For the legions of back pain sufferers, ActivAided Orthotics
offers a different approach, a therapeutic garment that corrects posture and bad habits to allow the body to heal.
Now the young Pittsburgh firm is growing, with a total of $150,000 in new investments from Innovation Works
and Carnegie Mellon's Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund
, promising data from more than 100 test subjects with almost 90% reporting relief and a new manufacturing approach.
"Originally [our product] was completely custom-made," says founder and CEO Kelly Collier. "Then we started to get a little more clever. Now we're making it more adjustable so one product can fit most people." A manufacturer in Minnesota is ramping up for production, she adds.
A 2011 Carnegie Mellon biomechanical engineering graduate, Collier was a competitive swimmer. Most coaches, she and her friends found, approached injuries with advice to suck it up, ice it or quit their sport. "We definitely recognized there was something wrong with this picture," she says. As part of a team class project, she approached Dr. Gary Chimes, a sports medicine physician who is today chief medical advisor to ActivAided.
The new funding will go primarily for sales and marketing, Collier says, with an emphasis on medical trade shows and conferences, as well as direct Internet sales.The company today employs three full-timers; Collier hopes to add sales and marketing positions and to eventually create a "suite of products based on retraining motor patterns and muscle memory" for shoulders, knees and other aching joints.
Source: Kelly Collier, ActivAided Orthotics
Writer: Elise Vider