While we have already covered why it is so essential to track your competition when creating a healthcare startup, it can be challenging to know where to start. With so much information and so many different sources, research can seem overwhelming to try to do by yourself. However, with the right knowledge and tools, keeping track of your competitors is simple.
There are a few key questions that many have before they start. What information should you know before beginning your research? How do you identify your competition? What information should you look for? In this guide, we will walk you through each of these answers to help you get started.
What information should you know before beginning your research?
Be careful, projects that compete with you can look completely different to your project. We categorize technology on three axes: what it is, what stage it is at, and what it does. A project can be different from your own in all three aspects and still be a competitor. For example, if you are creating a new method for repairing arteries, your competitor might be designing an app to prevent the need to repair arteries entirely. The complexity of interacting triggers, causes, symptoms and diseases means there are technologies you need to be aware of everywhere; upstream, downstream, and laterally.
Researching competition is also not a one-off thing. Projects are always moving and developing, necessitating continuous research. In the best-case scenario, you set aside the time to Google your competition every few months. You try to piece together what they have done, what stage they are at, and any new developments from the piles of information you find.
Then this can be stored in an Excel Spreadsheet for later reference. This spreadsheet will come in very handy when asked by potential investors who your competitors are and what they are doing. You stand out if you can quote your competitors, but it is a lot of work to have such complete oversight.
Who identifies as your competition?
Some competitors are obvious. They may have a product that’s difficult to even discern from yours but these are usually easy to find and keep an eye on.
But some competitors may not look like you, as we have covered above. They may not even have the same technology as you, but if they attempt to address an aspect of the same problem, they may classify as competition. A new treatment for heart disease needs to be aware of apps that encourage exercise. This preventative measure addresses the same root issue, but at an earlier stage. It is not that you are in a race with these groups, but you are in an evolving landscape that can produce new threats to your strategy.
What information about them should you look for?
You can set up Google feeds and pay for subscriptions to automatically bring information to you. There will be a process of wading through this data to find what actually constitutes new developments or indications of progress. For example, these systems are not capable of discerning why you should read an article; so often the data that comes in wastes your attention.
The data you are looking for needs to be worthwhile. You do not want to spend a large chunk of your time researching other projects just to come up with no new information. To prevent that, it is crucial to find good sources.
For a well-rounded view of projects’ progress, we have four parallel tracking systems for different sources: publications, trials, news, official websites, and social media. These sources provide good coverage of any technology or project from breakthrough, through development to its release and spread within a market.
Google has a wide range of information that you can take advantage of and social media is also a vital source, though both these sources are so messy it’s very difficult to efficiently piece together a picture of your landscape manually. Social media is a great way to get updates about a technology’s ongoing projects but even if you can catch every post from every technology (which these networks make sure you can’t do) it’s quite a task to distill out the important updates.
In our experience the most valuable type of milestones for professionals to know about are funding events. These elucidate who in your ecosystem has resources and who is providing them. When you do detect a funding milestones of a competitor be sure to examine who the investors were. You could find funding for yourself by looking into funders with similar profiles.
Health Horizon does all this for you
If you don’t have the time to monitor your competitors but you do work in a competitive space, Health Horizon is a human-curated, semi-automated innovation tracking system that monitors social media, news, journal articles and trials and extracts meaningful updates that indicate a competitor’s progress, keeping you notified. Starting from basic search terms a rough channel is created that accumulates and tracks more and more technologies in response to feedback you provide to your curator.
The more feedback you provide the more the channel matches your own, unique competitive landscape. A human curator sees your feedback and improves your channel to present you with the essential information about your competition. If you change your interests or pivot at some point, the channel will adjust to provide you with the most vital data. Health Horizon is a dynamic system that continues to collect data and curate your channel constantly. Our platform researches in real-time to give you only the most reliable and up-to-date information.
With preparation and knowledge of what to look for and why, researching your competition can be a simple process. If you choose to use Health Horizon you will benefit from our expert systems and curators and it will save you many hours of work every month. It will streamline the process and deliver the most critical information directly to you. The information isn’t locked away in a spreadsheet but always online and accessible via our website with interactive timelines for each competitor. Best of all the information is always up to date.
Take a look right now by going to Health Horizon’s website. Create a channel for your project, and it will populate competitors available to track from our publicly curated dataset. Request a demo to access non-public data for free and you can use this as a starting point for your own channel.