Last week, Jamie Sundsbak sat down for a chat with Tess Donahue, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Medical Alley Association, formerly LifeScience Alley, to talk about recent changes with the largest state-based life science business association in the nation. Check out the full interview in LSN Podcast Episode 26.
Most of us operating in Minnesota’s life science sectors realized that LifeScience Alley changed their name and rebranded as Medical Alley Association a few weeks ago. “Largely, the LifeScience Alley brand stopped being relevant to our core,” Donahue explains. The organization actually launched thirty-two years ago under the name Medical Alley Association and had a very strong following in the state’s health tech community in the medical device, digital health, diagnostics, and biopharmaceutical spaces.
As the focus of LifeScience Alley expanded over the years to meet the demands of the ever growing life science sectors in the state, the group started to lose relevancy. “You just simply cannot be all things to all people,” says Donahue. The group strategized to bring the mission back to what their core companies needed from the organization. As a result, LifeScience Alley was rebranded with renewed vision back to Medical Alley Association.
All the services and the focus of the organization remain the same. “Nothing’s changing. It’s just getting better,” Donahue assures. Medical Alley Association is built on the core services of advocacy, information/intelligence, member services, and a buying consortium for members. For more information, peak back at an interview from last year with Vice President of Member Services, Frank Jaskulke.
Medical Alley Association released that 2015 Annual Investment Report a few weeks ago as part of these information and intelligence efforts. This report showed that things in Minnesota are actually….quite good.
“There’s a perception that funding is dried up and that it certainly isn’t coming to Minnesota. In fact, we had a record breaking year in 2014 and we’ve sustained that into 2015. That’s really good news. The investment community is paying attention,” says Donahue.
How much investment did Minnesota health tech companies accrue last year? A record high $434.9M. A total of 101 companies secured investments in 2015, with the digital health space seeing 59% growth compared to 2014. Not too shabby.
One place you will see a change in the new Medical Alley Association is in their shared content. They recently rolled out the “10 To Know” Top 10 News Week List as featured tile on the new website, showcasing a weekly curation of the hottest news stories from around the state.
“If you have news to share, or you’ve gotten funding, or you want to let us know about something that’s going on in your particular part of the Medical Alley region, let us know. We can help to extend your voice,” explains Donahue.
Along with the rebranding, Medical Alley Association is planning to hit the road to meet face to face with current and potential Medical Alley Association members. “We’re looking at different areas that we can reach out to our membership, particularly down in Rochester, to engage our members that are there and to start discussions with startups and other investors who are focusing on that area particularly,” says Donahue.
The startup community, specifically, is a vital part of Medical Alley Association’s membership. The group is ready to get the conversation rolling in Rochester, and in other key pockets in the state, to see how the organization can best help the health tech community in these areas.
The best ways to connect with the Medical Alley Association are through their new website, LinkedIn groups, Twitter, and Facebook pages. The organization will soon be rolling out individual Twitter handles, so you can follow your favorite Medical Alley Association staffers on that social platform. You can also sign up for the Medical Alley Association newsletter to stay informed of the latest communications and events.