#Emerge Episode 4 with Xavier Frigola

This week on #Emerge we speak with Xavier Frigola, Director of Entrepreneurship at Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., about the brand new Southeast Minnesota Angel Fund and what it can do for the local startup scene.

Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund Launches to Grow Startups in the Region

From left to right: David Herbert, Chair of the SE MN Capital Fund; Xavier Frigola, Director of Entrepreneurship at RAEDI; Al Berning, Co-Chair of the Journey to Growth Entrepreneurship Committee.

From left to right: David Herbert, Chair of the SE MN Capital Fund; Xavier Frigola, Director of Entrepreneurship at RAEDI; Al Berning, Co-Chair of the Journey to Growth Entrepreneurship Committee.

The Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund has officially launched. The fund- spearheaded by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI)- contains $875,000 in seed capital from twenty-six financiers to invest in startups and small businesses in southeastern Minnesota with high growth potential.  

“It’s perfect timing because of everything that’s going on in the southeast Minnesota area and Rochester with [Destination Medical Center],” said Al Berning, serial entrepreneur and Co-Chair of the Journey to Growth (J2G) Entrepreneurship Committee.

Berning said an entire entrepreneurial community has sprouted up in Rochester, which was not present twenty-five years ago when he launched his first startup.

“It’s a great time. And it’s attracting national attention,” he said.

Southeastern Minnesota has a strong history of supporting startups through angel investment, although it’s mainly been on an ad hoc basis so far. Now, with an increasing number of startups growing in the region, the time’s past due to strategically provide local capital to early stage companies.

In mid-2015, Berning and his J2G Entrepreneurship Committee identified lack of local investment as a major roadblock for startups in the region. Over the past fifteen months, RAEDI has been meeting with investors and raising capital for the fund.

The fund’s twenty-six angel investors- or accredited investors, as defined by the Federal Securities Laws and Regulations- invest into the fund in exchange for convertible debt or equity in emerging startups. A subset of these twenty-six angels will vet applying companies and make investment decisions for the group. RAEDI will administer the fund.

David Herbert, Chair of the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund and fund investor, spent twenty years at Mayo Clinic working with businesses and saw a “tremendous opportunity to do well by investing in startups in the area.” He hopes the fund will help to launch several exciting companies in the region.

Seed capital provided by the fund will be high risk. The investment team will have to do their due diligence, have confidence in the startups they invest in, and weed out those they believe will not succeed.

While the fund many not get a return on investment in all cases, Berning said this high-risk capital is essential for local businesses to attract outside funding. In raising money for his own startup, he said his company was almost required to already have these initial funds, which helped to prove he could launch the business and be successful at the local level.

Minnesota BioBusiness Center, home to the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

Minnesota BioBusiness Center, home to the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

While the expertise of the fund investors is in healthtech, Herbert says they will look at all industries for investment, espeically in agriculture and manufacturing.

The group will primarily focus on southeastern Minnesota, but can invest outside of the region in “new companies with significant growth potential.”

Investment into the fund remains open until December 31st. The group hopes to grow the fund up to $1-2M dollars to expand investment potential. With the current size of the fund, the group plans to invest about $50,000 in fifteen different companies, maintaining a pool of capital for a second, less risky, investment as those same businesses mature.

Qualifying startups can contact the fund at smcfexec@gmail.com.

“We’re open for business,” said Xavier Frigola, Director of Entrepreneurship at RAEDI.

How to Pivot a Digital Health Startup: The Story Behind Apri Health

Apri Health, a data analytics and healthcare startup incubating in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, is expanding their focus. The five-year-old company uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to query large sets of medical data to create “ecosystems of action within healthcare systems.” Now, they are applying their data analytics platform to ask more questions and transform that information into actionable results for healthcare systems.

Apri Health Founder and CEO Dr. Mark Ereth had a very successful, twenty-five-year career in anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic before retiring- and then launching a company. Ereth, a native of North Dakota, attended graduate school and performed his fellowship at the clinic; he then remained on staff as a physician/scientist. During his time at Mayo, Ereth pioneered an analytics program to reduce unnecessary blood transfusion expenditures, saving the healthcare system $25M.

“But I was ready for something different,” he explained.

Ereth licensed some of the intellectual property that he developed from Mayo and launched his own startup in 2013, called Transfuse Solutions, with serial entrepreneur and physician Dr. Jamison Feramisco, an expert in telehealth and high tech.

“The best thing I happened to do was get a good partner,” Ereth said.

With Ereth’s expertise in reducing blood transfusion costs and Feramisco’s seasoned career in digital health, the team set out to attack overutilization issues in healthcare, focusing in on blood transfusion. These events, Ereth explained, are the most common medical procedures in the country. However, they are often unnecessary and expensive.

Ereth, Feramisco, and their team of “cutting edge AI and machine learning experts” developed a patient blood management solution that used machine learning to query large sets of medical data and provide a solution to reduce blood transfusion-associated costs to the healthcare system.

However, Ereth says he always knew the company would expand beyond the blood market.

In June 2016, Transfuse Solutions rebranded to Apri Health with the mission to “transform data-rich, insight-poor environments into profound ecosystems of discovery and action.”

The team had already built the data analytics platform that could interface with electronic health records (EHRs)- comprehensive, digital records of a patient’s medical history. The platform used machine learning to develop new algorithms, daily, to query these massive EHR datasets, delivering actionable intelligence to healthcare systems.

“If you have the records, you just have to change the question,” Ereth explained. “You can run an experiment every four hours by just changing the questions.”

They now have applied their data analytics system to solve other healthcare overutilization issues beyond blood.

Recently, Apri Health has applied their machine learning to solve the issue of cost of care. They’ve partnered with a hospital in Hartford, Conn. to help the system assess how much it costs to deliver specific items of care and analyze how these rates impact the institution.

As one example, Apri Health examined congestive heart failure patients admitted within the Hartford system with the same clinical diagnoses and identical outcomes. They discovered that patients treated by cardiologists incurred a much higher daily cost to the hospital system than those treated by hospitalists- physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who provide general medical care to hospitalized patients.

“We were able to say if we’re looking at value-based care, why have a cardiologist take care of patients when the hospitalists can get them out of the hospital, with the exact same outcomes, for essentially $5,000 less per visit?” Ereth asked.

Apri Health is also moving into the field of pharmacogenomics, using genetic testing to predict metabolic response to drugs. The team formed a partnership with a large genetic firm and launched a successful pilot study with Georgetown University and the University of California, San Diego. Now, they’re looking to move into other areas, such as opiate metabolism.

The digital health company has also applied their data analytics platform to a less sexy area: medical billing. They’ve used the software to query 1.3M lines of bills- from seven years of healthcare data and $3B worth of billing- and found “450M in fraud, waste, or abuse.”

“We started off as this blood company, but now we’re doing all this other stuff. And part of our problem today, as a company, is keeping focus in what we’re doing and yet also expanding what we’re doing,” Ereth explained.

In his long career in medicine, Ereth has seen what it takes to be a successful clinician/scientist: a mix of asking the right questions, pursuing the right questions, and mobilizing resources to address those questions. He also sees a lot of commonalities between medicine and business.

As a physician, Ereth said, “You’re making a decision on behalf of the patient, sometimes with only eighty percent of the information you’d like. It has short and long term implications. And death is always out there.”

The same is true in business. But instead of death of a patient, that same choice can lead to the demise of a company.

Ereth thinks the environment in Rochester is now primed for entrepreneurship, thanks to the work of people like Xavier Frigola and Gary Smith at Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., along with others in the community. Things are now much easier for entrepreneurs in this exciting time of development.

He says what’s lacking is capital and local angel investment. Apri Health themselves has only one investor in Rochester; the rest are spread across the country.

“There’s a lot of innovation in town. And I think it’s really capital [that’s needed] to drive that innovation,” Ereth explained.

Brewery Owner Says 'Life's Too Short' to Not Follow Dreams

“We built this with our hands and our sweat and sometimes our blood. And it’s open and making beer people love,” explained Brandon Schulz, Owner of LTS Brewing Company. Founded in 2013 by Schulz and business partner Jeff Werning, the taproom and microbrewery opened its doors in August 2015 as one of the original members of Rochester’s craft brewing community.

Schulz, an avid home brewer and lover of craft beer, enjoyed visiting microbreweries during family trips or business travel, but couldn’t find that same experience in Rochester. At that time, there was only one other craft brewery in Rochester; he saw a lot of room to do something different and to create that sense of community that he experienced at other breweries.

“Life’s too short”- the motto at LTS Brewing- was created during a trip Schulz took with friends through Michigan a few years prior to opening the brewery. They spent that time fishing, drinking, touring breweries, and generally just enjoying life.

“We hadn’t made enough time for adventures like that in the past and concluded life was too short not to make time,” Schulz explained. “Since then, it has been easy to see applications of that slogan everywhere.”

The message applied when the LTS Brewing team had to push forward with the physical buildout of the brewery and with the business development and growth that necessarily followed. It applied again when the head brewer had to step back from that position, requiring Schulz to move into that role, with much help from Werning.   

“I guess the point is, this was a dream of mine, and life’s too short to not follow your dreams. You never know what’s coming around the next curve in life,” Schulz said.

Today, LTS Brewing sells a variety of in-house brewed small batch ales and lagers. For the kids- and adults- they brew their own root beer and have several rotating craft soda flavors including cream soda, grape, and strawberry kiwi.

While they don’t serve food in the taproom, LTS Brewing hosts local food trucks and allows customers to bring in their own food to enjoy the brewery experience. The team works to maintain a comfortable, approachable atmosphere in the taproom, where the focus is on the beer.

Like any startup, LTS Brewing has faced several obstacles right from the beginning. In general, alcohol production and sales is a highly-regulated industry.

“Some of our biggest challenges in the buildout had nothing to do with alcohol laws, though,” Schulz said. “They were more related to the nature of commercial building regulations.”

In your own residential home, he explained, you can install your own HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical systems. But in a commercial building, you are required to use licensed contractors. The team had much difficulty in getting bids accepted by contractors in Rochester; a one-off project with an emerging business just wasn’t attractive.

They’ve also faced staffing issues.

“The service industry is challenging, both to hire and keep employees. And even when you find really good ones, many of them ultimately don’t stick around,” Schulz explained.

The LTS Brewing team- Schulz, Werning, and Tap Room Manager Carissa Darcy- have kept the doors open and Rochester filled with their craft beer for two years. Schulz himself works at LTS Brewing full time and at Western Digital as a software architect- also full time- after originally moving to Rochester in 2001 to work at IBM.

Prior to opening LTS Brewing, he worked on software by day and brewed beers in his garage at night for twelve years. He said Werning had more of the business development experience and “with his guidance the entire team at LTS has been a big part of growing the business.”

Schulz said he has no plans to leave his software job anytime soon; LTS Brewing is still growing and remains labor and capital intense.

The brewery continues to build their customer base largely by word of mouth. But they’ve also successfully engaged and attracted customers though Facebook marketing. They host themed “Trivia Tuesdays,” food truck events, and small batch releases, which they market and push through the social media platform to engage their customer base.

Schulz says the brewery plans to continue forward with “responsible growth.” This includes expanding brewing capacity to at least 2,500 barrels a year within the next two years, which would dramatically increase their distribution. He also aims to brew more high-end beers in large-format bottles while “continuing to flex our brewing muscles” on the more “approachable” beers.

Schulz also hopes to expand and engage the community around LTS Brewing with several different types of events. The biggest of these new gatherings was the recent Kegs & Barrels Festival, a collaboration between LTS Brewing, Kinney Creek, Grand Rounds, and Four Daughters Winery to celebrate locally crafted drinks, food, and community.    

Exporting from Minnesota: The Who, What, Where, and Why?

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Last week, Mayo Clinic and the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) hosted an International Business Development Event in Bleu Duck Kitchen, connecting guests from the U.S. Commercial Service, Minnesota Trade Office (MTO), and Greater MSP to members of the Rochester entrepreneurial community. The goal: to communicate export resources offered by these local, state, and federal entities for international business and to share the “change and evolution” occurring in the Rochester entrepreneurial community at a larger level.

Sarah Walbert- Regional Trade Manager for life science industries and expert in Japanese and South Korean markets- represented MTO. MTO is a division of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), with a focus on international business. MTO assists Minnesota companies in exporting goods and services and helps to promote those exports. MTO employs five Regional Trade Managers to cover the entire globe and provide expert insight in their markets, including: Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, Japan, Korea, the European Union, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

MTO offers eight core resources to help Minnesota businesses export internationally including education, training, state export statistics, turnkey trade show participation, export counseling, trade mission management, chief of protocol, foreign direct investment attraction, and STEP grant funding.

The STEP grant is a federally funded program, covering trade show expenses up to $7,500. This grant helped fifty-four Minnesota companies attend trade shows in FY2016, amounting to $2.1M in overseas sales.

Export Development Manager Jennifer Erickson represented Greater MSP at the event. Greater MSP is a regional economic development partnership covering Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the sixteen-county metro area. Although their focus is mainly in the Twin Cities, Greater MSP closely collaborates with regional partners, like Mayo Clinic.

Greater MSP’s primary mission is to attract workers to Minneapolis/Saint Paul to facilitate business growth and draw investment to that region. Talent attraction is a major push, currently, with their “Make It. MSP.” marketing initiative, showcasing the diversity of the region from a local point of view.

In 2011, Greater MSP launched their Exports Initiative to unify export resources and define and target efforts to internationally grow the MSP area.

Senior International Trade Specialist David Edmiston represented the final guest at the event, the U.S. Commercial Service, a federal agency helps U.S. businesses export their goods and services. They have locations in one hundred ten cities and seventy-five markets around the globe including: The United Arab Emirates, Canada, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

However, the real value is in their field-based resources. The U.S. Commercial Service serves as a direct point of contact for Minnesota companies to facilitate export needs.

They additionally provide trade counseling, market intelligence reports, export counseling, and due diligence to U.S. businesses. The U.S. Commercial Service also produces country specific commercial reports, documenting market conditions, regulations, and the business climate from all their global offices. They also offer in-depth, technology specific guides as references for U.S. exporters.

The U.S. Commercial Service’s expertise lies in their business matchmaking skills. They can provide an initial market check for a U.S. business to determine what a good market looks like; they also offer international partner search reports on prequalified business contacts. Additionally, the U.S. Commercial Service runs a “Gold Key Service,” where a U.S. business is escorted around a potential export destination by an international colleague to meet with prospective business collaborators in that location. These services are all offered at reasonable user fees.

The main takeaway from the event: there is no reason to limit business opportunities to the United States. Today, ninety-five percent of consumers and eighty percent of purchasing power is located outside of the United States (according to Greater MSP). These organizations- the Minnesota Trade Office, Greater MSP, and the U.S. Commercial Services- are here to assist, prepare, and educate Minnesota businesses to play a role in the international economy.

Sponsored: BrandHoot Celebrates Five Year Mark as Finalist for U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Awards

BrandHoot Founder Nate Nordstrom

BrandHoot Founder Nate Nordstrom

BrandHoot Founder Nate Nordstrom has built his company from the ground up. This Rochester-based, design-focused business was created in Nordstrom’s attic office five years ago. Now, the ten-person team is a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Design Big Small Business of the Year Awards. BrandHoot continues to discover new ways to thrive in Rochester and beyond. Now, Nordstrom looks to other entrepreneurs to just “start something” in this city.

BrandHoot develops websites and apps through a “special blend of strategy, design, and engineering” to empower and advance business owners and healthcare leaders. In addition to website design, the team offers strategy and UX prototyping, design sprint, mobile app design, custom programming, inbound marketing, and accessibility testing services. BrandHoot has worked with clients like Mayo Clinic, Destination Medical Center, and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. They also provide a website design service, called PixelPress, specifically for nonprofits and small businesses.

Additional BrandHoot products include the mobile apps Rochester Now, a one-stop shop to all events and resources in Rochester, and FanCoach, a Facebook marketing tool for restaurants.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Nordstrom launched BrandHoot out of his own home attic office in January 2012, after leaving his full-time job and learning that he and his wife were expecting their first child. At the time, he had few connections in Rochester and no funding. He bootstrapped and grew the business over the next five years by providing unique value to his ever-growing customer base.

In 2015, the BrandHoot team of four moved out of Nordstrom’s basement into The Vault, a historic workplace above Grand Rounds Brew Pub, to accommodate business progression. In 2016, the group moved into their brand new, current office space in the Conley-Maass-Downs building, the first complex in the Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square District.

BrandHoot brainstorming session.

BrandHoot brainstorming session.

The BrandHoot team, now grown to ten members, celebrated their 2000th day of business this June.

To commemorate these days of growth in the Rochester community, BrandHoot is holding an open house in their new downtown office space on Friday, August 18th. The event will include hors d’oeuvres, local drinks, Legos, and fun on the BrandHoot indoor rock climbing wall.

Nordstrom said that hard work, vision, attention to quality and customer service, and a good team are essential components of BrandHoot’s success over the years.

“My wife, family, God, and the Rochester community always deserve my appreciation as well. Starting and growing a business is a very tough journey. But it’s all worth it, especially with great people by your side,” he explained.

BrandHoot’s success does not stop with the 2000+ day count. The business is among only seventeen finalists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards; BrandHoot is a finalist for the Community Excellence Award for their leadership and community engagement.

New BrandHoot office space in the Conley-Maass-Downs building.

New BrandHoot office space in the Conley-Maass-Downs building.

The award winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize and recognition at the 2017 Small Business Summit, held September 10th through the 13th, in Washington, D.C.

“It’s exciting to be able to celebrate five years of growth and success in Rochester. And being up for a national small business of the year award is an unexpected honor. We’ve worked so hard from day one, it’s nice to be able to spend a few moments to sit back, reflect, and celebrate,” Nordstrom noted.

To celebrate this accomplishment and involve the community, BrandHoot is holding a drawing to give away one free event ticket to the U.S. Chamber Dream Big Event, valued at $500. Click here to enter the drawing. A winner will be announced by Tuesday, August 15th.

BrandHoot has cut its teeth in Rochester. Now, Nordstrom wants to see more entrepreneurs in this city just start something. He’s happy to connect with entrepreneurs to bounce ideas or share lessons learned.

Nordstrom advises others to take risks, and above all else, to not give up when things get difficult.

“It’s going to be hard mentally, physically, and emotionally. Make sure you surround yourself with good people from all angles, to help keep you grounded and give you advice, even when you may not ask for it,” he advised.

#Emerge Episode 3 with Melissa McNallan

This week on our Facebook #Emerge series, we speak with local entrepreneur Melissa McNallan about what went on in the entrepreneurial community this week. We also talk about an upcoming improv workshop occurring in Rochester next week and how improv can help to develop vital business and communication skills.

Rochester Home Infusion Seeking Ground in Destination Medical City- Part 2, The Ask

Missed Part 1 of this story? Click here for the first of this two part series on Rochester Home Infusion.

Rochester Home Infusion Founder Joselyn Raymundo. Photo courtesty of Rochester Home Infusion.

Rochester Home Infusion Founder Joselyn Raymundo. Photo courtesty of Rochester Home Infusion.

Rochester Home Infusion (RHI) Founder Joselyn Raymundo and her team strive to provide their patients with the best care possible so they can achieve some sense of normalcy.

“What matters is the patient," she tells her team. "They’re the ones who are sick. They’re the ones who may be having financial difficulties, medical crises, family crises. It touches so many aspects of their lives.”

RHI is currently licensed in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado. Raymundo hopes to soon move into markets in Nebraska, North Dakota, and Michigan to cover seventy percent of patients who travel to Rochester for the Mayo Clinic.

She says RHI has taken the time to understand the patient experience at Mayo and is well poised to deliver that final, positive impression.

“We can augment the Mayo experience. We can collaborate with [Mayo] and deliver something very special. Not just for the patient, but also for Mayo Clinic,”
 she stated.

RHI utilizes an extensive clinical monitoring program to extend medical expertise from the hospital to the home.

“We try to really, truly respect what the patient needs and what the hospital needs,” Raymundo said.

When a Mayo Clinic patient requires an infusion, they are given the option to use the clinic’s Infusion Therapy Center (ITC) or a home infusion service. RHI should be included on a list of in-home providers- alongside giants like CVS, BioFusion, and Option Care- which is then given to the patient.

RHI clean room. Photo courtesty of Rochester Home Infusion.

RHI clean room. Photo courtesty of Rochester Home Infusion.

If RHI is chosen as the provider, Clinical Nurse Manager Kris Gillard arrives at the hospital within an hour to instruct the patient about their medication and how to infuse at home. If the patient lives in Rochester, Gillard would then visit their home at least once a week to assess and monitor recovery with a carefully curated list of questions and measurements. Then, RHI pharmacist Steven Ly follows up with a phone call.

If a patient does not live in Rochester, RHI works with a local nursing agency provider and again supplies the attending nurse with list of questions to ask and measurements to take to ensure that patients are recovering and to address potential relapse as quickly as possible.

“That prevents rehospitalization and ER visits. It’s good, all around, for everybody,” Raymundo explained.

To launch RHI and fill a healthcare gap in southeastern Minnesota, Raymundo took a huge risk in relocating her entire family- three kids and a husband- to Rochester. RHI was the first and only medically-focused tenant in the BioBusiness Center with absolutely no ties to Mayo Clinic.

“Nobody ever asked me to come here. And I didn’t ask anyone’s permission,” she said. Raymundo self-funded the whole business, taking money from no one to launch her vision.

Now, she’s just asking for a fair shot and working to raise awareness that an alternative to the ITC exists in Rochester. She says RHI is not in competition with Mayo; it would be a major success to even get a small fraction of the clinic’s infusion patients.

“ITC is not for everybody. Some patients actually would want to go back to work sooner. Some patients cannot even drive to get there,” she explained.

Unfortunately, RHI does not always get presented to patients as a viable option.

“Awareness is big. Just being given a fair chance. We’re not asking for any special treatment from anybody. We just want to be presented to patients in a way that is objective so they are aware that they have options,” explained Raymundo.

She says that Mayo needs to create a more competitive environment for people following some of their patients, like RHI.

“If they make it competitive, then everybody will be trying to do their best to outdo each other,” she said.

The Destination Medical Center draw pulled Raymundo to Rochester in the first place. However, she says DMC needs local success stories to inspire other entrepreneurs, especially those without ties to Mayo, to pick up and move to Rochester.

She thinks DMC needs a homerun with a large company.

“But guess what? That’s not how it’s built. You need to hit a lot of singles. …You need a lot of people like me to hit the singles. That creates the entrepreneurial environment. And I’m trying to get the double. I’m sprinting for the double but I’m kind of in a pickle,” she said.

Raymundo could easily move her family back to the Twin Cities and commute to Rochester for her business. But she wants to be part of the community, including all the ups and downs.

“Because if you’re part of the community, then you’re invested. And if you’re invested, then you really take it to heart what your community’s trying to establish,” she explained.

Rochester Home Infusion Seeking Ground in Destination Medical City- Part 1, Nuts and Bolts

Photo courtesy of Rochester Home Infusion.

Photo courtesy of Rochester Home Infusion.

Rochester Home Infusion- the only home infusion provider in Rochester, Minn.- brings intravenous (IV) therapies to the patient in the convenience of their home or temporary residence and gets patients back to a normal life as quickly as possible. This four-year-old healthcare startup is revolutionizing in-home patient services in Rochester and augmenting Mayo Clinic care outside of the hospital walls. Now, Founder Joselyn Raymundo says Rochester Home Infusion (RHI) is just asking for an even playing field so they can continue to grow and build upon this city’s strong history of healthcare.

Raymundo herself has a lengthy history of experience in entrepreneurship and just starting something. The Saint Paul native spent several years at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, where she launched both their Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Home Infusion programs. Her vision allowed Children’s to dominate the child-specific home infusion market in the Twin Cities for several years and be a fierce competitor to their main rival, Pediatric Home Services.

Raymundo pioneered the home infusion program at Children’s for eleven years before being courted by Accredo- a Tennessee-based specialty pharmacy- to run their multi-state Midwestern division as well as their home infusion department, called Critical Care Systems.

Rochester Home Infusion Founder Joselyn Raymundo. Photo courtesy of Rochester Home Infusion.

Rochester Home Infusion Founder Joselyn Raymundo. Photo courtesy of Rochester Home Infusion.

After Raymundo ran Critical Care Systems for about a year and a half, Accredo was acquired by Express Scripts, a massive pharmacy benefit management organization based out of Saint Louis. The focus of Express Scripts was much different than her own; Raymundo felt it was a good time to cut ties with the organization and strike out by herself. She dreamed of launching her own home infusion company for several years and decided the time was ripe.

The stint with Accredo had opened Raymundo’s eyes to the entire home infusion market in Minnesota. She realized that southeastern Minnesota was drastically underserved in this regard.

The breadth of this market gap really struck home one night during some 2AM internet market research when Raymundo came across the old Destination Medical Center (DMC) website. DMC is a massive public private partnership to make Rochester, Minn. a global destination for healthcare and wellness. At the time, the site contained a map of all destinations for medical treatment in the United States. Places like Cleveland Clinic, MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins, and Mayo Clinic. She then mapped all home infusion centers within one hour of these medical cities.

“Pretty much every single one of them had at least five, if not eight, home infusion providers,” Raymundo explained.

All except for Rochester.

People who travel to these centers for their first, second, or even third opinions need to take that tailored expertise back home to continue with their work and life. Home infusion centers serve to “extend that excellence of care really from the hospital to the patient’s home, wherever they are.”

To solve this problem, and bring Rochester up-to-speed with other medical destination cities, Raymundo launched Rochester Home Infusion out of the BioBusiness Center in downtown Rochester in late 2013.

Raymundo and her team of pharmacists and clinicians at RHI work with the patient and their physician to create personalized care plans for in-home IV medical treatment. RHI provides common infusion therapies like antibiotics, magnesium balls, immunoglobulin treatment, and home parental nutrition where it’s convenient and comfortable for the patient.

All the medications are prepared in RHI’s state-of-the-art clean room, right here in Rochester. Treatments are packaged into an ambulatory device that works best for the patient- like a backpack, fanny pack, or other small package- so the patient can medicate at home or infuse discreetly at work or during social events- like proms and weddings- so that patients can continue with their lives as normally as possible.

Without a provider like RHI, transplant patients could spend up to four hours, daily, receiving treatment. This includes traveling from a residence- temporary or permanent- in Rochester to Mayo’s Infusion Therapy Center (ITC), parking, checking-in, waiting, and then finally infusing for two hours.

With RHI, patients instead are set up with an infusion device, which they are carefully instructed by a RHI clinical nurse how to care for and use. Patients can then fill the device with their pre-packaged medication, connect to their PICC line, and are quickly ready to infuse their treatment at home or while they go about their daily lives.

“Being in your own home is a critical part of the healing process that gave us a sense of feeling normal again,” explained one RHI patient.

Press Release: Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund Ready to Launch

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Rochester, MN – Join us on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. at the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator (221 1st Avenue SW, Suite 202, Rochester, MN 55902) for the official announcement of the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund.

After months of planning and behind the scenes efforts, the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund LLC is ready for launch. The fund, created by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI), and spearheaded by Journey to Growth (J2G), is funded by a group of 25 angel investors who will help support the growing number of startup companies in the medical and technology fields who have the potential to deliver significant returns. While not geographically limited, the primary investment focus of the fund will be the southeast Minnesota region.

“Angel investors are typically one of the first sources of funding for innovative startups. And these startups may be tomorrow’s large employers of the region.  There are numerous angel funds in the metro area but this is the first one here,” said Xavier Frigola of RAEDI and Secretary/Treasurer of the Fund.

Learn the details and timeline from creation to completion from the RAEDI and J2G teams. David Herbert, one of the fund investors will explain the decision on becoming an angel investor. In addition, hear from long-time local entrepreneur, Al Berning, on the importance of providing investment opportunities like the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund and the impact on successful startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We will have a short program starting at 9 a.m. with refreshments and networking to follow. Public parking is available at the 3rd St Parking Ramp (100 3rd Street SW. Rochester, MN 55902).

Please feel free to share within your network.

 

About Journey To Growth (J2G)

The Journey To Growth Partnership is a 501c3. J2G is a comprehensive five-year strategy coordinated by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce to effectively grow and diversify the economy of the southeast region consisting of the following counties without borders: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha and Winona. For more information on the Journey To Growth Partnership visit www.j2gmn.com and J2G Facebook.

 

About Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (www.raedi.com)

Incorporated in 1985 and headquartered in downtown Rochester, Minnesota, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., (RAEDI) works to encourage local business expansion and new business locations in the Rochester area.  RAEDI’s primary goal is to attract, retain and assist the growth and expansion of base business within the Rochester region. Some of the services provided include financial packaging, business planning, site/location support and business/community advocacy. The 504 Corporation was incorporated under RAEDI in 1990 to provide better access to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) 504 Loan Program. For more information on RAEDI and 504 Corporation visit www.raedi.com , LinkedIn , Facebook , Twitter and www.504corporation.com

Offset Printing and Collider LLC to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

Join the entrepreneurial and small business community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday, August 2nd from 9-10AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space. This month we have two entrepreneurs from Rochester telling their story, and both work out of the same historic building in the downtown area: AJ Montpetit with Offset Printing and Jamie Sundsbak with Collider LLC.

 

About Offset Printing

Offset Printing is a very new business that works with artists and businesses to create and print T-shirts and mugs with both sublimation and screen printing.

Launched in: 2017

Presenter: AJ Montpetit

Industry: Other

About Collider LLC

Collider LLC is a coworking hub for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups in a historic building in downtown Rochester.

Launched: 2016

Presenter: Jamie Sundsbak

Industry: Other/Technology

 

About 1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 132 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.