Eric Timko, formerly of Blue Belt Technologies, has joined University of Iowa spinout company iotaMotion as executive chair, effective Sept. 1.

The news comes on the heels of iotaMotion’s winning a highly competitive, $225,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research grant to further develop its implantable robotic-assistive surgical system for improving cochlear implant hearing outcomes.

NSF Small Business Innovation Research grants are awarded to fewer than 20 percent of applicants. They are given to early-stage companies with promising technology that need funding for additional research and development.

Co-founded by UI otolaryngologist Marlan Hansen and otolaryngology resident Chris Kaufmann with the support of UI Ventures, iotaMotion is developing a revolutionary robotic system to assist surgeons in performing cochlear implantation for improved hearing outcomes.

Timko joins iotaMotion with more than 25 years of experience in the medical device industry. Prior to joining iotaMotion, he served as CEO of Blue Belt Technologies, a robot-assisted surgery company that was acquired by Smith & Nephew earlier this year. Timko currently serves on the board of directors for Xtant Medical Holdings and OrthAlign. He was recently honored as a 2016 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Kaufmann said Timko has a proven track record in building effective and profitable organizations and he brings vast experience in medical technologies at both the start-up, early and late stages. 

“As Executive Chairman, Eric will be taking the company lead to accelerate iotaMotion's business growth and development,” said Kaufmann. “This is a significant step for iotaMotion in commercializing our much needed technology and is a testament to the innovation and world-renowned expertise here in Iowa and the Upper Midwest.”

“I am excited to work closely with Drs. Hansen and Kaufmann as we move iotaMotion into the next phase of business development,” said Timko. “I am confident that the technology that they have developed is a much needed advancement for consistent implantation of cochlear implants and will have a direct impact on improving hearing outcomes.”

UI Ventures, part of the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), offers information and resources to help companies find funding they qualify for, including federal grants, state funding, the UI commercialization GAP fund, loans, angel investment, and venture capital for more information, visit

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