Apr 28, 2020 | IMV Inc., News, Spring Loaded Technology
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From producing protective equipment and hand sanitizer, to innovating medical technology, here’s how some Nova Scotia companies are changing the way they do business.
In response to COVID-19, IMV initiated the development of a vaccine. The company is currently in the preclinical development stage.
As innovation companies and health partners step up to collaborate on new products with Spring Loaded, current projects include the development of a face shield and transport hood.
Oct 5, 2018 | News, Spring Loaded Technology
<![CDATA[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.]]>
Sep 19, 2018 | News, Spring Loaded Technology
Helping our customers overcome common mobility impairments, so they can live life to its fullest.
Spring Loaded’s purpose has guided the company’s decision-making from the beginning. It all started when the company’s three founders met at Dalhousie University and discovered that they shared experiences having worn standard knee braces at some point. These were great for providing stability but all three were frustrated that the braces did little to help with the mobility required to get back to work, to school, to athletics, and to everyday life. They decided there must be a better way and Spring Loaded’s idea – and its purpose – was born.
Staying motivated during R&D
During the hard slog of developing their initial spring-loaded brace, the Levitation, their purpose kept the team focused and motivated. It’s easy to get distracted with trendy features when you’re deep in the product development stage, but frequently returning to their purpose helped maintain their focus.
Using the Lean Startup methodology the team kept close to patients and clinicians to really understand their most important needs. As they did so they heard about the vital factors of individuality, dignity and quality of life. The engineering team ensured the brace technology they developed would help give people back their mobility and reduce pain, and indeed change their lives.
Strategy and measuring impact
Today Spring Loaded has grown into a medium-sized business with a significant export footprint outside of Atlantic Canada. Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO, attributes this success to sticking close to their purpose. It runs through Spring Loaded’s business strategy, how they attract customers, and how they measure their success. “Our internal company dashboard has ‘Number of lives changed’ not ‘Number of braces sold’”, says Cowper-Smith.
Hiring and keeping talent
Making sure their purpose is more than just words on a page has been key to attracting and keeping the talent that they need to grow. Employees are motivated by knowing that the work they do every day changes people’s lives: this shows in performance reviews and in casual chats at the office, and the company has a low turnover rate to prove it.
Spring Loaded’s cheeky tag-line “Making the world a better brace,” was the brain-child of a team member, and it’s stuck. They focus on hiring young talent who are often looking for meaningful careers. And it was an employee that nominated Spring Loaded for the Game Changer’s Award for Youth Employment in 2017.
Attracting investors with purpose
In their start-up years Spring Loaded couldn’t afford to hire and keep the talent they needed without investors, and the business was able to attract capital specifically because of their purpose. This includes impact investors like Ray Myzuka from ThresholdImpact who actively seeks investments that provide both excellent financial returns and excellent social returns to the world.
Cowper-Smith feels that all of their investors are motivated by more than profits. “Investors need to make a bunch of decisions each year about which companies they are going to invest in. If a product is going to make a difference for someone’s life and it has a potential to be massively scalable in the end, then that’s what they’re going to choose. We are seeing that investors are caring a lot more about that rather than some widget that might be nice to have but doesn’t really make a difference.”
There is always more to do to and Cowper-Smith says they are refining their mission, vision and values in preparation for a deeper roll out in strategy and HR processes.
Spring Loaded also recently launched a customer survey that will examine quality of life before and after using their knee brace, so the company can quantify and report on how their purpose is having an impact on people’s lives.
May 15, 2018 | News, Spring Loaded Technology
<![CDATA[See original news release here
Funding supports Dartmouth-based manufacturer of bionic knee braces
May 15, 2018 – Dartmouth, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Breakthroughs in health technology result in jobs, create valuable intellectual property and further promote Canada’s standing as an innovation leader. High demand for a bionic spring-loaded knee brace pioneered by Spring Loaded Technology Incorporated
is requiring the firm to scale up. That is why the Government of Canada is providing this award-winning company with a $460,458 repayable contribution to help it upgrade its manufacturing operations, increase productivity and improve the quality of life of more people affected by mobility issues.
Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, was onsite today to make the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
(ACOA). The funding is being made through ACOA’s Business Development Program.
In addition to acquiring new production equipment, Spring Loaded will also purchase and implement new customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. These new programs will enable the company to expand its reach by facilitating business-to-business sales methods.
With increased manufacturing capacity, this project will help maintain 30 full time positions in Dartmouth. As production increases, new positions will be required.
This will build on previous projects that helped Spring Loaded establish its manufacturing facility, develop a commercialization strategy, create new products and product features, and further leverage investor dollars.
“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.
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Cell: (902) 830-3839
Office: (902) 426-9417
E-mail: [email protected]
Director of Marketing
Spring Loaded Technology
Cell: (902) 877-4376
Email: [email protected]
May 15, 2018 | News, Spring Loaded Technology
<![CDATA[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. ]]>