Brush with success: Dentists win CLT Venture Challenge

GuidePro 3D Start-up: Jennifer Strong, Dr. Fred Thompson, Dr. Paul Crandall and Jason Wandersee

GuidePro 3D Start-up: Jennifer Strong, Dr. Fred Thompson, Dr. Paul Crandall and Jason Wandersee

By Dave Vieser. A medical technology start-up launched by a Cornelius dentist was one of six big winners at the 15th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge finals at the North Carolina Research Campus in April. GuidePro 3D is developing an in-office surgical guide that is made with a 3D printer so dentists can place implants in the most ideal location.

Dr. Paul Crandall, who owns Artisan Dental Care with partner Dr. Fred Thompson, says it’s been an exciting experience for two classmates from dental school

“We have been working on the GuidePro 3D for two-and-a-half years,” said Crandall, a California native. They plan to go to market by October. They recently returned from Portland, Ore. where they met with 30 clinicians who “had an excellent response to the product.”

The idea dates back to 2012 when Crandall and Thompson were classmates. “Fred had been teaching courses in implantology and he and his partner, Jennifer Strong, had noticed intrinsic flaws in how implants were being placed in the dental field,” said Crandall. “It began as long conversations and the synergy quickly moved to the next level as we spent days, then weeks and then months developing our technology and perfecting our system.”

Their decision to pool their talents and resources led to the start of Artisan Dental Care, which occupies about 5,000 square feet—3000 of which could become GuidePro 3D headquarters.

GuidePro 3D technology utilizes models of patients’ teeth which are are scanned with a three-dimensional optical scanner and in-office 3-D printers. “We have a three tiered goal: to increase the confidence of dentists that are placing implants; to improve success rates of implants, and, ultimately, to improve patient comfort both during the implant surgery and after the implants have been restored.”

The current GuidePro team consists of Thompson, who focuses his efforts full-time on GuidePro; Jennifer Strong; and Jason Wandersee, CFO. They hope hope to add an intern this summer; more employees as the business grows.

The Charlotte Venture Fund Challenge has a history of producing and showcasing some of the Southeast’s most successful early-stage companies. In the last three years, over 300 start-up companies entered the competition to present business plans to potential investors and customers, along with a shot at cash prizes.

“The financial prizes, along with the recognition we’ve received for outstanding innovations has been incredible, “Crandall said, noting that they recently received their first issued patent while others are awaiting approval.


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