When Tracy McGillivray and Liam Maaskant set out to design a better mobility aid in the fall of 2019, they split up and conducted their ideation work separately. When they reconvened two weeks later, they discovered they had arrived at nearly the same concept of incorporating a lifting mechanism into a larger device.

Their idea would eventually become the Raymex Lift, named for McGillivray’s father, Ray, whose own experiences inspired its creation. The device is a combination of a rollator walker and a powered seat that can be raised and lowered from ground level to about two feet up, and vice versa.

Axtion Independence Mobility, as McGillivray and Maaskant named their company, is based in Wolfville, N.S., and last week was one of seven startups chosen for the inaugural cohort of Toronto’s Mobility Unlimited Hub — an accelerator program backed by MaRS Discovery District and automotive giant Toyota’s philanthropic arm. By this fall, they hope to have filed for regulatory approval in both Canada and the U.S.

“The uniqueness is in the fact that the power-elevated seat … descends right to the floor," said McGillivray in an interview. "It sits flush with the floor, it rises up to 22 inches, and it stops anywhere in between.”

The powered seat also has rotating arms capable of extending up to 90 degrees, allowing the Raymex Lift to be used to help transfer a disabled patient between seats, beds or other mobility aids. The device can also be mounted on a toilet to help patients raise and lower themselves, as well repurposed as an exercise aid.

“There are other lift devices out there, but they don’t help with other aspects of mobility,” said McGillivray. “Often, they require one to two people to assist with using them.

“A lot of the most popular ones that are in use are sling or hoist-based lifts, and those basically require two trained professionals to use them.”

So far, McGillivray and Maaskant have bootstrapped Axtion and the development of the Raymex, though they are now raising an equity funding round specifically targeting strategic investors. They also hope participating in the Mobility Hub will help them dial in their go-to-market strategy.

In the meantime, they have made contact with several large distributors interested in the Raymex and are eyeing possible manufacturing partners at home in Nova Scotia.

“In terms of manufacturing, it will be with a contract manufacturing partner,” McGillivray said. “We’re not going to build our own manufacturing plant.”