Serving to youngsters overcome their mobility challenges, Trexo Robotics will get a Y Combinator increase
Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi didn’t realize it once they met on the College of Waterloo 11 years in the past, however the bond they solid in late-night examine classes as roommates has helped drive their work to create an exoskeleton that gives mobility for kids with disabilities.
The fruit of that labor is Trexo Robotics, which is able to graduate as a part of the most recent batch of Y Combinator’s winter 2019 cohort.
Within the three years since Udasi and Maggu launched their firm, Trexo has gone by way of the Techstars accelerator program in New York and raised $720,000 in seed funding. However the roots of the corporate prolong again to Maggu’s senior yr at Waterloo, when he discovered that his nephew in India had been identified with cerebral palsy.
The illness, which impacts thousands and thousands all over the world and no less than 500,000 youngsters within the U.S. alone, was not one thing Maggu knew a lot about. However with the prognosis of his nephew, he started to study.
“We began what cerebral palsy is and what it could imply to him,” says Maggu. “For him it meant that he would spend his total life in a wheelchair and I knew the great unfavorable well being results related to sitting.”
At first, the household checked out methods to encourage the kid to stroll outdoors of bodily remedy, with no outcomes.
“Initially we had been like, let’s purchase him a robotics system or an exoskeleton, however after wanting round we noticed that there was nothing on the market,” says Maggu.
That’s when Maggu decided he would make the event of the exoskeleton the main focus of his senior design thesis, again in 2012.
“After that, all people went our personal methods however I couldn’t cease engaged on this,” Maggu remembers. “I stored engaged on this on the aspect. I used to be simply working in my residence doing design, doing 3D printing there.”
By that point, Maggu and Udasi had gone their separate methods. Maggu labored on the undertaking on the aspect whereas pursuing his profession within the expertise business. He labored at BlackBerry and Qualcomm, however stored in contact along with his faculty pal, Udasi, who labored for a spell at Willow Storage and some different robotics corporations, earlier than returning to Canada to review for a grasp’s diploma in robotics on the College of Toronto.
Maggu had additionally returned to Toronto to work on a masters in enterprise administration.
However all through that point, utilizing a low-end printer that he purchased for $600, Maggu stored prototyping. Then, when the 2 had been dwelling collectively, Maggu would ask Udasi, the robotics professional, for his assist.
By 2017 the 2 males had developed a functioning prototype and flown to India to present it to their first take a look at affected person — Maggu’s nephew.
“The primary time we tried it it didn’t work,” says Maggu. “However my brother has a manufacturing facility in India in Delhi, so we made some extra modifications and tried it out once more and I watched my nephew attempt to stroll with the machine for the primary time.”
After progressing by way of the Techstars accelerator and elevating its seed spherical, Trexo now has round six variations of its exoskeletons in non-public properties and hospitals. The corporate is conducting a scientific examine on the Cincinnati Youngsters’s Hospital and has 4 paying clients in Canada.
These are nonetheless units that aren’t reasonably priced for many People — not by a longshot. Trexo is pursuing a direct-to-consumer strategy that may see their expertise promoting for $899 per thirty days by way of a lease mannequin with a $1,000 down cost and financing for 36 months. Clients may also lease the product for $999 with no less than a required 12-month lease interval, or they’ll purchase a Trexo exoskeleton for $29,900.
The corporate is advertising and marketing the machine as an train and remedy machine, which implies that it could actually keep away from a number of the regulatory necessities to carry the product to market beneath the present rules from the Meals and Drug Administration, which oversees medical units.
Maggu and Udasi finally see Trexo tackling extra than simply remedy for kids with mobility points. Certainly, Maggu sees alternatives for the corporate to start growing merchandise for elder care as properly.
“We view this as rather more of a shopper product,” says Maggu. “We strongly consider that wearable robotic methods are going to play an enormous position sooner or later to come back.”