I want to tell you a story about Michael Ziadeh, CEO of Ezebrush. I have been working with Michael for 1.5 years advising as he developed his product. He is an inventor and a salesman for a big copier company. He would sell and service the machines and had a great love for gears and mechanisms. He encountered a nagging problem as a salesman who wanted to brush his teeth before his sales calls. He recounts, “I hated having to carry my toothbrush and toothpaste in a baggy, it was messy and the public bathrooms were a rather unsanitary place to brush”. He began working on his prototypes 3 years ago. Initially, the design for a toothbrush and toothpaste all contained in a single device seemed impossible. He tried hundreds of designs and finally came up with one. The initial design was a retracting toothbrush that when extended, would automatically apply the toothpaste onto the bristles. The toothpaste was to be refilled through the nozzle tip. I looked at it and thought, Michael, the toothpaste should be in a reloadable cartridge. He agreed and more designing ensued.
Designing the EzeBrush
Perseverance is the key.
He used several designers but they did not understand the complex gear mechanism as well as he did. Each failed to create the new design properly. Michael joined an incubator in Dublin California called i-Gate Innovation Hub and Robot Garden had CAD and 3-D printing available. He proceeded to design the new version with numerous long days and printed designs. He added a toothbrush head that was removable to decrease waste, air vents in the cap to allow for escape of moisture, a 180 degree rotation of the toothbrush head when extended to allow for an unobstructed use of the brush. I commend Michael for his devotion and perseverance. So far after presenting to several angel investment groups, there are no takers.
Focus on Patents.
What happens to EzeBrush claims?
It was a first concern to focus on the patents of the device and we selected Jim Heslin with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rossati (WSGR). Jim was amazing and wonderful, he is a consummate perfectionist and gem of a person. Michael submitted his patents for USA and Asia coverage in March 2013. I had not heard anything about the patents until yesterday. Michael had not told me that 15 of the 16 claims had been denied by the patent office. He said that he cried of 3 days and went into seclusion for several weeks, very depressed. He said that he prayed to God and meditated for guidance. He set his sites on preparing the rebuttal on the denied claims, doing research and showing how his claims were unique and not encompassed in any previous designs. He met with Jim and they prepared the rebuttal and submitted it. Yesterday, Michael received notice that his patent will be accepted and issued.
What is the big deal?
“…toothpaste loyalty is huge”
You may ask, what is the big deal about a new toothbrush? Well let me tell you that the competition for toothpaste loyalty is huge!* In the United States alone $1.5 Billion is spent on toothpaste. America’s favorite toothpaste comes down to either Colgate, which is made by Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL ) , or Crest made by Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ). The competition is not just for toothpaste but brand loyalty. According to Motley Fool, “As New York-based research firm Brand Keys has discovered, brand loyalty, or how attached consumers become to a brand on an emotional level, can play a key role in determining future sales.” The story about Spinbrush tells it the best. Spinbrush** was invented by two Cleveland toy inventors behind Dr. John’s Spinbrush with a $1.5 million investment went on to be sold to #2 toothpaste manufacturer P&G for $475 million.
Now Michael is getting his team ready for a Kickstarter Campaign to begin in early 2015. You can be part of this new stellar company that aims to be the next Google of dental hygiene.
Steve Blank, Serial Entrepreneur; Founder, E.piphany; Professor, UC Berkeley and Stanford Engineering; Author, The Startup Owners Manual
In conversation with Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President of Strategic and Emerging Business Development (SEBT), Microsoft
Join Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur-turned-educator Blank in a lively discussion with Dan’l Lewin of Microsoft. This program will introduce best practices, lessons and tips that have swept the startup world, offering a wealth of proven advice and information for entrepreneurs of all stripes. Hear about a tested and proven Customer Development Process, helping get it right –and how to “get, keep, and grow” customers.
I really enjoyed reading your article. Very well stated and I agree that physicians have the genetics and training to be great guides in healthcare innovation. The unfortunate reality is that currently doctors are working triple time and can’t do both; clinician and startup CEO. They can find great intellectual stimulation from ideation and invention. This is not enough!
Physicians with great ideas need a pathway to protecting the IP, building a team, forming a company, self funding the early phases. They must have financial skin In the game. They should be advised to team up with an experienced team. Great corporate attorneys are a must as is a part time CFO. Determining proper regulatory guidance with FDA, CE mark and reimbursement pathways.
Then consultants to help refine executive summaries, business plans and investor pitches. Raising funding is a full time job! Presenting to Angel investors, VCs or strategic partners.
Exciting but a difficult ride. A doctor can not both be a clinician and a startup CEO. I know because I tried and failed. I sold my clinical practice 6 years ago and have devoted my full time to healthcare innovation and guiding startup CEOs. I am the managing director of http://Venture-Med.com
Comedian Jim Carey narrates this beautiful sequence of Life. I was moved and only wish that all people across our planet could join in a ocean of consciousness for good and peace. Joined in thought and goodwill to extinguish all hate and evil. Joined together to pervade our societies with a blanket of honor, respect, peace and love.
Sky surfing is a type of skydiving in which the skydiver wears a board attached to his or her feet and performs surfing-style aerobatics during freefall. Â The video is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Â If only I could have the ability to have such nerve to jump and fly! Â Sometimes in life, that is exactly what you must do.
1. Two founders are more fundable than one.
2. Incorporate Delaware C corp
3. Authorize 10 M shares of common stock and distribute no more than 4M amongst founders.
4. Keep par value of common stock at $.001 and have founders and early consultants purchase stock. Avoids tax issues.
5. Raise seed capital of up to $1M using convertible notes with a 20% discount on conversion upon your series A round. Founders should capitalize the company using this vehicle also. This mechanism allows a company to raise capital and not have to negotiate a pre-money valuation on an equity raise.
6. Patents and IP placed into the company after the founders buy their stock.
7. Have an experienced law firm.
8. Have a elevator pitch, a 1-2 page executive summary, a 20 slide investor pitch
9. Have experience consultants, shadow CEO, and part-time CFO.
10. Present to accredited investors and angel investment groups.