Memphis creative entrepreneurs share their stories, in their own words (March 2016)

Kayla Rodriguez
Chief operating officer of SweetBio

The leadership of SweetBio likewise thinks a lot about ingredients – about the ingredients of success for their startup, which specializes in wound-healing biomaterials with a dental focus, and on the actual ingredients it uses to do its work.

The venture’s first product is a guided tissue/bone regeneration membrane used in oral surgeries that uses honey to help increase gingival healing and decrease bacteria colonization. It’s based on three years of development, according to the company.

Rodriguez, a co-founder of the company, says its decision to participate in the ZeroTo510 accelerator sped up the company’s progress by at least a year.

“We’ve been reflecting on our decision to build SweetBio in Memphis,” she said, recalling the team’s choice between here and San Francisco.

It’s been busy ever since. The company announced at the end of 2015, for example, that it had raised more than $1 million in the last six months.

In the next few months, it will be completing testing to support a submission to the FDA and will be spending a significant amount of time, Rodriguez says, learning from dental clinicians in both private practice and universities as the company continues to shape its go-to-market strategy.

A few weeks ago, a SweetBio team was in Chicago for a dental conference and networked with clinicians and distributors. In recent days, the company also visited its membrane manufacturer in Texas, conducting a full run with them while becoming familiar with their facilities.

“Our success is driven by the Memphis ecosystem we call the trifecta,” Rodriguez said. “We’re surrounded by medical device and academic giants, we’re uplifted by organizations like EPIcenter, Bioworks, Start Co., the (Greater Memphis Chamber), and many more.

“We expect to be on the market in 2017, and after speaking with over 100 dental clinicians, we can’t wait to get our product in their hands.”