Venture Spotlight: Vas MedTech

Founders: Edmund Grey Wessels and Chris K. Meunier 

The Africa Higher Education Health Collaborative, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, will be welcoming the Health Entrepreneurship (HENT) African Impact Challenge’s second cohort for their upcoming visit to Toronto, where they will continue their implementation phase through activities targeting business development, expanding entrepreneurial networks, and facilitating exposure to potential investors. 

The University of Toronto’s Health Collaborative Internal Communications Working Group caught up with the ventures to learn more about the origins of their companies, what they’ve learned to date, and what is coming up next… 

Vas MedTech

Recognizing the significant lack of mobile and accessible uterine health screenings in women’s healthcare, Edmund Grey Wessels and Chris K. Meunier founded Vas MedTech and developed their flagship product FlexiGyn, an innovative device designed to facilitate efficient and less invasive screenings.

Traditional hysteroscopy, often performed with anesthesia because of the pain it causes, presents barriers such as high costs, discomfort, and limited accessibility. This issue is particularly pressing in the U.S., where a shortage of 22,000 Obstetricians and Gynecologists is anticipated by 2050, and in South Africa, where there are only 1,900 OB/GYNs serving 19 million women of reproductive and post-menopausal age. These factors contribute to significant delays in diagnosis and treatment, with the average wait time for an OB/GYN appointment in the U.S. now over 30 days, and 6 – 10 months in South Africa. 

FlexiGyn aims to address these critical challenges by offering a portable, user-guided, and minimally invasive diagnostic camera that can operate in less specialized settings. This innovation is not only cost-effective, but also enhances accessibility. Further, it can be used in a wide range of settings, from urban clinics to remote rural areas. FlexiGyn enables community primary healthcare providers, such as nurses and general practitioners, to perform initial screenings and seamlessly consult with gynecologists for further diagnosis and referrals. FlexiGyn aims to make comprehensive women’s health care more accessible and convenient than ever before, thus addressing a global disparity in women’s health services. 

What is the accomplishment to date that your team is most proud of?  
“Our team is immensely proud of reaching Technology Readiness Level 5 (TRL-5) with FlexiGyn, a significant milestone that underscores our dedication to rigorous innovation and user-centric design. This achievement reflects the success of our human factor studies and the production of four advanced prototypes, each iteration bringing us closer to perfecting a device that meets the real-world needs of healthcare providers and patients. The positive outcomes from these usability studies and the enthusiastic reception from the medical community validate our approach and reinforce our commitment. This progress not only moves us toward broader deployment but also cements our position as leaders in transforming women’s healthcare technology.” .

If you could give advice to another founder getting started, what would that be?  

“To any founder embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, our advice would be to stay relentlessly focused on solving real problems that matter deeply to your target audience. Invest time in understanding the nuances of the challenges you aim to tackle and build a solution that not only addresses these issues but also enhances the quality of life for your users. Cultivate resilience and adaptability, as the path of innovation is often strewn with unexpected hurdles and setbacks. Finally, surround yourself with a dedicated team that shares your vision and passion, as their support will be invaluable in navigating the complexities of turning your vision into reality.”

Vas MedTech is currently in an exciting phase of funding aimed at transforming their advanced prototype into a manufacturable version ready for extensive pilot programs with their partners. Their focus is on securing investments that not only support the technical enhancements of FlexiGyn but also strengthen their operational capabilities to launch effectively in target markets.  By successfully closing this funding round, the venture will maintain its momentum and begin deploying pilot programs that will showcase the transformative potential of FlexiGyn in enhancing women’s healthcare globally. 

You can learn more about Vas MedTech

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