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The company's smart cushion can analyze pressure points in real-time and redistribute pressure
Pressure injuries develop due to unmitigated pressure applied to the skin and deep tissue when a person seated for a long periods of time, making people who use wheelchairs particularly susceptible and vulnerable.
These injuries are the most preventable cause of death in wheelchair users, yet they kill more people each year than colon, breast or prostate cancer, said Tim Balz, founder and CEO of Kalogon, developer of a smart cushion that redistributes pressure points and improves blood flow.
"We founded Kalogon to help prevent these injuries and give wheelchair users the freedom to stay active longer and do more of what they love. We believe everyone deserves to live an active seated life," he said.
Now the company will be able to continue to develop and expand of its technology thanks to $3.3 million it has raised in seed funding and federal grants.
The investor group includes Florida investors DeepWork Capital, SeedFundersOrlando and VenVelo, with additional investment from Sawmill Angels, while the federal grants came from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the U.S. Air Force.
While traditional cushions can cause reduced blood flow, which may lead to painful and costly pressure sore injuries, Kalogon's Orbiter Smart Cushion uses a combination of machine learning and air cell technology to analyze pressure points in real-time, intelligently redistributing pressure, thereby increasing comfort and maintaining blood flow in wheelchair users.
The cushion also comes with a connected app that users, caregivers, and clinicians can use to personalize the experience.
"The cushion uses pressure sensors to detect applied pressures on the seat surface. The control system then takes this pressure information and compares it to the user’s settings from our app," Balz explained.
"The system adjusts applied pressure as necessary to ensure pressure reliefs are provided in sensitive areas. The cushion connects via Bluetooth to our companion app. Additionally the system can receive software updates via a WiFi connection."
The Kalogon Orbiter Smart Cushion, which has been on the market since February, can be purchased directly by wheelchair users, facilities, and clinicians; it's also available in more than 20 Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the U.S. The company custom manufactures in partnership with BAC, a social enterprise dedicated to building communities that support members of unique abilities in growing their own personal success.
In terms of ROI, Kalogon's customers with higher level injuries have been able, in some cases, to reduce healing time, which can take years and also cost patients thousands in out-of-pocket medical costs.
"We have customers who went from needing to stay in bed to being cleared to swim again. That ROI is priceless," said Balz.
The company will use the new funding to scale both domestically and internationally, and to build out its team, which is currently between 10 and 15 people. That means hiring across its sales team, as well as additional interns in engineering, sales, and marketing, and increasing its production team at BAC to keep up with manufacturing needs.
The money will also be used to expand the product’s capabilities, including increasing the cushion’s ability to customize to their lifestyle and activities, and working on new algorithm improvements to increase the comfort and efficacy of the product.
"We are on a mission to empower wheelchair users by helping them live a safe and active, seated life. This funding is the first step in our journey to revolutionize seating for everyone. As we continue to expand the seating space and improve our cushion, we strive to provide what will become the new standard of care," said Balz.
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