Lasik MD Inc.

Montreal, Quebec

Number of employees:  400, including 40 surgeons

Laser corrective surgery

President: Mark Cohen

E-mail:  mcohen@lasikmd.com

Web-site: www.lasikmd.com

Primary markets:  Canada

 

Entrepreneur sees clear road a ahead

 

Mark Cohen, president of Lasik MD, heads Canada’s largest performer of corrective eye surgery. The company employs 400 people including 40 surgeons and is responsible for close to 1.4 million procedures each year. As head of such a large organization, you’d expect Cohen to spend most of his time in meetings, shuffling papers or working on the next big deal. You’d be wrong.

 

Despite Lasik MD’s success, Cohen still puts in three days a week at the operating table, doing the very procedures that he helped build the business on. “Corrective surgery generally does not take a lot of time to do, but it takes a lot of time to learn,” says Cohen, who founded the company with partner Avi Wallerstein, whom he trained with at McGill’s Ophthalmology program. “In fact one of the factors limiting growth in our early years was the relatively small number of surgeons available who were qualified to do the work. So being at the operating table has become something of a habit.”

 

Growing Lasik MD to its current size required more than mere technical surgical skills. It also needed considerable managerial savvy. One of Cohen’s key early moves was to partner Lasik MD with the surgeons who perform the operations. “Coming up with the $1 million or so in capital investment to start a clinic can be a daunting task,” said Cohen. “We help with financing and provide physicians with in-house marketing, human resources, accounting IT and so on. The clinics also share all expenses, which allows for certain economies of scale.”

 

But despite their success, Cohen and Wallerstein aren’t done yet. Lasik MD currently operates 19 clinics, but the company plans to open three or four more, so that by the end of 2008 there will be one in every viable market in Canada.

 

Peter@peterdiekmeyer.com

 

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