Read full issue of LINK magazine here. Spring Loaded Technology is one of many made-in-Nova Scotia companies with an innovative health technology that could cut costs and improve healthcare for the province but has yet to be formally covered through Nova Scotia’s healthcare. Guided by the input of hundreds of physiotherapists, orthopedic surgeons, and orthotists, the company was able to launch Levitation – the world’s first compact and powerful bionic knee brace – last year to a global market. The Levitation knee brace uses liquid spring technology to store energy when the knee is bent and release it when the knee is straightened. For the wearer, the brace reduces the pressure on the knee, enhances stability, and prevents further damage to the joint. “We’ve seen our product help patients in a wide variety of ways, including reducing pain, restoring strength and mobility, retaining independence and dignity, and even delaying or avoiding the need for surgery,” said Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO of Spring Loaded Technology. A global preference for non-invasive treatments has been driving Spring Loaded’s sales across North America. The company has seen its market broaden from helping athletes recover from injuries to helping people with mobility issues, especially those living with osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Society of Canada, osteoarthritis is a degenerative health issue affecting nearly five million Canadians. One of the most difficult challenges for those living with osteoarthritis is to remain active, to slow the degenerative process. Spring Loaded has met this challenge by adapting the Levitation knee brace specifically for patients living with osteoarthritis. So now, the brace not only reduces pain and pressure across the whole knee, it also provides better support and alignment so that people can get back to being active. Additionally, the Levitation knee brace allows people to buy time before needing surgery and may even prevent it altogether, as Jane Grover, a grandmother with osteoarthritis, can attest. Grover explains in a Spring Loaded corporate video that when she found out she needed a knee replacement surgery; she opted for a Levitation knee brace instead. Today she continues to enjoy an active lifestyle that includes keeping up with her grandchildren. “The last thing I wanted was more surgery. I was going to try out one of the braces that Spring Loaded Technology makes because we have experience with my granddaughter having it. (She) was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and they’ve just been a miracle for her. I went and I got one and I already feel 20 years younger, and I really, really feel hopeful that I don’t have to go through the surgery for a long time,” said Grover. Meanwhile, the number of Nova Scotians needing orthopedic surgeries is on the rise. Last year the Canadian Institute for Health Information released its annual report on wait times showing that Nova Scotians needing hip or knee replacements have the longest average wait time for patients in Canada. The wait time crisis has been ongoing for years. In 2016 alone, over $8 million was invested in orthopedic surgeries in the province in an attempt to shorten the wait list. Offering the Levitation knee brace in Nova Scotia could potentially have a large economic and health impact for the province, reducing future orthopedic surgery wait times. “Our braces are enabling people to be more physically active, productive, and lead healthier lives than they could otherwise. The province should seriously consider a range of more costeffective solutions for treating knee pain and mobility impairments,” said Cowper-Smith. In June of this year Spring Loaded Technology was awarded Nova Scotia’s 2018 Exporter of the Year award. This came on the coattails of a funding boost they received from Atlantic Canada Opportunity’s Agency to support their plans to expand their manufacturing capacity to keep up with demand and use customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning software to expand their reach. Headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Spring Loaded Technology employs 30 people full time and plan to hire more as production increases. Spring Loaded Technology is proof of the success that can come from investing in life science, whether it is to create jobs, strengthen the economy, or change lives.]]>
Where it all started
Staying motivated during R&D
Strategy and measuring impact
Hiring and keeping talent
Attracting investors with purpose
See original news release here
“The Government of Canada is committed to encouraging innovation that increases productivity, growth and competitiveness. We want to turn ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and startup companies into global successes. That’s what innovation is all about.”
“Dartmouth benefits greatly from having companies such as Spring Loaded choosing to do business here. Not only is Spring Loaded an employer of highly skilled people in the area, but it is also making significant strides in the quality of care for people with mobility issues all around the world. The Government of Canada is pleased to continue to support its long term growth and sustainability.”
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA
“ACOA’s support to date has helped us bring a game-changing product to the market and stay ahead of the competition. Its most recent investment will help us ramp-up production so we can impact even more people’s lives by enhancing their mobility.”
- Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour
- Chris Cowper-Smith, President & CEO, Spring Loaded Technology Incorporated
- Spring Loaded Technology is an innovative life sciences company focused on mobility restoring bionics. Incorporating its patented liquid spring technology, the company designs and sells Levitation™ – the world’s first bionic knee brace.
- Levitation is equipped with Spring Loaded’s proprietary tri-compartment unloading technology to immediately reduce pain and damage caused by knee osteoarthritis, injured ligaments and meniscus tears. Spring Loaded’s bionic knee braces are starting to be used to enhance mobility for individuals with a wide range of neurologically based movement disabilities.
- In 2015, Spring Loaded Technology won the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Young Entrepreneur Award, including a cash prize of $100,000.
- Spring Loaded Technology was awarded a $1 million contract with the Canadian Armed Forces after successfully qualifying under the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), which enables early stage companies to pre-qualify to sell to government departments.
- Spring Loaded Technology has grown from three employees in 2012 to a current payroll of 30.
ContactsAlex Smith Director, Communications and Outreach Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Cell: (902) 830-3839 Office: (902) 426-9417 E-mail: email@example.com Keith Gordon Director of Marketing Spring Loaded Technology Cell: (902) 877-4376 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See original story here Spring Loaded Technology on Tuesday used a press conference to show what its Levitation knee brace means to the people who use it –especially to users who suffer from osteoarthritis. The manufacturer held the media event at its Dartmouth headquarters to announce a $460,000 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program, and the launch of a new add-on product for the Levitation. But the highlight was a video and speech by Jane Grover of the Annapolis Valley, who explained what the knee brace – which not only stabilizes the joint but adds to its power – has meant to herself and her granddaughter. Grover, 64, said the Levitation knee brace has helped her granddaughter Kelsie, who has muscular dystrophy, continue to enjoy exercise and outdoor life in spite of her disease. So, when Grover found out she herself needed a second knee replacement, she opted for a Levitation knee brace instead. “I was offered surgery within a month but I declined because of my faith in the Levitation knee brace that my granddaughter Kelsie was wearing,” said Grover, who mounted the stage wearing one of the devices. [Watch the video here.] Resson Raises $14M; Mahindra Leads Spring Loaded began six years ago when Chris Cowper-Smith (now the CEO) and two co-founders set out to design a knee brace that would store energy when the knee joint is bent and release it when the leg is straightened. The company launched its Levitation knee last June, and its sales have risen steadily, especially among osteoarthritis patients. “It’s the most attractive market to us because it’s the market where we actually got pull,” said COO Dawn Umlah in an interview. She added that the 14 million people in Canada and the U.S. living with osteoarthritis have no other suitable alternatives. On Tuesday, the company unveiled its new Levitation Offloader, an add-on to the knee brace that improves performance for osteoarthritis patients. “With the launch of the Levitation Offloader, we’re able to offer customized relief to further reduce pressure on the worst-affected compartment of the knee,” said Cowper-Smith in a statement. “This allows us to better support a wider range of osteoarthritis patients, to reduce wear and tear and provide the pain relief they need.” The statement said conventional knee braces only address a narrow range of arthritis cases–uni-compartment tibiofemoral arthritis–which account for less than 4 percent of knee arthritis cases. Spring Loaded said its knee brace is the only one capable of reducing forces in all three compartments of the knee. The company will use the ACOA funding to expand its manufacturing capacity and increase its output. It has increased its staff 40 percent year-on-year and now employs 35 people, said Umlah. She added Spring Loaded is now raising equity capital, though she declined to say how much. Spring Loaded is one of three Nova Scotia life sciences companies to announce loans from ACOA’s Business Development Program this week. Adaptiiv, formerly 3DBolus, announced it has received funding of $328,943. The company has developed software that works with 3D printers to produce a personalized bolus — a plastic fitting used in radiation therapy. The company recently announced a distribution deal with CIVCO Radiotherapy. And Sona Nanotech announced a $500,000 BDP loan. Sona, which produces gold nanorods for medical markets, is going through the process of gaining a listing on the TSX Venture exchange. ]]>
See original article here CHRIS COWPER-SMITH Co-founder, president and CEO, Spring Loaded Technology Bringing bionic technology to sports enthusiasts and putting a spring in the step of people with knee injuries What happens when a neuroscientist, an engineer and a business student take an entrepreneurship class together? They create a bionic knee, of course. Halifaxbased Spring Loaded Technology was created in 2013 by a trio of knee-injury sufferers: Chris Cowper-Smith (the scientist); Bob Garrish (the engineer); and, Shaw Kewin (the business student). The trio’s communal pain inspired Cowper-Smith to create a brace “that could assist with mobility, rather than just providing stability.” The basis of Spring Loaded Technology is the spring inside: “We just had the small task of reinventing the spring,” Cowper-Smith explains nonchalantly. After four years of development and prototypes, they created a compact spring small enough to fit inside a conventional knee brace. The Levitation bionic knee brace hit markets in 2016 with a sales model focused on selling directly to the consumer through digital advertising. Upon determining the user is a good candidate for getting the spring back in their step, a bracing specialist works with them remotely to measure for the right fit. Next came the million-dollar contract with the Department of National Defense in which they produced 190 military-grade knee braces for the Canadian Forces. The yearlong pilot project concluded with positive reviews from injured military members and the company hopes to be supplying braces in forthcoming contracts. In the summer of 2017, they received $2.45 million in funding through ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, which they are using to build a human factors testing lab to assess actual usage of the brace. Currently the Levitation is 100 per cent assembled onsite by the company in Dartmouth’s Burnside Industrial Park: the only part brought in is the brace’s casing. For Ontario ex-pat Cowper-Smith (Garrish and Kewin are no longer with the company), the transition from scientist to CEO has been a challenging endeavor: “There’s always that little bit of uncomfortableness, a discomfort, with being a little bit out of your realm,” he says. For him the key lies in creating support, and not just with the knee brace. Reinforcing the company’s leadership team has been at the forefront of his agenda: “There’s been incredible support in the community, and we’ve managed to attract some people who are a lot smarter than me that help me fill in the holes.” “I think a background in science can be really useful for an entrepreneur starting a company, because ultimately what you are trying to do as an entrepreneur, at least in startup, is do a lot of different rapid experiments to figure out how this business is going to work,” says Cowper- Smith. It looks like 2018 will be an aggressive scaling-up year: four of the 33 employees are currently setting up temporary sales locations across the country. The U.S. and international markets are next.]]>