David DePoyster of MedSource on the Business Side of Health Care

David DePoyster has 21 years of experience in medical company sales and development, including ownership of MedSource, a medical development company with a portfolio of ventures in various medical specialties. He also owns MultiLine Medical LLC, which distributes products for various medical companies, with an emphasis on orthopedics, neurosurgery, podiatry and urology.

DePoyster currently is an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, teaching a class focusing on medical sales.

He also is the co-founder of Cevant Cellars, a California winery, and creator of Behavioronics, which helps parents promote better behavior at home and school.

What is it that you do?

I invest in and develop medical companies and medical technologies.

How did you get started in your business?

By having a man believe in me. William Bowen was the CEO of First Commercial Bank, and he loaned me money that on paper I didn’t deserve.

What are your immediate plans?

My focus area for the next two to three years is developing ventures with physician groups. The reality of lower and lower reimbursements for physicians has made the climate for their participation in external ventures very positive. I’m currently working with Arkansas Urology and other large urology practices in growing the Epoch men’s health clinics. I saw the difference low testosterone therapy made in my energy level, mental acuity and overall well-being. I get excited about helping expand these types of positive medical treatments by making them best-practice-based and widely accessible.

How are low interest rates affecting the selling and buying of businesses? What do you think will happen when rates rise?

In my opinion, the Federal Reserve’s policies that created the low interest rate environment have not materially influenced medical company or medical venture deals. Health care is a market that doesn’t see a dramatic effect from interest rates because it’s a necessity. While there is risk in any venture, the medical sector is safer, higher margin and less volatile than other business segments. Higher rates won’t lessen or increase this market’s deal volume.

What’s the most unusual business tool you’ve used?

In 2000 I began teaching a medical sales class one evening a week for the University of Central Arkansas. Since the genesis of that class, I’ve hired more than 30 of my students and placed many others with medical companies. It was an unorthodox way to find talented people, but it worked and continues to work great.

What was the smartest business decision you ever made?

To joint venture with physicians and not just sell to them. Physicians make great partners when they are contributing clinical expertise and professional management of a company or venture. I hear it said all the time that physicians are poor businesspeople, but that isn’t entirely true. Physicians are full-time clinicians who don’t need to be in charge of the implementation or management of a project. When they oversee the clinical side of businesses and optimize that area, they do very well and are great business partners.

What was your biggest business mistake or regret?

Not paying attention to my wife’s intuitive advice on a partner. Having partners is an essential element of equity funding and business development. I naturally think, “Hey, he or she is a great person. They’ll be awesome to work with.” My wife, on the other hand, has a very sensitive “BS-ometer” and warns me if she doesn’t get a good feeling about people. When I’ve gone against her feelings about particular people, it’s not turned out well.