Davenport SAF-T Systems selected for MassChallenge 50th Accelerator program


The start-up is one of more than 200 from around the world—and the only one from Minnesota—selected to participate in this year’s early-stage accelerator program

MINNEAPOLIS (June 28, 2021)—Davenport SAF-T Systems is putting the pedal to the metal.

The Minnesota start-up announced today that it has been selected to participate in MassChallenge—one of the largest and most respected accelerator programs in the world. To learn more about the 2021 cohort: who they are, where they’re from, and their backgrounds, click here

“This is a tremendous opportunity to engage with other startups, learn from leading entrepreneurs, and connect with so many in the investor community,” said Ryan Davenport, vice president and co-founder of Davenport SAF-T Systems. “It just feels like our pace of development has already increased,” he said.

Davenport said the program will help the company build a successful business strategy, set goals and achieve critical milestones, including raising seed funding to support advanced prototyping with a commercial engineering firm.

By participating in the highly competitive four-month accelerator, the company receives access to what have traditionally been closed networks that have characterized the startup community for decades. This year’s early-stage accelerator program received more than 3,000 applications from around the world. MassChallenge charges no fees to the participants and takes zero equity.

“We’ve come a long way since 2017,” said Jay A. Davenport, M.D. founder, and inventor of the company’s novel SAF-T VEST™. “We’ll keep at this because we know fall injuries are a public health crisis. The SAF-T VEST will reduce injuries and preserve independence for older adults.”

The SAF-T VEST is designed to provide 360-degree fall injury protection. The light-weight smart vest is equipped with motion sensors that detect a fall in progress and inflate a system of airbags around the user. The airbags absorb the impact of the fall and protect fracture-prone areas of the body. According to the CDC, one in four older Americans falls each year. Twenty percent of fall injuries require medical care in a hospital.

The company has already begun its second phase of early-stage prototyping, in collaboration with the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

About MassChallenge
MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,900 MassChallenge alumni have raised $8.6B in funding, generated $3.6B in revenue, and created more than 186,000 total jobs. Learn more at masschallenge.org.

About Davenport SAF-T Systems
Davenport SAF-T Systems is developing the SAF-T VEST, a wearable “smart” vest designed to reduce the risk of injury in falls. Injuries suffered from falls are a public health crisis. In 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion.

The SAF-T VEST, conceived by company founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of balance. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head.

Patience and persistence bring patent
No. 10,897,938

The SAF-T VEST™, invented by a Minnesota orthopedic surgeon, receives a U.S. Patent


MINNEAPOLIS (February 4, 2021)—Jay Davenport’s five-year wait is over.

The retired northeastern Minnesota orthopedic surgeon began pursuing his novel idea to protect millions of older adults from dangerous fall injuries back in 2016. These were just the sort of traumatic injuries he often treated surgically in his own practice in Hibbing and Virginia. Now his idea—a wearable technology called the SAF-T VEST—is protected by a U.S. patent.

“Fall injuries are a serious public health crisis,” Davenport said. “Getting the patent was a lesson in faith and persistence. There were no guarantees when we filed the application, but we felt it would be crucial to the success of the invention.”

Davenport and his son Ryan are co-founders of Davenport SAF-T Systems. The company’s patent, no. 10,897,938, will remain in effect until 2038, as long as the start-up continues to pay the required maintenance fees.

A prototype of the SAF-T VEST is in development through a collaboration with the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas (UST). Ryan, a 1989 graduate of UST, is leading the push to commercialize the invention.

Rather than preventing the fall, the SAF-T VEST, a comfortable lightweight garment, detects a fall in progress with a system of tiny sensors. The sensors then send a signal to a computer which triggers a system of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second to absorb impact. The bags then rapidly deflate to prevent a bounce-back effect, which can cause a concussion.

“A serious fall can bring terrible, life-changing consequences for older adults. A fractured hip or traumatic brain injury could mean surgery, a long and difficult rehabilitation and the end of living independently.”

Drawings as seen in the SAF-T VEST U.S. patent document

Jay is the first-named inventor on the patent. Nathan Max, an engineer from Lakeville, Minn. is also listed in the patent. Max researched and validated Davenport’s design while studying at Iron Range Engineering (IRE) at Mesabi Range College in Virginia. IRE is a four-year satellite program of Minnesota State Mankato.

So far, the Davenports have bootstrapped most of the costs of the development. The goal is to use the prototype to attract private investors, or to secure a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated three million people in the U.S. are rushed to hospitals each year due to fall injuries. At least 300,000 older people in the U.S. are hospitalized for hip fractures each year; more than 95% of these injuries are caused by falling. At least one in four adults over 65 fall each year.

Most strategies to reduce fall injuries focus on preventing falls. While laudable, fall prevention efforts have had mixed results. “It only takes one fall to suffer a life-changing injury,” Dr. Davenport said. “Unfortunately, gravity never takes a day off.”

The SAF-T VEST is a novel application of existing technology. It is validated by the recent emergence of upper body, wearable airbag systems in use today for high-speed activities including motorcycling and downhill skiing.

Jay Davenport says there are few fall protection systems in existence today. The SAF-T VEST advances fall injury prevention, reduces healthcare costs and helps seniors maintain their independence. The direct medical cost of fall injuries is more than $50 billion annually when adjusted for inflation, and experts say it could increase to $67 billion. In the past decade, the death rate from falls in older adults increased 31%.

Sauser joins Davenport SAF-T Systems Advisory Board

MINNEAPOLIS (February 5, 2021)–Kate Sauser has been named to the Davenport SAF-T Systems Advisory Board.

Sauser drives award-winning marketing strategies in the consumer, shopper and B2B sectors. She specializes in the development and execution of creative, go-to market strategic frameworks for category expansion and new product innovation. Her work has received special recognition at corporations such as 3M and NTE. With more than 10 years of marketing experience, Kate brings deep knowledge in eCommerce, omni-channel and brick and mortar. She has also held previous roles as marketing lead at companies such as Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in retail merchandising and buying management. Sauser is the first new addition to the eight-person Advisory Board since its inception in August 2020. She and her family reside in St. Paul, Minn.

Pioneering UST student engineers transform SAF-T VEST™ design concept into first generation prototype

ST. PAUL (October 28, 2020) – In his pursuit of a prototype that could demonstrate the true potential of the SAF-T VEST™, Ryan Davenport was advised to check with the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas.

“I should have known,” he said to himself.

Davenport, a 1989 graduate of what was then the College of St. Thomas, met five senior engineering majors who were eager to get to work on the project. The school’s Senior Design Clinic was a perfect fit for his early stage start-up.

(From left to right) UST students Xaye Thao-Pha, Abdulaziz Aldalbahy, Justin Brittain, Sam Gregerson and Emily Walsh; PHOTO: MARK BROWN/UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

The SAF-T VEST is a “smart” vest designed for older adults at risk for falling. Tiny onboard motion sensors can detect a person’s fall in progress. A microprocessor triggers a system of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second.  The airbags absorb the impact of the fall and reduce the risk of injury.

What’s next
The student engineers are building the start-up’s first-ever prototype, suitable for testing and generating critical data. The company plans to use

the prototype to attract private investors or to qualify for a federal research grant. The SAF-T VEST protects fracture-prone areas of the body, including the hips, back, arms, neck and head. According to the CDC, at least one in four older adults falls each year. The average hospital cost for a fall injury is $30,000.

“Emily, Xaye, Abdulaziz, Justin and Sam are engaged in pioneering work that ultimately will help millions of older adults remain active longer in life while protecting their health and independence,” Davenport said. “It is so exciting to track their progress and see the prototype evolve. Best of all—these are great people with bright futures ahead of them.”

The Senior Design Clinic matches student teams with sponsoring companies with projects requiring engineering services. The students get real world experience working with a client to achieve measurable results.

Sponsors like Davenport SAF-T Systems benefit by receiving up to 1,000 hours of high-caliber work on their projects, and an opportunity to build a connection with UST’s emerging engineering program, faculty and students. The company still faces significant expenses as it prepares to make its pitch for angel investment and government research grants. [Learn how you can help Davenport SAF-T Systems, a pre-revenue early start-up, by making a donation.]

“What I enjoy most about the project is designing the electrical components that bring this device to life. I get to put what I’ve learned over the years into practice and it has been very satisfying,” said Xaye Thao-Pha, a senior electrical engineering major.

Each year the School of Engineering has about 35 Senior Design Clinic teams made up of 130 graduating seniors.

SAF-T VEST™ receives “Notice of Allowance” from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Designation signals wearable technology has been
approved for U.S. patent protection

MINNEAPOLIS (September 22, 2020) – Jay A. Davenport, M.D., founder of Davenport SAF-T Systems, always felt his SAF-T VEST™, a wearable technology he invented to reduce the risk of devastating injuries from falls, was a novel solution.

Now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) agrees.

This morning the company received a “Notice of Allowance” on its U.S. patent application, which was filed on January 27, 2016.

“We’re thrilled,” Davenport said. “We’ve been waiting to hear those three words for a long time.” The Notice of Allowance means the company’s application for a U.S. patent has been approved.

Jay A. Davenport, M.D.,

Davenport, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, often cared for patients injured in falls over the course of his 29-year career. He later developed the SAF-T VEST to help them remain physically active and independent.

“Rather than try to prevent falls, which may be impossible, our idea was to develop a comfortable system that protects people in case they do fall.”

Achieving a patent for the SAF-T VEST is a major milestone for the company. It sends a clear message to investors and other funding organizations that the concept for the SAF-T VEST is original. It can help the organization raise venture capital and provide a competitive advantage in the market.

While the notice itself does not formally grant patent rights to the company, it means the company must simply reply to the USPTO and pay the issue fee. The formal U.S. patent for the SAF-T VEST is then typically issued in a matter of weeks.

The vast majority of the company’s patent claims were allowed, according to the USPTO’s notice, describing them as “fully considered and persuasive.”

About Davenport SAF-T Systems
Fall injuries are a public health crisis. in 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion. Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, designed the SAF-T VEST, a wearable tech solution, to reduce the risk of injury in falls. The SAF-T VEST is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of gravity. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head. Learn more at davenportsaftsystems.com.

Davenport SAF-T Systems announces formation of company advisory board

Seven-member board brings expertise in orthopaedic surgery, mechanical engineering, finance, communications, senior care, product development, social science and research

MINNEAPOLIS (July 15, 2020) – In another important milestone in its mission to reduce devastating injuries from falls among adults 65 and older, Davenport SAF-T Systems™ has announced the formation of its first-ever company advisory board.

Members of the board will share key technical and professional advice and counsel as the company develops its novel wearable technology to reduce injuries from falls—a public health crisis and $50 billion drain on healthcare in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to welcome this group of distinguished experts to our team,” said company founder and chief medical officer Jay Davenport, M.D. “In order for us to develop the SAF-T VEST™ to help seniors maintain their health and independence, we needed an advisory board with deep experience in key disciplines critical to our success. We’ve certainly accomplished that with these individuals.”


Meet the advisory board

Lance Silverman, M.D.

Lance Silverman, M.D., is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He founded his independent practice Silverman Ankle and Foot in 2005. Dr. Silverman is a board-certified member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. He received his medical degree in 1996 at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He served a four-year residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich., and was awarded a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Silverman and his family reside in Minneapolis.

Brian Kohlbeck

Brian Kohlbeck is chief financial officer at Phillips Distilling Company.  Brian has extensive corporate finance experience at General Mills, Best Buy, Lands’ End and Gander Mountain.  He has a proven track record delivering business results and driving financial performance as a financial and operational leader. He also brings strong skills in strategic planning and analysis, new business model development and innovation, acquisition and divestiture analysis and business restructuring.  Brian and his family reside in St. Paul.

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan is a senior consultant with the AMK Group. Dan is a product management and technical expert with deep experience in product development and managing profit and loss business and programs. He has delivered results and defined business and organizational strategy at companies such as Daikin Applied Americas, Target and Honeywell. Dan holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He also has an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. He and his family live in New Prague, Minn.

Mae Davenport

Mae Davenport, Ph.D., conducts social science research for human and community well-being and their connections to the natural environment. She is motivated by research that addresses real-world problems. Dr. Davenport’s work aims to reduce uncertainty for decision makers, promoting social justice and improving environmental sustainability. As a professor at the University of Minnesota, she is trained in social-behavioral human subjects research (NIH, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative), data security, research ethics, and fiscal responsibility. Mae and her family live in St. Paul.

Joel Prevost

Joel Prevost is a healthcare leader with more than 17 years of experience in long-term care and aging services. He’s led campuses and communities including home care, hospice, palliative care, TCU, assisted living, long-term care, adult day and creative arts through life-long learning. Joel embraces the potential role of technology to improve long-term care. He has experience partnering with innovators to bring virtual reality to seniors to improve quality of life. Joel holds a B.A. from Montana State University and an MBA from Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Joel and his family live in Golden Valley, Minn.

Steve McCarthy

Steve McCarthy is a leading health care communications strategist in the Twin Cities with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of settings. With his strong background as a writer and producer in broadcast journalism, Steve has a proven record of driving results at healthcare systems including Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Park Nicollet Health Services and UnitedHealth Group. Steve provides executive level-counsel to help organizations elevate visibility, boost reputation and build pride, trust and loyalty among employees. He and his family live in Mendota Heights, Minn.

Chris Narveson

Chris Narveson is a mechanical engineering lead at Nextern in White Bear Lake, Minn. Nextern collaborates with innovators, clinicians, and companies to create, iterate, optimize, and manufacture best-in-class medical devices. Previously, he provided technical leadership and management guidance at Caztek, a full-service product development and engineering analysis firm in St Paul. Chris has consulted with Davenport SAF-T Systems on our product design and development. He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University, and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of St. Thomas. He and his family live in Minneapolis.

About the founders

Jay A. Davenport, M.D.

Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is principal investigator and chief medical officer at Davenport SAF-T Systems. He brings a deep clinical knowledge of bone and joint injuries caused by falls and the biomechanics of a fall. Dr. Davenport’s background as a registered physical therapist effectively intersects with his training as a surgeon to guide the development of a solution to a problem for which he’s uniquely qualified to address. His goal: to create a safe, effective solution that will reduce the consequences of losing one’s balance and falling. Dr. Davenport seeks to    address a critical issue facing the nation: the soaring cost of care for our rapidly aging population. In his surgical practice, he cared for patients from across Minnesota’s vast Iron Range, an area dotted with small mining towns about 75 miles north of Duluth. In Dr. Davenport’s nearly 30-year career, a large segment of his surgical practice involved treating elderly patients injured in falls. He received his medical degree from the University of Kansas and served his residency at Dickson-Dively Midwest Orthopaedic Clinic in Kansas City, Mo.

Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport has worked in healthcare delivery and medical device communications for more than 20 years. As owner of DavenPR, L.L.C., he provides strategic PR/media relations counsel to a variety of clients, including those in healthcare and medical device. Prior to starting his own firm, Ryan worked for a Fortune 500 medical device company in corporate communications. He brings deep insight into technical product research and development, clinical trials and commercial product launches. He worked closely with device engineers, clinical trial designers, scientific investigators and clinical consultants. Prior to that he was a media relations and public affairs expert at Fairview Health Services, he helped manage communications for hospital grand openings, groundbreaking treatments and complex care model innovations.

About Davenport SAF-T Systems
Fall injuries are a public health crisis. in 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion. Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, designed the SAF-T VEST, a wearable tech solution, to reduce the risk of injury in falls. The SAF-T VEST is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of gravity. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head. Learn more at davenportsaftsystems.com.

Davenport SAF-T Systems™ advances to semifinal round in nationwide MOST FUNDABLE COMPANIES competition

MINNEAPOLIS (July 3, 2020)—In its campaign to generate capital and investor support, Davenport SAF-T Systems continues to generate positive impressions from the start-up community.

The company has been notified it has advanced to the semi-final round of consideration to make the annual list of Most Fundable Companies. The competition is sponsored by the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School in Malibu, Calif.

As a semi-finalist, Davenport SAF-T Systems is now one of a select group of approximately 100 companies chosen from more than 4,500 participants nationwide.

“This is great honor for our startup, and further validation the SAF-T VEST is an ideal investor opportunity because we are addressing a critical unmet need in the market with a novel approach,” said Ryan Davenport, vice president of Davenport SAF-T Systems. “Just making the cut to an elite group of 100 innovative companies out of 4,500 applicants shows people are noticing the important work we’re doing.

Top companies selected from the next round will be featured this October in the 2020 Most Fundable Companies List, which includes recognition in a national publication, such as Entrepreneur Magazine.

Davenport SAF-T Systems has already submitted detailed information to competition judges who will evaluate factors including the company’s strategic business plan, progress, market opportunity and organizational structure.

Competition officials expect to notify companies of their final selections in August.

Help us reduce fall injuries
To help us reach our next goal—to build a working prototype suitable for testing and modifications, Davenport SAF-T Systems has launched a GoFundMe campaign. Your donation of any amount will be used to help us meet a host of expenses – legal fees, engineering costs and research. Most of our progress to date has been self-funded, with more than $30,000 invested from our own resources. Make a donation here.

About the Company
Davenport SAF-T Systems is developing the SAF-T VEST, a wearable “smart” vest designed to reduce the risk of injury in falls. Fall injuries among older adults are a public health crisis. In 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion.

The SAF-T VEST, conceived and designed by Company founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of balance. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head.

University of St. Thomas Engineering Students to advance SAF-T VEST prototype

MINNEAPOLIS (July 9, 2020)—In a major step forward, Davenport SAF-T Systems™ is collaborating with a team of senior engineering students at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) to develop a first-generation prototype of the SAF-T VEST™.

As a senior design clinic sponsor, Davenport SAF-T Systems, including founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., will provide guidance to these young engineers and answer key questions about the device as they move through various stages of development.

In return, the team will update the company on their progress and any challenges they may be facing along the way. The students will generate critical data necessary to building a prototype that functions as designed.

As the project sponsor, the company pays a fee to the University of St. Thomas to cover project expenses, including materials used to develop the prototype. While that is a phenomenal bargain in the world of engineering and technology development–it presents a challenge for the company as a small, non-revenue startup.

The company has set up a Go Fund Me site to help defray these costs and meet other expenses as the SAF-T VEST moves closer to commercial launch. Your donation of any amount will help advance this critically important work. Learn more about our campaign.

About the Company
Davenport SAF-T Systems is developing the SAF-T VEST, a wearable technology designed to reduce the risk of injury in falls. Injuries suffered from falls are a public health crisis. In 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion.

The SAF-T VEST, invented by founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of balance. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head.

GoFundMe campaign to drive prototype development, patent fees

Davenport SAF-T Systems, developer of the SAF-T VEST, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to aid in the development of this innovative, wearable technology. The crowdfunding campaign, called “Stand Up for Fall Protection, has set a goal of raising $5,000.

“We’re just so amazed and thankful for the support we’ve already received,” said Ryan Davenport, vice president, Davenport SAF-T Systems. “We believe in this technology and the fact that so many folks are getting behind us and spreading the word about our campaign confirms just how much our solution is needed.” Donations will help defray costs associated with engineering and patent fees. Learn more about the campaign.

Nationwide poll reveals widespread concern among seniors about risks of fall injuries; support for a solution

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 8, 2019) A survey commissioned by Davenport SAF-T Systems reports strong awareness of the problem of injuries from falls, and a willingness to consider the potential of a new, wearable solution.

Nearly 400 adults ranging in age from 45 to 75 and above from across the country were asked about their level of concern for fall injuries and their impressions of the potential for a wearable fall protection solution.

Among the key findings: More than 8 in 10 adults age 45 to 75+ reported concern about the risk of a fall injury—either for themselves or for a loved one. About 77% of those surveyed believed the SAF-T VEST, as described, could reduce fall injuries. Further, 67% of adults age 55 to 75+ reported they would consider wearing the SAF-T VEST to protect them in a fall. And among adults age 45-54, 44% said they would recommend the device to a loved one.

Finally, perhaps most compelling, a full 90% of those surveyed considered the SAF-T VEST to be “new and different” from what is currently available.

The survey, conducted in July, involved 383 adults. Results were considered accurate to within +/- five percentage points.

Advisory Board Aging Brian Kohlbeck Carlson School of Management Chris Narveson crowdfunding Dan Sullivan Davenport SAF-T Systems Dynata fall injury risks falls first generation Go Fund Me GoFundMe Graziadio Business School Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship Impact Ventures injury Jay A. Davenport Joel Prevost Lance Silverman long-term care Mae Davenport Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer MN Cup Most Fundable Companies Nationwide Poll orthopedic surgeon orthopedic surgery Pepperdine population prototype Ryan Davenport SAF-T VEST School of Engineering semi-final Senior Design Clinic Stand Up for Fall Protection Steve McCarthy Survey U.S. patent University of Minnesota University of St. Thomas walk wearable

Davenport SAF-T Systems named semifinalist at 2019 MN Cup competition

MINNEAPOLIS (June 28, 2019)–Davenport SAF-T Systems was named a semifinalist at MN Cup, an annual competition of emerging Minnesota entrepreneurs. With nearly 1,000 entrants, the company is among just 88 start-ups selected to advance to the semifinal round.

“MN Cup has been a great experience for us,” said Ryan Davenport, VP at Davenport SAF-T Systems. “We’re honored to be advancing to the semifinal round of competition, but the best part of this experience is meeting so many talented people developing such great ideas. The support and knowledge we’re gaining is tremendous.”

MN Cup was established in 2005. It is a program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management. Entrepreneurs from across the state participate in MN Cup for a chance to win cash prizes. The program also connects these new businesses with tools, resources and support to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures. 

Davenport SAF-T Systems is competing in the Impact Ventures division, for start-ups pursuing goals that would benefit a large segment of society.

This is the first year Davenport SAF-T Systems has participated in MN Cup. The company was established in January 2017 by Jay A. Davenport, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon from northern Minnesota. Dr. Davenport is developing a wearable technology–a smart vest–that is designed to reduce injuries from falls.

The SAF-T VEST(TM) is patent pending. The company is seeking capital to build working prototypes. In early April the company resubmitted a federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help pay for costs associated with prototype development and early testing. The company’s original grant request was submitted in 2017. Although the application was not funded at the time, Davenport received positive and constructive feedback for the device’s novel approach to reducing injuries from falls.

In August, the company will submit a formal business plan, an investor slide presentation and a one-minute video to MN Cup. The materials will be formally reviewed by judges. The top three entrants in each division advance to a final round of competition.