STEL Technologies wins SPARK Boot Camp with ACL tissue graft

Sometimes knowing your weaknesses is a strength. That's what the founders of STEL Technologies are finding out after winning Ann Arbor SPARK's Entrepreneurial Boot Camp.

Ellen Arruda and Lisa Larkin, professors at the University of Michigan and co-founders of STEL Technologies, are working to commercialize technology that turns tissue grafts into replacements for the ACL, the central ligament in the knee. Ann Arbor SPARK's Entrepreneurial Boot Camp not only showed the budding entrepreneurs that the technology has a bright future but it needs more than just academics to turn it into a reality.

"It was a complete eye opener for me and my team," Arruda says. "We are not business people. We learned most importantly what a CEO would do for this company."

The 1-year-old start-up spinning out of the University of Michigan is now looking for a CEO-type of business person to help shepherd the technology to commercialization. The company and its team of five people believe they can get their research-proven technology to be used in veterinary care within the next year or two as it works toward approval for using the technology in humans.

"The regulatory path is less arduous for pets," Arruda says. "Dogs are tearing their ACLs to the tune of 1.4 million surgeries per year."

Source: Ellen Arruda, co-founder of STEL Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

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