One of the most important aspects of bioscience business development success for a community, and one of the often-repeated mantras of Memphis Bioworks, is the concept of building from your positions of strength.

In Memphis, two undisputed and historical positions of strength have been the leadership we demonstrate in the field of medical devices and musculoskeletal issues, and our long-standing leadership in entrepreneurism and innovation.

As a part of the Greater Memphis Accelerator Consortium, Memphis Bioworks and Innova have launched a new program uniquely focused on speed-to-market for medical device entrepreneurs.  It is called ZeroTo510.

Beginning in mid-February and extending through April 5, the word is being spread around the world that Memphis is looking for the very best entrepreneurs with the very best medical device ideas and innovations to come to Memphis and capitalize on a unique opportunity to take their ideas to market.


Here is how it works:  Through a competitive application process, six companies will be selected to matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneur through the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing process. This is no easy task.  In fact, we know of no other accelerator with such a mission.  In addition, each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in seed capital from co-investors Innova and MB Venture Partners to help jump-start their finances.  The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine business models and achieve the FDA 510(K) filing.

Typically, it can take years for ideas to pass through regulatory hurdles, especially when entrepreneurs don’t have the experience, unique skills, knowledge or the right mentoring environment.  This accelerator program will provide those resources.

While competition for participation in the program is open internationally, companies selected must be Memphis-based or willing to relocate to Memphis for the duration of the program.  We are confident those who relocate here will soon learn that Memphis is the right environment to launch and grow a medical device company, and we expect them to quickly develop connections here.  In other words, applicants from outside of Memphis will soon know what Memphis-based entrepreneurs already understand – the resources and talent available to them here is unique and unprecedented in the medical device industry.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors. The investors will select up to three finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their business and then present at the 10th Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference in Memphis this October.


The board of directors for ZeroTo510 was selected to give each participant immediate high-level expert exposure.  They are: Ken Woody, president and partner of Innova; Gary Stevenson, co-founder of MB Venture Partners; Dr. Steve Charles, vitreoretinal surgeon and inventor; Brian Austin, founder and chief executive officer of ExtraOrtho; Dr. Kevin Foley, neurosurgeon and inventor; and Jack Blair, former president of Smith&Nephew.

By the end of the 12-week program, participants will have learned from and interacted with a wide selection of thought leaders and industry experts.  They will have covered topics such as company formation, market sizing, product definition, business models, competitive analysis, manufacturing operations, pricing strategies, sales strategies, people management, raising capital, intellectual property, FDA approvals, international markets and reimbursement.  Beyond these topics, extensive mentoring and one-to-one education and coaching will help take participants to the level necessary to succeed in the medical device industry.

We are proud that officials with the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development have told us that ZeroTo510 is exactly the type of program they had in mind with the creation of StartupTN, and that, in their view; Memphis continues to demonstrate best practices in entrepreneurism.

We take that praise very seriously as both a compliment and a challenge to continue to do things to make our city, our state and our industry proud.

None of us know what ZeroTo510 will ultimately bring us as far as talent and scientific advancement.  What we do know is that this kind of program reinforces Memphis’ place on the bioscience map, and that we intend to be a leader in both business development and innovation.

Applications for the program are due by April 5.  The program will begin on May 12.  Information on applying and the ZeroTo510 program is available at