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M&A, IPO or SPAC: CEOs Share Exit Strategies and Lessons Learned Along the Way

April 19, 2022


Geoff Pardo and three successful medtech CEOs who exited their companies through a different pathway— M&A, IPO, and SPAC—discuss the pros and cons of each. While market volatility is a given, Bruce Shook, Former President & CEO, Intact Vascular and Vesper Medical; Clint Carnell, Co-Founder & Chairman, OrangeTwist; Former CEO, BeautyHealth; and Leslie Trigg, CEO, Outset Medical agreed that successful CEOs keep their focus on delivering returns for their investors—whether private or public. If your company is solving a really important problem and is creating value for patients, you’ll ultimately succeed, Shook said. From there, Trigg pointed out, exit vehicles are simply different modes of transportation to the same place.


Geoff Pardo joined Gilde Healthcare in 2011 as a partner working out of the office in Boston/Cambridge, MA, and is focusing on Gilde’s investments in North America. He led the investments in Inari Medical (NASDAQ: NARI), Axonics Modulation Technologies (NASDAQ: AXNX), Eargo (NASDAQ: EAR), CVRx, Ablative Solutions, Vesper Medical, InovaLabs (acquired by ResMed), BionX (acquired by Ottobock), and Vapotherm (NYSE: VAPO) and represents or has represented Gilde as a member of the board of directors for each company. Previously, he was a partner at Spray Venture Partners where he led investments into Interlace Medical (sold to Hologic), Solace Therapeutics, TearScience (sold to J&J), and Cascade Ophthalmics. He served on the board of Solace, TearScience, and Cascade, and was actively involved in Interlace and Conventus Orthopedics. Geoff also served as President & CEO of Facet Solutions, a spinal implant company focused on treating lumbar spinal stenosis, until the company was sold to Globus Medical in 2011. He has also worked at Cardinal Partners as an associate leading their investing activity in the medical device sector. Geoff began his career in medical devices as a product manager with Synthes USA, and he has a BA with honors in History from Brown University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He is a US citizen based in Gilde Healthcare’s Cambridge, MA, office.

Bruce Shook is a serial medical technology entrepreneur with more than 35 years of industry experience, including multiple early-stage ventures focused on opportunities in cardiac surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, and vascular disease. Mr. Shook formed Vesper Medical in 2016 as a spinout of Intact Vascular. Mr. Shook served as President & CEO of both Intact Vascular and Vesper Medical until Intact Vascular was purchased by Royal Philips in 2020 and Vesper Medical was acquired by Royal Philips in 2022. Prior to Vesper Medical and Intact Vascular, Mr. Shook was co-founder, Director, President, and CEO of Neuronetics [NASDAQ: STIM], which markets a non-invasive brain stimulation technology for the treatment of depression. Previously, Mr. Shook was co-founder, Director, President, and CEO at Neuron Therapeutics, a venture-backed company developing a drug/device product for the treatment of CNS disorders and President of Abiomed [NASDAQ: ABMD] where he successfully obtained PMA approval for the first FDA-approved ventricular-assist device. Mr. Shook also developed cardiac pacing and anti-arrhythmia products at Cordis Corporation. Mr. Shook has served on several corporate boards including Devoro Medical (acquired by Boston Scientific), Surgiquest (acquired by Conmed), Respicardia (acquired by Zoll), and CoTherix (acquired by Actelion). Mr. Shook currently serves on the Neuronetics Board of Directors (Nomination & Governance Committee Chair), Life Sciences PA (Board Chair), and the Penn State Research Foundation (Board Chair). Mr. Shook holds advanced degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Business Administration from Columbia University and the MIT Sloan School of Management, respectively. He earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University.

Clint Carnell is a visionary leader, category creator, and serial entrepreneur having led, founded, and taken public multiple companies in consumer healthcare. Most recently, Clint led BeautyHealth and its flagship brand Hydrafacial (Nasdaq: SKIN) from a 175m dollar acquisition in 2016 under private equity ownership to a public company with a 4.5 billion dollar market cap growing revenues 5x over 5 years. He is the co-founder and chairman of OrangeTwist a leading health + wellness lifestyle brand with 15 locations across the US providing medical aesthetic services. Previously, Clint was the COO for Solta Medical from 2005-2011, taking the company public in 2006, and developing the global brands Thermage, Fraxel, and Clear + Brilliant. During the early 2000s, Clint founded and sold Charleston Renal Care to Davita and led Bausch & Lomb’s US Surgical business from 2000-2005 during the development of LASIK. He is a Duke University graduate where he was an all-ACC soccer standout and a member of the US Olympic Soccer Qualifying Team.

Leslie Trigg has served as Outset’s CEO and as a member of the board of directors since November 2014. Leslie joined Outset from Warburg Pincus where she was an Executive in Residence. Previously, she was Executive Vice President at Lutonix, a cardiovascular medical device company acquired by CR Bard. Prior to Lutonix, Leslie served as Chief Business Officer of AccessClosure, a vascular closure company acquired by Cardinal Health. Before joining AccessClosure, Leslie served as Vice President, Marketing for FoxHollow Technologies, helping to architect the strategy and commercial infrastructure that led to a successful IPO and subsequent acquisition by ev3/Covidien. Leslie’s management experience also includes senior leadership positions at Cytyc Corporation and breast cancer diagnostics company Pro-Duct Health, Inc., which was acquired by Cytyc. She began her medical device career at Guidant Corporation. Leslie currently serves on the board of directors of Adaptive Biotechnologies and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA). Leslie received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.

Meet Our Host, Geoff Pardo

Geoff has been in medtech for over two decades in both operational and investment roles. He is passionate about the industry potential and sharing stories from the front lines of innovation.