Damien Prateek, a medical engineer who specializes in spine surgery, and Antoine Noel, a robotic engineer who trained at MIT on exoskeletons, were already working on a draft of their medical device against back pain at work when they met Amelie Blondeau, a savvy product designer. When a member of his immediate family was severely affected by low back pain.
All three driven by the desire to democratize medical and robotic technologies in everyone’s daily life, they laid out the foundations for wearable medicine in 2015 and created the startup Japet in 2016. It was initially developed for rehabilitation centers – more specifically to support patients who suffer from lower back pain when resuming activity – the Japet.W device was instantly a hit with businesses.
“As soon as we had the opportunity to get a press release, companies approached us for their employees who were unable to work.”, attests Antoine Noel, co-founder and CEO of Japet. And for good reason, low back pain or a musculoskeletal disorder in the back is a leading cause of work stoppages and occupational diseases. “Today in France the cost of back pain – and in particular the downtime that results from it – is just over a billion euros. Social security and business split the bill. The latter is particularly affected by this phenomenon because if we add the direct and indirect costs, downtime is once One breed costs, on average, about 6,000 euros and the frequency of work stoppages for low back pain is around 70%. »Explains Antoine Noel.
A belt that absorbs and prevents pain
If the exoskeleton developed by Wandercraf was a walking support designed for people with paralysis or severe muscle weakness, then Japet.W helps with back pain at work. “More than that, we have developed – thanks to the know-how of Lille’s spinning workshops – the lightest and most compact exoskeleton that allows employees in RQTH (Recognition of Disabled Worker Quality, Editor’s Note) condition to stay on the job. Small motors inside the harness act as shock absorbers for the shaft Spine Pain reduction is the first sector of our application, but our devices are also useful in the context of prevention.At this time, 1.4 million people occupy positions at risk of developing low back pain.Using the Japet.W model, companies can prevent these risks, by 4 Up to 5 times higher in some cases. With the pension reform, hardship issues have really come up. The population is getting old and young people no longer want to work in this type of job. This is a real issue for recruitment.”
Fundraising to ramp up publishing
Having secured nearly €3 million in venture capital allowing it to develop the product and start marketing it, Lille startup Japet is now raising €1 million through a crowdfunding campaign launched on the Tudigo platform. The capital from this campaign – which will end in 11 days – will facilitate the distribution of the solution within French companies, particularly in the agro-food and industrial sectors.
It would also give Japet the means to begin its international reach with the promise of real commercial traction. “95% of our customers are generated by incoming orders. Between 100 and 200 companies contact us every month to equip themselves with this revolutionary device and keep their employees in their jobs, such as SNCF, Engie or even the Naval Group have already contacted us.”the co-founder rejoices, before confiding in the launch of a new product, Japet.W+, in a few days.