DEKA and IML: A Successful Partnership

How an overseas laser manufacturer entered the US market and increased sales of their medical devices by partnering with IML

In 2016, DEKA was interested in exploring the U.S. market for their CO2 surgical lasers. As an Italian manufacturer known for producing very high-quality lasers for medical, scientific, and industrial markets, DEKA wanted to expand its geographical footprint.

DEKA wants the U.S. to make up 40 to 50 percent of its total market share for its SmartXide2 CO2 laser. To work toward this goal, they needed to partner with a company that has a proven industry track record.

With its established dealer network, existing relationships with decision-makers, and knowledge of how to sell medical devices in the U.S. market, IML made an ideal partner for DEKA.  

The partnership between IML and DEKA officially started in 2017 when the first SmartXide2 was imported from Italy to the United States. This watermark moment kicked off a long and prosperous business collaboration that continues today.

Entering the US medical device market

Initially, an IML customer was looking for an alternative CO2 laser—one that was not available on the market at the time. This early demand was the signal IML needed to partner with DEKA. Nearly all the parts were in place for a successful U.S. launch of DEKA products, but compliance remained a significant obstacle. 


DEKA began to sell their medical lasers in the U.S. in 2007. A dot scanner for fractional resurfacing in the aesthetics market was the first product DEKA sold on U.S. soil. Since then, several other DEKA products have been launched in America.  


As a leading provider of aesthetics lasers, DEKA needed to build credibility as a surgical laser manufacturer and gain access to new distribution channels. Failure to do so would cut off access to the largest medical device market in the world. In response, IML provided strategic advice to help DEKA align its medical technologies with the American healthcare environment. Beyond geographic expansion, this helped to foster DEKA’s brand recognition as a surgical laser company. Historically, DEKA was known as an aesthetics device company.


Using its existing relationships with medical institution decision-makers, IML helped DEKA enter the surgical laser market. This move helped to streamline DEKA’s U.S. launch, as IML’s dealer network provided a turn-key sales force. The alternative would have been DEKA trying to build rapport, relationships, and a sales team from scratch—a complex and time-consuming process that could take months if not years.  

Setting and meeting surgical laser sales targets

For DEKA, the initial sales goal was $1.5 million USD. This objective was for the first year the Trio product was sold (2019). IML’s dealer network exceeded the target by delivering $1.6 million USD in sales, providing a strong result to propel the partnership forward.


Over time, sales targets have steadily increased as more market data becomes available. Additionally, each medical sales rep (or IML dealer) continues to expand their network of business relationships, providing the possibility for repeat sales and referrals—two key goals for any sales team.

An evolving medical device partnership

As both companies continue to grow and pursue new opportunities with the medical device market, the value proposition for the partnership continues to expand.    

Introducing the IMLight Laser to the U.S. market marked a new opportunity for DEKA and IML. The launch of this product reflected a need identified by both companies within the CO2 market—a high-quality, low-cost surgical CO2 laser.

The availability of high-end technology at an accessible price point meant that medical institutions that had already purchased a higher-cost laser could consider buying a few more units to address backlogs.

The success of 2022 and the exciting forecasts for 2023 resulted from constant work and targeted investments by John Mooney, CEO of IML, who diligently implemented the best strategy for conquering the market share step by step. IML sets an example to be imitated by all global distributors as regards operational management and successful strategy.
– David Valenti, Deka

Products as solutions to major problems

A key issue in today’s hospitals and clinics is wait lists. Identifying and removing bottlenecks via operational improvements and innovative medical technologies is a key goal for decision-makers. One of the largest obstacles is inefficiencies, and IML has been able to position DEKA products, such as the IMLight and SmartXide2, as solutions for increasing efficiency.

Business results of the partnership to date

The business performance of the partnership has been strong. In terms of revenue growth, targets have been met or exceeded.  


The Trio product was brand new to the U.S. in 2019 and started with solid performance. COVID-19 presented several challenges for the medical device industry beginning in 2020. Despite supply chain issues and tightening budgets in the industry, IML successfully launched the Trio laser system into the U.S. market. 


Since 2020, IML has responded to changes in the market environment with new strategies that enable the company to continue to grow the DEKA surgical brand in the U.S.


The collaboration outlined in this case study reflects DEKA and IML’s commitment to making their medical device partnership successful. Both parties have a role to play and reinforce the unique value propositions of the other. 


With DEKA providing high-end, innovative medical technologies that solve real problems in medical institutions and IML providing a turn-key sales force and strategic counsel for entering the U.S. medical device market, the partnership will continue to be a key growth channel for both companies going forward.

Become an IML manufacturer partner

Are you a global manufacturer of innovative medical devices who wishes to gain access to the U.S. market? Get in touch today to learn more about becoming an IML manufacturer partner.