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April 9, 2009

French VC Firms, Crédit Agricole Private Equity and Innoven Partnaires lead $11 Million Investment Round for SpineGuard

A French startup, SpineGuard announced that it received a $11 Million in funding round led by two French vc firms, Crédit Agricole and Innoven Partnaires.  Along with this large funding round, SpineGuard also announced that it acquired the PediGuard unit from SpineVision.  A new company, SpineGuard was founded earlier this year by Pierre Jérôme and Stephanie Bette.  The two founders both worked as executives of Medtronic Sofamor-Danek and SpineVision.   The main purpose of SpineGuard is to establish the PediGuard unit as a new standard of care for the pedicle screw placement in spinal surgery.  PediGuard has been approved by both the FDA in the United States and the CE in Europe. 

Pedicle screws were used in around 1 million spinal surgeries last year and according to studies, pedicle screws can have a misplacement rating as high as 40%, which can cause serious problems for patients who have had this surgery, including paralysis.   According to SpineGuard’s cofounder and CEO, Pierre Jérôme, pedicle screw placement is the biggest safety concern in spinal surgery.  With over 7,000 surgeries performed in 20 different countries using the PediGuard unit, PediGuard is rapidly emerging into the most reasonable solution to the pedicle screw placement safety issues.

As far as Stephanie Bette, SpineGuard’s CTO, cofounder, and general manager of US operations, is concerned; the company is committed to establishing PediGuard as the standard of care concerning the pedicle screw placement in spinal surgeries.   SpineGuard has a team of 15 people experienced in this field in the company’s offices in both San Francisco and Paris. 

What is also noteworthy for SpineGuard is that several publications in the spinal surgery field have published studies that validate the use of the PediGuard unit for pedicle screw placements.  Armed with this information, SpineGuard plans to strongly ramp up its sales in the United States and also wants to introduce the PediGuard unit to Latin American markets as well. 

According to Thomas Balland, Investment Director at Innoven Partnaires, Innoven looks forward to working together with SpineGuard to help it achieve its long term financial and commercial goals.  Further more, Jean-Michel Piemont, partner at Plus Finance (one of SpineGuards investors), SpineGuard’s product and the exceptional management team played an important role in Plus Finance to invest in the company.  Along with this funding, Alexia Perouse, Jean-Michel Piemont, and Thomas Balland will also join SpineGuard’s board of directors.

The core strategy of Crédit Agricole Private Equity is to collaborate with all their partners and the vc firm’s investments mainly focus on capital risks, mezzanine funding, co-investments, and infrastructure.  Crédit Agricole is also a share holder in over 250 companies and aims to be a multi-specialist player in the private equity market.  Crédit Agricole’s primary goal is to provide investors with the highest quality management.

Innoven Partnaires was founded in 1998 and is a leading vc firm in Europe.  Innoven is managed by an experienced team that has the knowledge in international business.  Innoven helps strong management teams, who have innovative technologies that have the potential to lead in the life sciences, information and communication technology, and energy industry markets.  As of now, Innoven Partnaires manages near 200 Million EUR ($263,400,000) in assets.