The last time we spoke with Claudiu Leverenz, founder of the health startup Munevo, his company was still called Glasschair. That was a good two years ago — which makes it high time for an update on current challenges. Approval is a tough topic, but the founders are planning to launch their product on the German market at the end of 2018. Their vision: to assist people with disabilities by providing an innovative smartglass app that makes mobility more independent and increases autonomy. It’s a solution that’s in demand.
Claudiu, a lot has happened for you since our last interview.
That’s right. We founded Munevo GmbH in March 2018 and are currently in the middle of a clinical study to test munevo DRIVE (formerly known as Glasschair). We adapted the name at the same time since there were multiple reasons for us not wanting to continue with Glasschair.
Their vision: to help people with new technologies
Why did you change the name to Munevo?
Glasschair was our former project name and not always completely clear. We had a few problems with our logo as well. As a result, we had to think about what our company should be called and where our journey is heading.
Munevo’s vision is to help people with physical limitations by employing innovative technologies.
There have also been some changes in your team. There were three of you two years ago – what’s your current situation?
There are four of us at the moment. Konstantin studied mechanical engineering and now specifically takes care of hardware components and approval. At the same time, Aashish and Deepesh help with advanced software development. We’re also currently looking for additional support in software, marketing and sales.
The first financing round is complete
And how’s it been on the financing side of things?
With the new team, we received the EXIST Grant, which was predominantly used for approval and advanced development. Several foundations are also supporting us.
We just recently completed our first round of financing. That will help us enter the market and with additional approval procedures, for example for the FDA in the US.
What was the most difficult subject recently?
Approval for a medical product is extremely complex, even though we are in a lower product class. The study that is currently running also took a lot of time and planning. We’re still recruiting the right participants. We’re looking for wheelchair users with special control systems (chin control, head control, sip and puff control).
“The demand for our solution motivates us”
Have you ever doubted wanting to continue on this path?
No, we always had a definite goal in mind. And the demand for our product that continues to reach us motivates us even more.
You want to enter the German market at the end of the year. Where are you right now with your startup? Where do you want to be in five years? Do you still plan to develop an “everyday assistant”?
We’re on the verge of completing our clinical study. The constant exchange of information it provided has given us so many ideas for how we can improve and expand our product. An everyday assistant is still our major goal. We have ideas for new products on top of that. That’s why we’re looking for support and fresh minds to expand our team. In five years, we want to have helped as many people as possible with munevo DRIVE.
What advice would you like to share with other founders?
Keep on going!