Keriann Greenhalgh was researching healing chronic wounds for her Ph.D. in organic chemistry when she discovered something much more practical for the everyday user: an elastic polymer technology that resembled a second skin.
Company: KeriCure Inc., Wesley Chapel
Principals: Keriann Greenhalgh, CEO and Chairman
The big idea: Keriann Greenhalgh was researching healing chronic wounds for her Ph.D. in organic chemistry when she discovered something much more practical for the everyday user: an elastic polymer technology that resembled a second skin.
Building a lab in her garage, Greenhalgh started experimenting with the polymer technology as a liquid protectant that would prevent infection for scrapes, cuts and burns.
The need for this kind of product hit close to home for Greenhalgh, whose husband several years earlier underwent surgery for a minor cut between his thumb and forefinger that became infected.
With a background in gaining clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, Greenhalgh knew the amount of effort necessary to gain proper approvals. The FDA cleared KeriCure's skin protectant products in May, and Greenhalgh is anxiously awaiting another FDA clearance for her liquid bandage.
Greenhalgh launched KeriCure last August with $500,000 in funding from family and friends, and a $300,000 match from the state of Florida.
Partnering with broker Jim Upchurch, KeriCure products are now carried in more than 900 Publix stores, 200 Kroger stores, and 50 specialty stores in the Southeast. They also receive online orders through Amazon. The company is currently in talks with Sweetbay, Winn Dixie, CVS and Target. Keeping the brand regional to start is necessary for growth, Greenhalgh believes.
Although Greenhalgh declined to share revenue, from June to October the company had more than 70,000 orders, including 60,000 orders from Publix and Kroger. KeriCure now has five full-time employees and eight research and development interns that operate out of the University of South Florida's chemistry lab. Orders are fulfilled through Smart Science Labs and the MacDonald Training Center.
KeriCure's biggest challenge is marketing and brand recognition, according to Greenhalgh. She's recently started a Pandora radio campaign, and is evaluating television, print and online ads.