Health tech startup raises fresh capital for smartbelt airbag to avoid hip fractures

The company has raised more than $3 million to date, according to ActiveProtective CEO Drew Lakatos.

belt2ActiveProtective has closed a $2.4 million funding round for a waist-worn airbag for seniors. The goal is to mitigate fall risk and avoid hip fractures that drive up hospitalization costs and can have a big impact on seniors’ health. This second funding round brings the total the company has raised to more than $3 million, according to ActiveProtective founder and CEO Drew Lakatos.

In a phone interview, Lakatos said the company had been looking for a strategic investor in the form of one of four airbag manufacturers. It began talks with Key Safety Systems, which develops safety tech for high-risk occupations as well as automotive air bags, in November 2014. KSS led the second seed round and also became a minority stakeholder in ActiveProtective. It was joined by Generator Fund and medical device angel investors.

I learned that Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine also took part in the fundraise —its first such venture investment from its endowment. A spokeswoman from the College confirmed the investment came from the endowment but declined to provide further details.

In a phone interview with Lakatos, he said the company has been fine tuning the algorithm for the smart belt device in the past year and noted that the structure of the belt had changed over time. He said it would use the new funding to conduct structured studies at four national senior care facilities to refine the algorithm that controls when the airbag is deployed. It is also finalizing the industrial design.

Dr Robert Buckman, a former trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital and St Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, invented the smart belt and serves as the CTO of ActiveProtective.

Lakatos said it will not pursue FDA claims and views its device as similar to passive hip protection devices.

“A number of airbags have come to market…We have developed this to come out softly and slowly and quietly with enough time to protect the hips.”

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ActiveProtective took part in TEDMED in 2014 and was one of the Hive companies there.