London-based soft prosthetics company, Koalaa aiming to make prosthetics more comfortable and affordable has secured an investment of £125K from British Design Fund (BDF). The funding will help the company, to bring its innovative, comfortable and affordable prosthetics to children and adults around the world.
Enhancing capacity and building ‘virtual clinic’ model
An investment from BDF is through the EIS scheme. It is the company’s first institutional investor following an angel round in May 2020.
The company will use the funds to increase their manufacturing capacity in the west London facility to meet the increasing demand. Apart from increasing capacity, Koalaa will also be planning to build its successful ‘virtual clinic’ model. The model allows new wearers to be measured, fitted and supplied with prostheses remotely.
BDF works with ambitious British startups who hold the potential to scale up and build thriving stand-out businesses. Along with the capital investment, BDF also provides expert mentoring to support such companies to accelerate their growth plans.
Ambitious growth plan to commercialise its soft prosthetic sleeves
Moving forward, Koalaa plans to start commercialisation of its early rehabilitation soft prosthetic sleeves. The sleeves are designed to aid recovery starting in the days immediately after an amputation. The company is also soon to launch its products and services in a select number of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
Founder’s vision to make prosthetics accessible to all
Koalaa’s founder, Nate Macabuag, was recently named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 listing for social impact, which highlights the most influential people under the age of 30 from across the world.
Commenting on the news, Nate said: “We’re delighted to have the backing of British Design Fund and look forward to working with them as we scale up and expand our operations in the UK, but also begin entering new markets across the world.”
He continued: “Our aim has always been to make prosthetics accessible to every single person in the world who wants one, at a price people can actually afford. We want to help people continue doing the things they love and to lead the life they want to lead, supporting choice and opportunity through enabling prosthetics and holistic support.”
Reengineering prosthetics for better flexibility
Koalaa’s innovative soft prosthetics are the first of their kind in the world. It has completely reimagined prosthetics from the design to the way they are fitted. Rather than being heavy and rigid like traditional prosthetics, Koalaa’s products are made from material, lightweight and flexible. As such, they can be used by children as young as one year old.
Its functional design sees wearers putting on a sleeve that can be fitted with different tool attachments, depending on the task or activity they would like to do. For example, to hold a pen or cutlery, chop vegetables, skip, paint, saw, ride a bike, or play the drums or a guitar.
Alongside this, wearers become part of the Koalaa Community and are provided with a ‘limb buddy’, who supports them every step of the way.
Damon Bonser, CEO of British Design Fund, said: “Koalaa is a fantastic young company, with an ambitious and passionate team at its core, and an innovative product. Its affordability and accessibility make it a gamechanger and we see huge growth potential. We’re delighted to welcome them to our portfolio.”