Independence, self-reliance and the avoidance of caregiver back injuries that cost the U.S. health care system more than $20 billion annually:1 Those are the benefits hundreds of equity crowdfunding investors have recognized in UpLyft™, the world’s first FDA-compliant medical system that empowers people with physical disabilities to safely, quickly and easily transfer themselves between bed and wheelchair, no physical force required. UpLyft, the San Diego-based startup that created the self-transfer system, has raised more than $624,000 since inception thanks to its recently completed Wefunder equity crowdfunding campaign that aimed to finance the initial manufacturing of units for pre-order customers.
“I’m 21-years-old and still live at my parents’ home simply because the only task that I need assistance with is getting out of bed,” said Michaela Davert, who has osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare connective-tissue disease. “I have such a big dream of being on my own…UpLyft could make that possible for me,” said Davert, one of UpLyft’s initial pre-order customers.
In more than three million U.S. households, a person needs assistance to get in and out of bed every day.2 The top three causes for mobility impairment include accidents, obesity and late-stage disease/end-of- life care. Often one or more members of these households take on the role of caregiver, helping the person with impaired mobility to get out of bed and into their wheelchair using slings, hoists, body boards and other physically strenuous methods. These lift-to-stand movements pose injury risks to both the caregiver and the individual requiring care.
In health care settings, 30 percent of work force injuries are related specifically to patient lifting, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, California and 11 other states, as well as the federal government, have passed or are considering new laws to address caregiver back injuries and foster development of alternatives to manual lifting.
“UpLyft addresses the critical need for a new method to safely and efficiently transfer people with mobility limitations between beds, gurneys and wheelchairs in private homes and health care facilities,” said UpLyft President and CEO Craig Misrach. “We are looking forward to aligning with operating and financing partners that believe in our two-prong sales channel opportunity and can enable us to scale our manufacturing and distribution capabilities to fulfill UpLyft’s burgeoning market demand.”
The self-transfer system has two joysticks that control the up-and-down, right-and-left movement and are strategically positioned so that they are accessible to the person with mobility challenges, as well as caregivers. The joysticks allow the user to lower patented articulating “fingers panels” until they gently wrap around an individual’s thighs and torso, whether that person is in a supine or sitting position. UpLyft then gently lifts the individual above the bed, where the system pivots and lowers the individual comfortably into their wheelchair. The process takes about a minute. UpLyft is compatible with existing floor and ceiling hoist systems.
“Other lifts that utilize slings and body boards are not at all comparable to UpLyft and its ease of use,” said Ricky James, who has T7 paraplegia.
UpLyft’s Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Anton Simson, Ph.D., who earned three engineering degrees from MIT, began developing the self-transfer system in his garage in 2014, after a dear friend shared details about the difficulties of caring for his son, who had been paralyzed in a bicycle accident. As a result, the young man’s wife became his primary caregiver, but the family worried about the physical demands of caretaking as they got older.
“My friend asked if I could develop a device that would allow family members to transfer his son from bed to wheelchair, or vice-versa, with essentially no physical strain. Or better yet, design a system that would allow the son to transfer himself,” said Simson, a retired aerospace engineer. “I couldn’t resist the opportunity to work on such a project.”
Simson has since built nine prototypes that have been tested in institutional and home settings.
UpLyft was the No. 1 most-funded medical device company with an active campaign on Wefunder from August to December 2020. While the company continues to secure additional equity and debt capital from accredited investors, it is also accepting pre-orders through the company website.
Founded in 2016 by Anton Simson, Ph.D., UpLyft addresses the critical need for an innovative method to safely and efficiently empower people with mobility limitations to self-transfer from bed to wheelchair and vice versa. The result is UpLyft™, the first FDA-compliant self-transfer system to restore independence to people with mobility challenges and best protect caregivers from encountering patient lifting injuries.