Wolk Company started in 2013, when they first came up with their idea: an inflatable hip airbag that prevents people, especially elderly, from breaking their hip when they fall.
The first step in the innovation process was to check the commercial feasibility: who would buy this product? The product was validated and research was carried out with the target audience. The conclusion of both was to continue with the development.
Wolk acquired early phase financing (VFF) from the Ministry of Finance (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland), which helped them to further develop their product. This ultimately led to a successful prototype in 2015, which will be succeeded by a pilot run (100 units), for which financial commitment was gained from private investors. The Wolk product is already sold to multiple health care centers.
LS@W Value Centre
Co-founder Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar: “With help of the Value Center and their voucher we were able to set up a team of students at the Technical University of Delft, who help us to further fine-tune our design”. These investments are quite risky, because the outcome is unclear. I had a lot of confidence in this concept, but our investors had to be more convinced. With the voucher, we created leverage to convince our investors. And the first results are already promising; the team has showed us some great insights! Their fresh ideas and recommendations for improvement help us in turn convince new stakeholders and potential customers. By reducing the risk of the investment the government gives our team a little, but very welcome boost.“
From concept to prototype
Students of the university validate the Wolk design from concept to prototype. This is done involving the target audience. Both groups profit from the voucher: students obtain credits and WOLK gets new ideas and recommendations for the development. The team has designed three prototypes, which will be tested and validated in focus groups of elderly people.