MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Minnesota model of spurring startups has its new poster child: med device company Abilitech™ Medical. Abilitech, born out of the MN Cup, a program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, is now its 2019 winner. MN Cup, one of the country’s largest startup competitions, awarded Abilitech its startup of the year, and its highest honor in the woman-owned category. The MN Cup competition is a highlight of Twin Cities Start Up Week.
Abilitech taps the highly concentrated local talent pool for its med device employees and advisors, partners with world-renown hospitals within walking distance from its offices, and is led by a female founder with a Medtronic pedigree, Angie Conley.
The company is bringing products to market that help restore independence to people with upper-limb neuromuscular conditions by offering a one-of-a-kind wearable assistive device that allows the user to perform activities of daily living. The Abilitech™ Assist, the company’s first product, fits to the arm and, like a vehicle’s power steering, requires a small percentage of its power to be provided by the patient to enable functional range of motion. The device itself is lightweight, easy to use, and comfortable.
The innovation was also recently recognized by the Minnesota High Tech Association’s TEKNE program, as a finalist in the medtech category.
“Minnesota has the perfect ecosystem to build a medical device startup: we have a highly experienced workforce and advisory community, excellent hospital systems, and resources like Medical Alley and MN Cup to build our business,” said Conley, whose mentors in the Cup program included Robert Befidi of 3M, Janelle Voaykin of CGI, Mike Nolan of United Health, Scott Mark of Amazon, and Linda Hall, former CEO of Minute Clinic.
“Now, Minnesota and other Upper Midwest startup regions need the involvement of investors with bigger, and more open, pocketbooks to invest in early stage companies,” she adds. “As Minnesota startups advance, there’s more work to be done to attract investment to the state.” Conley has raised $8 million of her total $10 million in Texas. This funding opened doors at the Texas Medical Center accelerator program in Houston, with free office space, advisors to grow her business, and clinical study opportunities at global institutions.
The Abilitech team will continue to build on the momentum for launch as it prepares for FDA registration and a 75-patient clinical study being developed with the University of Minnesota and Gillette Children’s Hospital. The study will recruit people who live with Muscular Dystrophy and upper-arm weakness that prevent them from living and working independently.
About Abilitech Medical
Abilitech Medical brings innovative solutions to market that allow people living with upper-limb neuromuscular conditions to function independently. The company’s first product, the Abilitech Assist, will be a one-of-a-kind powered orthotic device providing functional assistance and support to both the elbow and the shoulder, potentially improving the lives of people in the U.S. affected by Muscular Dystrophy and Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, and Stroke.