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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2021

Employee-Centric Q’Apel Medical is a Top-Rated Medical Devices Developer, Revolutionizing Neurovascular Access


“We pride ourselves not merely on devising adaptations to technologies that exist—but also looking beyond what’s been done to what might come next.”

Q’Apel Medical, a medical devices manufacturing company, designs access device technology for neurovascular interventions and unmet clinical needs. It serves clients worldwide.

The company was set up in 2016 and is based in Fremont, CA.

To highlight and further understand what Q'Apel Medical stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with King Nelson, who serves as the company’s CEO. Below is an excerpt.

Tell us what inspired the creation of your company.

Q’Apel Medical was founded by the late James Dreher and Jeff Krolik (incumbent Chief Technical Officer). The opportunity to create and develop innovative products and to use them in the neurovascular space, specifically stroke patients was what inspired them to start the company. Further, this inspiration was driven by creating solutions; designing novel access device technology for vascular interventions and unmet clinical needs.

In a nutshell, clinicians need technology that delivers in the precious seconds that surround a stroke emergency. That’s where we come in.

Q. What makes your company great? And how is it revolutionizing neurovascular access?

Our team makes our company great, as simple as that. We have built our company’s culture by hiring smart, passionate individuals who continue to create new solutions for these patients that desperately need better care. The way we’re trying to be successful in neurovascular space should fundamentally revolutionize it. We are trying to utilize new technology that’s proprietary to Q’Apel Medical. Moreover, we are trying to take ideas and develop them into products at a very rapid pace, and to be able to bring them to market in a consecutive manner for access into the neurovascular space.

Q. Can you tell us in brief about your novel access device technology?

We have a couple of fundamental technologies that we build upon, the main novel technology we have is around catheter technology. We can deliver a very small device through an artery in the body. Our recent product, the Wahoo, and soon-to-be Armadillo, both dual-mode catheters, have two distinct operational modes. Meaning, the physician can easily switch the modes at any point during a clinical case. They could go from a tracking mode, being able to navigate the catheter through the artery and change into a support mode that would then be able to allow tools to be delivered through the catheter itself. No doubt, this technology is groundbreaking.

Q. How would you describe your company's culture?

We value our people, as I already mentioned. They contribute to our success and the culture we have in place demands their participation in everything we do and eventually everything we achieve. Besides being passionate, they're energetic, excited, and having fun with what we’re doing. This is precisely what defines our culture. 

Q. When people are having fun, they work together better and they produce better work. How do you interpret this further?

I agree with you. Being able to have open communications and having people work cross-functionally within the team is paramount. A fun fact: When we develop technologies, innovate with products, and get our customers to use them makes us realize what we are capable of as a team. And as you know, when people are having fun, they are more creative, more excited, and more passionate about what they do.

Q. A good workplace stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievements and creativity. Does your company follow the same strategies?

I think broadly to have a great team and every individual on the team has to contribute. In other words, each member of a team at Q’Apel, such as product developers, has a different role. It may be in R&D, quality, sales, marketing, or manufacturing. You can’t even afford to have anyone lag as the entire team's performance goes for a toss. 

Q. How does your company play its part when it comes to addressing unmet clinical needs?

As far as unmet clinical needs are concerned, we try to have a direct pipeline to the physicians that are treating patients. When we receive feedback (whether from Europe, the US, or Asia) about products requiring technology updates, we immediately turn to physician and user feedback as our foundation of developing every product is based hugely on this. All the ideas; all the unmet needs have come from us having access to good physician import.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its employees? Is there something on the way that our readers must know?

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that we’re moving into a new 35,000 square foot facility in Fremont. It’s a completely renovated building and we will have all of our employees in one building instead of scattered around our multiple locations. Moreover, we continue to introduce new products and have more scheduled in the coming quarters as we develop and introduce new ideas, technology, and innovations that excite the employees.

“As far as unmet clinical needs are concerned, we try to have a direct pipeline to the physicians that are treating patients.”