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July 1, 2021 – Silicon Prairie Center Live and Work Incubator Model – Where Innovation and Creativity Intersect – Kirk Zeller

The Silicon Prairie Center Innovation Model was developed with a vision to help entrepreneur founders to “Stay Lean, Stay in Control” through a unique entrepreneur live and work incubator model which includes residences, office space, and innovation space all in one location.  The Silicon Prairie Center consists of four buildings based in a downtown area with the conveniences of downtown living and working but at a small fraction of traditional tech hub locations allowing the founders to stay lean, minimize burn and subsequently retain more ownership and control of their companies.  The Silicon Prairie Center aims to encourage collaboration amongst community members and leverages local cost effective vendors.

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Founder Kirk Zeller has a vision that it may be possible to encourage more creative thinking in medical device development through having a film project also based at the Silicon Prairie Center. In May 2020 the romantic comedy, #MyCorona, was filmed at the Silicon Prairie Center and was the first feature film in history to be directed entirely remotely. Characters in the film were inspired by Silicon Prairie Center start-ups and one of the start-up’s products was featured in the movie. The Silicon Prairie Center’s in house creative team is involved in both the film and the start-ups resulting in creative cross-pollination. 

Kirk Zeller will share his vision for the Silicon Prairie Center and discuss how he weaves healthcare entrepreneurship, filmmaking, and US-Japan collaborations together at the Silicon Prairie Center. He will provide an overview of each of the start-ups, market access firms, and film projects based at the Silicon Prairie Center.

Dr. Richard Dasher, Director of the US-Asia Technology Management Center and Adjunct Faculty at Stanford University

Images are licensed under Creative Commons License.


Kirk Zeller is a healthcare entrepreneur who is passionate about bringing to market innovative medical devices.  Kirk is the founder of the Silicon Prairie Center, a unique entrepreneur live-work incubator community and co-founder of two Silicon Prairie Center incubated start-ups as well as two market access firms.  Kirk has lived, worked, and studied in the US, Europe, and Japan and has traveled to more than 50 countries.

Over his 27 year medical device career Kirk has facilitated the launch of a wide range of medical devices in international markets and is a frequent speaker on related topics.  Kirk completed much of his undergraduate studies in Japan, started his career as a heart valve sales rep in Japan, and has spent much of the last 30 + years facilitating US Japan collaborations. Kirk is a board member of US Japan MedTech Frontiers a non-profit that work to enhance collaboration between the U.S. and Japan in healthcare. Kirk is co-founder and actively involved in two market access firms: Nichibei MedTech Advisors, LLC (US market entry) and MedMarket Access, LLC  (international market access).  In 2020 Kirk was appointed as a Council Leader to the US-Japan Council.

Kirk’s professional life spans start-ups, US-Japan collaborations and filmmaking. Kirk finds creative synergies across these diverse fields with the most recent example of this being the independent film, #MyCorona.  #MyCorona was filmed on a closed set in May 2020 in the midst of the global pandemic and leveraged technology to become the first feature film in history to be directed entirely remotely which has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter and other publications.  One of the main characters was an ischemic stroke executive which was inspired by Silicon Prairie Center start-up Progressive NEURO, Inc. Products sold by the other Silicon Prairie Center start-up ATS.Solutions were featured in the film.  There is of course a Japan angle as well with one of the main characters spending much of her time in Japan and living in an apartment filled with things from Japan and another character having a Japanese name, Kimiko (actor cast in the role was actually born in Japan).  The majority of #MyCorona was filmed within the Silicon Prairie Center campus and cast members stayed in the residences of the Silicon Prairie Center for the duration of filming. Technology was utilized to capture the entire process of the making of #MyCorona to produce the documentary Directing Remotely and Filmmaking During the Pandemic: The Making of #MyCorona.  The documentary has become an “Official Selection” of film festivals in Cannes, London, Tokyo, New York, Miami, Montreal, and Los Angeles.  The documentary and feature film, #MyCorona, each have both won awards at film festivals.

Kirk has a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from the International School of Management (Paris) and MBA from Imperial College London with a specialization in BioPharma and Health Technology Entrepreneurship. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “European Market Entry Strategies for Venture Capital Financed Medical Device Companies: Where, When, How, and Why” and his MBA thesis was entitled “Financing and Beyond: The Role of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley Based Medical Device Companies.” Kirk’s undergraduate studies were completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nanzan University (Nagoya) (2 years), and Senshu University (Tokyo).