Rowheels Announces $1.5 Million Funding

Rowheels, manufacturer of Rev1 “pull propulsion” wheels for manual wheelchairs, has secured $1.5 million in funding from strategic operating capital fund WISC Partners.

In a news statement, Rowheels said the investment would be used “to advance the commercialization of its promising reverse propulsion wheel technology in the $4.5 billion global wheelchair market.”

Manual chair users operate the Rev1 wheels by reaching forward and pulling the wheels toward them in what Rowheels describes as a rowing motion.

The motion is in contrast to traditional push propulsion, which is why the Rowheels motion has been referred to as reverse propulsion wheel technology.

The company lauds the pull-propulsion geometry, saying it results in improved posture for wheelchair users, requires fewer strokes on the handrim versus pushing for propulsion, and can strengthen upper back and shoulder muscles. Rowheels cites research that says propelling by pulling rather than pushing could help to reduce repetitive strain injuries.

Rowheels, based in Fitchburg, Wisc., was founded in 2011 by Salim Nasser, now the company’s CTO, and Rimas Buinevicius, CEO.

“With this investment and working relationship with WISC Partners, we are prepared to effectively go to market with our new product family,” Buinevicius said. “WISC Partners has already helped us identify and expand our vision for additional market opportunities, so we have gained far more value than funding alone.”

Mike Splinter, general partner at WISC Partners, said of the collaboration, “Rowheels has everything that we look for in an investment: a strong team of founders, impressive progress to date, clear product-market fit, and the potential to transform a large market. We are very please to be working with the remarkable team at Rowheels.”

David Guinther, another general partner at WISC partners, will join the Rowheels board of directors. WISC Partners is based in Madison, Wisc.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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