Born in Medellin, Colombia, and educated in Europe, Mauricio Toro, CEO and Co-founder of TECHFIT Digital Surgery, began his career in the medical device industry in 2008. After ten years with Industrias Medicas Sampedro, a private equity backed orthopedic device manufacturer headquartered in Colombia, Toro was put in charge of a spin-off business unit and relocated to Volusia County in 2019. Toro shared the story behind his journey and discussed how TECHFIT is revolutionizing the custom medical implant industry.
“After an extensive search of different locations throughout the United States to establish our U.S. presence, we decided on Volusia County,” Toro said. “Florida’s proximity to Colombia is a great advantage and Volusia County’s location – being in the center of the state and within three hours of several major hospitals, universities and research institutions – is hard to beat. Also, coming from a global background and studying in Europe, I find that Florida is a very business friendly state to start a business.”
According to Toro, TECHFIT Digital Surgery offers comprehensive solutions tailored to the patient's pathologies that require complex reconstruction, increasing surgical precision, reducing surgical time, improving aesthetic and functional results, which in turn allows patients and surgeons access to the most advanced surgical planning and custom implants instrumentation. Their solutions include Medical Education Products and Custom Surgical Products.
“Each solution feeds of each other,” Toro said. “Even though the technology to use 3D printing in healthcare has been around for a while, it’s been hard to get widespread adoption – partly because of a lack of training for the people involved. Our Medical Education Products allow patients to see their anatomy and understand the procedure that they will undergo. Our Custom Surgical Products – which include Maxillofacial, Cranial and Orthopedic solutions – are used in actual surgeries. Our case database includes over 2,000 people that have been successfully treated.”
When it comes to challenges, Toro shared that going from a large corporation to an environment akin to a small tech startup is a lot more demanding. It’s also an environment that requires its team members to wear multiple hats. “You’re kind of required to be a jack of all trades,” he said. “On the flip side, however, things get done a lot quicker compared to making changes within a large corporation.”
TECHFIT is still in the process of getting their FDA clearance, but they have established key research partnerships with local universities and have been growing their distributor base outside the United States. With a team of five in Daytona and seven more in Colombia, they’ve successfully established sales channels in Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.
When it comes to what he enjoys most about being the CEO and Co-Founder of TECHFIT, Toro shared the following. “Number one is using technology to make people’s lives better,” he said. “Very few businesses and engineering opportunities give you the chance to touch someone and help them. We’re in a position to create a solution to give them a better quality of life. It’s also a very demanding and competitive business. As an entrepreneur and a business person, it keeps me on my feet.”
Looking ahead, Toro has a very ambitious growth strategy on the back of an FDA clearance – which is expected to happen next year. His goal is to have a presence in 20 states and 20 countries. TECHFIT is also looking to raise a round of funding within the next year to allow the company to achieve its growth goals and to develop new technology to make its implants and solutions even better.
What advice does Toro have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “The first thing is if you never try, you’ve already failed,” he said. “Second, if you start a business, you’ll get a lot of feedback. Learn how to filter it and curate it. Ignore what doesn’t work and always be flexible to mold the business model to better serve your market. It’s also important to understand that a ‘B’ product that gets adopted is better than an ‘A’ product that never gets launched.
Toro recommends the following 3 book collection set for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs: Value Proposition Design, Business Model Generation and Testing Business Ideas, all by Alexander Osterwalder.