Medical device incubator aims to be a one-stop shop
Boston Business Journal – May 5, 2000 by Allison Connolly
NEWTON–Seedling Enterprises Inc. says it cares about the little guy.
The Newton-based medical device incubator knows the average inventor often does not have the money or time to make an idea into reality. So the incubator’s three-member team–John Cvinar, Andy Levine and Josh Tolkoff–provides the consulting, engineering and even manufacturing services to cultivate the inventor’s idea.
“Some say we’re more of a hatchery than an incubator,” Cvinar said.
The three buy the rights to the idea and develop it from there. They evaluate its market potential, consider patents for the technology, and develop a strategy to market it. Sometimes, their work will produce a prototype to be sold to a big company; other times it will plant the seed for a new company.
Since they opened shop three months ago, they say they see an average of between five and seven plans for new medical devices per week. They recently acquired their first patented technology for electrocautery, a technique used to cut tissue with minimal bleeding.
While incubators are popping up around the Boston area, particularly in the high-tech field, Seedling’s founders say they are different. Their strategy is to infuse small amounts of cash into these ideas and sell them for their maximum potential. They draw from a $3 million fund, which was raised from angels, private investors who work for venture capital firms, and from industry insiders.
While $3 million does not seem like much, the trio say it’s enough to accomplish what they want to do.
“Based on our 20 years of experience each in the medical device industry, we all saw a need for early-stage funding,” Levine said.
To develop a product to the point where they can sell the licensing rights to a company, they need to spend about $100,000. To grow an idea into a company, the team would likely spend about $1 million