As surgeons rely more on their phones to record surgeries, they risk infecting their patients with the bacteria on their devices.
When Rob Zondervan, a med student at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, was asked to take photos and videos of a surgeries, he came up with the idea of creating sterilized phone cases.
“You don’t have to worry about an infection, and it allows you to get closer to the patient,” said Zondervan, 30, who wants to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Zondervan started developing his business SteriDev last year with MSU’s Spartan Innovations, which provides financial and educational support for student and faculty entrepreneurs. Last month, he received $150,000 from Quantum Medical Concepts, the state’s first healthcare-focused business accelerator.
It was the boost Zondervan needed to pay for mass manufacturing. He has contracts with three hospitals for bulk orders of the disposable, sterile cases, which will be ready by March.
“It was instrumental,” he said. “Pre-seed funding is hard to come by, and there’s not a lot of venture groups in this range of funding. It fills a nice need.”
Quantum was created in 2014 by the Michigan State Medical Society as a way to provide startup healthcare companies with low-interest loans and give them access to the 15,000 physicians in the organization for feedback on their products.
“Healthcare is very important in this state,” said Ben Louagie, managing director for Quantum and chief operating officer for MSMS. “Physicians are a key player in delivering healthcare so any new technology could benefit them.”
MSMS sold a subsidiary to create Quantum’s loan fund. It operates out of the Center for New Enterprise Opportunity on Clark St. in Lansing and offers a 24-step curriculum meant to help entrepreneurs launch their business.
“You don’t see associations doing this kind of thing,” said Tom Stewart, portfolio and community relations director for Quantum. “In the Lansing area, there is nothing really like this.”
Stewart is the managing partner at the NEO Center and in charge of vetting applicants for Quantum. The range of funding it provides is between $50,000 and $150,000.
Quantum funds two companies each year. In 2014 it funded St. Clair-based Advanced Amputee Solutions, which creates caps that reduce the number of times patients need to get their prosthetic limbs adjusted, and East Lansing-based TheraB, which makes infant jaundice blankets as an alternative to UV incubators.
“This is why Quantum is important for Michigan," Stewart said. "It can help a lot of people.”
This year it funded Ann Arbor-based Brio Device, which creates medical devices to improve intubation procedures, and SteriDev.
“Current options in the marketplace aren’t adequate,” Louagie said. “These looked very promising to us.”
Contact Alexander Alusheff at (517) 388-5973 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexalusheff.