Eso-Technologies Inc., the winner of the 2009 Governor’s Business Plan contest, has closed on a $1 million round of financing, it was announced Friday. The company will be among presenters at next week’s Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium and the MidAmerica Healthcare Venture Forum. Click here to read a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story.
The company, an early stage medical device start-up located in southeastern Wisconsin, raised $1 million from Madison-based angel investors. The company was initially seeking $830,000, according to CEO Bonnie Reinke, but accepted funding to the $1 million level due to “strong demand and oversubscription.”

DaneVest Tech Fund I led the effort, and individuals from Phenomenelle Angels and private investors also participated. 

Eso-Technologies is developing a promising new minimally-invasive method for monitoring diseased hearts with a device placed in the esophagus. The company also intends to later expand its device for use as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. The current technology, considered to be the gold standard for heart monitoring, causes up to 45,000 deaths annually, according to medical literature. Its use is decreasing rapidly because of its inherent risks.

“We are excited to be involved in this creative new Wisconsin technology,” said Joseph Hildebrandt, managing director of DaneVest Tech Fund and Phenomenelle Angels. “It appears to provide a much safer way to monitor the heart during surgery, and the company’s intent to increase the device’s future applications is very interesting.”
Eso-Technologies’ device is the brainchild of world-renowned cardiovascular anesthesiologist, Dr. John L. Atlee.

“Dr. Atlee has been studying the heart over his entire 30-year career and has been developing this technology for the past 10 years,” Reinke said. “Dr. Atlee has six issued patents to protect our development, a fact that is of great value to the investors.”

The company will use the funds to finalize its prototype design. With FDA approval, it will then conduct several clinical trials in university settings and other hospitals in Wisconsin and around the country. Reinke said those activities should be completed in about a year.

The entire project will take up to three years and is expected to cost $3 million, Reinke said.