Alon Mozes, co-founder of Neocis, returned home to Florida to launch his startup after working in a Silicon Valley venture.
"As an undergrad at MIT I interned at several startups and also at Intel which was this large, bureaucratic maze of a company," he said. "It was then that I knew I would only work in startups. After college, I worked at Sportvision doing real-time graphics for sports applications. That was a lot of fun but Miami is my hometown so I wanted to return here to do something more medical. Medical imaging was a natural fit because of my background in graphics. I met my co-founder after earning my PhD in biomedical engineering and we began looking for a medical market to develop the robotic surgery technology we knew how to build."
Neocis developed a robotic-assisted guidance system for dental implant surgeons that guides them during surgery both visually and physically as the robot arm holds the drill with the surgeon to ensure the surgeon only moves the drill in positions and angles according to the preoperative plan.
"Most surgeons tend to operate freehand which is risky because they don’t get much guidance to put implants where they want relative to the pre-op CT scan," Mozes explained. "To get results they often have to make incisions called flaps that result in longer surgery and recovery times and more pain for the patient. Flapless surgery requires surgical guides. Today they are made from plastic. They are costly and don't work so well. There are some new systems that provide navigation where you are always looking at a screen, which makes you drill down while looking up at the screen which is cumbersome. Our system provides best of both worlds without those drawbacks."
Having been both a startup employee and founder, Mozes's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to read The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law, Straight From The Gut and Founders at Work.
"Dive in and be persistent," he said. "You don't need 20 years of experience to get started. There are many lessons you'll only learn by going through it. There will be a lot of hurdles and naysayers. Be open minded to constructive criticism and find ways to solve problems and fight through it."