Kinetic, a NY-based company focused on developing wearables to reduce workplace injury, raised $4.5 seed fund for its wearable device called REFLEX. REFLEX is a smart wearable that aims to reduce workplace injuries for industrial workers. The seed funding was mainly backed by experienced group of global technology investors including Crosslink Capital and Primary Venture Partners. Kinetic will use the money to expand its manufacturing capabilities and scale operations.
“What excites us about Kinetic is the ability to simultaneously impact both safety and operational efficiency for deskless workers. Over the past few years, I’ve watched the Kinetic team work tirelessly to find the right way to address these challenges. The company is showing impressive results with a wide range of leading employers, and we are thrilled to partner with them as they change the nature of work for this often-overlooked category,” said Brad Svrluga, General Partner at Primary Venture Partners.
The wearable device attaches to a worker’s belt and monitor activities that put them at risk of injury, such as unsafe postures, jumping off vehicles or slips and falls, said a press release.
Blue collar workers comprise over 80% of the global workforce and in spite of being such a large part of the economy, they have generally been left behind in the larger trend of building technology for the enterprise, said the press release.
The cost of serious workplace injuries is on the rise, and in 2015 they cost US companies $58 billion. Lifting related injuries were the leading cause, mostly driven by the growth of e-commerce and the last mile delivery of goods, industries which are poised to grow aggressively.
“Every time you order an item through e-commerce, that product is manipulated at least 25 times before it reaches your home, and that’s true whether you order a ballpoint pen or a 75-pound piece of furniture,” says Kinetic cofounder and CEO Haytham Elhawary. “With increasing volume of goods shipped and faster delivery times, it’s no surprise that workplace injuries are on the rise.”
Kinetic’s wearable technology reduces unsafe postures in the workplace by up to 84%. To reduce injury during lifting, the device detects unsafe postures and alerts the worker with a real-time vibration. Workers can gamify the process by competing with their colleagues to stay under a certain goal of unsafe motions per day. Managers can then view insights and analytics on the company’s dashboard.
“Industrial safety hasn’t seen much innovation in years. I go to trade shows, and people are still talking about safety vests, steel cap shoes and protective eye glasses. If we’re going to eliminate injuries, we need a new approach, different technology that can prevent injuries and predict when workers are most likely to get hurt. A similar shift happened in healthcare, when we transitioned from treating disease to a focus on preventive medicine. We want to do the same for worker safety,” said co-founder and CTO Aditya Bansal.
Kinetic’s Reflex has already shown to reduce injuries at several sites. Customers include Iron Mountain and Crane Worldwide Logistics as well as large manufacturers and logistics/transportation providers.
“Workers are responding positively to REFLEX, and it is proven to reduce workplace injuries across multiple industries,” said Omar El-Ayat, partner at Crosslink Capital and lead investor. “We believe Kinetic can lead to healthier, happier, and more productive workers and reduce healthcare costs for employers.”