eLab Featured Startup: Orthofit
Founded just one year ago as part of the eLab class of 2017 by Jason Guss (BS '13, PhD student) and Apoorva Kiran (B.Tech '08, MSc '11, PhD '17), Orthofit addresses the problem of poor workplace ergonomics and posture, which typically lead to chronic medical conditions, by providing professionals with custom smart wearable solutions that enable posture monitoring and correction. Guss says that “Orthofit makes the workplace safer by preventing repetitive motion injuries and improving workplace ergonomic evaluations with our smart wearable technologies and software.”
Apoorva Kiran came up with the idea for Orthofit when he witnessed his friends and family suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome while lacking any understanding of what had caused them to develop it. The company was later founded when Guss, CEO; Apoorva Kiran, co-founder; and Will Weinlandt (BS ’14, MEng ‘15), Product Development, were accepted into the Rev Summer Hardware Accelerator Program. Guss speaks fondly of the bonds he has built with the other members of his OrthoFit team while experiencing the extreme ups and downs of starting a business together. He says, “We all were acquaintances or friends and quickly found that we loved working with each other.”
According to Orthofit, musculoskeletal issues result from exposure to risk factors at work like lifting heavy items, bending, and poor body postures. Additionally, repetitive motion injuries are linked with undergoing forceful exertions, experiencing vibrations, and holding sustained positions. These repetitive motion injuries account for about 2/3 of workplace injuries in the United States. These injuries cost about $17 billion a year to the United States economy through medical costs, lost productivity, compensation, and wages.
Orthofit, the smart wrist sleeve, allows posture tracking and feedback for upper limb activities, informing the user about improper posture over the course of the workday through their mobile application. This tool allows Health and Safety Officers to determine the safety of specific movements and conditions, so employers and insurance companies can use this information to assess workplace risk.
Guss says that the most memorable part of starting Orthofit has been contacting the world’s largest meat and poultry processing company on their Contact-us portal. Within a week, the Orthofit team heard back from the Director’s of Health and Safety, interested in their product. Guss says, “This really demonstrated to us we had found a true customer pain point.”
Guss expressed Cornell’s seminal role in helping to foster his desire to start his own company and making the most of his time at Cornell, asserting, “The access to amazing and experienced mentors has really helped guide my path thus far.”
Guss says, “I would like the Cornell community to know that we are thankful for all of their assistance so far.” Orthofit is now in the process of recruiting customers for their product and is seeking anyone in the Cornell community who knows of individuals in the manufacturing sector or involved in health and safety.