The Rise of the Rest (ROTR) tour bus has pulled out of Central Pennsylvania and Steve Case, founder of AOL, is writing a personal check for $100,000 to a York startup.
Device Events has developed a cloud-based software platform that provides information about the adverse effects associated with medical devices. Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA (BFTP/CNP) invested in Device Events over the summer and encouraged Madris Tomes, the company’s founder and CEO, to apply to ROTR.
“About 75 percent of venture capital just goes to three states; California, New York, and Massachusetts,” said Case. “Pennsylvania has one percent of venture capital.”
So on October 10, nine companies from Central Pennsylvania — including an astounding five from the BFTP/CNP portfolio — got to pitch to Case and a panel of all-star judges.
“Creating the pitch deck was the easy part,” says Tomes. “The difficult part was whittling it down to a four-minute presentation. I typically have 30 to 45 minutes to educate the audience about the differences between devices and drugs, pointing out very strongly that 95 percent of devices on the market have never gone through clinical trials. Most physicians do not know that, and that leaves the physician and the patient vulnerable. Device Events identifies patterns of problems with devices such as scopes, hips, pacemakers, nerve stimulators, defibrillators and heater-coolers [for open heart surgery].”
Tomes, whose company is based in her hometown of York, has worked in healthcare for more than 15 years, including a job at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“While working there, I identified some serious gaps in their analytics tools,” she recalls. “It can take the FDA two months to two years to identify a signal [i.e. patterns of problems with a device]. When the FDA chose a software platform for their new surveillance system, it did not meet the needs of the reviewers, so I left the FDA and formed Device Events so that I could fill this gap in the marketplace.