Doctor's startup honored

Updated: 2015-08-14 12:34

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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Obtaining financing and advice are big obstacles for startups. Hongwen Zhu, a doctor in the department of spinal surgery at Tianjin Hospital in China, is on the road to overcoming those hurdles for his healthcare startup Ortlas.

Ortlas recently earned a first-place finish in the startup competition at the third annual CorpStarter North America Venture Contest, held at the KPMG offices in New York on Aug 4, which featured presentations by several startups. During the past three years, the CorpStarter competition has helped several seed ideas to secure financing, legal services and even office space.

Zhu's company name Ortlas derives from the first two letters of orthopedics and atlas, the name for the segment of the human spine that holds the head.

Ortlas, a medical robotic system that treats closed bone fractures, is dedicated to combining the best practices of traditional Chinese medicine and modern technology from Western medicine.

"Our approach means doctors should be able to avoid using screws and plates to treat fractured bones," said Zhu. "Instead we use a splint made of plastic and wood. Our approach means less pain for the patient and also reduces expenses."

Zhu, the founder and CEO of Ortlas, currently has seven employees. He wants to raise about $1.3 million to market the treatment in China and eventually bring it to the US.

"Ortlas had a well-developed product that could be taken to market immediately and would be considered by the healthcare investment bankers," said Carl Dan Killian, Jr, president of Harvard Investors Group and one of the judges for the contest.

The CorpStarter North America Venture Contest is one of the most competitive startup contests on the east coast of the US. It links projects and talent with capital, office space, startup-related services and opportunities to explore the burgeoning Chinese market.

In the past three years, CorpStarter supported 10 startups and helped secure funding in both the US and China.

The contest was started by Dragon Gate Investment Partners LLC and the Chinese Association for Science of Business.

Dragon Gate's CorpStarter is a New York-based accelerator for growing companies with an open application process that takes in early-stage companies and supports them with funding, mentoring, training and office space for at least three months. CorpStarter also collaborates with China's innovation industry parks.

 Doctor's startup honored

Hongwen Zhu, a doctor at Tianjin hospital and founder and CEO of Ortlas, won first place in a startup competition in New York on Aug 4. Paul Welitzkin/ China Daily

(China Daily USA 08/14/2015 page2)