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Knoxville-Based Winter Innovations Is Stitching Together Solutions For The Surgical Process

A LaunchTN SBIR Matching Fund Recipient: Winter Innovations, based in Knoxville, is a high-growth medical technology company working to improve the surgical process, specifically surgical stitching, for patients who suffer orthopedic injuries.

We caught up with the Winter Innovations team to hear about the company’s mission, problems surrounding orthopedic surgery and opportunities for Tennessee to become the most startup-friendly state.

Q&A

Would you give us an overview of your organization?

Winter Innovations is a medical device startup headquartered in Knoxville, TN. The company’s mission is to develop simple tools for overlooked areas in orthopedic surgery to improve patient outcomes. The team is currently launching its patented and FDA cleared flagship product, EasyWhip™, which leverages two-part needle technology to simplify and standardize stitching in ligament and tendon reconstruction surgeries. 

Who are the key team members at Winter Innovations? 

Lia Winter, CEO and Preston Dishner, COO.

What inspired you all to start the company?

Our mission is to improve outcomes for orthopedic surgery. Through several personal experiences, we realized that there are areas of surgery that have been overlooked by innovation. Oftentimes the best solutions to problems are also the simplest, and this has been our approach to innovating in orthopedics.

What need is Winter Innovations currently solving or seeking to address?

More than 1 Million ligament & tendon surgeries are performed in the US each year. Repairing a torn ligament or tendon relies on stitching the tissue back together. However, roughly 30,000 surgeries fail each year due to inadequate stitching. Our goal is to make stitching easier and more consistent to positively impact the lives of patients and surgeons.

Could you describe your company in three words?

Elevating orthopedic technologies.

How did you hear about the LaunchTN SBIR Matching Fund program?

We first heard about the SBIR Matching Fund program during a Launch TN SBIR workshop in Memphis, TN back in the summer of 2019. We kept up to date with the program over the last few years and were ecstatic when we were awarded our SBIR NSF Phase I so we could also apply for the Matching Fund program.

Key people who helped make the funding opportunity happen?

Lynn Youngs, Executive Director of the University of Tennessee’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Tony Lettich, Managing Director of the Angel Roundtable; Bo Wilkes, Managing Director of the Ballad Health Innovation Center; ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator Program; StartCo; Launch Tennessee.

What do you plan to achieve with this funding? 

We’ve used the matching funds to hire two new team members, manufacture the first clinical units of our product, and cover travel for grant related activities.

Do you have any thoughts on what LaunchTN can bring to Tennessee that would make us the ‘most startup-friendly state’ in the nation?

State R&D tax credits and free or low-cost office space for startups.

Favorite local business in or around Knoxville?

Gypsy Circus Cidery.

Company Snapshot

Date Founded: 2018

Company Based In: Knoxville, Tennessee

Learn more about Winter Innovations’ technology and mission at winter-innovations.com.

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