JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Continuing to engage with community startups and businesses, the East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology announced the completion of several marketing projects with Winter Innovations, an East Tennessee-based medical device startup company.
Winter Innovations developed an industry-first surgical suture with a specialized patent-protected needle design that dramatically simplifies and standardizes suturing and enables techniques not possible with conventional surgical needles. Its primary application is for orthopedic procedures to repair torn ligaments and tendons, like the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Achilles tendon and biceps tendon.
The ETSU College of Business and Technology continues to engage with businesses and industries across the region. In the past, these have included clients including non-profits, local government, entertainment and arts, cybersecurity, industrial manufacturing, commercial services, hospitality, agricultural equipment and chemicals.
As part of this process, the college typically assigns student teams to work with and resolve specific business needs. Sonu Mirchandani, coordinator and director of the entrepreneurship program said, “The college has been engaging with businesses and startups in this region for several years. But our engagement with Winter Innovations underscores the consultative client service model used by ETSU’s College of Business and Technology.
As part of the Winter Innovations engagement, our students researched the surgical industry and spent time with the company’s co-founders to better understand the product, its use in a clinical environment, the business model and the customer value proposition. That put us in an excellent position to scope out the problem in responding to their go-to-market requirements."
CEO and co-founder of Winter Innovations, Lia Winter, identified several go-to-market requirements and said, “We were looking for specific assistance to support our marketing outreach and enhance product collateral for use with media relations. In our initial brainstorming meeting, we discussed the needs for several projects. Our expectations were far exceeded when we had teams assigned to all of our initiatives. Student teams drafted a press release in anticipation of our first 510(k) FDA clearance, optimized search engine strategy, led development for account marketing and created a total-cost-of-ownership infographic that showcased annual operating room savings attributed to the use of our product.”
COO and Winter Innovations co-founder, Preston Dishner said, “During the semester, we engaged with the student teams every week in meetings where they shared progress updates, tracked scope of work, and created a schedule for deliverables. They did a deep dive into our product and client environment, which is not an easy task for a device used in orthopedic surgery. For the total cost of ownership analysis, students had to quantify how using our device to facilitate easier and faster stitching can result in cost savings for the surgeon and hospital.
“The marketing projects completed by our ETSU student teams were of extremely high quality. We truly felt like they were an extension of our team, which allowed us to focus energy on other facets of the business, like ramping up production.”
About East Tennessee State University’s College of Business and Technology (CBAT):
The college serves over 2,800 students and consists of seven departments that offer a diverse range of academic programs. Within the college, you will find undergraduate and graduate programs in areas such as: Accountancy, Computing, Digital Media, Economics and Finance , Engineering, Engineering Technology, Interior Architecture, Management and Marketing, and Surveying and Mapping.
About Winter Innovations, Inc.: Winter Innovations is an award-winning medical device startup developing simple tools for overlooked areas in orthopedic surgery. Founded in 2018 by Lia Winter (BS/MS Biomedical Engineering, MBA) and Preston Dishner, (BS Supply Chain, MS Business Analytics, MBA), Winter Innovations’ mission is to create products that improve patient outcomes in sports medicine. The company’s flagship product is EasyWhip™, a patented surgical needle designed to simplify and standardize stitching in orthopedic ligament and tendon reconstruction surgeries. Winter Innovations received awards in numerous competitions and has participated in national accelerator programs including Springboard Enterprises Health Innovation Hub, Tampa Bay Wave, and ZeroTo510.