Tyromotion: „Our work is incredibly exciting. A cool topic.“
At the beginning of the noughties. The idea came directly from the neuro-rehabilitation practice in Judendorf-Straßengel: one would have to build a robot to help patients relearn hand movements. Alexander Kollreider’s interest as a technician is aroused. Together with David Ram, he develops the first prototype in 2006. Then the consideration: Do we go ahead and found a company?
"Our work has a cool theme. We see the immediate application, the meaning and purpose. That's rare in the technical field."Alexander Kollreider, CTO Tyromotion
Admission to Science Park, set up production and obtain medical device approval. A series of firsts: First financing from aws and venture capital from SFG. Admission of the first employees from the fields of mechanical engineering, electronics, software development, medical technology. Establishing contacts with the first sales partner at the Medica trade fair in Düsseldorf: He does not come from Central Europe, as expected, but from Mexico. “It was incredibly exciting,” Alexander Kollreider recalls. “Every year there was a new topic, a new task.”
Mozart and Maradonna
It quickly becomes clear that one device is not enough. It is both therapeutically and entrepreneurially necessary to expand the product portfolio. “The classic customers are larger rehabilitation centres. They want complete packages, not individual devices.” The hand therapy device “Amadeo” (in reference to the virtuoso piano playing of W. Amadeus) was followed by the arm sensor “Pablo” (after Picasso), the rope robot “Diego” (in reference to Maradonna’s hand goal at the 1986 World Cup). Today, Tyromotion covers the entire upper and lower body therapy and sells all-in-one solutions: Devices with customised software (developed in-house) combined with therapy concept and training. “No other company in the world currently offers this in this form.”
At the same time, Tyromotion is investing heavily in sales and is building up an international network of dealers. Other financing partners – including the German investment management company SHS – are coming on board. A scientific advisory board with researchers from all over the world is looking into the requirements of the different health systems. 97 per cent of exports were recently concentrated in Russia, Spain, Germany and the USA. With prices ranging from 5,000 to 200,000 euros per, Tyromotion has so far sold more than 3,700 devices to over 1,000 clinics worldwide. And the market is growing. “The success factors of neuro-rehabilitation are intensity, dose and motivation. In all three areas, technology-assisted therapy represents a quantum leap.” Animations, target tasks and games provide additional motivation.
Meanwhile, among the more than 85 employees of the medium-sized company, motivation arises all by itself: “Our work has a cool theme. We see the immediate application, because of meaning and purpose. That’s rare in the technical field.” A shortage of skilled workers is therefore not an issue at the moment. Nor are women’s quotas: half of the management staff are female. “Coincidentally.”