South Bend, Ind. – A startup company in South Bend has received $20,000 to improve a prototype of an artificial human hand.
ProstheTech, launched in May 2019, has developed a prosthetic hand operated by signals form the brain and muscle. The investment from Elevate Ventures, through the Community Ideation Fund, will enable a second prototype with the intent of beginning sales before the end of the year.
“The fact of the matter is that globally this is an underserved market and to me, it means a lot that we can help change that,” said CEO Jose Montalvo. “We have the ability to give people who need it the most, access to high-quality, reliable prosthetics.”
Montalvo, another co-founder and a third key member of the management team are tied to the University of Notre Dame. Montalvo and Chief Innovation Officer Jacob Kapala graduated with electrical engineering degrees in May 2019. Chief Financial Officer Federico Ivanissevich graduates in 2020 with a finance and economics degree.
The founders have invested $10,000 of their own money into ProstheTech. The headquarters is moving from Montalvo’s apartment to the IDEA Center, the university’s innovation hub.
“ProstheTech is another great example of an early-stage startup in the South Bend – Elkhart Region taking advantage of the wide variety of resources in our ecosystem,” said Gavin Ferlic, an Elevate Ventures Entrepreneur-in-Residence focused on the South Bend – Elkhart Region. “The company is solving a big problem with an innovative solution and is poised for great things.”
ProstheTech’s strategy is to sell a prosthetic hand at significantly less cost than existing devices. Many of the estimated 10 million amputees around the world are not able to afford devices currently on the market.
Feedback regarding the first version was collected from the South Bend area and Chicago. Human trials with the second version are planned through December this year, and distribution of the product is planned through the ProstheTech website and through clinics.