The MedCity INVEST Pitch Perfect competition has extended its deadline for healthcare startup applicants until midnight on February 15. The contest, which is open to startups in biopharma, diagnostics, medical devices, and health IT, brings a great deal of attention to finalists and particularly the winners. It will be held April 23-24 in Chicago.
We contacted some previous participants who provided updates on their experience with the contest and the development of their business since then. Greg Sommer, the founder and CSO of Sandstone Diagnostics, described in an email the experience of taking part in the contest two years ago when the company won the diagnostics track for its Trak Fertility product.
“We had a tremendous experience. Winning the competition and being featured in MedCity News provided a huge exposure boost for our company. The event also provided an ideal environment for one-on-one meetings with a wide variety of investors and partners.”
Sommer added that the exposure helped put the company “on the map” with partners and investors.
Since the contest, the company has achieved several milestones. Its fertility test aimed at men is sold by Amazon. Sandstone Diagnostics obtained a second FDA 510k clearance for its fertility technology. It’s also actively developing new tests and products around its CentriFluidic platform including its Zero Delay Plasma System — a blood collection device that seeks to provide “pure, cell-free plasma by immediately centrifuging blood at the point of draw.”
Sahil Diwan, co-founder and CEO of Safkan, noted in an email that after winning the medical device category for its automated ear cleaning device last year, the company had achieved a few milestones. It closed an oversubscribed Seed round, built an advisory board that includes Stephen Meyer, the former CEO of Welch Allyn, and launched the company’s nationwide physician BETA program with Primary Care Physicians and Otolaryngologists.
He said taking part in the contest did a lot to help Safkan.
“We connected with a number of quality investors and strategics that we are still in touch with today. Some of the investors we met at INVEST participated in our Seed round, and we are still talking to others — getting advice and keeping them updated on plans for our Series A.
“It put us in front of big and serious players — from angel investors to venture funds and strategics.”
There’s still time to apply to the competition. Just click on this link.
Photo: Nohemi Moran