Bethesda and the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC) will play host to Israeli medical technology companies on Oct. 18, as the companies present their work and offer investment and partnership opportunities to local businesses. The stop will mark the culmination of a tour of U.S. cities put together by the Israeli investment firm Trendlines and OurCrowd, a new equity investor that uses crowdfunding — a way for a large group of small investors to pool money to support a project or company. The Maryland event is co-sponsored by law firm Offit Kurman, whose Bethesda office will host the event.
“It’s a matchmaking function,” said Barry Bogage, executive director at MIDC. “It gives a platform for the companies to present to Maryland businesses.”
Part of the appeal for investors and entrepreneurs in investing in the companies is that OurCrowd and Trendlines have already backed up their stated support of the companies they will present with their own investments. Trendlines, which looks to develop medical and agricultural technology companies, has invested in 60 companies and been involved in bringing together American and Israeli companies for many years.
“We create and develop companies that improve the human condition,” said Todd Dollinger, the chairman and CEO of the Trendlines Group.
OurCrowd is a much newer company. It uses the growing field of crowdfunding to give smaller investors a chance to participate in companies that it has vetted, having brought more than $20 million to Israeli companies since it launched in February. Along with the medical companies, OurCrowd will also discuss some of its own process and history.
“They make investment available to more people,” Dollinger said, explaining that Trendlines and similar companies require a minimum investment of $50,000, but OurCrowd asks investors for just $10,000 to join in the company’s development.
The companies that will present at the event are working on medical technology that could potentially impact many patients. ProArc Medical has developed a treatment that reduces infection risks for those with enlarged prostates, while Gordian Surgical’s product can be used to open and close incisions automatically during laparoscopic surgery to minimize trauma. SensoGo has created a system to analyze walking patterns to help create therapy suggestions for patients with orthopedic problems; patients who could also benefit from CoreBone’s new bone-graft material that could improve healing prospects and even apply to dental procedures.
“All of them are going to move into human trials next year,” Dollinger said.
The other presenting company, Medical Surgeries Technologies, is a bit farther along and will present on its robotic manipulator with software that keeps laparoscopes exactly where a doctor wants them without requiring the complexities of coordinating the movements with assistants.
This is not the first time that MIDC has hosted this kind of event.
“We bring a lot of high-tech companies to Maryland,” Bogage said. “We also take trade missions to Israel.”
It also joined with the Baltimore Jewish Council to put together Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s recent trade mission and tour of Israel.
Meanwhile, Israeli tech companies find the proximity of good hospitals, the NIH and the FDA a major attraction in the Baltimore and Washington area, Dollinger said, and there will likely be more than 50 investors at the Bethesda event looking to extend that partnership.
“Maryland’s been very supportive of our companies over the years,” Dollinger said.