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Neuro20: Technology that moves you

Neuro20 Technologies Corp. has developed a washable suit, software and operating system that sends electrical impulses throughout the entire body to treat neuromuscular injuries and disease and improve muscle performance.

Founded in 2020 by D.J. Schmitt, an electrical engineer and injured veteran seeking a non-opioid approach to pain management, Neuro20 Technologies Corp. focuses on wearable medical devices. Its inaugural product, the Neuro20 Pro System, is a washable suit, software and operating system that sends electrical impulses throughout the entire body to treat neuromuscular injuries and disease and improve muscle performance.

Unlike the majority of electro-muscle stimulus (EMS) devices, which are handheld and have limited applications, Neuro20’s suit features large, contoured electrodes that replicate muscle-firing patterns and can contract 42 muscles either independently or in various combinations. Other hallmarks: the wireless system operates in a 100-meter range and can handle up to 10 patients at a time, lowering costs and making rehab more efficient for both providers and patients.

As Neuro20 moved closer to commercialization in 2022, Michael Finkelstein, president of research and development, entered the Edward Lowe Foundation’s System for Integrated Growth (SIG) program. Conducted in Florida in partnership with GrowFL, SIG gives second-stage companies access to a team of experts on specific topics.

Finkelstein deems SIG as one of the best types of business assistance he’s ever encountered. “It’s not a cookie-cutter program where people tell you what they think you need,” he says. “Rather, it’s active listening at its best. The specialists have a unique ability to meet you where you’re at and help clarify your thinking. And once a problem is identified, they bring resources to bear — resources you didn’t have access to before.”

During its SIG engagement, Neuro20 focused on three areas:

  • Medical market research — A SIG specialist helped the company understand the best opportunities for Neuro20 within the physical therapy arena. Among deliverables was a list of companies and organizations to approach, along with industry conferences and other types of “watering holes” where they might be able to connect with these prospective clients.

  • Working with Uncle Sam — To help Neuro20 test the waters of government contracting, a second SIG specialist provided information on federal agencies that award contracts for physical therapy and human performance innovations. Deliverables included contact information and past awards — along with specific terminology and acronyms used by the agencies, which helped prepare Neuro20’s leadership team for a meeting with top officials in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Financial savvy — Neuro20 was looking for a fractional CFO, and a third SIG specialist helped the leadership team understand what to look for, what kind of questions to ask and how many hours the company might need. She also provided information and insights on how to structure financial documents and establish key performance indicators to leverage good decisions.

“I was surprised by the depth of the work the specialists did for us,” Finkelstein says, explaining that some of the market research not only included what kind of medical devices were purchased in the last year and how much was spent but also why the dollars were spent. “That’s information we can’t get as entrepreneurs,” he says.

The SIG engagement also validated Neuro20’s vision, Finkelstein says. “You may think you know the direction you want to push the company, but to have business experts clarify what you’re aiming for is achievable was incredibly reassuring.”

“The specialists are extremely approachable,” he adds. “If you’re like me and don’t have an MBA, you may feel a little insecure when talking with business experts. Yet the SIG team’s humanism and ethics of care quickly allays that fear.”

Since completing the SIG engagement, Neuro20 has won FDA clearance for six indications of use, followed by Medicare approval. “We’re in full commercialization now,” Finkelstein says. “Within 18 months, our staff has grown from three to 14 employees and our market valuation has gone from $4.5 million to $30 million.”

Continued, sustainable growth is important to Neuro20’s vision and mission. “Our founders, D.J. and Jana Schmitt, are passionate about helping people get better faster,” Finkelstein says. “In particular, they want to help as many veterans as possible. To do that, we have to be a profitable company. And now, we’re starting to take market share and get there. SIG has been instrumental to our progress.”

Published April 8, 2024