Arkansas Entrepreneurs Stay Optimistic in Tough Economy

by Tre Baker  on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008 4:22 pm  

The luncheon speaker was Josh Quittner, Time magazine's consumer technology editor-at-large, who gave insights on marketplace trends. He also talked about where Arkansas is headed in its efforts to become an emerging growth economy in the new century.

Medical Innovations

Seven Arkansas companies seeking venture capital made presentations. Among them was Dr. Michael Zweifler of Accupal of Maumelle.

Zweifler, a Little Rock dentist, told the conference that the preconception of pain potential patients feared in scheduling dental appointments had caused an avoidance rate of 40 percent nationwide.

"I could put the nicest crown on a patient, but it's the painful experience of getting the injection that they remember," Zweifler said.

To remove the stigma of pain from his patients' visits, Zweifler developed the Accupal, a small handheld device powered by a triple-A battery that would remove the pain caused by injections to the palatal tissue on the roof a patient's mouth.

The Accupal vibrates the tissue, stimulating the nerves and stopping the pain from reaching the brain.

Zweifler formed a small business to manufacture and distribute the Accupal devices with three partners.

The Arkansas-based company manufactures the kit and sells its product to medical professionals through trade shows and the Internet. Dentists in the United States and 12 countries have paid the retail price of $479, almost ten times what it costs Accupal to manufacture and sell the device.

Of 350 kits sold, Zweifler says only three have been returned. Zweifler said his goals for the product include being picked up by a national distributor and possibly a merger with a larger company.



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