Monthly Spotlight: Stacy Enxing Seng

At the Fogarty Institute we depend on our board of seasoned professionals to help us continue to grow and adapt to the medtech market. That’s why we were delighted to add another elite name to our esteemed group, with Stacy Enxing Seng joining as our newest member. With nearly 30 years of experience in the medtech industry, she has successfully led multiple technologies and companies from early concept and development through global market leadership.

“I am honored and excited to have joined this board and to be able to work with such a reputable group of directors, an accomplished management team and an impressive portfolio of startups,” said Stacy. “Andrew’s style of leadership and drive to expand the capability of the Institute, coupled with Dr. Fogarty’s vision for education and innovation to keep the entrepreneurial community robust, was a big draw to join the organization. The Institute has a very promising future, and I am excited to be part of it.”

Personal relationships enhance professional success

Stacy knows the value inherent in relationships and believes her successful career in medical technology is largely the result of the people who inspired and supported her work along the way.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in public policy, Stacy was not specifically targeting medtech, however, after interviewing with the team from American Hospital Supply, she was drawn to the combination of their “esprit de corps” and focus on the customer.

As her career with American Hospital Supply and then Baxter progressed, she realized that she eventually wanted to build and run a business, so she enrolled in Harvard Business School to bolster her business acumen. After earning her MBA, she joined Scimed, a small interventional cardiology company that was eventually acquired by Boston Scientific. She held a variety of sales and marketing roles, ultimately becoming vice president of global cardiovascular marketing.

During her time at Scimed/Boston Scientific, she had the good fortune of being mentored by the late Dale Spencer, a pioneer in the medical technology industry, who envisioned starting a new company focused on areas of endovascular medicine that the larger cardiovascular strategic companies weren’t targeting – namely peripheral and neurovascular interventional devices. In 2000, she joined him to start ev3 as president of the peripheral vascular division, taking the company public in 2004 and then selling ev3 to Covidien in 2010.

“It was an incredible experience to build the company from the ground up – from zero to approximately half a billion in revenue when it was sold to Covidien,” she says, noting that the revenue was generated both organically and through acquisition, which included a number of household interventional names, many of which stemmed from the Bay Area.

She considered moving to other endeavors after the acquisition, but stayed on with the company due to her commitment to her ev3 colleagues, as well as the vision set forth by Joe Almeida, CEO of Covidien. She took the position of president of the vascular division to play a key role in both ev3’s successful integration, as well as growing the overall Covidien vascular business.

“Along the way, I’ve been grateful for the chance I’ve had to work with and lead so many impressive people,” she says. “I’ve also derived great satisfaction from building companies and therapies that started in clinical experience and now are making a difference in patients. The technological improvements that have been pioneered have made a real difference across vascular disease and stroke.”

A new chapter

Stacy stayed with Covidien until it was acquired by Medtronic, a point when she realized it was time to put a “bow” around her 25 years of driving a daily business and turn her attention to the next frontier.

In addition to pursuing opportunities as in independent director on the boards of both small entrepreneurial and mid-size public companies, she set her sights on the venture capital sector, given her awareness of how essential VC is to medtech innovation.

While VC work is quite different from building and running a business, she greatly enjoys the excitement of working with entrepreneurs and the satisfaction of investing in innovation, which allows improved health care around the world and a vibrant growth pipeline for the larger strategic medical device companies.

And, as throughout her career, the people she works with play a key role in her fulfillment. At Lightstone Ventures, she now has the chance to work alongside the team behind FIRE1, a group she met while working at Covidien, whom she deeply respects and thoroughly enjoys working with.

“My current work in the VC space and on boards such as the Fogarty Institute, allows me to stay engaged in an industry I’m passionate about, while working with amazing people and giving back to the healthcare community,” she says.

Vision and advice on medtech

Despite the decrease in investments and what she calls the “resetting of the table” due to the elevated and necessary demands brought forth by value-based healthcare and a more rigorous reimbursement path, Stacy is optimistic about the future of medtech.

The elements she sees contributing to its growth include demographic factors that will lead to increased therapeutic device demand worldwide; innovation stemming from such trends as digitalization, artificial intelligence and smart devices; the consumerization/retail possibility of medicine; and the continued excitement created by drug/device combinations.

As she sees it, innovation needs to be more “disciplined,” in terms of considering earlier how the device is expected to improve the value and delivery efficiency of healthcare, while at the same time “expansive” in considering the potential value of new delivery models and ways in which a device can work to enable both patients and their caregivers.

Stacy has a favorite saying, repeated to her by her father growing up, that encapsulates her belief that the sky is the limit: “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

There will always be road blocks, she says, but when addressed with the right attitude and the right team, most of the time everything will fall into place. “Entrepreneurs tend to succeed when they get it right by their customers, employees and shareholders, and demonstrate the persistence and the attitude that they are in it for the long haul.”

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