Kiwi start-up spearheads global smart textile market

May 7, 2015

After raising initial equity capital and providing its interim management team, Pacific Channel was delighted to assist New Zealand smart fabric technology start-up, Footfalls & Heartbeats secure a significant licensing deal with one of the world’s largest medical compression therapy companies, Medi GmbH&Co.KG (Medi)

With strong leadership under new Managing Director, Dr Roland Toder, the company is securing its foothold as a key emerging player in the smart textiles market.

The deal provides validation for this promising company.

It is anticipated its unique technology will allow medical practitioners and patients worldwide to more easily and reliably apply accurate compression levels when treating venous ulcers.

Headquartered in Bayreuth, Germany, Medi is a leading global player in medical products with more than 60 years experience in compression technology.  CircAid, a compression therapy company and 100% subsidiary of Medi, will initially implement Footfalls & Heartbeats technology into their compression bandaging products.  Medi also plans to incorporate the Footfalls technology into additional products.

Footfalls & Heartbeats technology uses micro-scale interactions with the textile to make the fabric itself the sensor, avoiding the need for wires and electronics at the site of sensing.

Smart textiles is a rapidly growing billion dollar market internationally and Footfalls & Heartbeats Managing Director, Roland Toder, says its technology heralds a new era in smart textile applications.

“Our technology can be applied to a wide variety of textiles but for compression bandaging, it enables both practitioner and patient to provide consistency with compression when bandaging venous ulcers, one of the most common problems affecting the aging population globally.

“A study recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association [1] showed only 27% of venous ulcers were bandaged correctly by the wound care nurses surveyed. The remaining 73% either bandage too tightly which risks a tourniquet effect, or too loosely, which won’t adequately treat the ulcer, thus prolonging its impact.

“Compression standards vary globally. Our aim is to standardize these levels with our technology and Medi’s global outreach.”

The deal with Medi is positive news for Footfalls & Heartbeats first investors.

“For a science based company, Footfalls has gone from seed funding to a significant commercial deal in a relative short time. It has been greatly assisted through co-investment from Pacific Channel, the NZ Venture Investment Fund, ICE Angels, Enterprise Angels and Angel HQ along with support from Callaghan and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as well as scientific collaborations with AUT, said Roland Toder.”

Toder says the next steps for the company are to grow its licensing deals with key players in other markets. “We are readying to act on the interest shown in our technology by other global businesses and will soon seek funds to grow from this initial base.”


Bandage deal looks healthy for tech start-up – New Zealand Herald

NZ textile company inks deal to produce “intelligent” bandages – NBR

The bare-footed mad scientist creating super-smart socks – Ideolog

Medical tech tie-up – Nelson Mail