ready to pitch

Houston health tech company tapped for prestigious pediatric medical device competition

Houston-based CorInnova is gearing up to pitch at a prestigious event. Photo via CorInnova.com

Houston-based medtech company CorInnova is gearing up for what could be a big payday.

CorInnova is among five medtech companies that have been invited to present pitches in October for the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation’s “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition.

CorInnova and the four other finalists now have access to a four-month pediatric accelerator program led by MedTech Innovator and will vie for a share of $150,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The pitch event is part of the 10th annual Symposium on Pediatric Device Innovation.

“Addressing unmet needs across pediatric populations is critical to advancing children’s health, and we are delighted to once again work with pioneering companies that seek to bridge this care gap,” says Kolaeh Eskandanian, president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator for the pediatric device consortium.

CorInnova has developed a minimally invasive device for the treatment of congestive heart failure. Specifically, CorInnova’s soft, flexible device can be inserted through a 1-inch incision to increase the amount of blood pumping in the heart by 50 percent.

The device’s primary benefit is that there’s no contact with blood, thus minimizing complications when the device is being used. Blood contact during a heart procedure can increase the risk of health problems such as stroke and kidney disfunction.

“The device is collapsible, allowing it to be delivered and secured to the heart in a minimally invasive manner. The device conforms to the heart’s surface, and gently compresses the heart to increase cardiac output using an external pneumatic driver that operates in synchrony with the heartbeat,” CorInnova explains on its website.

In the U.S., around 40,000 babies are born each year with congenital heart defects. About one-fourth of these newborns have critical defects, often prompting the need for surgery or other procedures.

Since being founded in 2004, CorInnova has raised at least $6.3 million, according to Crunchbase. This includes a $6.1 million investment from Wellcome Trust, a London-based charitable foundation that focuses on biomedical research.

Aside from the MedTech Innovator accelerator, CorInnova has participated in the TMC Accelerator’s fall 2019 accelerator program for medical device makers and the fall 2018 gBETA Medtech accelerator program.

The four other finalists in the medtech pitch competition are:

  • La Palma, California-based Innovation Lab, whose mechanical elbow brace stabilizes tremors in some pediatric patients with cerebral palsy.
  • Biddeford, Maine-based Prapela, whose vibrating pad helps treat apnea in newborns.
  • Richmond, Virginia-based Tympanogen, whose nonsurgical procedure takes the place of surgery for eardrum repair.
  • Xpan of Concord, Ontario, Canada, whose universal trocar (a surgical instrument) improves safety, access, and flexibility during various procedures.

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Building Houston

 
 

Small business owners now have a new option for their credit and financial support needs, thanks to Hello Alice and Mastercard. Image via Getty Images

When you're a small business owner, every service you sign up for or institution you open an account at should be a helpful partner on your business journey. At least, that's how Hello Alice sees it.

The Houston company has partnered up with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha to provide small business owners a suite of financial services with their line of credit. The Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard will offer users expert business advice, business insights, cashback, and a rewards program that gives entrepreneurs points for completing business-advancing activities on the Hello Alice platform.

“We designed the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard to meet the needs of small business owners where they are, breaking longstanding barriers to mentorship, access to credit, and overall financial health for those who have traditionally been denied access,” says Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, co-founders of Hello Alice, in a statement.

“In times of economic boom and bust, access to capital remains the leading challenge for all small business owners, and particularly for New Majority owners, which is why we continue to focus our efforts on expanding the capital continuum beyond our existing grants and loans programs,” the duo continued.

Offered as a traditional credit card, the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard provides users with credit-building opportunities. Business owners with a limited or poor credit history also have the opportunity to a secured version of the credit card that still provides full benefits from the program.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, yet too often face significant obstacles in securing the resources they deserve, particularly if the owners come from underserved communities,” says Linda Kirkpatrick, president for North America at Mastercard, in the release. “The launch of the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard is an important step in our mission to build a more inclusive digital economy by providing small businesses with the financial tools and capital they need to thrive, while also advancing our half-billion-dollar commitment to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities.”

This initiative is the latest announcement from Hello Alice’s Equitable Access to Capital program, which is focused on increasing access to the capital — as well as financial products, tools, and education — small businesses need to grow sustainably and power the national economy. By 2025, according to Hello Alice, approximately $70 million in grants could fund credit enhancements for approximately 30,000 business owners, unlocking up to $1 billion in credit access.

“FNBO has been committed to helping small businesses succeed for 165 years, and we are proud to partner with Hello Alice and Mastercard in this vital initiative to elevate all small businesses,” says Jerry J. O’Flanagan, executive vice president of Partner Customer Segment at First National Bank of Omaha.


The new credit card will provide credit and financial advice, support, and education to small business owners. Image via helloalice.com

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