Wellinks, a wearable health technology company founded by three Yale students, recently raised $265,000 in funding from sources including Connecticut Innovations, the New England Pediatric Device Consortium and angel investors. The company has made promising progress on their patent-pending brace-monitoring device and related app, which are initially being developed for scoliosis patients. The device uses novel sensors to track the wear-time and tightness of braces and allows doctors to follow patient progress and respond to problems in real time. The startup is actively pursuing expansion into knee braces, walking boots and other markets.
The three cofounders—Ellen Su (’13), Levi DeLuke (’14) and Sebastian Monzon (’14)—have been working on prototypes in their fourth floor office at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI) in addition to making use of 3-D printers at the Yale Center for Engineering, Innovation and Design (CEID), where the team first came together. Since that meeting, they’ve participated in a 2014 YEI Fellowship, a 10-week bootcamp for Yale ventures, and received $100,000 from the YEI Innovation Fund which provides early-stage funding to the most promising Yale startups. They’ve also been featured in Inc.,Business Insider and Fast Company. A clinical study involving 30-40 patients is currently underway at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
“Part of the funding we’re raising is going toward hiring a fulltime software developer,” Su says. “We’re also signing on a Chief Medical Officer—a very experienced orthopedic surgeon with connections to industry who we’ve been working with.” Wellinks is also discussing sales contracts with two industry partners and is preparing a manufacturing run of 1,000 devices.
“We’re working with manufacturing engineers to improve the battery life and make it even more streamlined,” Su says.
The company is HIPAA compliant, meaning they can safely and securely store patient data, and they are ready to start selling their device this coming Spring. They are also starting to look into other applications for the device. “We spoke with a doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital about sports industries—she’s very interested in using it for knee braces,” Su says. Knee braces account for some 70% of all braces sold.
This latest funding puts Wellinks on track to raise the total funding they need for expanding their team and developing their innovative device for new markets and to start improving patient health through better digital tracking.
For more information about Wellinks, contact Ellen Su, firstname.lastname@example.org.