SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- seedchange announced that UNYQ Design, Inc. completed its first funding round, raising $1,050,000 from strategic and individual investors in the United States, Europe and Asia. UNYQ lets amputees design high-quality, customized covers for prosthetic legs, turning prosthetics into fashion accessories.
"Existing prosthetics aren't fashionable and they are certainly not customizable. They have an ugly, industrial look," said Eythor Bender, co-founder and CEO of UNYQ. "A fairing is first of all a protective cover for wearable technology. But it is ultimately just like your eyeglasses, an expression of yourself."
There are more than five million amputees in the US and Europe. In the US, limitations on the reimbursement rate by insurers have driven customers to seek low-cost prosthetics. "They are invariably ugly," said Manuel Boza, co-founder, Chief Creative Officer and himself an amputee. "We put designers and engineers together to solve that problem."
UNYQ uses 3D printers to allow mass customization of affordable prosthetics. Customers can choose from an existing product line of more than 30 models or design their own, each custom fitted. "Over the years the craftsmanship and artistry have been lost. What we are doing with UNYQ is bringing back the creativity at an affordable price," Bender said.
Bender spent nearly 20 years in the bionic industry. As president of Osur America he led introduction of the world's first three bionic legs. "I've seen the evolution of the industry, almost from the age of wooden legs through mass production to hand-crafted items. This funding will let us expand our product line and invest in state-of-the-art 3D printers," said Bender.
UNYQ began working with seedchange, an online platform for early stage investing, in the spring. The company launched its e-commerce site in May and completed its funding round six weeks later.
With studios in San Francisco, California and Seville, Spain, UNYQ is re-imagining prosthetics by 3D printing and handcrafting custom, high fashion fairings and accessories that embellish and restore body symmetry. Amputees can select from new collections or work directly with the fashion house's designers to define their signature style at an unprecedented price.
seedchange is a global platform connecting Wall Street and Silicon Valley and bringing a new asset category to portfolios of smart investors all over the world. seedchange combines rigorous company analysis with an innovative platform to transform the way investors access, analyze and invest in early-stage companies. www.seedchange.com
Co-founder and CEO