Seth Bogner (Chairman & CEO, HeartPoint Global Inc.)
Seth Bogner currently serves as Chairman and CEO of HeartPoint Global Inc., where he merges his exceptional leadership abilities with his long-time goal of creating a business that is both profitable and socially responsible. At HeartPoint Global, he and his team provide global, breakthrough medical solutions for cutting-edge cardiac care that are affordable, safe, and minimally invasive. Heartpoint Global is the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) TCT 2023 Shark Tank (Innovation) Competition winner. Mr. Bogner was also named to the International Business Times (IBT) Social Capital Top 100 List for 2022. With over three decades of experience in principal investing, structured finance, restructurings, and merchant banking across numerous industries, Seth is a visionary entrepreneur who has served as the CEO and president of many funded and/or financed entities. To date, he has closed over 200 investments and merger and acquisition transactions during his career.
Can you explain your job to a five-year-old?
I help people, or kids more importantly, who have problems with their hearts, get fixed, so they can play and be happy.
What excites you most about your job?
I believe in a different model of capitalism, which we call compassionate capitalism or the new capitalism, where you can do good things and still make a lot of money. And I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive.
I was reminded yesterday that Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” So, what we're doing at HeartPoint Global is trying to help others who have not been able to get help. Whether it's because people aren't doing innovations for kids or, in parts of the world, they don't have access to things. We have a simple and elegant solution that will help many people in many different places, but especially in the United States.
It sounds like you’re really thinking about the impact.
I think that if you start with the intention, I always say the original thought determines the final outcome. Our thought was—or what happened was—I saw sick kids, and my intention was to help sick kids.
We had to figure out a business model that would work, that people would want to be part of, and that helped sick kids. And we did. Otherwise, you're running a charity, not a business. And that's okay, too. But, there's room in this world for everything.
A lot of things we've seen with the Gates Foundation, where they've been supporting things that are socially responsible, yet are active businesses. So we're operating on a parallel model.
Which trend or innovation will change the future of medicine?
We work with a group that operates all over the world, helping bring cardiac surgery and intervention to kids all over the world. It's called the EurAsia Heart Foundation. It’s run by the chairman of our medical advisory board, Paul Vogt.
What I've learned is that there are some horrible statistics that, something like 90 percent of the kids in the world don't have access to cardiac care, and it's also horrible that it stigmatizes not only the kid, but the family in many ways. But what I have learned is that almost everybody has a cell phone. And we know telemedicine in the United States as being something that works and is good. If you're not really sick, you need to get some antibiotics or something, it's a great way to go without taking too much time. As telemedicine grows, and it gets out to parts of the world that don't have an adequate care system in place, it's really exciting to me, what can happen because of access to cell phones and the fact that, if somebody is in Southeast Asia, we could take a look at that person.
Now, obviously, it's not the same, but in places where there are inadequate healthcare systems, not only here in the United States, but globally, healthcare is becoming a right, not an option. And we fully support that move, obviously. But in the developing world, I think we're still a while away from that, so I really like the idea of doctors being able to reach more people. I also like the idea of there being more doctors. But that takes a while, so reaching more people through telemedicine is a great first step.
Looking back, which trends have you missed or underestimated?
Knowing what I know today about the delays that would occur because of COVID—supply chains and such—I would have paid more attention to our SaaS application and brought it more out front for precisely those reasons.
We have a solution that we're not bringing to the FDA in this round. We will be bringing it in a later round through an NFC application. With it, they can take that cell phone that almost everybody in the world has and put it over their heart. We could read the flow and pressure coming through the pulmonary artery. This is not groundbreaking technology. People do it with defibrillators and other things that are in the body. But I would have paid more attention to it because it helps when we are trying to go global with something, not just in the United States.
Which MedTech initiative or startup deserves more attention?
That's easy. Absolutely ours, because we have the ability to change so many lives and be so disruptive in so many different ways in so many different markets. So what we're doing in the United States is extremely exciting. It really has all of our attention, but given more funds, we could spread that to more places in the world quickly and save more lives. And that's what I'm super excited about.
Where would you put a million dollars?
There are a lot of technologies that I've been exposed to because of our placement in the business. And the fact that we've won a very prestigious award, which was the Shark Tank Innovation Competition at the TCT conference.
I think about reaching more people. Once again, going back to that whole telemedicine idea. I think about what I've seen in places like India, where they understand that they can't bring all of their 1.4 billion people up to the standard of care that we have in America or Europe, but they want to get there, improve that by 5 percent a year. I look for things that can accelerate this. It’s things like telemedicine and SaaS that could really leverage doctors and primary caregivers all over the world.
Also, giving primary caregivers more access to professional networks all over the world. So, if you can get into specialties. I think communication is the key right now as we continue to develop so many new technologies. People, in parts of the world where income is not great, aren't going to be able to spend a million dollars a year on an artificial heart, but they can get access to technology like ours, which is not listed as a destination therapy but gives better quality of life for the patient or, as I said earlier, provides a bridge to many others.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
It all goes back to saying something everybody learns, which is, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’
My work and medtech have profoundly given me a new appreciation for that. You hear it, but until you start really sharing with others and waking up every day with that being your intention, I think that helps the world in a huge way.
And by the way, it doesn't have to be in something like I do. I think that Steve Jobs, for instance, changed the world for the better. I didn't know him, but by all accounts, it didn't seem like he was the nicest guy of all time, but he woke up every day wanting to change the world, wanting to think differently, wanting to bring about all that technology. He had a vision of what that technology could be and where it could take us. And we're all benefiting from that. I hope that the work we're doing at HeartPoint Global provides the same type of inspiration to some people.