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Featured Students and Alumni

Erik RobinsonCo-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Sintact Medical Systems, Inc.


“Unless your business has faced something that is truly debilitating, you can still keep going. Find a work-around.”

Erik Robinson received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University in 2012. He was a participant of NUvention: Medical from the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship in addition to gaining a certificate from the Kellogg School of Management. He is a certified Leadership Coach which he received from the Center for Leadership at Northwestern University.

Today, Robinson is the CEO of the company that he co-founded with his partner and friend, Gali Baler. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Sintact Medical Systems continues to offer unique medical solutions to prevent post-operation complications.

Farley Q&A: A Financial Perspective

How do you plan to market your product?

For the most part, we will be doing trade shows, presenting before hospital systems' purchasing and procurement departments, as well as other groups that make purchasing or similar decisions within healthcare.

Have you taken outside investment in your company? If so, how did you get your first funding?

We have taken outside investment in the form of angel investors, non-for-profit groups that assist startups, as well as federal and state grants. Our first funding (non-dilutive grant) came from VentureWell, a not-for-profit group that invests in student-led startups. This grant probably had the most impact on us, since it was what allowed us to get off the ground.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in pitching for financing?

Be honest and genuine: don’t try to inflate or oversell your product with amazing market figures or say that it has the ability to sell in multiple markets and product lines from the very start. In general, don’t overestimate things, and be conservative in your expectations of your and your product’s capabilities. Under-promise and over-deliver is the best way to approach something like this.

What advice do you have for picking partners and investors?

This is a process that will take some time. You want to get to know them, and not always feel like you have to sell yourself and your product each and every time you speak with them. Don’t feel like you have to be in “job interview mode.” Discern if they have faith and trust in you as a person rather than just having a little bit of interest in your product. Often times, they will be investing more in the person behind the product more so than the in technology. I would suggest trial periods and periodic meetings before any agreement is put in place. Don’t ever make a deal with someone who wants immediate payment without first asking questions to find out more about your company. If they truly stand behind you, they will seem like they are more intent on pursuing your success rather than filling their own pockets.

Who do you look to for mentoring or coaching and advice?

I look to people who will respond to my inquiries and emails, take time to meet with me, and those that I feel I can trust using my intuition. In general, I look to those who will take the initiative to contact me. Those people tend to be the ones who are genuine and nice enough to want to work collaboratively with me.


To learn more about Erik Robinson and Sintact Medical Systems, click here to read the first half of our interview.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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