RhinoSystems Inc. hopes to take the discomfort out of nasal irrigation with its "high-tech neti pot."
Led by former two-term Congressman Martin Hoke (R-Ohio), Rhino is gearing up for a December or January 2011 release of a second-generation version of its irrigation device, the Navage–a combination of the words "nasal" and "lavage."
Thus far the company has funded operations with an angel round it raised last year, for an unspecified amount that Hoke allowed was greater than $1 million. Going forward, he hopes to fund RhinoSystems on revenues, avoiding more dilutive funding.
The new product launch will coincide with an aggressive consumer marketing campaign for the Navage. So far the device, which has been on the market since July 2009, has been pushed only via the Internet, but the company plans an expensive TV ad campaign. Hoke hopes the advertising makes the product so popular that retailers begin knocking on his door, clamoring to stock the $50 device on their shelves.
While Hoke acknowledges that nasal irrigation isn’t the sexiest business in the world, his decision to enter the market stems from personal experience. He’s suffered from sinus infections on and off for years, and decided to try irrigation a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend. While he liked the results from a traditional neti pot, a ceramic teapot-looking device that’s used to force salt water into one nostril and out the other, the user experience wasn’t exactly enjoyable.
"It’s messy and it’s got a high yuck factor, and it also can be quite uncomfortable," Hoke said.
Most irrigation devices push fluid through the nasal cavity, but the Navage uses a pump to depressurize the lower of its two containers, pulling the irrigation fluid through the nasal cavity. Hoke says that eliminates any feeling of pressure in the nose.
"We make it convenient and easy and a much more pleasant event for users," he said.
Here’s a video of the device in action: