PODCAST: Myomo Inc. CEO Paul Gudonis on becoming the First Reg A+ IPO to list on NYSE MKT
Myomo Inc is a medical robotics company based in Cambridge, MT is a developer of next-generation orthotics that include “powered braces” that support impaired hands and arms. The company has raised over US$20 million via Regulation A+, which, for those who don’t know, enables companies like Myomo to raise millions of dollars from individual investors without giving away the company to an investment bank. They will become the first company to list on the NYSE MKT via IPO using Regulation A+ as its primary financing mechanism.
James West: Paul, thanks for joining us today.
Paul Gudonis: Well, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you.
James West: Paul, could we start with an overview? What’s the value proposition for investors in Myomo?
Paul Gudonis: Myomo is an opportunity for investors to participate in the IPO of a growth company that is addressing a large, unmet need. We’re the only company that is providing these powered-arm braces called myoelectric orthotics, that enable paralyzed individuals to regain use of their arms and hands. So we’ve had a controlled introduction successfully for the past few years, and now we’re doing this IPO to raise capital to really scale the business, not only in the US but globally.
James West: Sure. We’ll touch on the IPO and your method of financing in a moment, but first of all, what is it about your orthotics that makes them different from the existing options?
Paul Gudonis: Our company spun out of MIT and is the only devices for the arms and hands that’s driven off of the body’s own neurological signals, called the myoelectric orthosis. It’s the only one of its type in the marketplace. It’s patent-protected, it’s been demonstrated to work on hundreds of individuals, and so really it’s a proprietary technology with 70 percent gross margins that offers investors a very good upside opportunity here.
James West: What’s the size of the market, both in America and globally?
Paul Gudonis: Well, from our published reports, there are approximately 3 million individuals in the United States with some form of upper limb paralysis. Now, not all those individuals are good candidates for the MyoPro; if someone is really injured, they can’t get out of bed, that’s not a good candidate. But about a quarter of those are, which is about 750,000 individuals, and when you put a dollar value on that, that’s about a $10 billion market opportunity just in the United States. And it’s growing every year, because there are 800,000 strokes a year; about a quarter million of those individuals left with partial paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries…so it’s a large market in the US, and we estimate it’s about 3x globally, because the EU – Europe is about the same size as the US, you’ve got a million stroke survivors in Japan. So we think globally, we’re addressing with our devices, a $30 billion market opportunity.
James West: Interesting. So now, you raised capital and you’re coming to market in what the Boston Globe calls ‘the people’s IPO’ and you did that through what is called Reg A+ in the SEC jargon. Can you give us an overview of exactly what Reg A+ is, and how it differentiates you from the normal path to going IPO?
Paul Gudonis: So, to this point we’ve raised over $20 million in capital from individual investors, family offices, Mountain Group Capital Venture Fund, and to scale the company, we’re now going public through what the Jobs Act that Congress passed a few years ago has described as a Regulation A+ or Reg A+ IPO. The difference is that the general public can also participate in these IPOs. So it’s been coined sort of the people’s IPO, where Main Street meets Wall Street, because traditional IPOs have been restricted to institutions or high net worth individuals that are favoured clients of the banks. In our case, anyone can participate in our IPO offering, which is underway right now.
We’ve filed all the required forms with the SEC, Securities Exchange Commission; those have been approved, and we’re now on our IPO road show, and we’re going to close in the near future and raise $15 million to grow the business.
James West: Okay. So now, what are the risks to investors if they invest in a company that has raised their money through this Reg A+?
Paul Gudonis: Well, in our case, we expect to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange MKT, so we’ll actually be the first of the Reg A companies that has been approved for a listing subject to meeting the New York Stock Exchange requirements upon closing the IPO. So we have to meet all of the governance requirements, quarterly financial statements, annual statements and reports required by the New York Stock Exchange.
Really, the risks of the business, which are fully explained in our Form 1-A filing, which is available at the Sec.gov website, but overall, investors take the risks of being owners of a public company, but here one with large upside opportunity.
James West: Sure. So you’re basically – you have to follow all the rules that all the other companies do?
Paul Gudonis: Well, we have to follow the rules of the New York Stock Exchange. So we, for example, have four out of our five Board members are independent Directors. They independently staff the audit, the compensation, the nominating governance committee. You have to have PCAOB-qualified auditors in Markham do our financial statements. Investors should take some comfort that we’re meeting the very stringent requirements of the New York Stock Exchange with this listing.
James West: Okay. So now what’s the advantage, besides obviously access for investors who would not otherwise have access to financings like this – what is the advantage for the company?
Paul Gudonis: So it enables us to access a larger number of investors, as you pointed out, but also, there’s been no quiet period. In a traditional what’s called an S-1 IPO, the company cannot actively promote its IPO to the investment community. In our case, because of the Reg A+ rules that Congress approved, we’ve been able to have videos go out there – in fact, one went viral, it had a million views in 5 days. I’ve done webinars, I’m doing investment presentations, meetings with investors. So it gives me a much broader access to a larger number of investors who may be interested in participating in the IPO.
James West: And how do you bring the message of the availability of the investment, to your audience?
Paul Gudonis: So our investment bank is TriPoint Global Equities, and they’ve invested in an online platform called BANQ.co. That’s available on the internet, so investors can go to that site, see our presentation, they can read and download all the SEC forms, they can see the video, and from there, they can place an order or indicate an interest and someone in our retail broker/dealer syndicate will follow up with them to take their order if they wish to invest in the company.
James West: Okay. Let’s return to the business and the outlook for Myomo now. What does your financial projections tell us about the future of the company?
Paul Gudonis: Well, we have not put out financial projections not our SEC filings, but I can discuss our past results. Our revenues crossed $1 million for the first time this past year. You know, strong growth; 90 percent in product sales just during this controlled roll-out. So during this last few years, we’ve had clinical research published, we’ve been approved by the VA and now 20 VA hospitals have been fitting patients with our devices, we’ve been working with selected centres of excellence we’ve been establishing around the country that work with the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, other major rehab hospitals…and so now we’re going to be using the proceeds of the IPO to invest in sales and marketing, basically increase the number of centres of excellence around the country.
We are expanding globally with Ottobock. Ottobock is a billion dollar German prosthetics company which is the leader in this field; we fit into their product line, into a hole in their product line, so we’re working with them to launch in Germany in the middle of this year. We’re planning on entering the Canadian market here as soon as we get regulatory approval there as well, and they operate in 50 countries, so lots of headroom to go build a significant company here based on the size of this large unmet need of individuals with paralysis.
James West: Okay. And so are these orthotic devices regulated by the FDA at all?
Paul Gudonis: Yes, they are registered with the FDA as a Class II, 510K exempt low-risk device. So they have been commercially available for several years already; hundreds have been shipped. And then when we expand into Europe, we’re getting what’s called the CE mark, which is the equivalent regulatory approval up to enter the European market. We will get that in mid-2017 here.
James West: Okay, and what about the competitive landscape? Who do you have to compete against?
Paul Gudonis: Well, at this time, because of the patent protection that we have, we have the only myo-electrically controlled orthotic devices in the marketplace. So for myself, I am also an investor in the company, and our other investors, we have a real white space to go tackle here. Big unmet need, only devices. There could be competitors in the future, they might try some other technologies that may not violate our patents, but we have a strong and growing patent portfolio to protect our position as the only company providing these devices that are driven off the body’s own neurological signals.
James West: Okay. Now, what are the stumbling blocks? What is it that keeps you awake at night in executing your company’s business plan?
Paul Gudonis: Whenever you look for rapid growth, you’ve got to be able to hire really good people, train them well. We have to engage clinicians, so you know, our team tends to be very clinically oriented; they educate physicians, occupational therapists in how the device works, how to properly assess a candidate. We train orthotics and prosthetics practices, getting them on board; we work with the insurance companies, the payers, to get reimbursement through these orthotics and prosthetics practices. So those are all the things we have to execute very well in order to really scale this business.
I bring 30 years of growing new technology businesses to this, so we have a very experienced team of technology executives and entrepreneurs as well as health care professionals, building this business with me.
J.W.; Interesting. All right, Paul, let’s leave it there. I’ll come back to you in a quarter’s time or so and see how you’ve progressed. Thank you for your time today.
Paul Gudonis: Thank you, James.