Brad McCarty • July 26, 2018

As the AngelMD network continues to grow, we’re constantly impressed by the companies, physicians, and investors that make it such a valuable asset. Today we’re introducing you to Dr. Suzanne Manzi. She is a Houston-based Interventional Pain Management Specialist, and most recently she was the Syndicate Leader for Neumentum’s funding round through AngelMD.

What Got You Into Investing?

I’m always building my network, and listening to what people are doing. Being around so many physicians and professional investors, and working with Dan [Parsley] from AngelMD, I’ve seen the strong lead that they’ve taken in the Houston angel sector. I started reading more, and learning about what’s happening with healthcare investment, and eventually I decided to join them in making a difference.

What Have You Learned?

Looking back across my time as an investor, I’m happiest when I’m involved in an investment where the head of the company is visible and accessible to answer questions. I want them to make the time to say “here’s who we are and what we’re doing”, but I also want them to tell me why they’re doing it. It’s nice to feel like you’re allowed to be part of the team.

When there is a relationship first and foremost, all of the other pieces fall into place easier. When I’ve passed on investments, it’s often because the CEO or company directors weren’t accessible. I don’t want to be part of an investment where I feel like I am an outsider trying to get in.

What Gets You Excited About an Investment?

First and foremost I want the company to be applicable to my field. I’ve seen a number of investments that make sense, and they look like a good idea, but it’s not something that I’ll use personally. I also want to see a product that will have a significant impact on the market. I’ve passed on some investments that may have been strong products, but they did not solve a large enough market to change the shape of a particular area of medicine.

What’s Happening in the Opioid Battle?

Opioids are a problem all day, every day. There is a lot of great, new technology on the forefront in the pain management space, and they’re shaking up an industry that has stalled. There used to be three major players when it came to neuromodulation therapies — Boston Scientific, Abbott, and Medtronic. Now there is a huge push to treat patients with technologies, rather than with opioids.

What Are the Warning Signs of a Bad Investment?

The CEO is a big deal. They need to be involved and available. They also need to know the area that they’re working with. I’ve seen promising companies, but sometimes they’re run by people who don’t have experience in the market that they’re trying to enter. They can have a great product, but the odds are stacked against them if they lack the background.

What Are Three Things that Excite You?

Innovation. But not just new products. I want to see how we can better optimize what’s already out there and proven. How do we create new game-changers from the existing technology?

Networking. There are so many potential up sides. I love meeting people with similar mindsets and drive. That’s what’s so exciting to me about AngelMD. Leading the Neumentum syndicate gave me an opportunity to network much more than I have in the past.

Expression. There is this deep pool of experiences that we all have. I’m driven to use those experiences as an avenue to express myself. I believe that there’s so much power in being a strong networker.

What Was it Like Leading a Syndicate?

Dan had approached me, and I really didn’t know what to do. I had three weeks to figure it out. But the team was incredible, and it was nice to have the network to help me, especially Jay Bennett.

Jay reached out to me and offered to help, and then we ended up meeting in person. He explained “this is how I do it, and here’s how you can expand your network.” It was like having a personal coach to help me through the process. We had never met before, but ended up talking daily for those three weeks leading up to the launch.

I think the thing that’s most important for potential syndicate leaders to understand is that they will have the power of the AngelMD network and investment team behind them. They’re not going to be doing this by themselves. They will get all of the support that they need, and it will be surprising to see where it comes from. People like Jay, and Dan, and Fred Duffy all know how to work with investments, and they’re happy to share that knowledge.

That being said, there was a lot that I had to figure out for myself. Not because of a lack of resources, but I had to find out what sort of syndicate leader I was. I needed to learn a lot about who I am and how I communicate with people. For me, the syndicate webinar really solidified that aspect. Now that I’ve done it, I feel like I can coach others and be a resource for them as well.

What’s the Last Book That You Recommended?

How Not to Die, by Dr. Michael Greger. It’s about discovering food that is scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. In the United States especially, we’re brainwashed by industry. We have the power to change so much of our health and lifestyle simply by changing what we put into our mouths.

 

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