In case you haven’t yet heard, our leader is making waves in the dentistry world. We’re so proud of the hard work that he has put in to make a difference in the future of dentistry. We’ll be sharing more information with you soon, but for now check out this article from the Austin Business Journal!
This Article is reprinted from the Austin Business Journal, February 26, 2015, Page 16.
Dentist looks to take bite out of burgeoning medical device industry
BY WILL ANDERSON
Running his own downtown Austin dental practice since 2008, Shane Matt has learned plenty about entrepreneurship. He promotes his brand and has partnered with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians to host an annual benefit concert, “Mouth by Mouthwest,” to raise awareness about the nonprofit.
But it wasn’t until he launched his own medical device company, AnatoMotion LLC, that Matt (the pronunciation rhymes with “watt”) realized there was a gap in his business knowledge.
“I have been running a dental practice but it’s not big business,” he said. “That’s where the Capital Factory has been invaluable.”
To learn more about the business and tech worlds, Matt applied for a spot in the Capital Factory startup accelerator. The highly competitive program receives about 2,000 applications annually and accepts an average of 50 businesses each year.
Matt beat the odds — and Gordon Daugherty, managing director for the Capital Factory accelerator, said the novelty of the device caught his eye.
“I have to admit, as I was going through various applications and looking at their pitch videos I had a similar reaction, thinking you don’t usually see Internet of Things/sensor devices for dentistry,” he said. “It caught my attention and probably intrigued me a little more versus the other applications.”
Prevent teeth grinding
Matt’s device, the “e-Bite,” is a wireless tool that dentists can use to create more realistic models of their patients’ teeth. Patients chomp down on the e-Bite, which sends data to the labs that build mouthguards to prevent teeth grinding and the devices used to treat sleep apnea, among other ailments. Matt said the device is about a year out from reaching the market.
“Now the work is going to be more accurate and streamlined,” Matt said. “We don’t have to mail models to each other anymore, we can just send the data over.”
Matt has raised more than $300,000 through crowdfunding for AnatoMotion. Otherwise, launching a medical device startup while still running his private practice, Authentic Smiles, has taken “a lot of sweat equity and sleepless nights,” he said.
“It’s really one of those things where I wake up at 6 in morning just to get back to work on it, even before my kids are up,” Matt added.
Matt has also benefited from great timing: His device is at the forefront of a niche in the highly specialized wearable technology sector. While, in comparison, the top-selling Fitbit fitness tracker “is a general purpose health wearable,” Daugherty said, the e-Bite applies the same general idea to solve a very specific problem.
“All of a sudden, these wearable and Internet of Things devices are getting much more specialized,” Daugherty said. “It takes us from general purpose medical or pseudo-medical devices down to very function-specific, case-specific applications. Combine that with cost reductions and miniaturization, it’s like a whole new wave of devices and (Matt is) kind of at the front.”
His device is part of a technological transformation that some experts predict could change the way people interact with their doctors and health care providers. And with the Dell Medical School coming online this fall and an “Innovation District” planned to attract med tech start-ups, the health care and medical technology industries are expected to grow their share of the Austin economy.
“This medical center is going to be huge for the advances we’re going to see,” Matt said. Highlighting his point, Matt said another medical device startup recently admitted to Capital Factory, Gray Matter Technologies, is developing a sports mouthguard with wearable sensors that could test for concussions in youth foot- ball players and others.
“I have a feeling that in the long term, Austin is going to explode with these types of companies,” Matt said.
Ultimately for Matt, dentistry is a family business — he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, so he said if the e-Bite is successful, he still plans to continue practicing.
“Dentistry is what got me here; dentistry is going to be the place where I really get to see how my products are working and see how to improve them,” he said.
“I have been running a dental practice but it’s not big business. That’s where the Capital Factory has been invaluable.” shane matt, founder, AnatoMotion LLC