Seed Cap funding is helping to advance crutch tip technology from lab to market
TAMPA, Fla. – Moterum LLC, a local USF startup company, was awarded funding from the University of South Florida Research Foundation’s Seed Capital Accelerator program. The beneficial funding was used to produce a clinical grade prototype of the company’s novel, simple, and highly effective MTip Crutch Tip for crutch walking assistance and control.
“The funding from the Seed Capital program has allowed us to advance the commercial design and properly test our crutch tip technology,” said Ismet Handžić, USF graduate, co-inventor of the crutch tip technology and Moterum research engineer. “Additionally, the funding provided us the opportunity to focus our efforts on manufacturing and commercialization.”
As part of his PhD research at USF on kinetic shapes for rehabilitation devices, Handžić developed the crutch tip technology, a small rubber piece that fits on the bottom of a crutch and replaces the existing tip, changing the shape of the crutch tip and significantly reducing the effort needed to walk with crutches. The unique shape of the crutch tip also provides more stability for the crutch user and allows the user to access to a variety of conditions and environments that are inaccessible or uncomfortable when using normal crutch tips.
The innovative crutch tip technology was exclusively licensed to Moterum by USF. Moterum engineered the kinetic crutch tip design into a product called the MTip Crutch Tip (http://moterummtip.com/), which will begin shipping this month.
Handžić, Moterum’s CEO David Huizenga, and Kyle B. Reed, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at USF, received an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the customer need and value proposition of the kinetic crutch tip technology. The team successfully completed exhaustive market research through the I-Corps program and was able to identify a product market fit, based on this technology.
The USF Research Foundation Seed Capital Accelerator program supports and provides up to $50,000 of funding to new and existing USF Tampa Bay Technology Incubator-affiliated startups that were formed based on the licensing of USF technologies. The funds enable startups to quickly improve the odds of overcoming immediate obstacles to commercialization and are used to build prototypes, obtain materials, pay salaries, contract for services and assistance outside the university, or cover other expenses.
“Participating in the I-Corps and Seed Capital Accelerator programs allowed us to not only define our technology but helped propel it to the next level,” said Handžić. “Having programs that invest in university startups truly helps early-stage companies grow their businesses and succeed.”
Moterum LLC is an early-stage startup focusing on mobility and rehabilitation technologies. The company currently has four technologies in differing developmental stages in its portfolio.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.