Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Tony Ruben wins Pitch Madness for Blue Halo BioMedical 


November 1, 2019

Pitch Madness winner Tony Ruben, CEO of Blue Halo (l) with Edward Reybitz, director of Pitch Madness.

For most, talk of urinary catheterization, is an uncomfortable topic, but Tony Ruben, CEO of Blue Halo BioMedical, talks about his start-up's disruptive, innovative and life-altering new catheter with ease. In fact, Ruben speaks so effectively about his company's Blue Halo Coil Catheter, that he won Pitch Madness, the pitch competition held at Synapse Orlando on Oct. 18. Pitch Madness has start-up leaders' face-off in competition for investment capital, forcing founders to think on their feet, answering unprepared questions in one minute or less.

Nearly 100 companies from across Florida applied to compete in Pitch Madness; earlier this month the Winter Park resident was pleasantly surprised to learn Blue Halo was chosen as one of the six finalists. During the multi-round competition, panelists from leading Florida and national Venture Capital firms asked questions encompassing leadership style, vision and business model in a timed "debate" format. Tyler Keller, founder and CEO of Pitch Madness notes, "We identified six awesome founders from a stacked talent pool within Central Florida to compete at Pitch Madness, our Road to the Summit series. Tony Ruben stayed cool and calm under pressure, providing a clear vision for how he'd navigate various business situations to take the top prize!"

"We were looking for a highly professional and competitive pitch competition to test the efficacy of our story, and Pitch Madness proved the perfect event," comments Ruben who joined the company in early 2019 as its first CEO. Blue Halo was formed for the sole purpose of commercializing the Blue Halo Coil Catheter, a revolutionary and proprietary design that, in clinical testing, reduced catheter-associated infection (CAUTI) rates by over 80 percent. "We are very excited to be solving a real, significant and dangerous problem. CAUTI causes 13,000 deaths annually in the U.S.; by comparison 39,000 Americans are killed in traffic fatalities," Ruben stated.

Ruben immediately recognized the need for a 'safe catheter,' recalling how his own father unnecessarily suffered from a catheter-associated infection while being treated for a medical condition. "It is so exciting to be leading a company where success is measured by the betterment of life, in line with Judaism's core belief that one's health supersedes all." Once Ruben started talking to potential suppliers, funders and partners about Blue Halo, CAUTI stories from these stakeholders "proved" the problem and the "market enthusiasm" for a solution. Focus groups with urologists also reinforced the excitement for Blue Halo's catheter. "Beyond reducing infections, Blue Halo's product allows users to live a normal life, engaging in activities like, bowling, dancing and even sex!" commented Dr. Gaines Hammond, board certified urologist and inventor of the Blue Halo Coil Catheter.

Users are pleased as well because it is placed inside the body and is completely internal, with no embarrassing bag.

In addition to validating Blue Halo's business model at Pitch Madness, Tony won investment capital for his company. "While about 75 percent complete with our capital raising," the CEO notes "it is always nice to have the additional 'stamp of approval' that comes with an investment from a highly-respected venture capital investment firm." Conference attendee, David Brenner, shared his impression of the Blue Halo Catheter, commenting, "This groundbreaking product has the potential to disrupt the entire field of urology."


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