Vestagen Protective Technologies, Inc. was a 2014 Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
Founded in 2009, Vestagen is determined to continue developing and marketing high performance textile for healthcare and other applications.
“When I started Vestagen, it began after talking to a Doctro friend of mine about this technology,” Ben Favret said. “I started doing research about what the need was, and started doing the work to develop the technology. I built the business plan, got the funding and we were off to the show.”
Vestagen’s mission is simple, protect health care workers, their patients and their families. “We have the first and only health care worker apparel, cleared by the FDA, that is shown to reduce blood, urine, vomit, fecal matter as well as the Superbug MRSA on the clothing both at the beginning of a nurses shift so it doesn’t go from patient, to patient to patient all day long as well as the end of the shift meaning it doesn’t go home to their families,” he said.
Taking the Industry by Storm
While minimizing the skin contact of body fluids, Vestagen’s fabric also provides breathability, comfort and durability for dedicated healthcare workers across the nation. Notably, they were the first and only active barrier product to earn an exclusive endorsement of the American Hospital Association.
Favret also believes that research and technology separates Vestagen from similar companies in the market. “The research and evidence we have documenting the safety and effectiveness of our products is a big differentiator and the technology itself separates our products,” he said.
“There’s a lot of antimicrobial products out there but none of them are proven to work. We’ve done extensive research that has been published in medical literature as well as validated by the Food and Drug Administration on the safety and effectiveness of our product.”
For the future, Favret knows the sky’s the limit for where Vestagen will be appearing.
“I think we’ve had great success in the healthcare arena, we have had some major health systems that have adopted our technology and we continue to expand that. We’re also looking at clothing for food service, food manufacturing and food processing, where workers get exposed to microorganisms and can cross contaminate other surfaces. I think that is another logical progression for the technology.”
Like any entrepreneur, Favret faced his handful of challenges along the way in growing his business. “Probably one of the bigger challenges is balancing the demands of manufacturing product. The skew counts and the cash consumption that inventory takes has probably been the biggest challenge for us,” he said.
“Every hospital wants a different color or a different style and it makes the skews blow up really quick. So managing that and getting the right sizes and colors and styles – it can be challenging for sure.”
Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
In 2016, Vestagen was honored by GrowFL for their notable growth and innovation, making them a company “worth watching.”
“As a Start Up, the recognition helped validate and motivate our internal team who had taken some risk to join a new venture,” Favret said. “ It made them feel they were part of something special. It also helped with recruiting new talent by providing credibility.”
Since then, a few things have propelled Vestagen in moving forward. Favret said they focused on selling to hospital systems and eventually landing both Mercy Health and Northwell Health. “Our success with those health systems lead to the Health Systems investing in Vestagen, he said.
Secondly, they were able to get FDA 510-K clearance for their VESTEX apparel, proven to significantly diminish the amount of microorganism on clothing. “The unique performance of VESTEX resulted in the FDA creating a new product category for VESTEX as the first and only apparel show to protect healthcare workers from blood, body fluids as well as reduce the acquisition and retention of the Super-Bug MRSA on the garment.”
As for young entrepreneurs following in Favret’s footsteps, he advises to begin with the end in sight.
“Know where you want to take the company. The history of all businesses is the same – either you go broke or you get bought. So build a company from the beginning with the acquire in mind so you can maximize your value.”