A story that started in 2016 in a garage has turned into a successful business that helps, inspires and proves that medical technology is the future. This is how the medical start-up UpLyft was born, which launched a product that allows patients with reduced mobility to move themselves from bed to wheelchair in less than a minute.
Later, the Romanian Company Fortech Investments chose to invest in this product after last year, they also invested in Telios, the first Romanian telemedicine start-up.
Like many success stories, UpLyft began in a garage. A few years ago, the son of a close friend of the founder, Anton, had been involved in a bicycle accident that left him paraplegic. Seeing how much the boy’s mother struggled, Anton started working on a mechanism in his garage. Five years and nine prototypes later, the final version of the UpLyft was launched to help all patients with reduced mobility.
“It is the first device of its kind and the most complex to date. Until now, people with reduced mobility could make the wheelchair-to-bed transfer either with assistance from others or by themselves using much more rudimentary systems that did not use technology. For all these systems, 5 to 10 minutes were needed for the entire transfer process, while with UpLyft, it takes around 1 minute”, says Valentin Filip, Investment Director at Fortech Investments.
Figures showing the need for medical technologies
Romania has over 860,000 people with disabilities, according to the latest report of the Ministry of Labor, approximately 400,000 of whom are bedridden. Although the device is not available at the moment to patients in our country, the company has plans for global expansion.
Such a device would reduce the lumbar accidents faced by the medical staff, which end up having back problems and accidents.
“It may seem hard to believe, but annually more than 20 billion dollars are paid for such damages in the USA. That is precisely why, in addition to the actual staff, the expenses of the institutions and the medical system would also decrease. The device costs between $11,000 and $13,000, depending on how it is purchased (either directly by customers or by medical institutions). All other solutions cost over $19,000”, explains Valentin Filip.
In 2016, there were 3.3 million wheelchair users in the U.S., with 1.8 million of those users aged 65 years and above. This number is predicted to grow every year, with an expected 2 million new wheelchair users per year.