York County woman's medical venture is "Rise of the Rest" winner
A York County businesswoman who created a software tool that identifies problems with medical devices rose above all of the others in “Rise of the Rest.”
Madris Tomes, founder and CEO of Device Events LLC, was chosen Tuesday from among nine entrepreneurs vying for a $100,000 investment from investor Steve Case, a co-founder of AOL.
Case has described "Rise of the Rest" as an effort to help budding entrepreneurs in middle America, those distant from the traditional tech investment hubs of New York, Silicon Valley and Seattle.
In front of Case, five other judges and roughly 300 spectators at the business-pitch contest at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, Tomes described her device, her target audience, and how the funding would allow her to further market the product and help more people.
After Tomes and the eight other hopefuls were through, Case and the other judges went backstage to confer. They took only a few minutes to decide to invest in Tomes, of Spring Garden Township.
"I’m really glad they understand what it is I’m trying to do," Tomes said after the competition.
Tomes won out over a mix of health, tech, public-safety and educational ventures from across the midstate in the nearly two-hour pitch contest.
She told how she has sold her product to, health plans, researchers, care providers, law firms and insurance companies that insure medical-device companies, and others.
The price for the Device Events software ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on factors like whether the buyer is a nonprofit, Tomes told the Business Journal in an interview in early 2017. The cost includes consulting time from Tomes, along with training and follow-up, she said then.
Tomes earlier had received funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the University Park-based group that provides financial, business and networking assistance for early-stage and established tech firms, she also said.
Ben Franklin officials, who invested in Device Events in July, had urged her to apply for the "Rise of the Rest" competition, Tomes added.
The "Rise of the Rest" contest came at the end of a busy day of visits by Case and others with him to York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties to meet with local startups, entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials to discuss entrepreneurship in Central Pennsylvania.