Archive for April, 2009

EPIC Ventures Q1 2009 Newsletter

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009




EPIC Venture Fund First Quarter 2009 Newsletter

EPIC Ventures was formed in 1994 in partnership with Zions Bank. Since inception, the EPIC Team has invested in over 80 early-stage companies and delivered significant returns to investors. EPIC focuses exclusively on working with driven entrepreneurs to build successful and lasting companies. EPIC now manages four funds, equaling $240 million of capital under management.

New Visions for Fixing Health Care Putting Your Tax Dollars to Work
(CNN Money on Medsphere) 

President Barack Obama and Congress have pledged to spend billions of dollars on health care technology as part of the new economic stimulus package. Industry experts expect a big chunk to be doled out for electronic recordkeeping software, or computerized systems that allow doctors to maintain and share a full account of a patient’s health. While more than a dozen firms have been selling such technology for years, fewer than 15% of the nation’s hospitals have made the investment. One major inhibitor: The expense and incompatibility of different kinds of records management systems. Enter Medsphere, an 87-person open-source software firm whose products cost about one-third of what its competitors charge. The company’s application, OpenVista, is a commercialized version of open-source software developed by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs nearly 15 years ago. In 2002, the founders of Medsphere downloaded the code for the VA’s software, which is available through the Freedom of Information Act. More…

Q&A with Mike Doyle, President and CEO of Medsphere Systems Corporation

Q: Briefly describe Medsphere’s product.

A: Medsphere’s flagship solution is OpenVista, the commercialized version of the VistA electronic health record (EHR) system, which was created and developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Credited with helping turn the VA into a national leader in quality patient care, VistA is the result of an $8.5 Billion dollar investment by US taxpayers and the largest successfully deployed EHR on the planet.

OpenVista technology uses open source code available from the VA through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Medsphere implements and supports the technology and works collaboratively on updates, enhancements and modifications with the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, a community of healthcare facilities, developers, value-added resellers, clinicians and other interested parties dedicated to improving patient care through open source tools.

Q: How does Medsphere uniquely stand out among their competition?

A: Medsphere’s customers appreciate our unique pricing model, which enables them to pay for a comprehensive EHR from their operating budget without upfront costs or massive back-end balloon payments. Our customers are also not locked into a contract with Medsphere over the long term. We give them the code to the system and the freedom to choose other development and support options, knowing full well that we have to provide exemplary service and support to keep their business.

With OpenVista, hospitals are able to implement faster and more affordably. The Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics organization last year recognized Midland Memorial Hospital, one of Midland’s customers, as a Stage 6 healthcare facility. The designation by HIMSS Analytics recognizes facilities that have implemented healthcare IT solutions and achieved established levels of automated patient care and clinical process improvement.

Midland Memorial Hospital was able to achieve this stage for about one-third the cost ($7 million versus an average of $22 million) and in less than half the time (three years versus seven years) required by other vendors whose clients earned Stage 6 status.

Q: What in your background enabled you to have the skills you needed to develop Medsphere’s product?

A: I joined Medsphere in October 2007 after serving as president and CEO of Advantedge Healthcare Solutions, a New York Software as a Service (SaaS) outsourced physician-billing company backed by private equity investors. From 2000 to 2004, I was chairman and CEO of Salesnet, one of three pioneering global enterprise software providers that established the SaaS customer relationship market. Earlier in my career, I founded and served as CEO of The Standish Care Company, a pioneer in the assisted living movement in the U.S. I led a successful 1992 IPO that was the first in the industry. I started my career as a hospital administrator.

Q: What has helped Medsphere progress the most in terms of getting the product off the ground and into the market?

A: The healthcare industry was literally handcuffed when Medsphere was launched in 2002. Proprietary vendors filled the landscape with expensive electronic health records that were not interoperable. For decades, proprietary vendors like McKesson and Cerner have paralyzed health information technology by charging $22 million on average for full EHR implementation. Medsphere can and will change the market’s dynamics because of the availability of code from the VA through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the open source business model. With so much time and so many tax dollars poured into VistA, Medsphere is able to cut costs by using that developed code and enhancing it for the commercial hospital without having to engage in the mammoth investment of time and energy ground-up development requires. Similarly, the open source model enables Medsphere to create a parallel development and support structure by releasing the code for OpenVista into the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem []. In this way, OpenVista users can tap the community for enhancements and support, lowering Medsphere’s costs and, hence, the price of the overall solution.

Q: Why did you choose to partner with Epic Ventures?

A: Led by visionary individuals, EPIC Ventures has a great team and enjoys a reputation for choosing forward thinking, disruptive companies. We’re proud to be among those companies. In 2003, Medsphere received from EPIC one of its first venture capital investments to fund our ‘proof-of-concept’ phase. We have worked side by side since with them since then and have benefited greatly from the experience they bring to the development and growth processes. A quick review of the group they’ve assembled reveals such a diversity of experience and talent, and that’s something we value very much in creating a market—open source healthcare IT—that is brand new.

Managing Director Nick Efstratis, in particular, is very insightful. He has been a great partner and has remained steadfast in his support even when the company faced challenges. That long-term devotion and steadiness says a great deal about the character of Nick and EPIC in general. As successful as EPIC has been, my goal is to have Medsphere go down in EPIC’s history books as its most successful exit.

EPIC Ventures 15th Annual Partners’ Meeting at Deer Valley

EPIC Ventures held another successful annual partners’ meeting at Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah.  Investors, advisors, and portfolio CEOs received updates on EPIC’s portfolio companies and their respective industries, and also enjoyed networking and world class skiing.


EPIC Ventures partnered with Trident Capital to invest in HyTrust Inc., an early-stage start-up that is focused on virtualization platform security and compliance.

EPIC invested in Aspen Avionics during a Series C follow on financing. Aspen Avionics is a manufacturer of drop-in multi-function device displays for light aircrafts, and continues to receive recognition for their success with their affordable, innovative glass cockpit systems.

Porfolio Company Highlights

Everspin Technologies Extends Sales Distribution Network to Handle Increased Customer Design Activity

Everspin Technologies, the global leader in MRAM and integrated magnetic products, has greatly expanded its worldwide sales network in response to the growing interest in MRAM and the rapid increase in customer design activity incorporating its products. To ensure dedicated, focused resources and real-time support for growing customer bases in Europe, Japan and North America, Everspin now has sales offices in London, Tokyo, Chandler, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo. The company has plans to add sales offices in China and other developing geographic markets over the coming months. More…

TriCipher Secures $12M in Venture Capital

TriCipher, the on-demand identity assurance and management company, just announced a $12 million round of venture funding, further validating the company’s innovative technology that secures and simplifies access to online applications. This marks TriCipher’s third round of funding and will help extend the tremendous success the business has seen from its newly introduced cloud-based myOneLogin solution. More…

Aspen Avionics PFD Wins FLYING Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award 2008

Flying’s editors get together every fall to go over the developments of the previous year in order to find a few truly outstanding achievements. Along the way they consider only those aircraft, avionics, pilot services and equipment that have been fully certified and have entered service during the year. Great things often come from a single innovative concept, and in the case of Aspen Avionics, that big idea was to create self-contained retrofit flat-panel primary flight and multifunction displays that could be installed without major surgery to the airplane’s panel. More…

EPIC Team Highlights

Stephanie Spong was chosen to serve on the board of the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association. The Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association represents the interests of venture capitalists and venture capital-backed companies in its region. It is the mission of the RMVCA to be a leading venture capital association with the strategic intent of making its region one of the top markets for venture activity. Stephanie also serves on the boards of the New Mexico Venture Capital Association, New Mexico Angels, and ASU Technopolis .

Katie Szczepaniak Rice completed the Executive MBA program at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. EPIC congratulates Katie on her graduation, and  her hard work and efforts towards this great accomplishment. Prior to receiving her MBA, Katie earned a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


For more EPIC news, visit our new website .
Where We’ve Been

January 22-24 – University Venture Fund Private Equity Summit (Todd, Kent, Nick, Spencer, Michael, and Stephanie as a panelist)

February 4-5 – Wayne Brown Institute’s Investors Choice Conference (Todd, Bob)

February 6-7 – EPIC Ventures 15th Annual Partners’ Meeting (EPIC Team)

February 11 – Santa Fe Gathering of Angels (Stephanie)

February 18 – VAST Luncheon (Todd)

February 19 – New Mexico Angels Dinner (Katie)

February 25 – Invest Southwest (Stephanie)

March 11 – Stoel Rives Inovations Awards (Todd)

March 23-24 – Global New Energy Summit (Stephanie, Katie as a panelist)

View video of Katie’s panel on venture/finance in alternative energy here.

March 25-26 – Thunderbird Conference (Nick)

March 30 – Governor’s Economic Conference (Todd)

News/Press Articles

Advent Solar Named Finalist of Prestigious 2009 EE Times ACE Award for Most Innovative Renewable Energy Technology

Advent Solar, Inc., a leading innovator of next generation silicon-based solar technology, announced it was named a finalist in TechInsight’s EE Times fifth Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards in the “Most Innovative Renewable Energy Technology” category. Advent Solar was selected for this honor based on its development of Ventura™ Technology, a comprehensive cell-to-module architecture that is designed to maximize energy efficiency while reducing costs. More…

Verdatum and NetDocuments Integrate Products, Adding Digital Dictation Support to Document Management Software

NetDocuments, a leader in collaborative document management services, and Verdatum, the award winning digital dictation workflow system created exclusively for lawyers and law firms, today announced the integration of their products as part of a new strategic partnership. The new combined offering allows NetDocuments users to leverage the easy, secure Web-centric Software as a Service (SaaS) they use to manage their content by adding digital dictation workflow support from Verdatum. This integration adds digital dictation capabilities within the security and familiarity of a document management system relied upon by the thousands of NetDocuments users worldwide. More…

Ingeo and Visionet Systems Announce Partnership to Expand eRecording Services

Ingeo Systems, Inc., the nation’s number one provider of electronic document recording technology, and Visionet Systems, a provider of products, management and process consulting and business process outsourcing to the mortgage and insurance industries, announced an integration partnership that streamlines and automates transaction-based processes associated with the electronic recording of real estate documents. More…

Feed Management Systems® Announces the Release of Feed Tags™ Version 1.7

Feed Management Systems, an award-winning solutions provider to the worldwide commercial feed industry, announced today the release of Feed Tags™ Version 1.7. Feed Tags is the industry standard solution providing business logic in a feed management software solution that ensures the highest compliance for labeling. Awarded the “Food Safety Innovation Award” by the American Feed Industry Association, this product is a versatile label generator that evaluates medications in feed formulas for accuracy and compliance with AAFCO/CFIA labeling requirements and inclusion restrictions.Feed Management Systems continues to improve on its award-winning Feed Tags solution with the release of Version 1.7 version incorporating enhancements and new features to meet the compliance and technology needs of commercial feed manufacturers. More…

Phil Boyer Joins Aspen Avionics’ Board of Directors

Aspen Avionics, maker of the critically-acclaimed Evolution Flight Display System, announced that Phil Boyer, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) for 18 years until his recent retirement, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Boyer becomes Aspen’s first outside Director, joining six investors and company executives already on the Board. As a Director, Mr. Boyer will help guide the company through its next stages of growth. More…

MaxID Unveils Handheld Device with Lumidigm Fingerprint Reader

MaxID, a rugged mobile computer company, announced the integration of Lumidigm’s fingerprint reader into the iDLMax, a handheld identity management device. The iDLMax is the first commercially-available mobile computing device to incorporate Lumidigm’s superior multispectral imaging technology. The Lumidigm Venus fingerprint reader embodies a significant breakthrough in optical imaging technology. Based on patented multispectral biometrics, the robust Lumidigm sensor is uniquely capable of delivering high-quality images in the most difficult and demanding physical environments. This characteristic is particularly important in mobile applications because handheld devices are regularly used in conditions where other biometric technologies fail. More…

Medsphere Introduces EHR Certification Courses with Launch of Training University

Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of Open Source healthcare IT solutions, announced the successful launch of Medsphere University. This specialized training and certification program is Medsphere’s initial foray into training collaborative business partners to implement OpenVista, the company’s flagship electronic health record (EHR) solution. After a pre-screening for background and domain experience, sixteen consultants from maxIT, a leading healthcare information technology (IT) consulting company based in Westfield, Ind., were invited to participate in Medsphere University training. MaxIT is Medsphere’s first certified implementation partner. The incorporation of certified partners allows Medsphere to scale faster and meet customer expectations. More…

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