After winning the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award last summer, Dartmouth’s Spring Loaded Technologies have launched an Indiegogo campaign, seeking $75,000 U.S. and 200 unit orders to bring their Levitation knee brace to market.
Their Indiegogo campaign must be spring loaded, as they’ve already raised over $57,000 on their first day with a month left to go.
For every $800 raised, Spring Loaded will also donate a brace to someone in need.
Co-founders Chris Cowper-Smith and Bob Garrish, who has a background in mathematics and an MS in Mechanical Engineering, began developing their knee brace technology three years ago and now has 16 employees.
The team hopes to double their size and find a path to profitability by the end of 2016.
Founded in 2013, Spring Loaded is operating without venture capital or private equity fundraising outside the $100,000 raised through the BDC competition.
“Launching sales is a big moment for a company like ours. Scratch that: it’s a huge game-changing moment,” writes co-founder Cowper-Smith on the company blog. “It goes down as a significant milestone as we transition from a group of highly trained scientists and engineers doing extensive research and development, to a company that manufactures, sells, and distributes knee braces to people around the world. It gives a purpose to all of our hard work in the last three years, and means that the technology we’ve been developing can finally be put into the hands of all the people who need it.”
The knee brace has obvious medical applications, as well as for manual labourers, military personnel, athletes, or anyone looking to enhance performance by using the device to store a wearer’s kinetic energy for re-release when a user needs an extra boost, not to mention the potential for veterinary applications.
Constructed from ultra-thin lightweight carbon fiber, the knee brace doesn’t rely on mechanical springs for its power, but on a proprietary technology that Spring Loaded refers to as a “liquid spring” inspired by jet airplane landing gear.
It’s discreet enough that it can be worn under clothing and comes in sizes ranging from extra small (XS) to extra-extra large (XXL).
The Levitation knee brace is expected to retail at more than $2,500 U.S. when it eventually goes on sale, so the Indiegogo price of $1,190 plus shipping is a relative bargain.
Two other models, the Levitation Ski edition and the Upshot tactical military grade, are also on offer through the Indiegogo campaign, priced at $1,590 and $3,800 respectively.
Spring Loaded hopes to ship order placed through the Indiegogo campaign starting in July.