While 3D printing technology may have a wide range of applications where it has proven useful, the industry itself is quite limited overall as far as the diversity of those involved with it goes. Unfortunately, the 3D printing industry seems to have followed trends similar to other tech sectors, often leading to more men in the workplace than women. Despite this glaring issue, many female entrepreneurs and makers have managed to find their place in this majority boy’s club, helping to revolutionize the way that women tackle careers in tech.
One of these industry pioneers is Dr. Nina Tandon, the co-founder and CEO of EpiBone, a biomedical tech startup that utilizes 3D bioprinting to grow human bones. Her company’s advanced process may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s actually quite simple. First, EpiBone take a CT scan and create a 3D model from it, which is then CNC milled with animal bone that is cut into the necessary shape of the graft that needs to be implanted in the patient. Finally, fat cells are taken from the patient, isolated, and placed in a bioreactor to integrate with the CNC milled animal bone.
Dr. Tandon seeks to innovative the traditional techniques of reconstructive bone surgery by generating bones from patient-specific stem cells, which EpiBone hopes will reduce the need for multiple surgeries and improve the overall outcome for the patient. Recently, Dr. Tandon and her biomedical startup received a helping hand from a pair of successful businesswomen. Earlier this week, Plum Alley Investments, a private membership started by Deborah Jackson and Andrea Turner Moffit to support promising female entrepreneurs and gender-diverse teams, announced the closing of a $560,000 syndicate in EpiBone.
“I first met Nina 18 months ago in my work on the committee of senior advisors who work with the President and Board of Columbia to direct the University in the field of entrepreneurship. We all know how important our networks are and the opportunity you have when the network is open to both women and men. As a founder of a company and as an investor, I see the momentum and value to more inclusive and robust networks,” said Deborah Jackson, CEO of Plum Alley.
The investment was made alongside other funders, including the Partnership Fund for NYC, Breakout Labs, and other noted angel and institutional investors, which altogether brought in a multi-million dollar capital raise for EpiBone. Plum Alley Investments has made it a point to construct a balanced ecosystem for men and women who value diversity to invest in these types of companies. According to a study recently conducted by Moffit and the Center for Talent Innovation, approximately 90% of women want to invest in companies that promote social well-being.
“We are thrilled to be working with Plum Alley, who recognizes that we not only need to back gender-balanced teams, but also address gender balance at the structural level with investors, to foster a broader, more connected ecosystem of founders and investors,” said Dr. Tandon.
EpiBone has become Plum Alley’s fourth official syndicate thus far. Within their first year in action, the investment firm has deployed around $1.5 million in capital across unconscious bias software, education tech for children, marketplace private investigators, and regenerative medicine. With the support of investors like Jackson and Moffit, Dr. Tandon and EpiBone are poised to expand their bone growth capabilities faster and more efficiently than ever before. Not only will the funding help provide a boost to the startup itself, it also showcases a more diverse industry that includes innovative women on every applicable level, from investor to tech startup founder. Discuss in the EpiBone forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: EpiBone]