Bertin Nahum, boss of Medtech, a TPE montpelliéraine, has been ranked the fourth most revolutionary entrepreneur in the world.
“I learned about it a dozen days ago, it was a nice surprise,” says 42-year-old Bertin Nahum, ranked by the science magazine Discovery Series in September 2012, just behind the Americans Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and James Cameron.
Unlike the other winners, Bertin Nahum is neither specialized in social networks nor in computer science, but in robotic assistance to neurosurgery. In 2007, he developed Rosa, a robot able to assist a surgeon during an intervention on the brain. “It’s a kind of GPS if you want. Thanks to this machine, the operator will be able to reach an area of the brain with precision and instead of performing the operation freehand, it is the arm of the robot that will act, explains the CEO. This can be very useful for placing an electrode or puncturing a tumor, “he adds.
Among the selection criteria established by Discovery Series, the entrepreneur had to bring revolutionary innovation and improve people’s lives. “It is surely for these reasons that they have retained us, he supposes. Moreover, I think they saw the testimony of a patient with a brain tumor who operated on our machine last year. ”
Born in Benin, Bertin Nahum was born in Senegal and grew up in France. It was during his studies at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA Lyon, France) that his project matured: “At the end of my studies, I participated in the design of a software capable of automatically detecting cranial lesions. from scanners. This feeling of usefulness made me want to devote my career to the patients, but on the side of the technicians, through the creation of robots likely to accompany the surgeons in their operations “.
Fifteen hospitals equipped
In 2002, he created Medtech and began developing a robot for knee surgery. Spotted by a large American orthopedic surgery company, he resells his patent portfolio to Zimmer, which allows him to invest in the Rosa project.
The first machine is marketed in 2009. Since about fifteen hospitals in the world are equipped. “We have machines in Italy, Germany, the United States, Canada but also in China and soon in Japan and the Middle East,” says the entrepreneur who employs twenty employees and recorded a turnover of case of two million euros in March 2012.
Difficulties to be recognized in France
“This ranking is important because it is finally a form of recognition, he realizes. Like many innovative companies, we had a hard time being recognized in France and being taken seriously. Very often, you have to go abroad to convince France “. Grenoble, Nantes, Strasbourg, Paris … In total, seven French hospitals use the Rosa robot, which costs 300,000 euros. If the French market has not been easy to penetrate, Bertin Nahum is not discouraged, on the contrary, he intends to develop the same type of robot for surgery of the spine, always in an “international perspective”.