Startup Spotlight is an ongoing series which profiles Canadian wireless and mobile technology startups.
This month we spoke with Bryan Statham, Founder & CEO of LifeBooster Inc. The company provides wireless wearable sensors and an injury risk analytic engine that proactively identifies musculoskeletal risk factors to prevent injuries before they occur. With much of the industrial workforce affected by these injuries, Lifebooster is positioned to improve the safety and productivity of many workplaces.
Tell us about your background and what inspired LifeBooster?
My background is in bio-medical sciences. Before entering a career in business I had my sights set on being a doctor. The focus on injury prevention was connected to my own experiences working in a warehouse growing up. I remember lifting and packing huge, heavy boxes that had negative effects on my body and I saw that as a solvable problem since much of the strain was preventable.
Recent statistics show that within the last 15 years, 33% of all reported workplace injuries are musculoskeletal, and in some industries, this number is increasing. They cost US companies over $21 billion each year in direct costs, with indirect costs reaching anywhere from 1-10 times that of the direct. We now know that 70-80% of these injuries are preventable. Lifebooster was created to make an impact on reducing these statistics.
“33% of workplace injuries are musculoskeletal, are the most costly for companies and workers, yet have been deemed preventable. We can change this.”
What problem are you solving with your product? What benefits does it provide?
In manufacturing and labour intensive industries, there is a high rate of injuries that end up costing companies thousands of dollars per injury. Right now, the industry is very reactive with injuries not addressed until after they happen. Investigation of the incidents further adds to the cost and unfortunately the results are not all that accurate. Observing a worker performing a task repeatedly inevitably brings the Hawthorne effect into play and it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what produced the injury after the fact.
LifeBooster offers a solution to eliminate these preventable injuries. We provide a means to identify the risk factors and take a proactive approach, leading to cost savings associated with the investigations and decreased rates of injury. Our solution is enabled by a set of wearable wireless motion capture sensors that detect early indicators of musculoskeletal injuries in real time. These sensors combined with cloud-based risk analytics allow health and safety professionals to assess and mitigate factors like improper postures, repetitive movements, and the cumulative effect of these before injuries occur.
What role has Wavefront played in your journey to date?
We participated in the Venture Acceleration Program at Wavefront and the experience was invaluable to set us on the right path to growing the business. The Market Validation Training showed us how to effectively conduct customer discovery, validate the market we wanted to enter and refine our solution to best fit for our target customer. By being intentional about working with prospective customers in the development phase, companies end up having a vested interest in your product and want to see you succeed. In future we may look at doing the RevUp program as we grow.
What do you see as future developments and trends in your industry to happen within the next 5-10 years?
Across the board, we’re seeing more digital solutions being adopted by the workplace. In manufacturing, oil and energy sectors, and many other industrial industries, major players are bringing in apps and sensors to increase the safety and productivity of their workforce. With this added technology we have the ability to do more data-driven decision making on many levels.
In the wearables market we’re seeing a shift from a consumer dominated market to one with solutions designed for industrial settings. Within the past year we’ve seen a real uptake in the number of companies that have started to adopt digital solutions and we expect to see this trend increase in the future.
From your time leading the company, what advice you would share in the face of challenge for a fellow entrepreneur?
When times are dark, just keep pushing through because the light will come at the end of the tunnel! We’ve definitely had our own rough patches; peaks and valleys are part of the reality when you’re an entrepreneur. You’ll need the willpower to try and learn anything, and the faith to keep going when times get tough.
That said, I love and embrace the challenge of it. Every day is a new adventure and makes building a business very exciting. I truly believe in what we offer and the impact it’s making in health and safety, which is why I love being an entrepreneur.
Any upcoming launches or news you’d like to share about LifeBooster?
We have a prototype built and are conducting our first pilots this year with some fantastic partners. We were recently named to the 2017 Emerging Rockets list for digital health, as well as the Digital Health 100. We are also excited to be working on a big capital raise right now in our first seed financing round which we plan to close at the end of June. This year will definitely be one of growth for us!