- Ukrainian MedTech startup ComeBack Mobility landed USD 1MLN in Seed round.
- ComeBack Mobility offers a solution for monitoring the weight bearing status of crutch-using patients with leg injuries.
- The new investment will be used for developing the industrial design of the device, manufacturing the first batch, and perfecting the software.
This June, Ukrainian MedTech ComeBack Mobility announced the conclusion of its Seed round of investment. They report having raised USD 500K initially with additional 500K collected in the course of the following few months. The investors included Ukrainian VC Fison and pharmaceutical company Farmak alongside several angel investors.
Yet Another Startup in Ilya Popov’s Track Record
Ukrainian entrepreneur Ilya Popov is known for some of his other startups, including SmartSport. He started SmartSport – a booking platform for sports facilities – back in 2016 when he, a pro athlete himself, realized the need for such a service. In 2017, SmartSport represented the Ukrainian pavilion at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Likewise, ComeBack Mobility was born from Mr Popov’s personal experience. An unfortunate leg injury at an even more unfortunate timing (Spring 2020, the very beginning of the pandemic and the lockdown in Ukraine) inspired him to develop a tool to rehabilitate patients with leg injuries remotely.
Why Remote Weight Bearing Monitoring Is Necessary
Ideally, the doctor has to monitor and adjust the weight bearing (the amount of weight a patient places on their injured limb) of a crutch-using patient regularly. Even without the lockdown, it’s obviously difficult for a patient with an injured leg to visit a doctor regularly. With the lockdown, such visits became practically impossible. Nevertheless, failure to adjust weight bearing correctly may have dramatic consequences for the patient.
Before seeking out investments, ComeBack Mobility conducted a series of in-depth interviews with doctors from all over the world: Japan, the USA, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine. The interviews confirmed the severity of the problem. According to Dr Volodymyr Levchuk, head of the department of traumatology and orthopedics at the Central Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, patients often suffer from swelling and pain because of incorrect weight bearing.
‘When we saw that 74% of doctors from all over the world confirmed the problem with a detailed answer to the set question, the confidence in the idea increased,’ the startup’s founder and CEO tells ITKeyMedia.
ComeBack Mobility’s Solution for Connecting Patients with Their Physicians
To confront this issue, Mr Popov came up with a hardware solution – Smart Crutch Tips with built-in weight sensors. The device records the peak pressure a patient puts on the crutches while stepping forward. As the data gets processed in real time, the algorithm determines the amount of weight a patient places on their injured limb.
This data is communicated to the separate Doctor App and Patient App. Using the Doctor App, the physician sets a weight bearing program for the patient and monitors how the patient complies. If the patient doesn’t comply with the program, an instant light, sound, or vibration signal lets them know about it. Patient App gives an instant overview of the amount of load taken with each step, the patient’s daily step count, and cumulative crutch walking data. Also, it has an SOS button with which a patient can instantly inform their physician about increased pain or swelling.
ComeBack Mobility’s Advantages for Doctors and Patients
In a nutshell, ComeBack Mobility’s advantages include:
- The device can function offline. It tracks and stores patient gait data for up to 10 days without a smartphone;
- Storage capacity can record up to 1M steps (the equivalent of 760 km/470 miles);
- Batteries are cheap and easy to install. The battery life is 850 hours of active usel;
- It takes a doctor no more than 2 minutes to set up an individual weight bearing (WB) program. It’s possible to modify the patient’s WB status per presentation of signs and symptoms;
- Smart Crutch Tips track, record, and provide real time feedback (light, vibration, sound) for every step taken during crutch gait;
- The patient quickly learns how to apply the Smart Crutch Tips’ instant feedback to their prescribed WB status. If the patient has prior experience walking on crutches, it takes them no more than 10 steps to get used to Smart Crutch Tips;
- Once connected to the smartphone, Smart Crutch Tips instantly sync the patient’s gait data (daily steps and WB load) with both Doctor App and the Patient App;
- The doctor can view the patient’s gait data and compliance to the WB program in real time. The Digital dashboard displays gait data in daily, weekly, and monthly formats;
- Telehealth capability. The patient can communicate concerns and changes in symptoms with the doctor, or medical care provider, via the SOS button.
Dr Levchuk already got a chance to test Smart Crutch Tips on an actual patient. ‘My patient suffered from swelling and pain due to incorrect weight bearing. After he started using the crutch tips, he could see how much load he was actually putting on the injured leg. Two days later, the pain and swelling decreased significantly,’ he states.
Where Does the Company Go from Here
According to Mr Popov, the technology is already in the clinical testing phase to prove that they decrease patients’ recovery time and reduce the risk of complications. Once done, ComeBack Mobility will use the raised funds to develop the industrial design of the device, manufacture the first batch, and develop mobile and web applications for doctors and patients. In addition, the company has plans to develop new product lines – for the elderly and for hand injury rehabilitation.
With such trends as aging society and overall increased attention to health, medical innovations become particularly welcome all over the world. In view of the pandemic and the lockdown, solutions that facilitate efficient remote communication between doctors and patients, like ComeBack Mobility’s Smart Crutch Tips are especially important.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!