The Core by Steve Wood: Idaho has the potential to increase med-tech startups

STEVE WOOD, CEO of Zona HealthSeptember 10, 2013 

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Steve Wood

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that starting a business is no easy task. Investment capital, quality employees, and handling growth with limited resources are just a few of the pieces that all must be coordinated into a functioning business entity. A medical technology startup adds the challenge of synchronizing all of these pieces with a changing regulatory environment and a long product qualification process managed by various government agencies. Whether the startup is in Idaho or another state, getting different drugs and medical devices to market takes time, money and expertise.

Zona Health is a medical device company founded in Idaho ( We are tackling the global epidemic of high blood pressure, which currently affects more than1 billion people worldwide. Our Zona Plus product is a handheld isometric therapy device that has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure in clinical trials. We develop and manufacture the product here in Boise and have sold more than 20,000 devices in locations such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, where we have received regulatory approval. Our next major milestone will be completion of our U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved study, which will open the U.S. market to our game-changing hypertension therapy.

Choosing to begin our business in Idaho has a significant effect on our company. We choose Idaho because we live here and like it. However, because Idaho’s med-tech industry is still in its infancy, the network of companies and people that are able to help us grow are harder to find.

Another problem that new medical technology companies have is access to capital and investors. In Idaho we don’t have many experienced medical device or pharmaceutical investors. The investment model is different. It is important that we develop a strong network of investors who understand medical technology.

When we started Zona Health, many potential investors were interested, but only if we would move the company to a known med-tech center like Austin, San Diego, or Raleigh/Durham. Potential investors still ask us these questions.

Many states have some entity that helps companies like ours. In Idaho we have The Core, which is focused on creating a medical technology economy in Idaho and is working to fill these gaps to stimulate the industry in Idaho. By developing extensive relationships with medical technology leaders across Idaho, The Core is working to enhance this network. It’s a public-private partnership, connecting supporting industries with the med-tech environment and acting as a catalyst toward industry and public development.

The Core is helping to establish relationships between medical technology companies and public institutions. Members of The Core are helping by providing advice from their experience and educating potential investors about the value of our industry.

Zona Health is in the business of making people healthier through decreased blood pressure. Our product is sold all over the world, and we choose to live and work in Idaho.

Our participation and contribution in the growing med-tech economy will help promote more jobs that stay in Idaho. The Core is a valued partner in helping us achieve this.

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