Duke Angel members have invested in two additional startups, Vertera Spine and WRIGHT Sleep Company. These are the fourth and fifth investments for the Duke Angel Network, which was launched in June 2015.
Vertera, Inc. (Vertera Spine), is an Atlanta-based medical device company that is addressing the unmet clinical need for improved spinal fusion solutions by developing and commercializing fusion devices using patented porous surface technology. The company has developed a state-of-the-art technology that unites the clinical benefits of PEEK (a common polymer that has been used in spinal implant devices for over a decade) and pore-structured materials. The result is PEEK Scoria™, a proprietary processing method and technology that seamlessly integrates a porous surface with the solid bulk material without compromising the mechanical integrity of the material itself.
“We are honored to have the Duke Angel Network participate in our latest round of financing,” said Chris Lee, President and Co-founder of Vertera Spine. “This round represents a significant milestone for our company as we prepare to launch our COHERE™ Cervical Interbody Device and accelerate the development of our pipeline products that feature the surface porous Scoria technology.”
“Vertera Spine’s experienced and passionate team has developed an exceptional technology,” said John Glushik, Managing Director of the Duke Angel Network. “We are excited to support their innovative approaches to improving clinical outcomes for spine patients.”
“We were very impressed with how efficient the due diligence and investment process was coordinated by the Duke Angel Network,” said Ken Gall, Board Member and Co-founder of Vertera Spine. “We are excited to be adding their expertise, connections, and long-term vision to our company.”
Dr. Gall earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. For more information on Vertera Spine, please visit www.verteraspine.com.
Duke angel members also have invested in Wright Sleep, Co., a New York City-based mattress company that is shaking up the bedding industry with a superior product sold through an e-commerce platform.
Aiming to disrupt a “broken industry,” Dan Hauber launched Wright in 2014, with the intention of offering “the world’s most comfortable mattress.” After two years of testing and 27 prototypes, Hauber believes Wright has done just that with its production of the WRIGHT 1.27 mattress. With four layers of foam, and precisely tuned density and airflow gradients, the mattress ensures perfect alignment and a feeling of weightlessness.
“It’s a true honor to work with the Duke Angel Network as our lead investor in WRIGHT as we launch this new business. Aside from the financial support, this partnership gives us access to a stellar group of advisors with years of valuable, hands-on experience. When I’m facing challenges with recruiting, product development, or marketing, I can rely on the Duke Angel Network to provide guidance and connections to help us chart a path forward. I couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve been given,” said Dan Hauber, CEO and founder of Wright.
“We couldn’t be more excited to back WRIGHT in their efforts to disrupt the mattress and bedding industry. We were impressed by their business and products, and inspired by the passion shown by Dan and the WRIGHT team. They’re truly committed to building better products and to taking care of their customers,” said John Glushik, Managing Director of the Duke Angel Network.
In addition to the lead investment made by the DAN, WRIGHT has received investments from an impressive coalition of former founders and entrepreneurs, including Brian Spaly (Co-founder – Bonobos, Co-founder Trunk Club), John Tucker (Co-founder – Trunk Club), and Courtney & Carter Reum (Co-Founders – Veev).
Mr. Hauber earned a B.S. in Economics from Duke University in 2002. For more information, please visit www.wrightbedding.com.