Crowdfunding has reached the Spine Startups now
CROWDUNDING FOR SPINAL TECHNOLOGY (Orthopedics This Week)
Poets, politicians, and public servants have been lamenting the fickle crowd since before Roman times. With new crowdsourcing and crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, entrepreneurs and inventors can now harness the support and whims of the crowd.
A well-known example of crowdfunding is the infamous potato salad Kickstarter project where a man from Columbus, Ohio, raised $55,492 for the expressed purpose of making potato salad.
Despite some seemingly strange or failed projects, Apollo Implants, LLC is reaching out to two crowdfunding websites with the hopes of raising enough money to make their minimally invasive spine surgery technique a reality.
Apollo Implants, based in Canton, Ohio, has been developing a minimally invasive procedure to help deteriorating backs. The new technique works by injecting a nano-polymer into the disc space, thereby creating a new spinal disc. Spinal fusion, the current standard of care for the most severe degenerative disc disease cases, has significant risks associated with it including recurring back pain and adjacent segment disease.
In addition to being a minimally invasive procedure, Apollo Implants’ technique will also allow for a greater range of motion in the treated spine segment.
To help fund the innovative new spinal technology, Apollo Implants has reached out to two crowdfunding websites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Crowdfunding helps companies gather “backers” or supporters who can contribute any sum of money, from $1 to thousands of dollars. The company puts out incentives for people to chip in, with more impressive incentives for those who contribute at higher levels. Crowdfunding has become increasingly popular for small companies or entrepreneurs who lack the resources to apply for more traditional funding sources.
While it may be unlikely that Kickstarter and Indiegogo alone can deliver the necessary funding to make Apollo Implants a major player in the spine device market, these approaches could serve as a first step in refining the product and pulling in potential larger investors.
Crowdfunding for a medical device development differs substantially from most pet projects or local artists on Kickstarter. Eric VonGuten, D.C., founder and CEO of Apollo Implants, hopes that enough people have an interest in treatments for back pain. After all, a majority of people experience back aches or know someone suffering from chronic back pain. The company’s goal is to first reach $250,000, to do the initial stress study and implant lab testing, then raise $500,000 to conduct hematological assays and investigate volunteer trials.
Dr. VonGuten and his staff do not intend to collect salaries or pay from the study funding and any additional funds would go toward a grant proposal to treat military veterans with spinal injuries.
Contributions can be made via the Apollo Disc Injectable Disc Project Kickstarter page or the Apollo Disc Injectable Prosthetic Disc Indiegogo page.