Cionic, developer of a wearable for enhanced mobility, adds $12M to its Series A

Steven Loeb · October 18, 2023 · Short URL:

Whitney Casey, Venture Partner at L Catterton, has joined the company's board

Jeremiah Robison founded Cionic after his daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy following a premature birth, developing a wearable, called the Cionic Neural Sleeve, that goes over the leg and uses electric stimulation to help patients improve their gait.

This is important for people with mobility issues caused by multiple sclerosis, stroke, CP, or other neurological conditions, who often have trouble walking, often resulting in foot dragging, or they have an inability to keep their foot straight, causing inversion, putting them at higher risk of falling. 

The company, has received FDA clearance last year, announced a $12 million extension of its Series A financing. Along with $12.5 million raised in September of last year, this additional funding brings its Series A total to $25 million.

The round was led by L Catterton, along with new investor THVC, as well as "all major investors." As part of L Catterton’s investment, Venture Partner Whitney Casey has joined the Board of Directors at Cionic.

"L Catterton is one of the leading investors in consumer brands, with an extensive track record of scaling popular brands across all consumer categories, including healthcare. They recognize that as healthcare becomes an increasingly important part of all of our consumer journeys, their expertise in providing compelling brand experiences and choices will play an important role in building healthcare brands of the future," Robison told VatorNews.

"We are thrilled to have Venture Partner Whitney Casey join the board, who is a talented operator with an extensive track record of building and scaling successful consumer brands both at L Catterton and as an entrepreneur herself."

A prescription-only, FDA-cleared Class II medical device, the Neural Sleeve is made with soft, flexible fabric that is fitted to an individual’s leg; inside the fabric are an array of sensors that allow the device to analyze, predict, and augment a person’s movement through the use of algorithms.

It can read the signal sent from the brain to the person's muscles, meaning that it can predict their movement 1/10th of a second before their foot lifts off the ground, leading to improved gait and reduced risk of falls.

In a longer-term home usability study, which includes the kinematic data that the Cionic system collects as well as patient reported outcomes, the number of users experiencing moderate to severe pain was reduced by 60%, and the number of users experiencing moderate to severe anxiety or depression was reduced by 75%. The company is also tracking, on average, a 50% increase in gait speed.

In addition to the funding, it was also revealed that Cionic has also partnered with Enable Ventures, an impact venture fund dedicated to closing the disability wealth gap.

There is a $2 trillion gap in Global GDP due to the exclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace, especially as they re-enter the workforce or take on new assignments that require greater independence, Robison explained, and the two organizations have a shared goal of using technology to improve access and independence for individuals with disabilities and create a more inclusive economy.

"Enable Ventures partners with early-stage companies that leverage disability as an asset to unleash untapped economic potential through products and services powered by universal design. The disability community has a long history of pioneering new technology," he said. explained.

"In the case of Cionic, by addressing the complex needs of individuals living with impaired mobility as a result of neurological conditions, we also unlock the potential of bionic clothing across the full spectrum of human mobility. I met Gina Kline at Enable Ventures through one of our early investors, and we connected immediately on our shared vision for a more accessible world."

In the past six months, Cionic has doubled its headcount and established a manufacturing facility in Northern California. The company is now licensed to ship the Cionic Neural Sleeve to 45 states in the US, with over 400 prescribing institutions. Since the start of shipments in early 2023, Cionic customers have already clocked over 200,000 hours of use.

This new funding will be used, in part, to grow the company' user and clinician adoption of the Cionic Neural Sleeve, with the company taking advantage of a network effect among clinicians and their professional and patient networks, Robison explained.

"Once clinicians witness the transformation of their patients, they begin to spread the word among their networks. We are also accelerating awareness and adoption through a focused effort with leading neurological rehabilitation centers through our Centers of Excellence program, which we launched earlier this year in collaboration with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Many new Centers of Excellence will be announced in the near future, and the list of interested institutions is growing daily," he said. 

Cionic will also use the funds to accelerate the company’s product pipeline into new indications addressing the full spectrum of human mobility. That will also mean continued investment in Cionic's wearable neuromodulation platform.

"With our neuromodulation platform powering new innovation opportunities, we see a future where mobility solutions can be created at software speeds and software costs, both within our existing form factor and beyond. Our goal is to expand our solutions to take on new indications in multiple form factors across the mobility spectrum," said Robison.

"Our ambition is for our technology to become a component of the standard of care for mobility disorders. What this means is connecting more of the diagnostics that we’re able to derive being on body into the care system to help optimize the treatment of these patients and to prove that value out to the payers so that the technology can be reimbursed for more of the population."

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