VOL. 129 | NO. 128 | Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Medical Device Accelerator Prepares for Demo Day
By Andy Meek
Teams participating in ZeroTo510, Memphis’ medical device accelerator program, are gearing up to show the new technologies they’ve devised to investors in a bid for follow-on funding next month.
ZeroTo510’s Demo Day, happening Aug. 14, represents the culmination of the program.
Four teams of entrepreneurs are going through this year’s round of the 12-week program at the Memphis Bioworks Business Incubator, with the program now in its third year and funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and the state of Tennessee.
The four teams include Blood Monitoring Solutions, led by a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, which has created a device that cuts down on the amount of blood wasted in hospitals because of compliance parameters.
There’s also Innometrix, a team from Oxford, Miss., which has come up with a diagnostic technology that produces a biomechanical snapshot of the female pelvic floor to give physicians better data before surgery.
EndoInsight is a team using patented technology out of Vanderbilt University that’s bringing to market a low-cost carbon dioxide insufflation system. Its goal is to help lessen the pain and discomfort associated with colonoscopies.
And Compression Kinetics is a team from Chapel Hill, N.C., that’s created a new kind of compression sleeve, which uses a shape memory alloy to create a pressure wave to increase circulation throughout the body and decrease peripheral edema.
Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, said the process of choosing teams to participate this year was a challenge because of the high quality of applicants.
Memphis Bioworks Foundation operates the program with co-investor Innova.
“In watching the development of the first two years’ companies, we’ve learned what types of concepts and products have the greatest likelihood of emerging into our ecosystem with both the potential for follow-on funding and long-term business viability,” Daisley said. “We chose to accept fewer teams into the program this year to be able to focus more time and attention on their success.”
Unlike other local accelerator programs, ZeroTo510 is unique, in that – rather than broad categories like women-owned companies or high-growth tech startups – it focuses on medical devices. Participants also tend to have more experience in their fields and with their products, unlike founder participants in other local accelerators that often are selling mainly the potential of a good idea or new service.
Among the features of ZeroTo510, each company chosen to participate gets $50,000 in initial seed capital. The funding comes from the program’s co-investors Innova and MB Venture Partners.
Innova is a pre-seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies across the state in the fields of health care, technology and health care technology. MB Venture Partners is a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences startups.
The ZeroTo510 teams are required to stay in Memphis for the duration of the program. On “Demo Day,” they’ll pitch to investors who will choose teams to get as much as $100,000 in additional capital and the opportunity to further develop their businesses.
Last year, three companies in the program got $100,000 in follow-up funding. And over the past two years, companies have achieved $4.5 million of investment funding.
Three companies that have graduated from the program are now selling products in the marketplace, two are in a dormant phase to evaluate their long-term potential and the remaining companies are either in the product development stage or raising additional funds.