Cast company ActivArmor is switching gears and looking to investors for help.
Diana Hall, founder and CEO of the Pueblo-based startup that manufactures 3D-printed casts for broken limbs, said it’s turning into a software company.
Since launching in 2014, Hall said, ActivArmor has been a manufacturing company. Patients looking for an ActivArmor cast have had to go to one of the company’s partnered clinics, which scans the injured area and sends the information to ActivArmor. The cast is then manufactured and ready in four days.
But ActivArmor wants to change that process. With the development of new software, the company believes it can make it so that doctors around the world can download an iPhone app that scans the injured area and sends the information to a hospital or clinic’s 3D printer. That printer would then create the cast in two hours.
“A lot of hospitals and clinics have 3D printers already,” Hall said. “So we are giving them another way to utilize their existing equipment. If they don’t have a printer, we’re adding a full package that includes a printer and all of the software stuff they need.”
Hall said the software will run on tiered subscriptions, with the base tier at $999 for 12 casts a month.
ActivArmor is looking to raise $5 million to switch into the software business model. Hall said the company just raised $300,000 through crowdfunding, which was primarily intended “to allow doctors and patients to get skin in the game.” Now, ActivArmor is looking for accredited investors for the additional $4.67 million.
She said the money will go toward finishing and launching the software design, and increasing the number of hospitals and clinics that turn to ActivArmor for casts. That figure is currently 44 hospitals in 10 countries, she said.
The funds will also allow Hall to hire. Currently, ActivArmor has only three full-time staffers plus the manufacturers, who are independent contractors. Hall said she expects to hire one new staff member in sales and marketing for every eight clinics brought on.
ActivArmor raised about $1 million in 2020 and $1.38 million from 2014 to 2019. Hall said it has been “a rough road” for the company, with COVID-19 and an unstable economy.
“It’s now or never,” Hall said. “We’re still running in the red, but we’re not bleeding.”
She hopes the new software will be finished and available within a year. In the meantime, hospitals and clinics can still order ActivArmor casts to be manufactured.
Hall hopes the software will increase accessibility and change the standard of care. Currently, one ActivArmor cast costs about $50 in materials, while a traditional cast is roughly $160. Hall argues that an ActivArmor cast is more effective and sanitary, and also perfect for people with no insurance or a high deductible.
Hall said ActivArmor has done $1 million in cast sales since launch, not counting $500,000 the company made producing face masks in 2020 during the pandemic.
“If you look at our sales revenues, you’ll see we didn’t jump in growth — we want to, but the purpose was more to prove the product in the market,” Hall said. “That’s why we’re working on revenues now going forward.”
Hall said she will stay with the company as long as needed to prove it’s the superior model, but her ultimate goal is to sell.
“This is an early-exit company so a big company can take this to the scale it really needs to be,” Hall said.