Months after launching its revolutionary knee brace, Spring Loaded Technology is entering the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program, one of the country’s leading accelerators for growth-stage companies.
The Dartmouth-based company on Thursday was named to the program offered by the Lazaridis Institute at Wilfrid Laurier University, which called participants in the new cohort “Canada’s 10 most promising technology companies.”
Now in its second year, the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program helps high-growth innovation companies make the difficult transition from startups to bona fide corporations. The organizers said the first cohort of 10 companies — which included Halifax-based QRA Corp. — saw significant revenue growth, improved efficiency and expanded capacity as they went through the program.
“We’re honoured to be among this elite group of young Canadian tech companies participating in the Lazaridis Scale Up Program,” said Spring Loaded CEO Chris Cowper Smith in an email. “After completing a successful year of presales and officially launching our bionic knee braces in June, we are well poised to leverage the expertise and opportunities this program offers.”
Founded at Dalhousie University’s Starting Lean program in 2012, Spring Loaded has been developing a knee brace that not only stabilizes the joint but also adds power to it. The result was the Levitation knee brace, which the company refers to as the world’s first “bionic knee brace.” The company launched the Levitation for consumer sales across North America in June.
The company has grown from three guys with an idea five years ago to a multi-faceted manufacturing corporation now. In the last few years, the company has enhanced its management team. Co-founder Bob Garrish left for medical reasons and was replaced by chief technology officer Stephen Fitzgerald. The executive team added chief operating officer Dawn Umlah, the former entrepreneur-in-residence at Innovacorp, and sales and marketing head Rene Leclerc.
The company this year embarked on a $3.8 million program to develop new products, boost its manufacturing capabilities and set up a human performance lab in Dartmouth to test its products.
The Lazaridis Scale-Up program targets companies at this stage in their development — those that have international sales and need to grow revenue while they develop and/or improve their products. The 10 participants were chosen by a panel of Canadian and American venture capitalists and ecosystem leaders, who assessed the companies based on data found on the startup data platform, Hockeystick.
“We are so impressed with the depth of talent, the passion and the ambition of these 10 Canadian companies,” said Lazaridis Institute managing director Kim Morouney in a statement. “They all have the potential to be global leaders in their industries. We’re looking forward to working with them over the next year and beyond to help them overcome their barriers to scale.”
The Lazaridis Institute said the companies in the first cohort benefited from the practical knowledge that was immediately applicable to their organizations and relationships they delivered with tech leaders from across North America.
“The Lazaridis Scale-Up Program was very beneficial for us,” said QRA Corp. CEO Jordan Kyriakidis, adding that it helped the company to know it was on the right track. “It gave us a framework in which to think about markets, growth, products and solutions. It gave us tools with which to run our company intentionally, and guide it forward.”