Technoport 2014: AssiStep helps the elderly

At Technoport 2014’s Live Crowdfunding Experiment, the first of its kind in Norway, three promising young tech startups will pitch their company to a crowd of investors. This week we’ll hear from each of the startups in turn. First up, AssiStep – a company created by Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø, Halvor Wold, and Ingrid Lonar. 

What challenge does your product solve, and how is your solution innovative?

One of the biggest obstacles for the elderly and people with mobility issues is stair climbing. It’s one of the most common reasons that people need to move away from their home. At the same time, stair climbing is the most effective training method in your own home, but the consequences from falling can be dramatic, which is illustrated by the 50 casualties and 30,000 injuries from stair falling each year in Norway alone.

If we can solve this problem by adding increased support, increased safety and stimulate people to continue to use their stairs, our users will become more independent, get increased exercise, and continue to live in their own home for longer.

Why did you decide to develop this company?

Through a large number of interviews with users and therapists, we learned  how big the stair climbing problem actually is, and that there aren’t good enough solutions out there today. By creating AssiTech AS, we can make people more independent, and at the same time establish ourselves in a market with a big growth potential over the coming years.

What have you achieved so far?

We’ve established a passionate and ambitious team that really wants to make a difference by creating innovative and user-friendly products. We’ve raised over 2 million NOK in soft-funding. We’ve developed a lot of prototypes, and  at this point are ready to produce the first series of AssiStep. AssiStep is a trademarked and patent-pending product.

Where has your funding come from before?

We’ve raised over 2 million NOK in soft-funding to date, from Innovation Norway, NTNU Discovery, our biggest customer NAV, and the Tekna scholarship 2013, in addition to the equity we’ve put in ourselves. We’re now at a stage where we need to raise private capital, in order to initialise production of the first 60 products.

Why are you seeking equity funding?

Because we know that a lot of people out there really believe in AssiStep, and want to see it go into production. Equity funding makes it possible for ordinary people to make a difference, by becoming a shareholder in a company with growth potential. In order for us to start delivering value to users and customers, we need to raise capital for production of our first 60 products.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

In 5 years our product portfolio have grown to something more than AssiStep, making use of our strategic distribution partners outside Norway. AssiStep is by then an established product also within markets outside Norway, and should be the natural choice for stair mobility. Our organisation consists of creative people that wants to make a difference by creating innovative products that solve big problems.

Check out the AssiStep Funded by Me campaign here!

Want to attend?

Learn more about the Live Crowdfunding Experiment and register for Technoport 2014.

Photo credit: AssiStep (from left to right, Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø, Ingrid Lonar, Halvor Wold)