This is a follow up story for ActivArmor. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Diana Hall, the Founder of ActivArmor. We make 3D-printed plastic casts that allow people to shower and wash their hands while they heal!
Here’s a link to my original Starter Story: How A Nonprofit For Children In Poverty Turned Into A $500k/Year.
Tens of thousands of Americans have to wear a cast or a splint on any given day for broken bones or conditions like Carpal Tunnel. Old-school casts and splints are archaic, being made from moisture and bacteria-trapping materials that don’t allow you to sweat, swim or shower for WEEKS!
We have developed the solution! We use a 3D imaging iPhone app to take body scans and design custom-fitted medical wearables that give people their lifestyle freedoms back. Our casts help keep people safe from the viral transmission.
We sell directly to doctors and hospitals that treat patients with fractures, diabetic foot, and other injuries and conditions requiring casts or splints.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Hi, our business has grown and evolved over the last year. We have further addressed the many issues with traditional casting in video and print:
I was honored to win the Colorado Manufacturing Woman of the Year award for 2022!
We have signed on with MediGroup, the single largest non-acute care group purchasing organization (GPO) in the U.S., with over 40,000 surgical clinics, non-acute care facilities, and physician offices nationwide.
We’ve contracted with more international partners and will soon be available in 10 countries!
We continue to hit all the major tradeshows, including AAOS, ACSM, and AOSSM
Onboarding new providers, and posting patient testimonials on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. @ActivArmor #ActivArmor
We launched a successful crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine to help us grow, and have investment opportunities for a very limited time! Check out the video.
And now that we have perfected the designs and proven the product in the market (that it is safe and effective and patients and doctors love it), we have been investing in the ability to SCALE. This means that we need to make the product faster and cheaper! So we have been working on bringing the printing into the clinic with a full-service package, that includes a printer and cloud-based custom design software program. This will allow medical providers to scan, design, fabricate and fit patients within a matter of hours for less than the cost of a traditional cast! We plan to roll this package out in the first quarter of 2023.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Our biggest challenges have been addressing access to our customers, economy, and supply chain issues remaining from the Covid pandemic, as well as navigating the best ways to fund and manage our growth. It’s difficult to bring new technology into an old-school market - the best marketing and sales pathways and how to gain acceptance for a new process into the clinical flow.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
We learned that to successfully introduce a new product into an established market, you must have buy-in from every level (prescription writer, clinical decision-makers, ortho-techs/MA’s/therapists, and patients). Getting buy-in at all levels is based on building trust and relationships - which takes time and money, so don’t expect it to happen overnight!
The things that were hardest for me to do were to make staffing changes. Some were necessary due to growth and cultural fit, and others were due to the focus and financial standing of the company at the time. Some of the changes were difficult but turned out to be positive for the company once we got through the growing pains.
The key is to never make decisions based on fear. If you’re holding back on doing something, stare it in the face and determine its root cause. If it’s fear, not logic, then do it anyway!
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
2023 will be a big year for ActivArmor. We will be launching our in-clinic custom fabrication package into the market and learning how to work through a GPO. Our goal is to hit break-even in sales and to have $3M-$5M in revenues by 2025 to position our company for Series A/VC or acquisition.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
I’m currently reading “Venture Deals” by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. I’m learning a lot about how to approach the next stage in my company and what to expect. I just completed the Stoic Challenge by William Irvine. I’m also reading the 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson. I also really like the Retell app, and am using it to help summarize the books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had time.
If you’re holding back on doing something, stare it in the face and determine its root cause. If it’s fear, not logic, then do it anyway!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
I would just say to make sure you take the time at least once every 2 weeks to shut everything down and think about your business from a higher level. Where are you heading? What resources do you have that can help you get there? What changes do you need to make? What’s working and what’s not? It’s so easy to get bogged down in plugging along that you don’t take the time to re-evaluate your goals and pivot quickly, which could be the difference between success and failure.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Right now we are staying lean and mean until we get our R&D projects completed so we are ready to scale efficiently. We are keeping overhead low so focusing on contractors in sales and distribution.
Where can we go to learn more?
- #ActivArmor on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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