Forest Devices is a medical device startup located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We are the creators of SignalNED, the first stroke and Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO) detection device that can potentially be used by first responders to triage patients directly to the right hospital.
By re-purposing established technology, our team is developing a novel and objective stroke detection method. It would enable early and fast triage so stroke patients go to the appropriate level of care. The gold-standard of treatments are time-limited and early interventions increase effectiveness. With missed interventions annually due to inadequate stroke detection and triage, we are determined to become the new standard of care.
All of our team members have been impacted by stroke to friends or family members. At Forest Devices, we will change the way the world approaches stroke detection.
Laura Lyons brings 20 years of executive leadership experience as the company’s CEO. Her experience spans large and small companies, including Roche, Beckman Coulter, Inogen, and SonarMed. In her most recent position as Vice President of Clinical, Quality, and Regulatory at SonarMed, she was an integral part of the team that led the company from start-up to acquisition by a major medical device company. During that tenure, Laura helped raise over $12 million in capital, identified uses of the patented technology and worked successfully with both US and EU regulators to bring innovative new technology to the market.
Dan received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University.
Carmelo R. Montalvo
Carmelo received his M.S. in Healthcare Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Steve has spent over half of his 15 years experience in strategy, market analysis, project analysis, and operations in the Life Sciences industry.
Suzy received her B.S. in Biotechnology from Penn State University and has more than 15 years in managing large-scale healthcare projects.
Alex has a decade of experience building full-stack software systems. He previously co-founded a photo printing and advertising technology company called Flag.
Board of Directors
Ashok Rao is a decorated Serial Entrepreneur with five successful high technology start-ups of his own. Currently, he is an Angel Investor, investing in several start-ups, mentoring their founders, and serving on their boards. He has led and contributed to the successful exit of several startups. From 2014-2017, Ashok was the Chairman of Adhesys Medical, Inc. That year, he led the sale and acquisition of Adhesys to Grunenthal in April 2017. He now serves as the Chairman of their Advisory Board. In addition, Rao is the Chairman of BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and Houston, TX and is the Principal Investor & Chairman of SiNode Systems.
Chantell Preston oversees the operations of multimillion-dollar healthcare facilities throughout Texas and Nevada as CEO of Facilities Management Group (FMG). She has built and successfully exited several companies. Previously, as co-founder and Chief Development Officer of Mentis Neuro Health, Chantell drove increased market share from competitors, which led to an acquisition by a mid-market Private Equity firm in 2015. Chantell received the 2021 Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GHWCC) Breakthrough Women Award recognizing her achievements as an aspiring leader. Among her various investment activities, she is a Lead Partner for the Active Aging & Longevity Fund, of Portfolia Inc.
David Motley, M.B.A.
Mr. Motley is Co-founder and General Partner at BlueTree Venture Fund, a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm investing in med-tech and IT companies at the Series B stage. He is also Managing Director at Headwaters SC, a mid-cap investment banking firm that provides sell side and buy side transaction support, advisory services and growth capital to business-owning families. Previously, Mr. Motley held the position of Vice President and General Manager at Covidien, Inc. Surgical Devices, where his principal responsibilities were franchise management, portfolio management and strategy for its $2 billion portfoli of surgical products.
Tom Bumgardner, M.B.A.
Tom Bumgardner is currently CEO of GeoH, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that provides an end-to-end practice management solution for home health care. Tom most recently served as the CEO of SonarMed, where he and Laura Lyons took the medical device company from the brink of bankruptcy to a successful acquisition by global giant Medtronic in 2020. Tom previously served as Vice President of Operations for a corporate start-up funded by MASCO. Tom played Varsity Football at Texas A&M and was elected as Special Teams Captain.
Giovanni Magni is a Venture Partner at Elevate Capital. He is a veteran Senior Executive, C-Suite Officer, and Board Member with over 40 years of success in biotech, life sciences, pharma, medical diagnostics, and hospitals. In his executive career, Giovanni has held leadership positions at Bio-Rad Laboratories (EVP and Chief Strategy Officer, EVP International Sales and Marketing); Bio-Rad Laboratories Srl (Southern Europe GM); Baxter Diagnostics; Chemetron Chimica S.p.a.; and Clinica del Lavoro. He has been responsible for developing and executing a company's long-range global strategic plans and objectives, overseeing analysis of trends and developments, and formulating strategy for growth and profitability of product lines and geographies.
Ian Colrain, Ph.D.
Ian Colrain, PhD is President of SRI Biosciences, one of the largest research organizations in the United States. SRI partners with organizations worldwide to bring new medicines and devices to market through basic research, technology discovery, preclinical development and clinical translation. Ian is an internationally recognized leader in sleep research using EEG and evoked potentials. He has published over 300 articles, chapters, and abstracts, and he is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Compumedics Pty. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of EEG-based diagnostic equipment. He has led the technical diligence for venture investments in numerous neurology companies.He was the clinical senior research fellow in the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Center and held tenured faculty appointments at Auckland University in New Zealand and The University of Melbourne in Australia where he is currently a professorial fellow. He served as a reserve officer in the Australian Army Psychology Corps and earned the Australian Defence Medal.
Megan Shaw serves as Managing Director, Life Sciences at Innovation Works (IW) and AlphaLab Health, where she works to build the life sciences ecosystem in Southwestern Pennsylvania, identify promising startups, and mentor entrepreneurs. Megan has 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in the life sciences, especially in business strategy, M&A, fundraising and product development. Most recently, she led projects for the NIH’s RADx program to accelerate COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Megan has worked with several early-stage companies where she held a variety of leadership roles. She was VP of Marketing and Business Development at HemoSonics, a point of care diagnostics company. Megan led the commercial leadership team through product development, fundraising, and commercialization, resulting in a successful acquisition by Diagnostica Stago.
Steve Fleck, M.B.A.
Steve Fleck is an experienced entrepreneur focused on disruptive healthcare technologies. He founded Careform Inc., the leading provider of technology-enabled patient services for the pharmaceutical industry. Careform was acquired in November 2017 by ConnectiveRx, a Genstar Capital portfolio company, where he served as Chief Operating Officer through 2019. Steve was previously the co-founder of ClearCount Medical Solutions, which developed an innovative patient safety system for the operating room and was acquired by Stryker in 2014. He earned his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University. Steve is an active early-stage investor and serves on advisory boards of AlphaLabs Health, Waldron Capital Management, and Birgo Capital.
W. Frank Peacock, MD, FACEP, FACC
W. Frank Peacock IV, MD, FACEP, FACC is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Chair, and Research Director for the department of Emergency Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas. He serves as a member of the Accreditation Management Board for the American College of Cardiology, as well as on the NCDR Action Registry-Get With The Guidelines Research and Publications Subcommittee. With over 500 peer reviewed publications, predominantly on heart failure and acute coronary syndromes, Dr. Peacock is also the co-editor of the textbooks Cardiac Emergencies, Short Stay Management of Heart Failure, Short Stay Management of Chest Pain, and Short Stay Management of Atrial Fibrillation.
Mark Wholey, M.D.
Dr. Wholey is Director of the Center for Vascular and Neurovascular Interventions and Allegheny Health Network. He specializes in peripheral vascular procedures and is considered a pioneer in his field, having founded medical technology companies, developed popular medical devices and treated thousands of patients. He is a co-founder of EndoTex and Embolic Protection, both acquired by Boston Scientific Corp., and of Medrad. He is also the inventor of many medical devices, including the Wholey Wire.
Lawrence Wechsler, M.D.
Dr. Wechsler is Chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital. He is the Founder of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke Institute and has been very active in the treatment of stroke and its debilitating effects. Dr. Wechsler has served as local principal investigator for national and international clinical trials testing new treatments for acute stroke.
Our Business Advisors
Penn Krause, FACHE
Penn Krause is a healthcare operations and business development leader with management experience in hospitals and startups. As a member of the Community Health Systems' (CHS) senior team, Penn helped lead CHS through rapid growth and IPO. He became a champion of IT while CEO at Mercy Health System, which earned recognition as one of the “Top 100 Most Wired.” Mr. Krause possess an entrepreneurial knowledge of the healthcare industry and delivering new technologies, having developed and grown health IT startups which serve some of the nation's premier health systems.