VC Partner as Sounding Board


Salient_BoxSalient Surgical Technologies, Inc.

Founded by Jay Schmelter of RiverVest® in 1999
Acquired by Medtronic, Inc. in August of 2011
Portsmouth, NH


“To have a trusted advisor — someone I can count on no matter how difficult the conversation? That’s worth its weight in gold! Jay is my sounding board. Because of Jay’s steady, thoughtful and deliberate approach, we have consistently managed to explore options, tackle problems and ultimately achieve better results.”

—Joe Army, CEO of Salient Surgical Technologies, Inc.


Experience, steady leadership, a willingness to drive change, and a deep understanding of the growing pains of a start-up — these are a few of the benefits CEO Joe Army cites when discussing the role of Salient’s Chairman of the Board Jay Schmelter, who is also a managing director of RiverVest.

“How often does a CEO get to use the chairman of the board as a true sounding board —someone to turn to for thoughtful, deliberate support?” asks Army. “That’s what I count on from Jay. He has stuck with Salient through thick and through thin. I’ve come to trust him and value his judgment.”

Early Days
The core technology for Salient Surgical was licensed from Medtronic, Inc. Schmelter worked for nearly a year to secure this license, which led to his formation of the company in 1999.

The First Bump: Initial Clinical Failure
Transcollation™, as the technology is branded today, is the transformation of fibrous collagen using a proprietary combination of saline and radio frequency energy to seal tissue and stop bleeding during surgery. The technology failed to be effective in the clinical indication for which it was initially developed. But the company quickly shifted gears to refocus on products for surgical oncology, and later for orthopedic and spine indications.

Growing Pains
With any startup company, obstacles are to be expected. During such periods, a CEO may experience “a lot of noise and anxiety,” as Army puts it. “My job as a leader is to strip all that away. To have a trusted advisor — someone I can count on no matter how difficult the conversation? That’s worth its weight in gold!” says Army. With Schmelter as his sounding board, Army has maneuvered through many obstacles, including raising additional capital and optimizing the field sales organization.

Promising Future
In early 2007, RiverVest teamed with Salient’s largest investor, Arnerich Massena & Associates, Inc., to procure the capital necessary to navigate Salient’s most difficult period. Change was required, including tightening the purse strings, but this capital, coupled with Army’s leadership, has positioned the company to thrive.

Today, Salient is experiencing rapid revenue growth, which it is reinvesting in its sales force and product development capabilities. Transcollation™ technology has been used in more than 200,000 surgical procedures, and the company is poised to capitalize on the tremendous potential of the advanced energy market.


Salient Surgical Technologies, Inc. is a medical technology company that develops and markets innovative tools designed to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of medical care. The company’s proprietary Transcollation™ technology is designed to deliver economic value to hospitals and simplify surgery by providing surgeons the ability to significantly reduce blood loss in a broad range of procedures. Salient’s Aquamantys™ System uses Transcollation™ technology to help surgeons improve patient outcomes for orthopedic reconstruction, spinal fusion and solid organ resection procedures. To date, Transcollation™ technology has been used in over 200,000 surgical procedures.

Update
Salient Surgical Technologies, Inc. was acquired by Medtronic, Inc. in August 2011 for $525 million.