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Ag Start-ups Pitch Investors at NextFarm Demo Day

Agricultural Innovation Start-up Companies to Pitch New Business Concepts to Investors and Strategic Partners

NextFarm’s Demo Day will showcase Tennessee-based agricultural start-up companies seeking additional investment and partnerships

MARTIN, Tenn.  (Jan. 30, 2014) – NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator will host Demo Day on February 6 in Union City, Tenn., to highlight statewide innovative companies that are addressing global hunger, food safety, and opportunities for new farm income and rural jobs. The highlight of this event will be showcasing companies that have participated in the start-up accelerator program within NextFarm.  Participating companies are:

  • AgSmarts automates the operation of agricultural irrigation systems in order to help producers maximize crop yields and optimize input usage and costs. It does this through its mesh networks of environmental field and equipment-based sensors, IP-enabled controllers and wireless communications devices. The company’s initial service offering is designed for center pivot irrigation systems.
  • Beyond Right Now Technologies is developing high-tech sensors for UAVs to locate feral hogs for eradication, thus reducing the significant crop losses now being experienced by Tennessee farmers.
  • Secure Food Solutions is commercializing hyper spectral sensor technology developed at Mississippi State University and Agricultural Research Service USDA to make the food supply safer, while making handling and delivery more efficient in the United States and in the developing world. 
  • Stony Creek Colors is a vertically integrated company developing the complete supply chain for replacing synthetic dyes with natural dyes from plants for the textile industry. The supply chain development includes the establishment of a small-farm network throughout the South. 

In addition to these start-up companies, Demo Day will showcase several university spin-out companies through NextFarm’s University Commercialization Assistance Program. These companies are:

  • FarmSpec is a student-led company from the University of Tennessee at Martin which is developing new equipment to provide additional conservation and economic benefits to row crop farmers. FarmSpec’s team was formed to focus on competing for the Howard Buffett Foundation-sponsored Ag Innovation Prize.
  • Climate Adaptive Genetics is developing high-performance Angus cattle with enhanced heat tolerance. These animals have the potential of doubling beef production in hot-climate countries. The team members involved in this company are from Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Fertility Focus is based on patented technology from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture used to improve cattle fertility rates in processes such as embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization.  The company is receiving entrepreneurial development support from NextFarm’s partner Tech 20/20 based in Oak Ridge.  

“Through our various acceleration programs, these entrepreneurs have refined their business ideas, connected to necessary resources and developed strategic partnerships to grow their companies and take their products to market,” said Carol Reed, executive director of The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center, a key partner in NextFarm. “Demo Day is an opportunity to showcase new and innovative ideas and technologies in agriculture, as well as the milestones that these company founders have achieved.”

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Jim Budzynski, a venture partner with Open Prairie Ventures and the managing principal of MacroGain Partners, a Carmel, Ind., firm focused on structuring venture and private equity investments in companies in the agricultural, food, and green energy industries. Dr. Budzynski has more than 30 years of direct agrifood and related markets experience and has led a broad range of consulting assignments for some of the largest players in the U.S. agrifood industry, developing significant expertise in strategic planning, brand management, channel strategy development, and customer relationship management and segmentation.

Additional speakers include: Jai Templeton, Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Jason Denenberg, Director of Entrepreneurship for Launch Tennessee; and Jim Rippy, chief executive officer of Discovery Park of America.

The event is expected to attract more than 100 attendees, including investors, business and community representatives and supporters.

Created in response to the challenge issued by Gov. Bill Haslam to make Tennessee the number-one state in the Southeast for the growth of the agricultural and forestry industries, NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator is a partnership between the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and Ag Innovation Development Group.

“The NextFarm accelerator leverages Tennessee’s agricultural strength and heritage, through building innovative agricultural businesses that can compete and grow in a global economy,” said Steve Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) is a public-private organization created as one of the nine regional accelerators established through Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. NTEC serves the nine counties of Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley by providing mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital for entrepreneurs with the goal of producing new jobs and steady economic growth within the nine-county area.  (www.ntecconnect.com)

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

About Ag Innovation Development Group
Ag Innovation Development Group is focused on addressing the critical gap between discovery and commercialization of new agricultural technology by bringing together the right talent and aligning resources to quickly validate an idea, ensure that it is properly protected, develop a business strategy, and attract capital. The goal is to achieve maximum value for all participants, while ensuring that generative innovations are introduced to the world’s farmers. (www.aginnovationgroup.com)

Applications Open for 2014 ZeroTo510 Cohort

Applications Requested for ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

Now in its third year, accelerator application process seeks business ideas from around the globe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2014) – Applications are now open for ZeroTo510, an entrepreneurship accelerator program that has proven to help start-ups bring medical device products and services to market.  Applications will be accepted until March 16, 2014, with up to three slots being eligible for “early acceptance.”

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strengths of the Memphis area.  The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Now in its third year, the program has accelerated the creation of 12 new companies, more than 25 local jobs, and more than $4 million in investments.  The nationally recognized program has attracted entrepreneurs locally and from places like Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Duke University in Durham, N.C. and Greenville, S.C. Among these companies’ successes: three are in the marketplace generating revenue, one has received FDA clearance, and one is treating patients in an IRB study.  As the first-ever medical device accelerator, ZeroTo510 is now recognized as a benchmark model for subsequent medical device accelerators, including one in Australia.

Through a competitive application process, six companies will again be selected for the 2014 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator, where they will matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneurs through the process. Each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the region’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience, and Innova.  ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee as part of Governor Haslam’s INCITE initiative.  Announced in May 2012, the INCITE program is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship.

“Though it originally was the first of its kind, ZeroTo510 is now a proven model that has resulted in two years of successfully helping entrepreneurs from around the country accelerate medical device companies and create jobs,” said Allan Daisley, co-founder of ZeroTo510 and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks.  “This year, we’re looking forward to building on the momentum of the program by providing world-class expertise and guidance to six more companies and entrepreneur teams.”

An entrepreneurship program for medical devices is an ideal match for the resources and talents in the Memphis area.  Typically, it can take several years for ideas to pass through the traditional FDA regulatory process.  The 510(k) process provides an expedited path to market, and as such makes a good fit for an accelerator program. Achieving success on that path requires unique skills and knowledge, and ZeroTo510 provides the coaching, mentoring, networking and access to subject matter experts that entrepreneurs need to be successful.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors. The investors will select finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses.  And, there is always additional funding potential once the presentation round is reached.

Competition for participation in the program is open internationally.  However, companies selected must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program.

“Memphis, Tennessee has the industry expertise and ecosystem that makes it a perfect environment for a medical device business accelerator,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 co-founder. “Memphis is the place to be if you want to build a successful medical device company, and ZeroTo510 provides the guidance and mentorship needed to achieve that success.”

Applications to participate in ZeroTo510 are due by March 16.  Companies selected for participation will be notified by April 11, or earlier if they meet the “early acceptance” criteria.  The program will begin on May 14.  Information on applying and additional information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

 

ZeroTo510 Companies Receive Follow-on Funding

Three Companies from ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator in Memphis Selected for Follow-on Funding

Total investment over two years tops $4 million

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2013) – After 90 days of intensive entrepreneurial programming, mentorship, an initial $50,000 investment, and a pitch to an audience of potential investors, three companies participating in the summer 2013 ZeroTo510 program have been selected to continue to the second phase of the program and receive additional funding in the amount of $100,000 each.

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks, and both seed and follow-on funding is provided by co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, bioscience, technology and ag innovation fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

The three companies selected for additional accelerator funding are:

• Better Walk has developed a redesigned crutch that is designed to reduce forearm fatigue, improve patient comfort, and reduce the amount of force in the underarm.
• Mobilizer has developed a device modeled after a wheeled walker, with shelves and attachments that help carry equipment for more efficient ambulation of critical care patients.
• View Medical has designed a novel LED light with a long, flexible tube that allows for easier and better lighting for deep-cavity surgeries.

“The ZeroTo510 program clearly has excellent momentum and a growing reputation for success. We are proud to graduate another cohort of medical device start-up businesses, each with a real opportunity to have a lasting impact on the medical community,” said Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks and program director for ZeroTo510.

In total, the program has accelerated the creation of 12 new companies, more than 25 local jobs, and more than $4 million in investments. The nationally recognized program has attracted entrepreneurs locally and from places like Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Duke University in Durham, N.C. and Greenville, S.C. The six companies that participated in the 2012 ZeroTo510 cohort also continue to build their businesses here in Tennessee, validating one of the program’s goals of growing businesses and creating jobs locally. Among these companies’ successes: one is in the marketplace generating revenue, one has treated its first patient in an IRB study, and one is in the final stages of receiving its FDA clearance.

“At this point in the process, the three selected companies from the 2013 ZeroTo510 class have met the milestones needed to move to the next phase of funding,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 advisor. “We expect each of the companies receiving additional investment to use that money to further develop their products, build a business and hire local talent, right here in Memphis.”

ZeroTo510 is a unique, entrepreneurial accelerator program that focuses on leveraging the regional strength of the Memphis area in medical device research and manufacturing. The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing. Through a competitive application process, six companies were selected to matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneur through the process.

ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program administered by Launch Tennessee and funded by the State of Tennessee as part of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. Announced in May 2012, the INCITE program is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship.

More information on the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability. A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org.

About INNOVA
Innova is a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Biosciences, Technology and AgBio fields across the state of Tennessee. Innova was created by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation to help establish Memphis as a national center of excellence in entrepreneurship. Innova provides entrepreneurs with access to incubator facilities, training and mentoring, industry networks and seasoned executives. Innova’s goal is to nurture the growth of high technology and entrepreneurial efforts in the Mid-South that will result in significant job creation, economic growth and competitiveness. To learn more about Innova, visit www.innovamemphis.com.

About MB Venture Partners
MB Venture Partners is a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups. The Firm invests in medical device and biotechnology companies at various stages of development and has now funded 24 start-ups. The Firm is especially focused on product solutions for musculoskeletal conditions, where we have specific domain expertise and relationships to assist portfolio companies. For more information, visit www.mbventures.com.

Regional Partners Launch Agriculture Innovation Accelerator

New Program will Help Start and Grow New Agricultural Companies in Northwest Tennessee                       

MARTIN, Tenn.  (June 17, 2013) – The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center and Memphis Bioworks Foundation have formed a partnership to launch an agriculture innovation accelerator this summer to help start and grow new agricultural businesses.  The development of the accelerator is in response to the challenge issued by Gov. Bill Haslam to make Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast in the growth of the agricultural and forestry industries.

The program will be a cohort-based business accelerator that leverages the strength of the nine counties served by The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center that have significant assets related to agricultural crop production, livestock, and logistics. Through a competitive application process, up to eight companies will be selected to matriculate through an intensive, six-month program of business instruction and mentorship to guide their development. At the conclusion of the program, the participants will pitch their business plans to a group of investors.

The accelerator is open to individuals and teams with an idea for a new company as well as existing companies that are working on developing a new technology or innovation. The program will support entrepreneurs commercializing a wide range of agriculture-related technologies, potentially including biobased products, precision agriculture and software, grain handling and storage, food processing, food safety, software, smart phone/tablet apps, livestock reproduction and nutrition, identity preservation of agricultural products, and new crops.

“By 2050, there will be nine billion people around the world who need food, materials and energy, and new innovation will be key to developing sustainable sources for these products,” said Carol Reed, executive director of The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center. “The agricultural innovation   accelerator will create new synergies and opportunities for our region to address these global issues, while working locally to create an entrepreneurial culture in our rural area.”

“The agricultural innovation accelerator is part of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation’s strategy to be engaged in the commercialization of agricultural technology, which is a vital part of the life sciences and biotechnology mission of the Foundation,” said Steve Bares, executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “Improving the efficiency and profitability of our region’s agricultural production base will increase the safety and availability of local food, connect rural production with Memphis’ urban industrial and logistics assets, and provide new investment opportunities in a new technology sector.”

Information Session: An informational session will be held at the West Tennessee Ag Museum at the University of Tennessee Research and Education Center in Milan, Tennessee, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a meal and will end by 8:00 p.m.   Please register by contacting Carol Reed at 731-587-4213 or carol.reed@nwtdd.org by Monday, June 24.

Applications: Applications for the accelerator are available now and will be accepted now through July 17. For more information or to receive an application, please contact Carol Reed at 731-587-4213 or carol.reed@nwtdd.org.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) is a public-private organization created as one of the nine regional accelerators established through Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. NTEC serves the nine counties of Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley by providing mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital for entrepreneurs with the goal of producing new jobs and steady economic growth within the nine-county area. For more information, visit www.ntecconnect.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ntecconnect or follow @NTECconnect on Twitter.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to lead the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region. Memphis Bioworks strives to leverage and expand the regional strengths in the biosciences through education, research, job training, and commercialization. Memphis Bioworks is leading the development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which serves as the focal point of the city’s biomedical economic development. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

Six Companies Selected for 2013 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 13, 2013) – The six participating teams in the 2013 ZeroTo510 medical device accelerator have been accepted and start the program today at the Memphis Bioworks Business Incubator. The 2013 participants are:

AIS Inc. – This is a local team led by a biomedical engineering student from The University of Memphis who previously had a career in the Army. They are building a leadless, single-surgery (battery is external), GPS- and Bluetooth-enabled hybrid cardioverter defibrillator. Their product is targeted to pediatric patients because surgery is not required to replace the battery.

Better Walk – A team of biomedical engineering students from Georgia Tech are making a redesigned crutch that relieves the primary complaint of crutch users by eliminating the discomfort experienced in the underarm area due to axillary nerve damage.

Cuff-Gard – A nurse from West Memphis has designed a disposable skin barrier, worn by a patient, to protect and extend the life of blood pressure machine cuffs. The barriers are impenetrable; one side absorbs fluids or drainage from the skin, and the other side is a polypropylene backing that protects the blood pressure cuff from contamination.

Health and Bliss – A team from Baltimore, H&B is attempting to revolutionize the way people detect strep throat by introducing to the market a patented self-contained screening test. Strep Test Anywhere allows patients to be tested for strep throat in a convenient, affordable, and time-saving manner.

Mobilizer – Led by one of last year’s participants, James Bell, this mobilization device is modeled after a wheeled walker, but has shelves and attachments that help carry around other medical devices like IV drips, oxygen tanks, etc. The team is attempting to solve the expensive problem of helping wounded patients become mobile by reducing the need for additional staff assistance.

SurgiLight – This team has designed a novel LED light for use in surgeries and is led by an electrical engineering student from The University of Memphis. Connected by a long flexible tube, the light allows easier and better lighting to hard-to-access surgical sites.

“During the recruitment process, we received competitive applications from around the United States, and we had two international applicants,” said Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks. “The high quality of the applications made the selection of this year’s participants quite a challenge.”

The companies will matriculate through an intensive, mentorship-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneurs through the process. Each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strength of the Memphis area. The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Results for the six companies in the inaugural 2012 program were outstanding, with one company, Restore Medical Solutions, completing the program with a full round (Series A) of venture capital funding, and four others achieving follow-on funding in the amount of $100,000 each.

The 12-week program will culminate in Demo Day on August 8, when the participants will pitch to a group of investors, who will select the finalists, who could receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses in Phase II of the program. And, there is always additional funding potential if the investors are sufficiently impressed, as demonstrated by the $2.5M Series A funding received by Restore Medical Solutions, based on their impressive accomplishments achieved by Demo Day.

“Though the ultimate goals of ZeroTo510 are helping participants achieve the FDA 510(k) filing and obtaining capital, the programs benefits reach far beyond those goals,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 advisor. “Because of the globally significant medical device industry here in Memphis, we are able to get these start-ups in front of decision-makers and mentors who can help guide them to success.”

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that is leading the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the Memphis region, and Innova. ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee as part of Governor Haslam’s INCITE initiative. Named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship, INCITE is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs.

More information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

# # #

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to lead the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region. Memphis Bioworks strives to leverage and expand the regional strengths in the biosciences through education, research, job training, and commercialization. Memphis Bioworks is leading the development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which serves as the focal point of the city’s biomedical economic development. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

Applications Requested for ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2013) – Applications are now open for ZeroTo510, an entrepreneurship accelerator program designed to help start-ups bring medical device products and services to market. Applications will be accepted until March 25, 2013.

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strength of the Memphis area. The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Results for the six companies in the inaugural 2012 program were outstanding, with one company, Restore Medical Solutions, completing the program with a full round (Series A) of venture capital funding, and four others finishing the accelerator with additional funding in the amount of $100,000 each.

Through a competitive application process, six companies will again be selected for the 2013 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator, where they will matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneurs through the process. Each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that is leading the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the Memphis region, and Innova. ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee as part of Governor Haslam’s INCITE initiative. Announced in May 2012, the INCITE program is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship.

“Last year, ZeroTo510 was launched as the first-ever program of its kind in the United States focused on medical devices,” said Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks. “We received applications from across the United States, carefully selected our six participants and were very pleased with the quality of their ideas, the spirit of comradery that developed, the levels of learning, and, in the end, with the final presentations that resulted in additional funding. We expect even higher quality in 2013.”

An entrepreneurship program for medical devices is an ideal match for the resources and talents of the Memphis area. Typically, it can take several years for ideas to pass through the traditional FDA regulatory process. The 510(k) process provides an expedited path to market, and as such makes a good fit for an accelerator program, but achieving success in that path requires unique skills and knowledge. ZeroTo510 will provide the coaching, mentoring, networking and access to subject matter experts that entrepreneurs need in order to be successful.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors. The investors will select finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their business. And, there is always additional funding potential, as demonstrated by last year’s Series A funding for one company, once the presentation round is reached.

“When we entered the ZeroTo510 program last year, we expected it to be very helpful in developing our concept and our company. What we did not anticipate is the level of education, contacts and business development help the program would give,” said Ryan Ramkhelawan, chief executive officer, Restore Medical Solutions. “We emerged from ZeroTo510 prepared to take our company to the next level and with a full round of Series A venture capital funding.”

Competition for participation in the program is open internationally. However, companies selected must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program.

“Last year, once the companies from outside of the Memphis area arrived, they soon realized the potential that Memphis offers,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 advisor. “The Memphis-based resources, talent and overall environment to launch and grow a medical device company are strategic advantages in the medical device industry.”

Applications to participate in ZeroTo510 are due by March 25. Companies for participation will be notified by April 11. The program will begin on May 11. Information on applying and additional information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to lead the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region. Memphis Bioworks strives to leverage and expand the regional strengths in the biosciences through education, research, job training, and commercialization. Memphis Bioworks is leading the development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which serves as the focal point of the city’s biomedical economic development. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.