(Photo by Tony Abraham)
Veterans. Entrepreneurs. Money. “Shark Tank.”
Five businesses, all founded by veterans, competed for $10,000 and a free year of sales training, accounting, legal services and internet marketing. The prize money and services total $20,000, courtesy of GPVN.
Of about 30 applicants, only five businesses were chosen for the GPVN shark tank. The five competitors each had five minutes to pitch their business plans, followed by a five-minute barrage of questions from the panel of judges:
- Paige Dellavalle (Cofounder of Stella Valle, a jewelry line)
- Brad Harrison (Founder and Managing Partner at Scout Ventures)
- Ed Curry (Cofounder of GoodCompany Ventures)
- Wendy Hamilton (General Manger, SugarHouse Casino)
- John McDonald (VP of Technical Services, PECO)
City Councilman David Oh even made a guest appearance to wish the five competitors luck with their pitches. “It takes a lot of courage and guts to start your own business,” he said, after explaining his Veterans Tax Credit bill, which will give business founded by veterans in Philadelphia a $5,000 tax credit per year for the first three years they’re in business.
Taking the $10,000 prize was Osiris Biomedical, founded by brothers (and doctors) Theo and Chris Gerstle. The Gerstles’ business? Capitalizing on 3D printing technology to manufacture durable plastic surgical implants. Their pitch elicited excited whispers among attendees.
“This is the future of medicine,” said CEO Theo Gerstle, presenting a 3D-printed cranial implant to an awestruck audience.
Unfortunately, while the $10,000 is a welcome prize, Osiris needs at least $1 million before it can even think about getting started. “We’ll burn through that within the first year,” said Chris Gerstle. “It’s probably $5-7 million before we get what we want.”
And what does Osiris want?
For starters, the company’s technology is still patent-pending, and it still needs approval from the FDA. That means the Gerstles need to perfect their software and the plastic-based material they’ll be printing. According to Chris Gerstle, Osiris will have 18-24 months of regulation to deal with before they can even make their product available to the public.
Still, the presence of 3D printers in healthcare is an inevitable. Osiris just wants to be one of the first companies to break onto the scene.
“This is going to change medicine,” said Chris Gerstle. “It’s going to change everything.”