Interview with CEO Matt McGuire

I have a very interesting interview this week with an entrepreneur who has spent the last 4-½ years developing his international start-up company. He is not a physician, but his story is so compelling, and the technology solution so important, that I had to interview this guy.

I met Matt McGuire at the Physicians Helping Physicians Conference in Austin, Texas. He was a fellow presenter, discussing the subject of entrepreneurship and his start-up.

He's the classic Silicon Valley entrepreneur: outgoing, totally committed to his company, sleeping only about 30 hours per week. Yet, his company is not based in Silicon Valley. It’s a health care technology start-up with a product designed to save lives and improve health care for millions of patients around the globe, by making medications safer.

Anti-Counterfeit Technology

However, it's not a pharmaceutical company. It's a company that sells an anticounterfeit technology called SafeStamp that can help reduce or eliminate the sales of counterfeit medications. Medications that are responsible for hurting millions of patients around the world.

So, who is Matt McGuire? Well, before he entered the Wharton Business School, he was a soldier deployed to Iraq for four years. While there, he discovered that terrorist groups were generating millions of dollars in cash to support their operations by selling fake medications.

Counterfeit Medications Kill Millions

With a little research, he learned that AROUND THE WORLD, fake drugs were a MASSIVE problem. Globally, 15% of medication are fake, and even poisonous, resulting in over 1 million deaths.

In some countries, 50% of the medications being dispensed are counterfeit. That means they are at best placebos, and at worst deadly poisons.

So, when Matt was looking for a business to start while at Wharton, it became obvious to him that developing a technology to eliminate counterfeit medications could be a HUGE opportunity. And his start-up was born.

He told us that the market for anti-counterfeit packaging technologies for pharmaceuticals alone is something like $100 billion. And there are whole markets beyond drugs where the anti-counterfeit technology can be applied.

start-up matt mcguire

During our conversation, Matt mentions SafeStamp – the name of the technology and the company. It's basically a sticker or label that incorporates nanotechnology that cannot be copied. His patented nanotechnology produces a unique reaction and color change – an orange or blue glow – by blowing on or touching the label that cannot be duplicated by counterfeiters

Our Sponsor

The University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, is the proud sponsor of this podcast. You’ll remember that I interviewed Dr. Kate Atchley, the Executive Director of the program, in Episode #25 of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country. It has over 650 graduates. Unlike most other ranked programs, which typically have a duration of 18 to 24 months, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.

University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. The curriculum includes a number of major assignments and a company project. Hence, students immediately contribute to their organizations while in the program.

Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they have become start-up entrepreneurs and business owners. If you want to acquire the business and management skills you need to advance your career, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or going to

Five Start-Up Secrets

So, here are Matt's 5 big start-up tips. They are:

  1. Do Not Neglect Proper Pricing. This should be addressed scientifically. Matt recommends reading Smart Pricing by Jagmohan Raju.
  2. Pay Attention to Design Principles. For insights into this topic, Matt recommends books by Donald Norman such as The Design of Everyday Things and Living with Complexity.
  3. Understand Your Customers. Matt says you must talk to your customers while developing your product. He recommends two books by Giff Constable: Talking to Humans and Testing with Humans.
  4. Select Great Partners. Go it alone if you can. But if you need a partner to bring critical skills to the company, be very selective. And use a vesting schedule for ownership in the company. That way, if a partner walks away in a few months, they don’t already control a large piece of your start-up.
  5. Don’t Pursue Investors Too Soon. Be scrappy. Don't take money unless you really, really need it. And never take more than you need to, any sooner than you need to. That will dilute your ownership more than necessary.

Be scrappy. Don't take money unless you really, really need it.

Matt McGuire

One More Source for Ideas

Matt also mentioned that if you’re interested in starting your own company, but don’t yet have a great idea, you might try checking the Technology Transfer Offices of large universities.

They're really good at developing creative ideas and potentially valuable intellectual property. But they aren’t so good at bringing them to market.

That’s where you can step in, partner with them and build a company around the idea. The databases can often be searched on line. But you’ll need to share a good deal of the profits with them.

Links for today's episode:

Thanks to our sponsor…

Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at

I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.

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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business. 

Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career. 

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