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VOL. 127 | NO. 180 | Friday, September 14, 2012

Starting Up

New businesses find mentorship, funding and more in new accelerator

By Andy Meek

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Shawn Flynn and Ryan Ramkhelawan have, both literally and figuratively, come a long way in a few months.

Ryan Ramkhelawan, right, is president, and Shawn Flynn is vice president of Restore Medical Solutions. The company, which makes modular surgical instrument trays, is a beneficiary of ZeroTo510 funding.  

(Photos: Lance Murphey)

They moved to Memphis recently to bring their medical industry-focused startup here and take it through the inaugural round of a new startup accelerator program, ZeroTo510. Since the end of that program – a boot camp-style mix of mentorship, networking and related instruction that came with an infusion of cash – their startup Restore Medical Solutions got a term sheet and an invitation to negotiate for a Series A round of venture capital funding.

That round is being co-led by Innova Memphis and MB Venture Partners. And once it closes, which could be as soon as this week or early next week, there would then be a final period of attorneys putting everything together for a couple of weeks to get the details made official.

Meanwhile, Flynn said they’re looking for commercial office space possibly Downtown for the venture, which focuses on a new method to keep surgical equipment efficiently handled and cleaned.

And the pitches aren’t stopping. Restore is joining a fellow ZeroTo510 startup, Urova Medical, in competing for a cash prize and package of business services at a business plan competition in Nashville in November.

“I started my career in the Army,” said Restore’s Flynn, who enlisted in the Army and served as a surgical technician.

After that, he worked in the field of organ procurement and tissue banking, where he supervised and trained staff in musculoskeletal post-mortem recoveries, among other things. And before co-founding Restore, he managed one of the largest sterile processing departments in the U.S.

Ramkhelawan, the man Flynn co-founded Restore with, has a similarly deep background. He is credentialed, for example, in organ procurement, transplantation and renal perfusion.

Ramkhelawan also has extensive background in surgical build outs, creating efficient workflow environments and staff education.

Restore Medical Solutions, which makes modular surgical instrument trays, is a beneficiary of ZeroTo510 accelerator funding. 

“Each of us found a mutual partner in the other, and we’ve enjoyed this ever since,” Flynn said.

One person affiliated with LaunchYourCity, the entrepreneurial hub driving the ecosystem that includes ZeroTo510 and a related program, Seed Hatchery, described what Restore’s co-founders accomplished in the program’s three months as “nothing short of remarkable.”

What’s also “remarkable” is the first season of ZeroTo510, a program thought to be the first of its kind, and how it’s exceeded expectations. Four of the inaugural season’s six companies went on to receive an additional round of funding and move to the program’s next phase.

“It is extremely rewarding to us as an organization, because the funding of four companies exceeds what we considered to be a measure of success when this program was launched,” said Allan Daisley, program director for ZeroTo510.

The goal of ZeroTo510 was to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine business models and achieve the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Each of the cohort’s six companies received $50,000 in seed capital from co-investors Innova and MB Venture Partners. The board of directors for ZeroTo510 included Ken Woody, Innova partner; Gary Stevenson, co-founder of MB Venture Partners; Dr. Steve Charles, vitreoretinal surgeon, mechanical and electrical engineer; Brian Austin, founder and chief executive officer of ExtraOrtho; Dr. Kevin Foley, neurosurgeon and inventor; and Jack Blair, former president of Smith & Nephew.

In addition to Restore’s venture capital funding, the four companies getting an additional $100,000 chunk of funding are:

• BioNanovations, which has developed a device that uses bionanotechnology for rapid diagnosis of bacterial infection.

• EcoSurg, which has developed an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional foam patient positioners used in surgeries.

• Nanophthalmics, which has developed, through the use of nanotechnology, a surgical device to more effectively treat corneal abrasions.

• Urova Medical, which has developed a minimally invasive treatment to address feminine stress urinary incontinence.

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