The Practitioner Scholar

Doctor of Management Blog

Joe Mandato's Insight into the Way Venture Capitalists Think about Opportunities

May 21, 2010 ·

Joe Mandato (DM 2004) knows how to start-up, run, and sell medical device companies.  Over the last three decades he has served as CEO for a variety of healthcare companies, including Origin Medsystems, Guidant, Gynecare, and Ioptex Research.  He orchestrated the sale many of these startups to the likes of Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and others.  He is currently the managing director of DeNovo Ventures, a venture capital firm that specializes in medical devices (

In 2009, Dr. Mandato was asked to deliver the prestigious Case-Coulter Distinguished Lecture (, and in this lecture he spelled out his thought process for determining whether a startup represents a good investment opportunity for his firm.  In this lecture he described how he analyzes key elements of a potential investment, including the business opportunity, management team,  market, intellectual property, regulatory factors, ROI, and the deal itself.  For example, Dr. Mandato argues that business opportunities that have the potential to disrupt the current situation, have some market validation, and are based on solid plans that reflect good thinking are most interesting to venture capitalists. Short time horizons and significant ROI are also very important.  He indicated that opportunities that legitimately offer returns of 3-5 times the investment (or more) are necessary for venture capital firms be interested. The full lecture can be found here:

Although Dr. Mandato enjoyed tremendous success before entering theWeatherhead DM program, he credits the program with expanding his thinking: "The impact on me was so dramatic in so many ways... the critical nature of what we did... it impacted me relative to the opportunities that came my way and gaveme the ability to look at things in a broader, more sweeping way."

In addition to his work with DeNovo Ventures, Dr. Joe Mandato, is also a lecturer with Stanford University and an adjunct professor with the University of San Francisco.  He also serves on a variety of boards, including The Institute of International Education, Save the Children, Axogen, Endogastric Solutions, Facet Solutions, Hansen Medical, iScience Interventional, InSound Medical, Kolis Scientific, Luminous Medical, M2 Medical and WaveTec Vision Systems, and Case Western Reserve University's Board of Trustees.

Tags: DM Profiles

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