By Brandon Glenn
DUBLIN, Ohio — Startup Bridgehead Solutions LLC, which aims to help foreign device firms enter the U.S. market, could be headed to Ohio, but it’s going to take $2 million to $3 million to ensure the company finds its way to the Buckeye state.
Armed with the promise of a tax credit from the state, Bridgehead is “leaning strongly” towards locating in Dublin, said Will Shain, the company’s newly minted president. But it’s far from definite.
“If [investors from] Boston or Chicago say, ‘Here’s $2-3 million,’ it’s going to be hard to say no,” Shain said.
Bridgehead has been pitching its proposal to venture capitalists, angel investors and investment bankers and will likely end up locating wherever its majority investors say it should, according to Shain.
The company aims to assemble a team that could put together the sales, marketing and distribution channels that a foreign firm needs to get its device in the hands of U.S. customers. Bridgehead would seek outside counsel to help the companies navigate regulatory matters.
The company’s strategy revolves around what Shain calls “PerformanceClusters,” which involves selling similar products to the same end users. For example, one sales rep would represent three different orthopedic-device makers, building up expertise and contacts in that space, with the goal of selling products from all three device makers to the same client.
Seven-employee Bridgehead needs the $2 million to $3 million upfront investment simply to pay salaries and get the business started. “Everybody ‘s been investing their time and personal fortunes trying to get this thing moving,” Shain said.
The company has two employees in Israel and one in Japan scouting out medical technologies. A number of its executives, including chairman Robert Schlegel, attended Ohio State University. The company also favors Ohio due to its connections through economic development groups TechColumbus and BioOhio, Shain said.
The Ohio Dept. of Development announced Jan. 25 that Bridgehead had been awarded a six-year, 45-percent tax credit. Exercising the agreement would require the company to operate in Dublin for nine years, according to ODOD. Bridgehead pledged to create 25 jobs over three years, with the average wage and benefits for each position at around $45 per hour, ODOD said. But that’s all dependent on the company securing the startup funding it needs.