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Motivo bets on consumer demand for Tour Walker

Motivo bets on consumer demand for Tour Walker ‘I think you had a product that was selling well at a profit, so why put money in R&D? But now that’s getting blown up with competitive bidding, and it’s more of a consumer product’

MILWAUKEE - June was a big month for Motivo: The company rounded out nearly $5 million in funding and launched its Tour Walker nationwide.

Here's what Jeremy Knopow, co-founder, had to say about why Motivo has hit a nerve in a product category that he says hasn't seen much in the way of innovation for decades.

HME News: Motivo announced in June that it had completed $950,000 million in Series A financing for a total of $4.8 million. How is the company putting that money to use?

Jeremy Knopow: We've spent the last year or so moving our manufacturing in-house. We used the latest round of funding to buy equipment and molds, and set up the processes. It has been a lot of work, but we felt like we needed to do it to control the quality that we wanted to make sure we deliver.

HME: What's the manufacturing facility like?

Knopow: It's about 15,000 square feet with 15 full-time and part-time employees. We just hired someone else this morning—our manufacturing staff is growing very quickly.

HME: In addition to in-house manufacturing, the money is tapped for advertising, right?

Knopow: Yes, we just did our first national TV ad. It was a 10-day pilot, and we literally broke the call center the first day we ran the ad. It exceeded everyone's expectations by a factor of five.

HME: You launched the Tour in limited release in 2017 and now you've launched it nationwide. Has the product been updated?

Knopow: Last year was helpful. We got almost evangelical reviews on our website of people talking about how much better they felt, being able to stand upright. We also got good feedback about wanting it to be lighter, smaller and cheaper. So it's more than five pounds lighter—we've gotten it back under 20 pounds.

HME: One of the biggest benefits of the Tour is the ability to stow away the seat so users can walk upright inside the frame, rather than hunched over behind it. Seems obvious—why hasn't anyone thought of this before?

Knopow: It's a good question. When we scoured the patent landscape and looked for things like that, we didn't find much. I think you had a product that was selling well at a profit, so why put money in R&D? But now that's getting blown up with competitive bidding, and it's more of a consumer product for retail. The user is also different now; they're an aging baby boomer population that helped to build apple into what it is today.

HME: You sell direct to consumer through your website and TV ads, but you also sell through HME providers?

Knopow: Yes to all of the above. We are like most other people in the retail product category—we're going where people like to shop.

HME: The Tour hasn't been coded by Medicare, right?

Knowpow: No, and that was partly at the behest of providers. With minimal reimbursement, it's easier to market without it. But the Tour meets all the requirements—in fact, some providers have gotten private insurers to cover it. Some users are showing up with scripts with this product specifically named on it.


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