Halifax startup raises $1.9 million for world’s first bionic knee brace


Halifax-based Spring Loaded Technology just scored CAN $1.9 million in venture funding, even as its Indiegogo campaign continues. The round was led by Build Ventures following the startup’s capture of a CAN $1 million contract from the Canadian Department of Defense.

“We wanted to create a powerful spring loaded knee brace that was affordable and could benefit everyone,” Spring Loaded Technology’s CEO Chris Cowper-Smith said in a statement. “Through years of research, we developed a new type of liquid spring that allowed us to keep our brace light, powerful, and compact, but also remain affordable.”

Its bionic knee brace, which the startup boasts is the world’s first, “stores kinetic energy” with a new kind of spring that returns that energy as users straighten their legs. The idea is to augment the natural movements and power of wearers. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign for its Levitation knee brace, the consumer version of the UpShot that it is manufacturing for the Canadian government. That campaign is already over 200% funded and has raised $172,013 thus far. The retail cost would be $2,500, but they are still available for $1,199 on Indiegogo. Like all knee braces, they can be used for rehabilitation or used more generally for people with persistent knee injuries or pain. The braces should also be covered by insurance plans.

“We were in conversations with Build Ventures for several months, so they know the company well. Our pre-sales campaign certainly helped them over the finish line for making an investment,” Cowper-Smith told Geektime.

Build Ventures is based in Halifax and is operating a $65 million venture fund focused on Canadian tech startups. The fund is run by general partners Patrick Keefe and Rob Barbara. Their other investments include social media startup Affinio, video SaaS company Celtx, Introhive, Muse, AirVM, Resson Aerospace and Smart Skin Technologies. Cowper-Smith told us that Halifax has a lot more going on than international headlines might let on about where startups are growing in Canada.

“Halifax has developed a burgeoning startup ecosystem with great ventures at all stages. We are starting to see new investors, mentorship networks, educational programs, and startup houses forming, helping increase the depth of expertise in the city. Out of town investors are taking note and are making investments in local companies, recognizing high value opportunities.”

Founded in 2013, CEO Chris Cowper-Smith and CTO Bob Garrish hope to hit profitability and double their team of 12 by the end of 2016 out of their offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Spring anticipates the first deliveries of the Levitation in June.


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