Dr. Shane Matt
AnatoMotion is a medical device startup based in Austin, TX. It's introductory technology is a groundbreaking solution at the confluence of dentistry and sleep medicine. We help people see their teeth in 3D correlated with live data, like a sleep study, to improve many aspects of dentistry, including potentially life threatening sleep apnea. Our belief is that we can radially transform the industry and help improve healthcare in a way that has not previously been possible.
HTA - Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to create AnatoMotion?
AnatoMotion came about through a series of ideas to digitize the motion of 3D dental models. The inspiration came from several sources. The primary source was my dentist grandfather. His death from sleep apnea stemmed my drive to see the teeth live during a sleep study. We have not had an easy way to analyze jaw motion. It has been a pain in my own dental practice. The final aha! moment came watching my son play games on an iPhone as he tilted the phone all around and the graphics responded to the motion. I wondered what was in that phone and if I could find a way to get it on the teeth.
HTA - Have you had any unexpected experiences through launching AnatoMotion?
A few years ago I was introduced to the CEO of Freescale Semiconductor through a friend in the music business. He connected me with Freescale's Discovery Lab to determine if their components would work for the specifications I had developed.
Through that research I was asked to consult on another project in the lab- the SAM Car, with Arrow Electronics, for quadriplegic Indy car driver Sam Schmidt. My involvement with that project was in the ergonomic design of the mouthpiece used to drive the car. I had already organized digital 3D scans of his teeth with a colleague in Las Vegas. A while later I randomly ran into Sam, at Texas Motor Speedway where I was a guest of the pre-race band, Reckless Kelly. He told me he liked the mouthpiece better than the other system Arrow had developed. The Discovery Lab at Freescale was shuttered once NXP came in, but that worked out even better as we were able to convince the director and an engineering intern to join our team!
HTA - How are you recruiting and developing the talent at AnatoMotion?
The current AnatoMotion team came through relationships at Freescale Semiconductor and my dental practice, Authentic Smiles. Having a dental practice in downtown Austin put me in a position to meet and screen individuals as our relationships grew.
HTA - What is the secret to attracting investors?
A captive audience! Most of our seed investment came from clients at my dental practice and dental colleagues. I didn’t intend for it to work out as it did, but I have great relationships and mutual interests with so many of them.
I have found that building genuine relationships, having a great idea, and demonstrating a dedicated work ethic are critical to attracting investors.
HTA - What challenges and opportunities lie ahead?
The current challenges are finding the right investors for the next stage of development and the right team members. The greatest opportunities that lie ahead are probably greater than we currently realize. The technical issues we have had to overcome are applicable to many fields. SXSW this year featured several sessions with NASA, which is an area we would like to explore.
HTA - Are you constantly seeking new investors? Or do you consider that part of your job done for now?
We are only in our second round of fund raising. We were able to close out our first seed round ($500K) in May 2016 and focused on establishing a quality system and developing the proof of concept for demonstration. Here a year later we are full force in seeking investors with a second seed round open.
HTA - Are you involved in any partnerships to help scale development?
We have several promising leads to validate our technology in various dental applications. The Dean of LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans is a world leader in craniofacial pain research who is anxious to begin using the AnatoMotion system. We are also in talks with Delta Dental Insurance Company investment fund which could have multifaceted benefits. Exploration with other dental and healthcare leaders are currently underway.
HTA - Are there any civic groups or volunteer organizations that you support?
I came to Austin from New Orleans in 1999. Soon after, I learned how difficult it was becoming for musicians to keep up with the rising costs of living here. I became involved with the early stages of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), conceived and executive produced 3 volumes of Holiday HAAM Jam Albums featuring local musicians.
I also host an annual event called Mouth by MouthWest during a festival by a similar name. All funds raised have been passed on to HAAM. I am also on the board of directors for the Capital Area Dental Foundation (CADF) where we organize and manage philanthropic dental care for Central Texans in need.