Documentary delves into growing weight of Startup Nation on med-tech scene

November 16, 2019

‘TrueFuture’ series, hosted and produced by Joe Mullings, aims to showcase life-saving technologies and the people behind them

 A production team from the US has been traveling around Israel, filming a documentary series on the medical device industry and showcases the people and technologies behind products that are saving lives around the world.

“We highlight emerging technologies and get into the lives, culture and community” in the so-called Startup Nation, said series host Joe Mullings, who is also financing and producing the show, called “TrueFuture,” in a phone interview with The Times of Israel earlier this month as the team on the ground was winding up its operations.

Israel has a “very strong emerging” medical and healthcare technology scene, he said.

Mullings is the owner of a global executive search firm in the medical device industry, The Mullings Group, which is also the parent company of Dragonfly Stories LLC, the producer of the documentary.

The show will cover developments in Germany, Ireland and the US, as well as Israel, focusing on medical devices that are being developed. Israel will be season three, and the season will have eight to 10 episodes, said Mullings.

The team shot in Herzliya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Caesarea, and the south, even as “craziness” — in the form of rocket attacks from Gaza — broke out during filming, Mullings said.

Besides technologies being developed in Israel, the series also explores what makes Startup Nation tick, Mullings said, including interviews with graduates of the legendary 8200 army tech unit and colonels-turned-entrepreneurs.

They talked about the importance of army service in their lives, Mullings said, and “why it is so important to serve for something that is bigger than yourself.” They also were living examples of the close-knit network the army creates and of how, in the end, everyone seems to know everybody in Israel.

Israel is a country in which to fail is acceptable, “as long as you give it your best effort,” Mullings said.

Among the companies and individuals featured from Israel were Tal Wenderow, the founder of Corindus Vascular Robotics, a developer of robotic assisted vascular technologies that is now part of Siemens Healthineers; Nahum Ferera, the co-founder and CEO of EyeYon Medical, which develops ophthalmic devices; Guy Meger, the chief technology officer and general manager of EarlySense, which has developed a “smart bed” solution that collects information on patient’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and movement; Michal Geva, co-founder and managing partner of Triventures, a VC fund investing in health technologies; Mazor Robotics Ltd., a maker of robotic surgical systems that was acquired by Medtronic in 2018; ALYN Hospital, the only pediatric rehab hospital in Israel; and Anya Eldan, the head of the startup division at the Israel Innovation Authority.

The shoot was not the first time Mullings, who lives in New York, has been to Israel. “Israel is on of my favorite countries in the world to visit,” he said. Israeli culture is active in New York, he said, and he loves Israelis and “the passion, the drive and the chip on the shoulder they have,” with the attitude that they “can do anything, there is nothing we can’t do.”

This is, however, the first time he has undertaken such a project, and he is doing it  because “the medical device industry is a $500 billion annual global industry, and nobody is telling stories out of it, but everyone has had a family member that has had some medical intervention that has saved their lives.”

Mullings said he was in talks with “a number of networks” to air the show, but declined to name names, adding that they were “like” CNN and Netflix.