An MBA’s Summer in the Startup Nation

 Allen Lu, MBA Candidate 2013, is spending his summer in Israel, participating in a technology commercialization course at the Technion-Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa and interning at Medtronic in Herzliya. 

The 2012 Israel Global Technology Entrepreneurship Fellowship kicked off with the ILSI-Biomed conference, which showcased innovations in the fast-growing biomedical, healthcare, and life science industries.

There is a strong relationship between academia and industry in Israel.  I was impressed to see both sides coming together to discuss university research and to explore opportunities for new business ventures.  Technology transfer centers such as Technion’s T3 and BioRap presented their latest inventions to investors and industry partners; while, executives from BioLineRx and Roche shared their success stories from partnering with academia to bring life-saving medicines from the bench to bedside.  The university business model began with teaching and then incorporated academic research; however, I feel the future success of the university will hinge on its ability to form strategic partnerships with industry through joint research and technology commercialization.


Even though this conference focused on Israel, the ideas shared where not bound by borders.  Multinational companies such as Life Technologies, Medtronic, TEVA, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott all spoke regarding Israel’s spirit of entrepreneurship and the global impact of its innovations.  I was most impressed by Dr. Stephen Oesterle, Sr. VP of Medicine and Technology at Medtronic, who shared his insights on the urgent need to think differently about how we develop medical devices for the developing world.  The largest healthcare market is China – but in order to penetrate that market, Oesterle stressed the need for infrastructure development, physician and patient education, and most importantly, the need for affordable technologies.  Applying the principles of reverse innovation, Israel can partner with China to develop affordable medical devices first for the developing world and then bring these technologies back to developed countries such as the United States.

After Oesterle’s keynote, I developed the chutzpah to approach him and affirmed Medtronic’s mission of delivering affordable world-class healthcare not only the US and Europe, but also the developing world.  Supportive of my endeavor, he referred me to Medtronic’s office in Herzliya where I am now working with Judith Gal, General Manager for Medtronic Israel, on a business development project in making Medtronic technologies affordable to developing nations.

If you’re interested in bio-entrepreneurship, I highly recommend you attend ILSI-BioMed 2013.  I know I will be there!

Allen Lu received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.  He completed his academic research training at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School and worked as an assay development scientist with Meso Scale Diagnostics.  At Smith, Allen is completing his MBA with a focus in Finance and Business Development.  He is currently in Israel as a Global Technology Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Technion and a business development intern at Medtronic WTC.

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