Fayetteville-based Lapovations LLC, a medical device company developing products to improve laparoscopy, announced Tuesday (June 22) receiving $100,000 from the Winrock International Validation Fund, a nonprofit fund focused on investing in validation-stage startups in Arkansas. Meanwhile, Lapovations has started to develop the second generation of its first product, AbGrab.
The Winrock investment will support the sales model validation activities for the AbGrab, a device that allows surgeons to lift the abdominal wall more reliably and less invasively at the start of laparoscopic surgery, according to a news release. AbGrab has been registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and became available for sale in the United States in January.
“Because of previous grant funding, we have a solid research and development budget to bring our second-generation product to market, but this funding from Winrock is critical as it supports many crucial sales and marketing activities not covered through grants,” said Jared Greer, founder and CEO of Lapovations. “Furthermore, the Winrock network, and their experience working with startups, will help us significantly accelerate our go-to-market strategies.”
Lapovations received the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation in 2020 to further improve AbGrab’s design. On June 7, the company announced receiving $100,000 from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as a matching grant for the $1 million SBIR Phase II grant. The company plans to launch Gen 2 AbGrab after the grant-funded project.
“Something we take pride in at Lapovations is our ability to identify and secure non-dilutive sources of capital from both state and federal sources,” Greer said. “Most startups don’t get the chance to improve their first-generation device so rapidly, but we’re in a fortunate position where we can successfully commercialize Gen 1 AbGrab while continuing to innovate and improve through this grant-funded research.”
Winrock’s initial $1 million Validation Fund was created in late 2020 with plans to make investments of between $50,000 and $150,000 in eight to 10 validation stage companies over the next two years.
“Lapovations is an innovative Arkansas startup,” said Linsley Kinkade, senior director of U.S. Programs at Winrock International. “Winrock’s Validation Fund is proud to help expedite Lapovations’ growth at this critical stage.”
Winrock looks to leverage existing entrepreneurial support organizations such as Innovate Arkansas and the Delta I-Fund to help and provide advice for Arkansas-based startups seeking investment.