Three early-stage companies are counting their blessings after receiving investments from the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors network (LVAI) totaling $260,000. The network itself has grown to 33 member angel investors and is hoping to exceed 40 in 2015.
Todd Welch of Charter Partners, Stuart Schooley, founder and co-owner of Dutch Springs, and approximately a dozen other entrepreneurs founded LVAI in 2010 as a way to “pay it forward” by helping entrepreneurs raise the start-up capital they need to forge successful companies.
“All of us are entrepreneurs and we all built our companies from the ground up,” says Schooley, president of LVAI. “Now, we are interested in supporting like-minded people. Somewhere along the way, someone helped us and we want to return the favor.”
Carmell Therapeutics in Pittsburgh earned a $50,000 investment from LVAI. The company’s proprietary technology enables the manufacturing of biologically active plastics from blood plasma for treating injuries to bone and connective tissue. Carmell’s plastics use the body’s own growth and regenerative factors to naturally promote tissue healing. The company is currently focused on the sports medicine market, with products designed to accelerate healing and produce better clinical outcomes.
LVAI also invested $80,000 in Bethlehem’s Cerora, Inc., a healthcare information technology company. The company’s first device under development, Borealis, is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. There are currently no easy-to-use, portable and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders and certified athletic trainers. Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions, yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions or traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Cerora is located in Ben Franklin TechVentures and LVAI’s investment complements a total of $200,000 in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Another funded company, Thubrikar Aortic Valve, Inc. in Norristown, is a start-up medical device enterprise developing a next-generation transcatheter aortic valve implantation TAVI system consisting of a newly designed aortic valve and associated catheter delivery system. Thubrikar is preparing for human trials this year; LVAI invested $130,000.
Writer: Elise Vider