By Nancy Dahlberg
In 2009, Neocis, a healthcare robotics company focused on the dental surgical market, was just an idea in Alon Mozes’ brain. In 2012 it proved to be a fundable idea, with a well-known robotics pioneer, Fred Moll, seeding the concept, a first step in a long road through R&D, FDA clearance and commercialization. Mozes founded the company with Juan Salcedo, a colleague from his Mako Surgical days, and by 2013, the Neocis team of two was hiring its first employee.
Their first prototype of what would become Yomi, its robotic dental surgical platform, made with scrap metal, looks nothing like today’s product, but it is proudly displayed in their offices as a reminder of their humble beginnings.
“It’s been scrapped for parts in a few areas, but it’s still a fun element from our history,” Mozes said.
Today, this Neocis team is not too scrappy. Neocis has 75 employees – double what it was about a year ago — and just look at Yomi now (pictured at top)! The company is selling Yomi systems across the country.
“We’ve ramped up our commercial efforts in the past year. Selling is going well. We have a commercial team distributed throughout the country placing a lot of systems,” Mozes said.
Because of high demand, the team has expanded its sales reach into a broader variety of surgical specialties, he added. “Oral surgeons, periodontists and general dentists are finding a lot of value in our system.”
To support its commercialization, Neocis recently raised $30 million from institutional investors Mithril Capital Management and Norwest Venture Partners as well as Moll and other angels. That’s on top of more than $20 million raised in earlier rounds. “The funding will help us expand our commercial operations and also go toward additional R&D and engineering efforts making Yomi as easy to use as possible while expanding indications potentially into other procedures.”
About a third of the workforce of 75 is in the field selling and supporting sales. The other two-thirds are in Miami, supporting manufacturing and supply chain, engineering, operations, quality, regulatory and administration.
“We are aggressively hiring across the board,” Mozes said. “I always love to get more engineers on board — so we need software and hardware engineers. We have a couple of leadership positions open, in sales and marketing, and a number of field positions open for clinical sales reps.”
Mozes grew up in South Florida, and after getting his bachelor’s and master’s in engineering at MIT, he got his start in Silicon Valley working for an innovator in special effects for sports broadcasts.
In 2004, he returned to Miami to study biomedical engineering at the University of Miami, earning his Ph.D. a few years later. In 2005, Mozes became one of the first 20 employees at Mako Surgical, working there through Mako’s IPO.
Mozes and Salcedo are part of a network of former Mako employees who have gone on to form and grow other South Florida companies, including Magic Leap and OrthoSensor.
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