Startup Accelerator Spotlight: ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

ZeroTo510 surrounds startups with medical device experts in the fields of reimbursement, FDA regulatory pathways, medical device commercialization, patent strategy, as well as mentors in the medical space.

ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

President, Chris West

Name of Accelerator: ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

Location: Memphis, TN


CEO / Managing Director: Chris West, President of ZeroTo510

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight  featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator.

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives?

ZeroTo510 is a medical device accelerator focused primarily on devices taking advantage of the FDA’s 510k pathway. We work with early-stage medical devices and surround them with mentors, experts, and partners in order to get them to the commercialization stage.

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Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.

Memphis is a medical device hub. We have large medical device corporations such as Smith & Nephew, Medtronic, Wright, and Microport, as well as several hospitals and centers of excellence such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We surround our startups with medical device experts in the fields of reimbursement, FDA regulatory pathways, medical device commercialization, patent strategy, as well as mentors in the medical space.

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What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

An obvious answer is the risk; however, the risk is what makes this exciting work. ZeroTo510 thrives in an environment of risk, grit, and entrepreneurship that stems from a passion for improving lives.

Tell us about your success stories; which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?


This answer could be a novel. We have been very lucky to have so many wonderful companies come through our program. Medical device entrepreneurship is fascinating because every company is creating technology that will improve and sometimes save people’s lives. It is truly remarkable.ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

One company we work with recently received their clearance from the FDA, which is very exciting! SOMAVAC participated in the ZeroTo510 accelerator in 2016. SOMAVAC 100 Sustained Vacuum System is a battery-powered device that provides continuous suction to a closed post-surgical wound. It stays close to the body, so as to not to protrude too much outside the clothing, and as such can be worn discreetly in public. It is designed to be easy to use by the patient without causing spillage, leakage, and clogging of lines. This allows the patient to recover with dignity and allows the patient to return to day-to-day life with more ease.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

  1. Are you willing to burn the boats? In other words, are you willing to leave all comfort, stability, and “normalcy” behind to embark on a sometimes treacherous adventure into startup land?
  2. Do you have the right team around your company/technology? Do you have a dedicated team comprised of members who possess the skill sets needed to launch a company?
  3. Know that you will get out of the experience what you put into it. We can lead you to water, but we cannot make you drink it. We can fill a room with potential customers, investors, etc., but you must cultivate those relationships and take the initiative. Our favorite quote is, “You must be an active participant in your own rescue”.

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What else would you like to share?

Medical device commercialization is complex. Nothing about a medical device is cookie cutter for a general tech accelerator, which is why we specialize in this area. The customer discovery is vastly different from a general tech startup. The financials are vastly different. Medical devices are its own world, which is why we surround our startups with medical device specific expertise.

Are you familiar with accelerators you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below.

Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.