combine engineering expertise with savvy business marketing and better the future of healthcare.

Brett Herdegen: The ability to provide more innovatation on medical devices, than on the quality system around the medical devices

Jacob Wilson: I was excited about the opportunity to add value in a field that directly impacts people around the world.

What are the big milestones to come in the next few years for Vita Group?

Richard Thompson: The near-term goals are to commercialize and launch Brekka, Stingray, and Liposhot and continue the development of our other ten plus products.  In addition, continue to build our internal team, finish our quality system and ISO 13485 certification, and continually refine our process to improve what we do.

Mohamed Mohamed: Some big milestones for Vita Group in the next few years are to bring to market three of our devices as well as develop a multitude of products tied to different areas of the medical industry.

Brett Herdegen: Completing the MDSAP process. Finishing development and commercialization of Brekka, StingRay, and LipoShot along with any other new ideas

Jacob Wilson: I am looking forward to seeing the team continue to grow, allowing us to take on more projects and play off each other’s strengths.

How do you balance leading a startup with your everyday life?

Richard Thompson: Just keep showing up every day and working to move things forward little by little…. As well as drink lots of coffee.

Mohamed Mohamed: A lot of the times running a startup means that working hours are never fully defined due to the need of fleshing out ideas to create a structure for future expansion. Balancing work life and everyday life is not always so clear cut, but it also means that everyday life more leeway compared to a more established company’s work life. Overall, I am comfortable with how the current balance exists.

Brett Herdegen: Take it one day at a time. Identify the current priorities for the day, complete what you can, then leave the remainder for the next day is the key to a healthy work-life balance

Jacob Wilson: I check in on myself to see how I am doing, and I remember that a lack of balance hurts both my personal and professional life, not just whichever is being shorted.

What’s one thing people get wrong about startup life?

Richard Thompson: One misconception, I think, is that a startup business has to be extremely risky, erratic, and stressful.  We have proven that with great partners and employees sharing the load and a solid business model, the risk can be manageable, and when everybody is working hard and contributing, the environment can be fun and stable. 

Mohamed Mohamed: The one thing people get wrong about startup life is that it will be too demanding for you to have any meaningful social life. On the contrary, having multiple people working on different aspects can significantly decrease burden so that work life at a startup would not be any different from another companies’ work life.

Brett Herdegen: A common misconception is that you’re only in it for yourself. Finding the right partner can be a game-changer where you both can win 

Jacob Wilson: They don’t stress building a good company culture as much as they should.

What is the best advice you have received in your career?  What is the worst?

Richard Thompson: Best: Show up every day and put the effort in, and don’t expect creativity and innovation to happen all the time, but over time, after enough tries, it will.

Worst: Don’t question the status quo.  Just focus on your role.

Mohamed Mohamed: The best advice I have received in my career was to always communicate with your team members for maximum efficiency in daily tasks. The worst advice I have received in my career was to never stand out and keep quiet about my ideas.

Brett Herdegen: Best: The most important step is always the next one. Worst: The harder you work, the higher you will get in the corporate world.

Jacob Wilson: Best: The point of work is to provide value. Think about what value you can add. Worst: You need to be loud and disruptive to stand out in the professional world.

What is one personal goal for the upcoming year?

Richard Thompson: Run a marathon

Mohamed Mohamed: A personal goal I would like to achieve in the upcoming year is to be highly proficient in taking ideas and translating it to CAD drawings.

Brett Herdegen: Personally, finish a marathon. Professionally, carrying out a medical device from conceptualization to realization.

Jacob Wilson: I want to understand my strengths and interests more accurately.

How do you relax / decompress?

Richard Thompson: Hobbies with the Kids, Running, Friends and Family.

Mohamed Mohamed: I relax by reading fantasy novels and trying new cooking guides.

Brett Herdegen: Hockey, videogames, and attempting to travel to all the state parks around Minnesota

Jacob Wilson: I enjoy reading books and drawing.

What do you enjoy most about the Medical Alley community?

Richard Thompson: Network of friendly and like-minded people and medical companies. 

Mohamed Mohamed: I enjoy the wide array of contacts that Medical Alley has garnered over the years. It makes life easier when looking for people with specific types of expertise and experience pertaining with ongoing projects.

Brett Herdegen: Being able to get professionals perspective in the podcasts

Jacob Wilson: I like the fact that it connects me with people with similar interests.

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