Kayla Rodriguez, MBA – Co-founder & COO, SweetBio

Three weeks before SEMDA 2015, SweetBio wasn’t even incorporated. Six months later, Innova and MB Venture Partners co-led a $900,000 seed round to support FDA 510(k) clearance and commercialization of the company’s Guided Tissue Regeneration Membrane (GTR).

A graduate of ZeroTo510, listed among TechCrunch’s Top 20 U.S. Accelerators, SweetBio has created a patent-pending dissolvable membrane that uses honey to encourage healing and produce better outcomes. While currently used in hospitals to treat ulcers and burns, SweetBio is the first company to leverage this naturally antibacterial and wound-healing ingredient in oral procedures.

SweetBio COO Kayla Rodriguez recently shared with us a few insights about the company’s SEMDA 2015 experience and plans for SEMDA 2016.

Why did you decide to invest in SEMDA 2015?

“A few weeks before SEMDA 2015, I was in San Francisco and we hadn’t even settled on a name for the company. When we heard about SEMDA, we realized it would be the perfect opportunity to determine if our pitch, our business model and our value proposition are worth something.

“In less than 3 weeks, we incorporated the company, put our first investor pitch deck together, practiced, practiced and practiced some more to get ready for PtichRounds.”

What was your experience at SEMDA 2015 like?

“It was the most wonderful experience. Gaining insights and feedback from David Huizenga, Chris Hooper, Randy Scott and others helped shape our company. They also introduced us to dozens of colleagues including other investors that have been instrumental in SweetBio’s growth. Having the undivided attention of seasoned medtech investors in a low-risk environment is something I had never experienced before attending the SEMDA conference in 2015.”

What were the results?

“We got to know more about who we are as a team. And while we don’t have all the answers, we have the grit and grind. Our experience at SEMDA 2015 helped refine our strategic direction, improved our pitch, opened new doors and helped validated our business.”

What advice would you give medtech startups considering attending?

“If you are not planning on pitching, no matter how early or young your company or idea, get it ready and just go pitch. Do whatever you can to take steps forward. Redefine winning. Winning PitchRounds is not all about coming in first. Winning PitchRounds is also in relationship building. Allow yourself to be social, be bold. The collective crew at SEMDA is most welcoming.”

What are your goals for SEMDA 2016?

“We are participating in PitchRounds again and we are treating it as a benchmark. We are proud of our progress, and this is a perfect opportunity to do a ‘temperature check.’ Having just celebrated our first year as a company we need to ensure we are focused on what’s critical to our continued development: de-risking our marketing plan and de-risking our trials plan.”

“We hope the investors will challenge us and poke holes in our pitch, so that in year two we focus on initiatives that continue to add value – especially to our go-to-market strategy.”

Thank you, Kayla! We can’t wait to see you and what you have in store for us at SEMDA 2016 and beyond!

Applications for PitchRounds at SEMDA 2016 open through May 2, 2016

PitchRounds and its corresponding online platform connect medical device startup companies with venture capitalists and angel investors who are seeking new investments. If you have a medical device or health IT company and you’re looking for venture funding, PitchRounds is for you.