4 minute read
Startup Story

Swedish startup Anatomic Studios designs prostheses for “everybody and every body”

Emelie and Christian, co-founders of Anatomic Studios, looking at the camera and smiling while holding the prosthesis they designed.

How two founders reinvented fashion for prosthesis wearers around the world with support from Wellstreet Ventures and Google.

Leveraging 3-D printing to create prostheses as unique as the wearer

No two human bodies are identical, so it makes sense that one size does not fit all when it comes to prosthetics. However, historically the global prosthetics and orthotics industry—estimated at USD $9.2 billion—only offered a limited range of options, especially in terms of the appearance of the prosthesis, often resulting in not properly serving the specific needs of the wearer. Members of the amputee community want the option to select from a wide array of aesthetically pleasing and well-fitting prosthetics, just like people around the world have specific tastes in street clothes and footwear.

While neither had entrepreneurial backgrounds, Malmö residents Emelie Strömshed, a designer and engineer, and Christian Veraeus, a prosthetist with 15 years experience of working clinically with amputees, saw an opportunity to address the growing need for highly personalized, beautiful solutions. After extensive research and development, Emelie and Christian started with a 3D-printed custom design for a 19-year-old girl. When word got out about their work, the pair quickly saw an increasing demand, and their “experiment” soon evolved into a full-fledged startup in 2016. Anatomic Studios now offers both semi-customized prosthetic cover collections, with different designs and colors to choose from, or fully bespoke covers built around the customers’ ideas and inspirations. While each design may be unique, one element always remains the same: working together with the customer to create a product tailored to their personal lifestyle. “We want to lift the individuality of every person so they feel reflected in what they wear and proud to show off their prosthesis” said Emelie.

We want to create prostheses for everybody and every body.

Anatomic Studios leverages 3-D printing to build prosthetic covers at the intersection of design, fashion, and technology, transforming assistive devices into personal fashion accessories. To create the most optimal fit, the Anatomic Studios team ask for a 3D-scan of clients’ current prosthesis as well as photos and measurements of sound limb (if not bilateral amputee). Clients can wear different 3D-modeled covers depending on the occasion and even matching with their outfit. “We want to create prostheses for everybody and every body,” said Emelie. “With 3D printing, you can do practically anything and create products that fit your personality—you shouldn’t feel limited.”

Working with Google for Startups partner Wellstreet to build and grow

While they successfully bootstrapped for more than four years, Emelie and Christian recognized that they would need more support and funding to scale globally. Most critically, they sought mentorship since neither Anatomic Studios cofounder had a marketing or business strategy background. Via the Swedish startup community, they connected with Wellstreet Ventures, an early-stage investment fund with a particular focus on Nordic tech companies. A longtime Google for Startups partner, Wellstreet has made a significant impact on the Nordic startup scene and recently opened The Factory, a 14,000+ sqm innovation and tech hub complete with state-of-the art-educational resources. Wellstreet provided not only the financial and practical support Anatomic Studios needed to grow, but also a thriving community of other founders working towards similar milestones. Wellstreet programming like Google for Startups Founders Lab taught Christian and Emelie how to ​​build a scalable and sustainable company through mentoring from Google experts and themed sessions such as UX/UI design, product management, growth, and marketing.“We want to be a fashion brand more than a medical brand, and Wellstreet is really good at brand building to help us get there,” reflected Emelie. “As a founder, it’s all about getting the right information at the right time. There’s so much to take in and both Wellstreet and Google for Startups helped us manage it really well.”

As a founder, it’s all about getting the right information at the right time…and both Wellstreet and Google for Startups helped us manage it really well.

Using Google Analytics to understand customer needs

Today, Anatomic Studios is available for prosthetic users in dozens of orthopedic clinics across Europe and is in the midst of launching a major global rollout. The team leveraged insights from Google Analytics to inform the global campaign strategy, launch a new product line, and improve their online shopping experience. “Google Analytics helps us understand what products our customers like and how we can update the website to improve conversion rates and the overall user experience,” said Emelie. The cofounders are applying their first investment round towards automating workflow and preparing for a rise in demand from both users and clinics around the world. “We are excited to be able to take prosthetic fashion globally and continue developing our e-commerce and 3D-technology platform, creating a whole new shopping experience for our customers. We look forward to hearing more clients telling us how their cover has changed the way they view their prosthesis and interact with the world.”

Learn more about Anatomic Studios