Creating interest in their new wearable device has been a relatively painless experience for Melbourne startup MyGolgi.
Image: MyGolgi links smart sensors with smartphones to provide real time posture feedback.
Their ground-breaking technology improves posture for back pain sufferers, and the potential market is huge – 84 per cent of all Australians suffer from back pain at some point, and over 400 million workdays are lost in US, UK and Australia each year due to the condition.
MyGolgi co-founder Mitch Finlayson, a biomedical scientist by training, says the idea arose from a very personal experience of the problem.
"My fellow co-founder Brenton and I are brothers. We both suffered from back pain and struggled to understand the cause of it,'' says Mitch.
"Sam, our third co-founder, was the physiotherapist treating us. Together, we realised there is a huge lapse between when your physio gives you advice during a treatment session, and when you actually need it – in everyday life.
"So we created a device which uses smart sensors to provide live feedback through your phone, telling you when you are in good or bad posture. This information is also shared with your health professional to see how your daily activities are impacting your condition.''
While MyGolgi has elected to focus on back problems initially, the technology could just as easily be used on knees or other parts of the body.
We are trying in rein in our excitement about where this could go, because it is so adaptable to so many injuries,'' says Mitch.
"Everyone want to know more about their body in this day and age, particularly with wearable devices becoming so popular.''
MgGolgi is still at a relatively early stage, with a proof of concept and patents pending. Next steps will include raising capital and product development, with the goal of getting to market by 2018. The plan is to launch in Australia first.
"We will go through physios and others treating back pain already, such as chiropractors, osteopaths and GPs, for our first entry to market,'' says Mitch.
The fledgling company has found Melbourne to be a nurturing start-up environment.
"Melbourne is so strong in the med tech area. We have the Parkville precinct, and the universities of Melbourne, Monash and Swinburne. We've had a lot of interaction with the city's universities and hospitals, and we've been assisted by support from the Victorian Government.
"Recently we were lucky enough to win an Innovation Showcase scholarship from the Victorian Government to allow us to attend the AdvaMed 2016, the leading medical technology trade conference that was held in Minnesota, USA. As part of the scholarship we were very fortunate to be able to pitch MyGolgi to leading business development executives and investors."
"We made lots of useful contacts with other Victorians through travelling with them on a Victorian trade mission to the conference and of course we learnt so much in the US. We received really good feedback from people there about our vision and the potential of our product.''
And MyGolgi has also been announced as a top 10 finalist in the Bridge to MassChallenge competition, again supported by the Victorian Government. Boston-based MassChallenge is one of the world's top accelerators with an international track record of helping start-ups achieve momentum and growth."They picked some of the best startups from Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to go to Boston in February to learn more about the US market,'' says Mitch. "Boston is very med tech orientated, so that's sure to be really exciting for us.''