Conway native Spencer Jones aspired since he was a child to pursue a career in the medical field. His father is a now-semi-retired nurse anesthetist, and healthcare was often a topic of dinner conversation in the household. Jones liked that.
Entrepreneurship was never on his radar, until he thought up his first medical invention, the Bifurcated Venous Access Device (BVAD), which allows blood draws to be taken through I.V. He studied nursing at the University of Arkansas at the time and was already working as an RN.
Jones believed the device had potential for commercialization, but with “zero business training” he asked for guidance from Jeff Amerine, who was then director of Technology Ventures at the UA and an adviser for Innovate Arkansas, a state-funded initiative that boosts tech startups.
In spring 2014, Jones met with the Innovate Arkansas team to discuss his idea.
“That’s when the ball really started rolling,” he said. And it hasn’t stopped since.
He moved to Little Rock and participated in the ARK Challenge, where the BVAD took the $150,000 grand prize in 2014.
Within a few months, Jones found and purchased an existing patent for the SafeBreak I.V. and moved in May 2015 to Memphis in order to further develop his idea within the ZeroTo510 accelerator, which turned out to be like an MBA program for the medical device industry, he said.
Since then, Lineus Medical raised $900,000 in seed money and has now raised $890,000 toward a $1.25 million Series A round, and SafeBreak I.V. has garnered attention from major medical technology companies while bringing on “jaw-drop” reactions from those in the nursing profession at conferences and events throughout the country, Jones said.
This year, SafeBreak I.V. will be submitted for approval to the Food & Drug Administration and is expected to launch by year’s end.
“FDA approval is the linchpin. That, to me, will mean I truly delivered on my promise to investors and stakeholders,” Jones said.
Jones follows politics closely, considering it his “guilty pleasure,” and also enjoys making electronic music. “It brings people together,” he said.