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Smooth Operator

Paul White developed a surgery system that cuts to the heart of the problem.

What: All-in-one operating system for minimally invasive surgery
Who: Paul White of NuBoom
Where: Beaverton, Oregon
When: Started in 2005
Startup Costs: $1.5 million

The entrepreneurial creed was on Paul White's mind the year he created NuBoom, a user-friendly monitor system that helps doctors during minimally invasive surgery. "Whether I was standing in line waiting to see a movie with my kids or waiting to get on an airplane, as an entrepreneur, I was always thinking, 'How can I do this faster, cheaper, better?'" says White, 47.

As founder of CompView Medical, a company that helps integrate audiovisual systems into hospitals and businesses, White often heard surgeons complaining about sore necks and hazardous working conditions. The system of cameras and monitors used to navigate through small incisions in a patient's body is crucial to the surgical process. But existing surgical booms had doctors looking over their shoulders and tilting their heads to complete simple operations. So in 2005, White decided to do a little surgery of his own.

As part of his research, White surveye nurses, surgeons and hospital administrators to find out exactly why the old systems weren't working. In addition to bad positioning of monitors, he discovered problems with the devices, including costly repair work and inefficient operating systems. In the true entrepreneurial spirit, White set out to solve all the problems by creating NuBoom, a product that has now spun off into its own company.

NuBoom resembles a sort of robotic tree, something that would make Captain Kirk and R2-D2 jealous. Several cameras branch out on a tracking system from a center console, which contains the mechanical materials and wires necessary to operate the surgical cameras it connects to. The system can be installed in two days and costs half the price of most booms. And beyond improving ergonomics, it cuts down on operating time.

"It's a unique product and a unique market," White says of NuBoom, which will earn sales in excess of $5 million this year. "It's something that gets my whole team jumping out of bed every day."

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This article was originally published in the February 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smooth Operator.

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