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The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Episode 222: Finding Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Medical Field with Jared Greer and Spencer Jones

April 12, 2023  |  By Matt Waller

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This week on the podcast, Matt sits down with Jared Greer and Spencer Jones to discuss their entrepreneurial ventures in the medical space at Lapovations, Jared is the Co-Founder and CEO and Spencer is the Chief Technology Officer and VP of Sales at Lapovations. They begin with the story of how Lapovations came to be with a problem that needed to be solved for surgeons who perform laparoscopic procedures. Spencer also touches on his solution that he created at his previous company for IVs that led him into the healthcare entrepreneur space after working as a nurse.

They then discuss how the Walton College, University of Arkansas and local entrepreneurial support organizations has impacted their company with a focus on customer discovery, validation of your product and pivoting to meet what your customer needs. Learn more about Lapovations:

Episode Transcript

Spencer Jones  0:00  
If you're trying to be better at sales in general but also medical sales, really investing in being a people person and you know building relationships because your relationship capital in most businesses, but especially sales is paramount.

Matt Waller  0:12  
Excellence, professionalism, innovation and collegiality. These are the values the Sam M. Walton College of Business explores in education, business and the lives of people we meet every day, I'm Matt Waller, Dean of the Walton College and welcome to the be epic podcast. I have with me today, Jared Greer and Spencer Jones. Jared is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years of medical sales experience. He's the co-founder and CEO of Lapovations, which we're going to be talking about today, which is really interesting. He has studied engineering. He also has a MBA from from the Walton College. He's been very engaged in entrepreneurship with the Walton College for many years. Spencer Jones is a clinical innovator with broad medical devices experience. And I actually did a recording a video interview with him about five years ago, about his business. Lineus medical, which was really interesting. It was particularly interesting for me at the time, because I had spent quite a bit of time in the hospital with IVs hooked up to me, and he told me about this invention he had that allowed for easier access to IV lines and IV line management. So, but, but now he is the chief technology or technology officer and VP of sales at Lapovations and you've been there for a couple years now. Is that right?

Spencer Jones  2:02  
That's right. And I was part time consultant for about two years and then have come come on board full time just this month.

Matt Waller  2:11  
Okay, that's great. Jared, I want to start with you. And of course, as I mentioned in the introduction, you have lots of experience. You worked for Pfizer for almost nine years, as a help in sales, I believe. You were owner of Northwest Arkansas TCBY, why for several years, makes me hungry, just thinking about that. I'm ready for some ice cream. And you were in sales for Medtronics for about 10 years. And you started Lapovations back over six years ago. Would you tell us and of course, I've followed both of your companies carefully for many years, and it's so fun to see these kinds of successes. It's really amazing. But I know it's been very difficult and challenging. So first of all, you know, Jared, how did you come up with the idea for Lapovations?

Jared Greer  3:29  
Well Matt, to start with, I would just like to say thank you for taking time to speak with Spencer and I today about Lapovations and what we've done. You know, I listened to your, your podcast frequently. And it's a real honor to be here. So thank you very much for that. You know, as far as Lapovations goes, our story really starts. Back in early 2016. There was a surgeon who I worked with very closely over the past two companies that I was with in medical sales. And he came to me with a problem that was driving him crazy in surgery in his laparoscopic surgeries. And just to take a step back, you know, laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive surgery of the abdomen, you know, whereas 25 or 30 years ago, they'd have to make a large incision, cut, you open completely visualize everything they were doing in the abdominal cavity. If you had a procedure, you know, now they go in through tiny incisions that are small enough to cover with a band aid and they can visualize what they're doing through small cameras called lapper scopes that are showing what's going on inside the abdominal cavity. And so this doctor is Dr. Chris Taylor. In Harrison, Arkansas. He's a gynecologist. Um, one of the things that was driving him nuts in the laparoscopic surgeries was at the very start of the procedure, before the doctor inserts their first instrument, they don't have visualization into that abdominal cavity. And so when they inserted the first instrument, it's, it's typically through the belly button, or umbilicus is the technical term for it. And the biggest risk with the procedure is that they will pierce the bowel or a vascular structure, you know, some sort of important structure that they can't see yet because they don't have a camera inside the abdominal wall. And so that's the biggest risk of the surgery is this initial insertion. And what surgeons typically do to minimize that risk is they will lift the abdominal wall either by hand to get away from those vital organs, or they will insert what are called perforating towel clips. And the best way I know to describe perforating towel clips is they look like a pair of scissors with really sharp points on the end that come together. And their intended use is to clip towels together, you know, in the surgical field there. But surgeons will actually insert those into the skin into the abdominal cavity, you know, into the abdominal wall on either side of the belly button to provide a handle by which to lift. And so, you know, the problem for Dr. Taylor was after you know, 20 to 25 years of practice and tissue manipulation, you know, he had some issues with his hands that made it where he could not lift the abdominal wall reliably by hand. And if you think about it with the obesity, you know, epi- epidemic that we're facing here in the United States, patients are larger, right, and so there's a lot more tissue to manipulate. But he didn't like the idea of using the towel clips, because the towel clips are invasive. And laparoscopy is intended to be a minimally invasive surgery. So, you know, he was left to choose between two options that were not great to lift the abdominal wall. And so what we've done at lapovations is we've developed AB grab, AB grab is a suction based device that lifts the abdominal wall more reliably than manual grasp, but less invasively than the towel clips. And so in 2016, he brought me the idea for that product. And we incorporated the business. And we made what many would probably view as a unique choice, in that I re enrolled at the University of Arkansas, to partner with, you know, the the, the researchers here, and specifically with the Walton College of Business, to help bring this company, you know, into existence. And we can discuss that a little bit more, as much in depth as you would like. But the Walton College has certainly played a major role in the success we've had at Lapovations.

Matt Waller  8:22  
How did you come up with the idea for a company, a medical device company focused on IV access line management?

Spencer Jones  8:33  
Yeah, so I was a nurse by training, went to Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. And it didn't take long for me being at the bedside to realize some or have some frustrations and realize that the devices and supplies that we were using, that nurses were using at the bedside, were, you know, really commoditized, you know, poorly built, it seemed and I was having, you know, similar to Dr. Taylor's experience and his frustrations, I experienced the problem firsthand as a clinician, and thought, you know, there's got to be a better way to do this, you know, and chiefly, it was, you know, with safe break, which is Lineus Medical's lead product, it was patients losing their IV lines, you know, their IV catheters would get pulled out, or there would be tension on the line, and it would cause the IV to fail for a number of reasons. But it seems like all of those failures were kind of mechanical force derived, right? It was it was some tension on the IV line. So that was kind of the you know, the idea came out of that initial experience with the problem. And I thought, you know, well, what if the line just intentionally separated? And from there, kind of through a series of accelerator programs and, you know, putting a lot of smart people around the we were able to, you know, start and launch to kind of build that company and ultimately get FDA clearance last year.

Matt Waller  9:50  
Well, congratulations. 

Spencer Jones  9:53  
Thank you. 

Matt Waller  9:54  
In both cases, you all have been solving problems that existed. That's one commonality between your two companies. And, and again, I know Spencer that you're part of Lapovations now. But but and they're both in medical. In your case, Spencer, you saw the problem and became aware of it because of because you were a nurse. And I told you this, when I interviewed you for the video that time, I mean, I, I experienced the problems that you were solving. And I thought, wow, I wish they would have had that when I was in the hospital. I mean, and I also, you know, even even Jared the first time, he told me about what he was doing, I thought you can see, you know, after you have laparoscopic surgery on your abdomen, which I've had multiple times, you can see the results of the trauma that it looks like, the first time I had it happen, I thought, did they beat me in the stomach with a baseball bat? You know, it's what it looks like, because of all the bruising. And so I didn't know why it was so bruised until I heard your story Jared and Lapovation, I thought, well of course, if that's how they're pulling the skin up, yeah, it's gonna bruise it pretty bad. And it stays bruised for a long time it seems like and it looks funny. But so I would imagine, not only do surgeons benefit from from AB grab, but so do patients. And I'm wondering, have you all looked into that very much in terms of like the the effects on the patient?

Jared Greer  12:03  
Yeah, we sure have. So you know, there is a physician benefit, as well as a patient benefit with our product. And you know, the physician benefits pretty easy to see in that, you know, if you have a more reliable way to lift the abdominal wall, it's going to make you feel better about the safety of the procedure that you're performing, it's actually going to be better ergonomically for the surgeon as well, which could, you know, lead to a longer and happier and healthier career. But from the patient point of view, there are clear benefits, you know, if that surgeon is able to have a more reliable lift, that reduces your risk of having one of those serious complications, right. And that's the that's the absolute last thing you want as a patient because those serious complications, they have high mortality rates, you know, a, a piercing of the bowel or the vascular structure, the mortality rates can be anywhere between five and 15%. Right? And so-

Matt Waller  13:03  
They can go septic, right? 

Jared Greer  13:06  
Absolutely. Absolutely.

And it's not uncommon for the surgeon to not recognize that there was one of those complications during the surgery, right? It's not, it's not uncommon for it, not to be recognized. And so until several days later-

Matt Waller  13:21  
But the patient knows, because when they go home. And this actually happened to me. You know, I thought, as soon as I came out of surgery, they said, the more you walk, the faster you'll recover and the less narcotics use, the faster you'll recover. So I went on this ibuprofen and acetaminophen, alternating them like this. They said, so as soon as I woke up, I started walking, I had my IV thing I was walking on the floor, I was at Baylor Medical Center and I literally walked for six hours. Because they said you'll recover more quickly. I think it worked, you know. And so I went home, not home actually went to a relative's house in Plano. And again, I was walking every day. And a couple days later. I feel like I'm about to die. I was sweating profusely. I took- I couldn't walk. My wife had to drive me to the hospital. And they had to bring up a wheelchair. This is after having walked for miles and miles. And thinking I called my admin because I I said oh, I'm gonna be gone for at least a week. I called her the next day said I'll probably be home a couple days and back at work. Little did I know I had a month ahead of me and it was because of this problem.

Jared Greer  14:53  

Matt Waller  14:54  
Once you once that stuff starts leaking in you, it's bad. It was worse than the original problem I had in the first place. So what a great solution.

Jared Greer  15:05  
Yeah, I mean, it's, you know, that's the serious side of things, you know, and and Spencer can maybe validate this, this number here, but it's around 50% of the serious complications associated with laparoscopic surgery are around this initial entry into the little cavity. And, and so obviously, it can be very serious, you know, we're, we're both very grateful, Matt, that you were able to overcome that and get past it. However, you know, if you could have a two or three day recovery versus that one month recovery that you ended up having, of course, there's a huge benefit there. And, you know, you mentioned something earlier about coming out of that surgery and having all the bruises on the abdominal area and thinking you'd you've maybe been beat up with a baseball bat, while you're under. You know, a lot of that comes from the use of invasive towel clips. And so you know, it's it's not uncommon, the invasive towel clips, when they're, they're inserting those into the abdominal wall to lift. And so it's not uncommon for us to hear from surgeons that they get more complaints from patients regarding the towel clip, puncture wounds than they do regarding the surgical incisions themselves.

Matt Waller  16:27  
I believe it.

Jared Greer  16:28  
 Yeah, so having having a, a non invasive suction based device, like AB grab is a is a real benefit to those patients.

Spencer Jones  16:37  
Yeah, and I'll just add on real, real quickly, you know, we talked about the benefits benefits to the patient and the benefits to the surgeon. But there's also a real benefit to the hospital kind of as a whole or even the Ambulatory Surgical Center, you know, if one of these vascular injuries or bowel perforations occur, and it requires an additional surgery, right, or an additional days of lengths of stay, you know, that is a hospital acquired, you know, condition, right. And so the patient's not on the hook for that, the hospitals on the hook for that. So, you know, when that occurs, there's a real financial impact to the hospital as well. So avoiding that obviously has a huge benefit.

Matt Waller  17:17  
You know, and Spencer, your experience as a nurse, and anyone who's been in a hospital for a serious length of time, knows the value of good nurses and nurses see the really nitty gritty issues associated with different kinds of procedures, failures to do certain things, et cetera, et cetera. What a great training ground for entrepreneurs that want to go into medicine. Because you see so many problems. Is that right?

Spencer Jones  17:54  
It's absolutely right. I mean, nurses are, you know, really astute problem solvers. You know, when you're given your patient load, you're kind of out there on an island caring for them, you know, obviously, you've got some care- care staff and the physicians around but, you know, nurses are problem solvers. They're hard workers, you have to adapt, adapt quickly, you know, assess and adapt very quickly, which is a really great skill to have as an entrepreneur. You know, there's actually it's funny, you say that there's actually I think it's the University of- UPenn there's a nursing instructor who teaches a design, it's a design thinking in healthcare type class, because she recognized how valuable of a kind of a training ground like you said, nursing is for entrepreneurs and innovation. And, and you're absolutely right, you know, it's it's tough because there's, there's so much to do as nurses, we're constantly getting put, you know, more and more patient loads. And, you know, think about all these awesome innovations and devices and medicines that are coming out, the nurses have to keep up and you know, how to use all of them, right and know what the drug to drug interactions are, and the dosing and all that stuff. So, it's hard for nurses a lot of the times to kind of get themselves out of that, you know, I call it, you know, not meeting this disparagingly, acting like ants, right? They've got a mission, they're working their heads down, everyone's working together, it's hard for them to kind of get out of that and almost work like a hive mind, right, like, you know, a hive mind and see the big picture and think about impacting those problems. And, you know, frankly, too nursing is a very straight line track in terms of formal education, right? It's very difficult to take business classes to take a finance or econ or engineering classes when you're on that nursing track, so you don't get exposure to it. But you know, look, I was lucky enough to when I was down in Little Rock, have some great mentorship and kind of business mentors through the accelerator programs I did that, you know, allowed me to kind of say, you know what, the here's a problem. We can create a solution and then here's the path forward to commercialize it.

Matt Waller  19:59  
So Spencer, you may not know this, but what do you part of this you know, and I'm sure Jared knows this. We, the Walton College a couple of years ago started a new academic department, something that doesn't happen very much. And we started, it's our eighth academic department. And it's called the Department of strategy, entrepreneurship and venture innovation. I, we just felt like, hey, entrepreneurship is in our mission statement. We need to put more focus on it. So we created a whole new department. But one of the people we hired to teach in it is Cara Osborne. Do either of you know, Cara? 

Spencer Jones  20:45  

Matt Waller  20:46  
So so for those of you don't know, Cara, was a professor in nursing here at the U of A, so I hired a nursing professor to come to the business school. And now, she has created two and exited a couple of businesses that were successful, right. So she knew the business well, she, she, she started businesses, and sold them she she know, she knew the business side, she actually started a whiskey business, a bourbon busin- business in Kentucky too, she's still here, but she did that just recently. And but I thought, what a great her I think her Ph, she's a nurse, but she also has a PhD. And I believe it's in epidemiology, I can't remember something like that. And but I thought, what a great way, right, in a entrepreneurship department, to bring in someone with some sort of, because a domain expertise, like medicine, because, as you know, Northwest Arkansas is developing a competency around Whole Health. And, I mean, it's just incredible, because we have the Whole Health Institute, the Alice Walton Whole Health School of Medicine. Cleveland Clinic is coming here in a big way. And other things are happening as well. UAMS is increasing involvement here. There's a lot of things going on in healthcare. And there's more startups here early or not just startups, but early stage companies here. Hopefully, we're creating a cluster of expertise here and you two, I think are key to that. But, Jared, one thing I wanted to ask you about you, you came up with this idea. But it took a while to really get something that had product market fit. Would you mind talking a little bit about that?

Jared Greer  23:00  
Absolutely. And that's a probably a crucial part of any startup, right? You come up with an initial idea, you think you're solving the problem. And then it's incredibly important to get out and speak to customers or users and confirm that, hey, number one, I'm solving the right problem, right? The problem there to solve. And then number two, what I've come up with, actually solves that problem. And so our initial thoughts for AB grab, was that we wanted to create a device that a hand suction device, and what I mean by that is, you know, it's got a little hand pump to where the the user, the surgeon or the scrub tech and create their own vacuum, if you will, to be able to make this device work. And what we found is as as we went down that path, we found that number one, it was pretty complex and expensive to develop a product that could create suction by hand. And one of the reasons we originally thought that was the way to go is you know, because there is suction available in all operating rooms, wall suction or portable suction. But we didn't think the surgeons and the scrub techs would want any additional suction tubing, you know, coming through the medical field or the sterile field and, you know, cluttering up the mayo Stan and cluttering up their work area. But as we got into the process of developing that first generation AB grad, and prototyping it, we found that when we went back to our users, our surgeons and our scrub techs with that product, that some of our assumptions, some of our original assumptions were not correct. And the number one user need was reliability. And the most reliable section was was not going to be created by a hand suction device, but it would be created by a wall or portable suction device. And a benefit on the back end of that is that we were able to create a much simpler design, less expensive to manufacture, easier for the surgeons to use. And we made a pretty major pivot, you know, several years into the company and moving from that hand suction device to the wall suction device. And the that's the version of AB grab that we are actually launching nationally this month. So it's a you know, and we wouldn't have had the, you know, the opportunity to do that if we hadn't been doing that customer validation work. And, you know, just to kind of bring the bring the story back around to the Walton College of Business and the role that the Walton College has played. You know, during those initial few years, I was re enrolled at the University of Arkansas, I was actually a master's in biomedical engineering student over at the the engineering college. But I was in Dr. Carol Reeves' New Venture Development class, right, because I knew that we wanted to leverage the business plan competitions and the learnings that we could, we could gather in Dr. Reeves' as class as we built the business. And so a big focus at that time, as I'm sure it still is, is customer validation. And so we did a lot of customer val- validation work in her class, in partnership with some of the, you know, entrepreneurial support organizations here in Northwest Arkansas. The Delta I fund was well, at that time, one of the organizations that we were working with startup junkie, innovate Arkansas, you know, we've got such wonderful support organizations to help young companies like that, but they really focused us on that customer validation side of things. And that allowed us to pivot into what we think is going to become the gold standard for abdominal wall lifting at the start of laparoscopic surgery.

Matt Waller  27:19  
Well, you know, your point about importance of customer discovery can't be under emphasized. It's it really makes all the difference in the world. I think that's one of the reasons why there were so many failures from the .com, boom, companies were getting funding too early. They were scaling before they had product market fit and a good business model. Spencer, you had the same thing. You you had to do a lot of pivoting early. Is that right?

Spencer Jones  28:00  
Yeah, we, you know, gosh we went through, I don't know how many designs for safe break and kind of had to, you know, it took a long time to get to the eventual design that we got FDA clearance with. But I remember at first there was a stem in it, and then next there was, you know, some frangible stem and different things like that. But I think part part of the iteration and the pivot, you know, I'll call it more of an iteration than a pivot that we did was was, you know, I think there was normal iterations and kind of product development stuff that we had to do. But then the problem that we were solving ended up evolving based on the customer discovery that we were doing, you know, and because we originally thought, oh, this product is going to be for dislodgement, right? We're going to prevent people from pulling out their IVs. But then the more and more, we got into it, and did research, and then, you know, spoke with customers and things like that we realized, you know, infiltration and phlebitis, those are larger problems, and also problems that are derived from, you know, mechanical force on the line. And so we kind of shifted our focus and obviously, when you can expand the problem that you're solving with the same product, that's a win win for everybody. Right. So and sure enough, when we did our, you know, pivotal study, it was a 300 patient randomized controlled trial. The we had huge reductions in both phlebitis and infiltration as well as dislodgement. Right. So it was just really crucial that we identified, you know, kind of and expanded on that problem through customer discovery and through research. But that was huge for us. Yeah.

Matt Waller  29:44  
Well, one of the things I wanted to pick up on what you said, Jared, about the entrepreneurial support organizations, and you mentioned a couple I think you mentioned I can't remember startup junkie was one of them. But there are a lot here, you know, we've got endeavor. We've got plug and play. We've got startup junkie, innovate Arkansas. Of course here on campus, we have the office of entrepreneurship and innovation, technology ventures, Arkansas, Small Business and Technology Development Center. And then we have a bunch of events, you know, case competition, startup competitions, like Heartland challenge, which is really good. The Northwest Arkansas Tech Summit, the Arkansas startup crawl, which is fun. NWA tech fest, TechStars, Startup Weekend, the blockchain hackathon and many, many, many others. It's kind of remarkable how much there is right now. And I in fact, I just earlier today I had in my office, Katherine Andrews, I don't know if you know, her, Katherine, she graduated here in 2013. And she's done a number of things. But right now she is the director of outdoor the office of outdoor recreation for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. But prior to that, for five years, she worked with the Arkansas economic Economic Development Commission, and she set up the small business and entrepreneurship development program. So she's been an entrepreneur within the state. But, but there are so many things going on right now. And I know Jared and Spencer, you both stay, I see you all at a lot of different events. So you're not just building your own business, I see you giving back and contributing to fuel I missed fuel fuel was an important one, too. I see you all giving back and helping other early stage companies succeed.

Jared Greer  32:23  
So it's, it's so we're so blessed, Matt, I think to have all of these support organizations here in Northwest Arkansas. And I cannot underestimate the importance that these organizations have played in the development of our company. You know, and I even go back to the very, very beginning, because a lot of these programs that are here today started from work that was being done in the Walton College of Business by Dr. Carol Reeves, right. You know, for a long time, she was kind of holding, you know, the torch for entrepreneurship high all by herself.

Matt Waller  33:06  
She was a voice crying out in the wilderness

Jared Greer  33:09  
She was light in the darkness. That's exactly what she was. And, you know, my first interaction with her and her program actually came back in 2008, 2009, when I was getting my MBA at the Walton College of Business. And that was the first time I went through the New Venture Development Program. It was with a company that I co-founded called tears for life. And, you know, we were developing a way to test for breast cancer using women's tears. You know, we had some success in business plan competitions, ended up not moving forward with that company for a variety of reasons, that technology was picked up though, and, and is still being researched and commercialized today with a another Northwest Arkansas medical device company. So I had you know, I've had a long relationship with with with Carol and and kind of seen that but when I came back after after we founded lapovations and I came back to school a big part of that a big part of the reason was to participate in that new development program again. And at that time, you know, there this ecosystem was starting to develop. Right. And, you know, startup junkie was was there, innovate Arkansas was there. It was the first year for the Delta I Fund, which I believe at that time was an Innovate Arkansas program and they were affiliated, you know, somehow maybe funded by the Winrock Foundation. You know, ASB TDC right, they they have been phenomenal and helping to provide us mark reports and strategy sessions. And, you know, what, what Marybeth Brooks has done over there has just been phenomenally helpful. You know, grant writing assistance. And so, you know, that was that was our, I guess, initial relationships with those organizations, but that has expanded, you know, Health Tech Arkansas and what Jeff Stinson is doing over there, you know, we were part of their first cohort in 2018. And, you know, that provided some much needed capital to continue that customer validation that we discussed earlier. You know, some of the some of the resources they provided to us, directly led to some of the grant funding that we were able to receive from the National Science Foundation. And so, you know, I, we would not be here lapovations would not be here as a company today, we would not have AB grab being launched nationally to surgeons around the country, without each of those support organizations helping us along the way. And, and being able to provide both financial support, as well as guidance, you know, when we were encountering whatever problem or whatever challenge it happened to be at that time to get us to the next step. So we're, we're we're just very grateful. And I think that having that ecosystem and that structure in place, is going to lead to that startup community that community, that entrepreneurial community that we are we are trying to build here in Northwest Arkansas.

Matt Waller  36:32  
Wel, and you're absolutely right. There's a lot of companies that wouldn't have started without all these organizations. And actually, Mary Beth Brooks's organization, played a key part in keeping companies alive. During the early stages of the pandemic, she was really engaged and made a big difference. But we can't forget, a lot of this wouldn't have been possible without the Walton Family Foundation. The Walton Family Foundation has a division called the home region. And, you know, the home region is run by a guy named Robert Burns. And one part of the home region is focused on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and here, and it's run by a person named Yee Lin Lai. And she, I met her quite a few years ago, but she did something similar in Singapore. I don't know if you know that a long time ago. And but we are fortunate to have that I mean, really the Walton Family Foundation. So many of the organizations you mentioned, got their start through the Walton Family Foundation. In our case we haven't mentioned, I mean, you know, there are so many things, we have this new master's program called the Masters of Science in product innovation, that we couldn't have got off the ground if it weren't for the Walton Family Foundation. And then we have the green door, outdoor recreation program, we call it GORP that helps, it's an incubator accelerator for early stage startup outdoor products, services and technology companies. And I think we're in our second cohort now, and it's pretty successful, it's very encouraging to see. But now all this is proliferating because of these organizations that are helping, and it's also drawing people here from other regions, because of, you know, all the resources that are here. Jared, how are you planning to scale this from a sales perspective right now?

Sure. So we actually have two focuses right now with our company, two big, big focuses. The first is investment. We are about three quarters of the way through a Series A fundraising. And the goal of those funds or the usage of those funds is going to be the national launch of our first product, AB Grab. The second focus that we have is is that national launch, right? We have 22 sales reps around the country who have the product, and they're getting in front of surgeons right now getting in front of hospitals. They're getting tremendously positive feedback. Surgeons are loving this device we've heard several times across the country. Why didn't I think of this? Right? And so it's we're very excited about that, but we're in the process of scaling up over the next 12 months, we want to have 100 sales reps across the country with this product. We hope that those 100 sales reps can, you know, cover roughly 200 million of the population of the United States here. And so, you know, we're we're in the process of raising the funds to do that and putting the processes and protocols in place and probably most importantly, getting the right people on the bus.

On behalf of the Sam M. Walton College of Business. I want to thank everyone for spending time with us for another engaging conversation. You can subscribe by going to your favorite podcast service and searching be epic. B E E P I C

Matt WallerMatthew A. Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair and professor of supply chain management. He is also the host for the Be EPIC Podcast for Walton College.


Walton College's EPIC values -- Excellence, Professionalism, Innovation and Collegiality -- are the heart of Dean Waller’s podcast. Since the beginning of the series, Waller has interviewed business professionals, industry experts, CEOs and Walton College students to bring listeners first-hand accounts directly from the entrepreneurial world.


Waller is an SEC Academic Leadership Fellow and coauthor of “The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain,” published by Pearson Education. He is the former co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Business Logistics. His opinion pieces have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times.


Waller received an M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri.

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Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

Be Epic Podcast

We're sitting down with innovators and business mavericks to discuss strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship. The Be EPIC Podcast is hosted by Matthew Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Learn more...

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