Wheelchair manufacturer DESINO GmbH completes A-round promptly upon market entry

With half a million euros of newly-acquired capital, Cologne-based start-up DESINO is laying the foundations for successfully opening up the German market. A syndicate of notable business angels was impressed by the DESINO business concept, particularly following October’s Rehacare 2015 trade fair, where the company presented their innovative levered wheelchair with dynamic seating to an extremely interested public. In the matter of further increasing the acquired capital stock, DESINO is currently in talks with an additional institutional investor.

“This wheelchair will revolutionize the market, and it’s not just the attractive design that sets it apart from the competition. It also clearly offers significant added value in therapeutic terms,” comments Prof. Michael Friebe on his investment. Friebe is German Business Angel of the Year 2011 and pool spokesperson for the investing business angels.

Dieter Lorenzen, a business angel who invested in the company right from seed phase in Spring 2014, is also very pleased: “My decision to increase my investment is based predominantly on the fact that DESINO has been quite successful in developing a market-ready product in just 18 months. The concept completely convinced me already two years ago.”

DESINOradius is the innovation in the field of active wheelchairs

For a long time, weight reduction was the key driver behind all wheelchair innovations. With its combination of efficient, levered drive and dynamic seating, DESINO is steering a new course. The name of the Radius product is inspired by the levered drive system which considerably extends the wheelchair user’s range of motion. This is also certainly aided by the gearshift built into the system, which makes it much easier to manage slopes or longer stretches that would otherwise be difficult.

The integrated and unique dynamic seating system works beautifully with this levered drive, and DESINO wheelchair users and doctors alike are impressed with the results. The combination of the DESINO drive and seating system transfers to the wheelchair user a movement that is almost identical to that of natural gait. This counteracts the back pain and hand-related issues that so many wheelchair users experience. “People very often are expected to adapt themselves to products,” says Head Designer and Co-Managing Director Thyl Junker. “But as a product designer, I always believe in achieving the opposite: if possible, the product should always adapt to the person.”

Market/ Social impact

There are currently 1.5 million people in Germany alone who rely on a wheelchair. This means there is substantial commercial potential for DESINO and its new partners. Hence, the large number of users who can clearly benefit from the DESINOradius already in short term is becoming obvious.

DESINO was founded in November 2012 by Thyl Junker, Daniel Levedag and Roman Pagano. After High-Tech Gründerfonds and BA Dieter Lorenzen invested in the promising med-tech start-up in February 2014, the wheelchair was developed in collaboration with the German Sport University Cologne and RWTH. The company’s October 2015 appearance at the Rehacare trade fair, along with completion of the financing round, represented key milestone achievements for DESINO, laying the foundation for a successful market entry in 2016.

Dipl.-Sportwiss. Daniel Levedag
Marketing Manager
Lichtstraße 43 d
D-50825 Cologne
Tel: +49 221 222 033 82

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, as well as strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 576 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II).

Kay Balster
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Schlegelstraße 2
53113 Bonn
Tel: 0228 823001-12
Fax: 0228 823000-50