By Péralte C. Paul
Most entrepreneurs start companies to solve problems and help people overcome challenges.
For the principals at MedShape, a graduate company of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), that has deep personal meaning.
The company, now in its 10th year, uses proprietary shape memory technology used in surgical procedures of the foot to fix injuries.
“To create a company from the ground up is special,” says Ken Gall, MedShape’s chief technology officer. “But to create a product that allows candidates for amputation the ability to walk again is extremely powerful.”
Gall and Kurt Jacobus, the company’s CEO, are the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (GaMEP) March Faces of Manufacturing. GaMEP, like ATDC, is a business outreach and development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
GaMEP’s mission is to help manufacturing companies across Georgia grow and stay competitive. The Faces of Manufacturing campaign highlights the state’s manufacturing industry, which employs 365,000 and is an important sector of the Georgia economy.
MedShape was born out of research that Gall — a professor in Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering — conducted and commercialized through VentureLab, Tech’s research-to-commercialization incubator for faculty, students, and staff.
The company cycled out of VentureLab and became an ATDC Select Company. While there, it received a number of grant awards through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a highly competitive federal government initiative that encourages domestic small businesses to pursue federal research/research and development projects that have commercialization potential. It graduated out of the Select program in 2011