April 19, 2010

Just Doing It


You’ve heard that saying: As General Motors goes, so goes America. Thank goodness that is no longer true. I mean, I wish the new G.M. well, but our economic future is no longer tied to its fate. No, my new motto is: As EndoStim goes, so goes America.


EndoStim is a little start-up I was introduced to on a recent visit to St. Louis. The company is developing a proprietary implantable medical device to treat acid reflux. I have no idea if the product will succeed in the marketplace. It’s still in testing. What really interests me about EndoStim is how the company was formed and is being run today. It is the epitome of the new kind of start-ups we need to propel our economy: a mix of new immigrants, using old money to innovate in a flat world.


 …EndoStim was inspired by Cuban and Indian immigrants to America and funded by St. Louis venture capitalists…


Dr. Raul Perez, an obstetrician and gynecologist, immigrated to America from Cuba in the 1960s and came to St. Louis, where he met Dan Burkhardt, a local investor. “Raul was unique among doctors,” recalled Burkhardt. “He had a real nose for medical investing and what could be profitable in a clinical environment. So we started investing together.”…


Perez had a problem with acid reflux and went for treatment to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where he was helped by an Indian-American doctor, V. K. Sharma. During his follow-ups, Dr. Sharma mentioned those four words every venture capitalist loves to hear: “I have an idea” — use a pacemaker-like device to control the muscle that would choke off acid reflux.


NY Times, by Thomas Friedman, 4/17/2010

Tags: Dr. Raul Perez, EndoStim, Mayo Clinic Arizona, ObGyn

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