Category: Public funding - client case
Author: Erik Flyback
From innovative start-up to a listed company – a growth journey for Surgical Science
Surgical Science Sweden is one of Excedea’s long-term clients in Sweden. In this blog post, we will describe how our relationship has developed from the start-up phase to Surgical Science Sweden being a listed company, and how Excedea is kept on its toes to deliver long-term value.
Disruptive innovation in training for surgeons
Surgical Science Sweden was founded in 1995 to develop new training tools for surgeons. At that time, training of surgeons was based on the mentor ship model where young surgeons trained alongside more experienced surgeons, which was a time consuming and expensive method.
Inspired by the training of pilots, Surgical Science Sweden’s founders believed that novice surgeons could be trained in critical skills and procedures before entering the operating room. By combining clinical expertise and software engineering, Surgical Science has proven that real-time simulations create safer surgeons – faster than any other training method. The company develops both hardware and software for simulations on minimal-invasive surgeries. This supports surgeons in learning the basic operating skills, but also the advanced procedures such as hysterectomy and cholecystectomy. Today, Surgical Science develops the most advanced simulators on the market and has over 700 installations worldwide.
New investors or public funding for accelerated growth?
Although sitting on an exceptional idea, Surgical Science faced numerous challenges in the early days. Developing simulations on minimal-invasive surgery and validating the technology requires extensive resources of time and money. In this stage of a start-up’s development, every company’s founders have to decide if they want to take in new capital and let go of some of the control or to stick it out and use other means to fund the business.
The founders decided on focusing on public funding programs to fund the research and business development, i.e. to apply for grants from government agencies rather than to take in new capital. In most cases, the funding agencies cover 50% of the project costs.
Hence, the relationship between Excedea and Surgical Science was born. The strategy to focus on public funding gave Surgical Science access to funding without the need to dilute the shares, and to still maintain full control of the company.
A number of projects – from founding to listed company
The first collaboration between Excedea and Surgical Science Sweden happened in 2009 when a new training module for hysterectomy was to be developed. Since then, the team at Excedea has been the company’s partner in lowering the financial risk in their development projects. By matching Surgical Science’s projects with available funding programs in Sweden, the Nordics, and the EU, Excedea has delivered more than ten grants for development projects, ranging from advanced R&D to international business development.
The collaboration has led to a set-up of a subsidiary in the US and Surgical Science has used public funding to develop sales in two markets in South East Asia. For the company’s research, Excedea has assisted in the funding of the development of simulations for Hysterectomy and Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) Lobectomy, as well as the development of the haptic force feedback hardware for the simulator, which allows the student to feel the instruments movements during the simulation procedure. When Surgical Science Sweden started their global expansion through the development of a distributor network, Excedea was given the opportunity to help with the development of a profitable distributor program. Excedea identified public funding to facilitate feasibility studies in China and the USA, and to transfer knowledge and technology to the selected distributors in Vietnam and India. The latest project is an application to the EU Commission’s business development program Eurostars, which is done in collaboration with a South Korean partner.
“Excedea has been an invaluable partner for Surgical Science through the years”, says Roland Bengtsson, Chairman at Surgical Science Sweden.
“We have worked with Excedea on a number of R&D and business development projects. We find it very easy to work with the team at Excedea. All we need to do is present our plans and they take care of the rest, which helps us plan and prioritize our projects with very little time and resources from our organization. So far, Excedea has helped us to secure over one million Euros in funding”.
IPO to finance global scaling
In 2017, Surgical Science underwent an initial public offering and the company is now listed on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm First North. The IPO was made to finance the global scaling of the company’s operations. With new investors with industrial interest, Surgical Science has gone from a start-up to an organization that competes on the highest international level.
“Our organization was ready to scale the operations to be a global player, and we choose the IPO to attract investors with industrial interest. An IPO requires full transparency of our organization, which is also required to compete on the highest global level. From the start, the ambition has been to be a global competitor on the highest level. The IPO has given us the resources to speed up our global scaling process and to strengthen our R&D. We are now ready to be a global leader in our industry”, says Roland Bengtsson.
Trust and friendship as a base of partnership
Through the years a relationship built on trust and friendship between the companies has formed. Currently, Excedea is running a project that will facilitate Surgical Science’s global expansion and take them from being technological leaders to be the major player in their field.
“Our partnership with Surgical Science has been a major milestone in the development of the Swedish operations”, says Henrik Dagmalm, CEO and partner at Excedea Sweden. “Being able to partner with a high-tech company from start-up to be a listed company is a great honour. We have learned so much from the collaboration with Surgical Science that transfers to the rest of our business. Working with Surgical Science is always a good time and the team at Excedea is always looking to find new ways to get to work with them”.
Want to learn more about what we have done for our clients? Have a look at the rest of our references from the field here.
To learn more about Surgical Science Sweden, have a look here.
For more information on whether your company can be successful in getting public funding contact Henrik Dagmalm, Partner and CEO for Excedea Sweden:+46 709 88 66 67