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Week 4 – The Amazing Race – Business Owner Edition

Hope all is going well. I would like to start out this week’s blog by passing along our condolences to the family of one of our investors, Martin (Marty) Rabinowitz, who passed away at the age of 91 this week in New York. I first met Marty through our business advisors Harold Theran and Tom Barrette (Tom has since joined the BioSurfaces team). Marty, who was a tax attorney, real estate developer, investor and philanthropist, was approached by Harold (a personal friend of his) and Tom to take a look at this small life science company in Ashland, Massachusetts and the interesting technology that they were developing. Marty, who was not involved in the life science sector, trusted Harold’s recommendation and wanted to learn what this company was all about.


Marty took the time to meet with me on a personal visit he was making to Boston. I was so impressed by how much he learned about the company and his passion for wanting to potentially make a difference in trying to help advance our technology to help patients someday, which was likely the philanthropist in him. For those of our readers who have not had the opportunity to receive an investment, there is no better feeling as an inventor and a co-founder than to have someone believe that what you are working on can really matter and that they are willing to risk losing their investment if it does not work. This only drives me that much harder to make it succeed. Marty was also instrumental in helping us establish the business structure of the company post-investment as well as working with us on a valuation for the company, which was the tax attorney and investor parts of him. Marty, more than all of the things he accomplished in his life, was a good man and there is no bigger legacy than you can leave on this earth than that. BioSurfaces will miss Marty’s good nature and his belief that BioSurfaces is meant to do big things. We will continue to push forward to make his belief a reality.


This past month has been spent running a race that seems to have no end and that the questions and challenges continue to get harder and harder. It is more like running an obstacle course than a marathon. Nothing is straight forward in this race. Over the past couple of years, Tina and I started to watch the television show The Amazing Race. For those not familiar with the show, teams of two people race through different countries trying to find clues and solve the challenge, all while racing against each other so they are not eliminated from the next leg of the race. Business owners feel like they are constantly running The Amazing Race, with most owners having similar concerns to one another. Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure (no sarcasm meant here) of speaking with several small business owners in different areas. Tina and I make it a point to speak with small business owners that we come in contact with because they truly understand what goes into keeping the lights on. Every person we spoke with talked about the long hours, the challenge of finding good team members, the stress of keeping the business going and how they would exit the business at the right time. It is amazing that when you think you are alone, so many business owners have the exact same feelings. Several of the business owners I spoke with have been in business for 50+ years, which is amazing when I think that we are about to celebrate 20 years next month. That being said, the average biotech only lasts less than 5 years so we have truly been blessed to make it this long. There is also a good share of luck, determination (stubbornness) and timing.


I think the hardest thing that happens in the television show The Amazing Race and the Business Owner Edition is that it is tough to enjoy the ride when you are in the middle of it. For the television show, they are in these amazing locations and the scenery is spectacular, but their focus is on winning the race so you can forget to stop for a few seconds to take it all in. The same is true in the Business Owner Edition. We are so focused on making sure that we keep the lights on, continue to keep the team intact and happy, try to make contacts to expand the opportunities, keep the customers coming back, etc. that we also forget to take a few seconds to enjoy successes because we know that these same issues come right back around. I sort of equate it to a professional athlete (not that I would ever be confused for one). They spend their time so engaged in honing and performing their craft that they don’t get to really appreciate it until they are done. I am hoping that, for good or for bad, that someday Tina and I will be able to look back on this time and realize what we were able to accomplish. It has been a ride and it will be good to recap (Tina’s favorite thing after we get back from a trip) what these years have meant, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you predict or hope. I’ve always said that we’ve done something that many people have not been willing to do; take a risk and try to start something. There will never be any regrets.


As for new firsts, I am excited to announce that BioSurfaces will be attending our FIRST conference in May as a vendor focused on 3D tissue models (https://3d-tissuemodels.com/) where we will be displaying our in vitro research tools (IVRT) products that feature our Bio-Spun™ scaffold technology. This is a big undertaking for the team as we look to expand our presence in this space. We will be providing more information as the meeting draws near and look forward to meeting with current and potentially new customers.


Thanks again for reading the blog and supporting our technology! Next Friday, April 7th, #FactualFriday will be posted followed by the next Monthly Spin-Off on April 13t0h. We will also have a special webcast celebrating our 20th anniversary, which we are excited to share.


Matt

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