Plexus, the med-tech co-working space next to 30th Street Station, is fuller than it was a few months ago when equipment was still being installed. And as member companies have begun to move in, they’ve also raised some money.
Four of Plexus’s startups have nearly closed fundraising rounds totaling more than $8 million. Those companies are:
- Photosonix Medical: A startup that uses light and ultrasound energy to treat acne. It closed a $1.5 million seed round led by Princeton Biopharma with additional funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
- Active Protective: A wearable tech startup that homes in on decreasing traumatic injuries to senior citizens. It closed $2.4 million second round, led by global airbag safety company KSS.
- Velano Vascular, which has devised a less painful method of drawing blood, raised $3.5 million from a group of investors that included Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- ZSX Medical, a pre-clinical stage medical device company improving minimally-invasive surgery, has nearly closed a $1.5 million round with participants including Keiretsu Forum and Rowan Innovation Venture Fund.
It’s a win for Philadelphia’s med-tech community as these companies continue to face unprecedented investment hurdles from federal regulators. It’s a bigger risk than ever before to invest in companies subject to FDA approval, so you need a really strong idea to attract venture capital in an industry that can get very expensive very quickly.
A recent PwC report pegged Philadelphia — a market filled with health care providers — as having a strong VC year in med-tech, but Plexus co-founderAdam Dakin was quick to point out the market wasn’t as strong as it seemed.
“The med-tech market continues to be unpredictable,” he said. “Many entrepreneurs don’t want to deal with regulatory approval. By and large, investors have had opportunities to put capital elsewhere for bigger returns and less risk.”
Nevertheless, CHOP investing in a company like Velano Vascular is a strong indicator of Philadelphia as destination for med-tech innovation. CHOP could be more active with its capital in the coming year as Patrick FitzGerald takes on his first full year in CHOP’s newly created role of vice president for entrepreneurship & innovation.
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