Leveraging the latest advances in medical technology to bring patients better orthotic devices faster than ever before
Param Shah is the co-founder and CEO of Fusiform Medical Devices. Fusiform is a medical technology startup that seeks to revolutionize orthotics—instruments, such as leg braces, that provide skeletal and muscular support. Fusiform’s approach combines 3D modeling with order tracking software to give customers custom-fabricated, durable orthotics faster than ever before. Earlier this year, the company was one of six chosen for Accelerate Baltimore’s incubator program. A Johns Hopkins University alumnus, Param also founded the Lotus Life Foundation: a nonprofit that offers medical intervention and education for children living with disabilities in rural India.
OFFIT KURMAN: Tell us about the early days of starting the company. How did your education Johns Hopkins come into play?
PARAM SHAH: Starting Fusiform, Alex and I spent three to four months researching the industry, starting at the ground level, cold-calling clinics to essentially ask them “Can we spend time in your clinic? Can we see how these devices are made?” A good three to four months went by where we just studied the whole subject, and at that point, what we realized is that Johns Hopkins was a fantastic environment for this sort of thing. One thing that really resonates with me about Johns Hopkins is that if you put in the work and you show people that you’re worth it, they’ll invest everything in you. What I mean by “invest everything,” is it’s not only on the funding and the money level—it’s more on the level of they give you their professors. The professors put their all into advising you: they tell you where to go, they teach you how to implement these sorts of solutions. From there, we were already in a very good environment to start this sort of thing. Besides, you’ve just got to think about the students at Johns Hopkins. Each of them is brilliant in their own right, and I’m proud to say that every one of our team members is a Johns Hopkins student—undergrad, graduate, or an alumnus. They’re probably as good as any of the fellows out there in the industry. So, having that environment, having the ability to create that sort of team, and then getting those outlets of ETC and Abell Foundation—there’s people that can see a student team and say, “Despite having an entire other life of being a student, we know that we can take a leap of faith on them and trust them and allow them to basically utilize funding and resources to achieve what they want to do.”
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