Healthcare startup with a belt-encased airbag to prevent fall injuries for seniors close $9.2M Series A

Healthcare startup with a belt-encased airbag to prevent fall injuries for seniors closes Series A (Updated)

Generator Ventures, a firm that invests in health tech for seniors to support aging in place, led the round and existing investors also took part, according to ActiveProtective CEO Drew Lakatos.

ActiveProtective, a healthcare startup that developed a belt designed to not only detect a fall but also deploy a micro airbag to protect seniors from injuries such as hip fractures when they do, has closed a Series A round.

In an emailed statement from CEO Drew Lakatos, he said the company raised at least $4.6 million. Generator Ventures led the round and existing investors also took part, Lakatos said. He said the company has raised $10 million to date.

Last year the business closed a $2.6 million round.

ActiveProtective’s smart belt houses a micro airbag designed to cushion the user’s fall

Generator Ventures was established in 2014 and focuses on technologies to support the aging population. The goal of many of the technologies the firm invests in is to support aging in place — helping seniors live independently for longer in their own homes. As part of the firm’s investment, Generator Ventures Partner Katy Fike, who also cofounded Aging 2.0, will also get a seat on ActiveProtective’s board.

Among the investors who have previously invested in the fall protection startup are PrincetonBioPharma Capital Partners Fund, Leading Edge VenturesPCOM Innovation Fund, and Key Safety Systems — one of the largest airbag manufacturers.

Dr. Robert Buckman, a former trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital and St Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, co-founded the company and invented the smart belt. Instead of using the pyrotechnics that car airbags rely on to quickly inflate, the belt uses cold gas inflation. The belt is also equipped with Bluetooth technology so it can trigger alerts to an emergency contact.

Preventing falls is a big priority among many healthcare startups and established companies but it is a tough nut to crack. Medicare costs for fall injuries in 2015 added up to more than $31 billion.

A video of the technology shows that the airbag deploys as the user is falling right before they hit the ground. Interestingly, the user falls on a cushion which raises some questions about the comfort level of actually filming a demo on the kind of surface the user might be likely to suffer a fall injury, like a hard floor.

Lakatos emailed a comment in response to that observation claiming that the company’s airbag “attenuates impact force twice as much as the highest rated passive hip pad on the market, with 200 percent more anatomical coverage based on using the International Consensus Hip Pad Testing apparatus and methodology.”

Other companies that are trying to compete in this space include Israel-based Hip-Hope, and WOLK Company in the Netherlands.

MedCity NewsSteve Radzinski