When Charlie Brock, CEO and president of LaunchTennessee, speaks about his vision for entrepreneurship, he uses the term “density.” It means he wants to create a statewide ecosystem to support entrepreneurs and better connect the state’s different economic regions.
I got to see some of that density in action today at a venture forum hosted by Life Science Tennessee, part of the association’s annual conference for members.
The forum featured four life science startups from across the state. They had 10 minutes each to pitch to a panel of judges, i.e., investors from venture capital firms, including Nashville’s Mountain Group Capital and TriStar Technology Ventures.
Two of the featured startups were Memphis-based medical equipment companies seeking hospitals and health systems as clients, an area Nashville knows about. Both came through ZeroTo510, the Memphis business accelerator focused on bringing medical devices through FDA approval and to launch. Here’s a preview of each:
Mobilizer’s tagline, “ambulation made simple,” kind of says it all. The company manufactures a single, mobile platform that houses medical equipment for a patient during ambulation, the period during recovery when patients need to get up and walk around.
Today, the process can be very cumbersome, and can require three to five clinicians to wheel equipment along with the patient. Mobilizer is focusing first on selling to intensive care units, where the company estimates 160 people-hours are wasted every day dealing with just medical equipment during ambulation. The company estimates it can reduce the number of clinicians needed to walk patients to one.
The company has some big-name clients already enrolled in pilot projects — Vanderbilt, Kaiser, and two orders with the Cleveland Clinic. It has three models today, and is developing more, as it looks to move into other care areas outside of the ICU.
Each unit retails for about $4,500, and takes about 30 days from order to delivery. A third-party manufacturer can handle a good-sized order in about a week, making an inventory on demand model.
In response to investors, who had questions on how the company is making the sale to hospitals when budgets are tight, Mobilizer CEO James Bell said the company is selling efficiency, not ambulation as a treatment. That’s already proven, he said.
He also said clinicians have given positive feedback on the product. “It’s an opportunity to turn the C-suite into heroes,” he said.
The company is seeking $550,000. It already has approval from the FDA and is ready to go to market.
Through its SurgiLight lighting system, View Medical wants to make it easier for deep-cavity surgeons to see while they operate, without the use of bulky headlamps.
SurgiLight is a unique LED light that connects to the overhead lights in the operating room. It relies on a long, flexible tube to deliver localized light into the cavity from any angle, without wired systems or headlamps.
The company estimates that the light will last for three years. For sterilization purposes, it manufactures disposable sleeves that cover the light and are replaced before each procedure.
Founder Simren Dhaliwal said the market is ripe for the solution, as hospitals face increased accountability on outcomes, narrowing margins, and new pressures to keep physicians happy.
The company plans to advertise in medical journals, participate in trade shows, and develop pilots with medical schools and cadaver labs for promotion purposes.
The company is seeking $175,000 to get the product through FDA licensing approval. It anticipates submitting its license this June. During that time, it also plans to expand into animal clinics, where there in no regulation, to test the product and bring in users and revenue.