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Wireless Firm Marks ATI's New Beginning

Stacey Higginbotham
Austin Business Journal staff

The Austin Technology Incubator has its first company under the ATI\'s new business model. Analytical cardiac device company Monebo Technologies Inc. will join the incubator in a few weeks as one of the first biomedical devices firms to join the ATI. However, because it\'s joining under the new ATI, Monebo won\'t occupy space at ATI\'s offices.

Earlier this year, Erin De Fosse, director of the information technology and wireless division of the ATI, began planning for the incubator\'s new business model. Now, companies get more than just inexpensive space -- they get quarterly reviews and time with mentors. Under the new rules, a company could be kicked out of the incubator if it is not meeting milestones, and companies interested in the mentorship side -- such as Monebo -- could become incubator members without actually taking space.ATI is an arm of the IC² Institute, which is part of the University of Texas.

"Monebo has a new wireless product that has never existed before, and if you look at the market need, it's right up our alley," Defosse says.

Monebo makes hardware and software that allow cardiac data from a patient to be transferred to a computer that will analyze the information. President and CEO Misczynski says the technology initially will be used in home health care.

Misczynski says the accountability offered by the incubator is one of the reasons Monebo joined. The three-person company has people in three cities, plus some contractors in the Ukraine, so Monebo does not need office space. However, having a meeting place will be useful, as will help from advisers in regard to raising funds, Misczynski says.

So far, Misczynski and other co-founders have invested $1 million of their own money into the 2-year-old company. But the company plans to seek outside funding of about $500,000.

"Joining the incubator gives the company a sense of legitimacy," Misczynski says. "The process that ATI goes through ... to bring you in as a member is quite rigorous, so that made us feel our value to our potential investors has gone up."

Harvey Ring of Austin, a partner at angel investing network firm National Investment Market LLC, agrees that ATI can add value to a startup. Helping companies develop products is a great focus for ATI, he says. "So rather than before when the ATI was giving them space and no real help managing the product development phase of their businesses, this setup is a much more effective," Ring says.

© 2010 Monebo Marketing Team