Life Science Nation Newsletter | September 27, 2018 | Issue 285

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RESI Innovation Challenge

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Dwight Meglan
An interview with Dwight Meglan, Founder/CTO, HeartLander Surgical, Inc.

- By Greg Mannix, VP of International Business Development, LSN
Greg Mannix

Dwight has a fascinating background in robotics. In fact, there are probably not many people out there who can rival his experience applying robotics to medical applications, which he has been doing since the 1990's in companies ranging in size from start-ups to Medtronic, where Dwight still collaborates. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Dwight has started a company, HeartLander, that was the talk of the Exhibit Hall at our past RESI conference because of it's surprising technology. Imagine a tiny robot that can move along the surface of a beating heart-simulating the movement of an inchworm-to deliver therapy to places not accessible until now. That's what HeartLander does, and Dwight got so much interest in his little robot that he was the winner of the Innovation Challenge.

Greg Mannix (GM): Congratulations Dwight on winning the IC. Did you make some good connections at the RESI conference?

Dwight Meglan (DM): Yes, we did. I think we caught the eye of quite a few walk-bys because we had a prototype of the robot with us and were doing a demo. We met a lot of people right there at our poster. We also had some good partnering meetings.

GM: How did you juggle the partnering meetings and time at the poster? You seem to have done very well.

DM: Actually, we were very selective about who to meet with. We are very early stage. But...

By Bryanna Allison, Business Development Manager, LSN

RESI wrapped up its 19th conference this month in Boston, with a record turnout and plenty of great connections made to move the needle in the life sciences. For some time now, the investors and strategic partners who regularly attend RESI have asked us to help them gain exposure to the earliest stage technologies being developed. Our idea was to create a new addition to the traditional RESI content and call it the First Coast Innovator's Gathering, an event to showcase technology hubs from the "First Coast" - DC to Boston - and the early-stage companies being developed within their programs.

The feedback we got was extremely positive as the data below attests to:
  • 21 Tech Hubs had a table at the Gathering
  • 75 entrepreneurs from these Hubs attended
  • 36 projects presented a poster in the First Coast Exhibit area
  • 25 companies applied to the Pitching Competition
  • 8 finalists pitched to a panel of 6 investors
  • All the finalists were offered the chance to follow up with the panelists
By Karen Deyo, Investor Research Analyst, LSN

The last Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference on Sept. 6th in Boston launched the inaugural First Coast Innovator's Gathering featuring the earliest stage companies and technologies from incubators, accelerators, universities, hospitals and research organizations. These companies, when seeking seed funding, often look for more than just the funds that investors can provide - they may also rely on the investors' expertise and experience to help them grow. The Seed Funds panel featured five investors from funds focused on seed-stage investing, willing to take the larger risk to support companies at an earlier stage.

In their discussion, the panelists brought to light the differences that exist between various seed funds. Some provide funds, guidance and contacts with experts, but otherwise use a light hand. Others work closely with the founders, often scientists with no entrepreneurial background, guiding the business and the founders until they have the knowledge needed to direct the company. Also discussed was the complex issue of valuation at such an early stage and how many seed investors use convertible notes as a way to postpone the firm valuation until more milestones are reached and a bigger round is raised...

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