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Design Mentor, five engineers based in Pelham, N.H. who had previously worked together developing innovative medical devices, was working on another innovation−a heart pump that more-perfectly mimics the human heart. To fund this effort, they simultaneously offered their engineering services to other medical device companies and enjoyed tremendous early success when they rapidly engineered a prototype solution for a major client.
The single-company contract work grew and enabled Design Mentor to hire more staff, but became a problem when the client unexpectedly cut the program. Never having had to hustle for contract work, Design Mentor struggled to maintain staff through the ups and downs and was unable to get bank financing due to lack of stability. VFG was available to give the company a loan allowing time for Design Mentor to improve business management skills for contract work, which in turn allowed them to keep pursuing their internal technology.
Why VFG made this investment
Design Mentor was a great company to work for and was poised to do great things for other medical device companies in New England. Its heart pump also offered breakthrough technology that could create even more jobs in New Hampshire.
Since VFG’s investment in 2004, Design Mentor has developed a variety of medical devices for numerous clients. Its heart pump technology is now being tested by researchers at Dartmouth Medical School.
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