Entrepreneurship through Acquisition: A Conversation with Jack Lancaster


In this interview, Richard and Kimon speak with Jack Lancaster. Prior to becoming the CEO of medical equipment manufacturer, Evolution Surgical, Jack was raising money to buy a company in health care. His intention was to find an interesting company related to the health care sector, acquire it along with his investors, and become the CEO. After a period of research, he discovered Evolution Surgical.

In addition to talking about his work as CEO of a company working to treat people with spinal injuries, Jack also shares about his life journey. As a young boy, he dreamed of being an architect. He moved around growing up, experiencing different places for 6-month stints. Jack describes his experience and education as emphasizing a wide breadth of knowledge.

This interest in building things and diverse fields translated over to an interest in entrepreneurship. Working in health care at Evolution Surgical, Jack oversees the production of medical devices for spinal fusions.

Jack discusses different health care markets around the globe, including why there are 20 markets he would sooner want to enter than the European market.

Evolution Surgical owns the full value-chain from end-to-end, meaning they are a manufacturer and a distributor. This allows them to more sensitively listen to customer feedback, which allows them, as as smaller company, to compete with big, multinational corporations.

Founded in 2014, Evolution Surgical was never meant to grow to the size it is today. The original founder, intending to work with just a few clients, quickly found that there was significant demand for the products Evolution Surgical designed. This rapid growth is what lead Jack to be able to come in as the new owner and CEO. The founder is able to focus on working directly with surgeons, allowing Jack to focus on management.

Evolution Surgical makes tools for spinal fusion, customizing devices to the exact specifications as requested by surgeons in Australia.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Richard and Kimon explore what it takes to run a company that makes critical devices for people in need. Jack is insightful, modest, and an example of a great entrepreneur.

Jack Lancaster is a highly experienced healthcare leader with a broad background across the sector globally. He is currently CEO Evolution Surgical, an Australian manufacturer and distributor of spinal devices. He is passionate about the role private sector organisations can play in improving outcomes and value for Australian patients.

Evolution Surgical uniquely works across the full device value chain in Australia of design, manufacture, regulate, and distribute; and is very closely involved with the Australian clinical, academic, and manufacturing sectors to enable this success.

Jack spent the early parts of his career working with the NHS deploying efficiency initiatives as well as in developing countries setting up programmes for large-scale disease elimination. Prior to
Evolution Surgical he worked in the Sydney office of Boston Consulting Group in the healthcare practice. Jack has an undergraduate degree with Honours from St Andrews, and an MBA with a concentration in health strategies from Cambridge University.

Stanford Resources on Search Funds

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About NBN:

The NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast aims to educate, inform and entertain, sharing insights based on the personal stories of carefully selected guests—all in an informal atmosphere of unscripted conversations and open, personal accounts.

Find links to past episodes here.

About our Hosts:

Kimon Fountoukidis:

Kimon is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. He founded both companies in the mid-90s with zero capital, and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. He is passionate about sharing his success with others and working entrepreneurs of all kinds to help them achieve their goals. 

Richard Lucas:

Richard is a business and social entrepreneur who has founded or invested in more than 30 businesses, including Argos Multilingual, PMR and, in 2020, the New Books Network.

Richard has been a TEDx event organiser for years, supports the pro-entrepreneurship ecosystem, and leads entrepreneurship workshops at all levels. He was born in Oxford and moved to Poland in 1991, where continues to invest in promising companies and helps other entrepreneurs realise their dreams. 

Your Host

Richard Lucas and Kimon Fountoukidis

Richard Lucas is a business and social entrepreneur who founded, led and/or invested in more than 30 businesses.

Kimon Fountoukidis is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. Both companies were founded in the mid 90s with zero capital and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. Listen to his story here.

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