AbilityMate Venture Profile

Venture Description

AbilityMate is an open-source community inventing products for an inclusive society.

We believe every person with a disability should have access to the assistive devices they need.

That is why are creating open-source designs for the most-needed assistive devices. Once designed we setup hubs where these designs can be customised and 3D printed in your local area.

Note - If you hate reading and would rather see a video here’s a 7-min overview of who we are and what we do:

AbilityMate - What We Do in 7 mins

Key personnel

Core Team:

  • Johan du Plessis (CoFounder)
  • Melissa Fuller (CoFounder)
  • Kin Ly (Product Designer)
  • Ade Ogunniyi (Product Engineer)
  • Melanie Tran (Lead UX)
  • Ria Manchanda (Marketing/Branding)
  • Daniel Madhavan (Funding Lead)
  • Hiam Sakakini (Lead Evangelist)

Key Advisors:

  • Bernard Badorrek (Senior Orthotist)
  • Huy Nguyen
  • Daniel Zwolenski

Contact person: Melanie “The Overachiever” Tran - melt@abilitymate.com

Links to website or other resources

Quarterly Update

July 2016

We are focusing on creating 3D Printed Orthotics for children with physical disabilities Currently working on creating first 3D Printed Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs) to prescription from Orthotists, and getting the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) tick of approval so we can make these devices commercially available Here’s our key objectives for the next few months - AbilityMate - 4 Mth Objectives

Founding Date & Brief History

AbilityMate started in March 2015 when Johan, Mel and Kin started doing Make-a-Thon events where they brought people with disabilities (who need stuff) together with Makers (who can make stuff). At our very first event we met Marusha, a 16yo girl with Cerebral Palsy. She had been unable to control her wheelchair, or use her computer’s joystick mouse because of the spasticity in her hands. She was quoted $1000 and was waiting 8 months for a solution. Within 4 hours we designed and 3D Printed a custom joystick for her, for a material cost of just 37c! As we saw her driving around we all knew that something magical was happening there, and we were hooked.

In October 2015 we won the people's choice and judge's choice award at NDIS New World National Pitch Competition in Brisbane. Suddenly things exploded, the disability community started taking us seriously and we were swamped with requests from Organisations wanting to work with us

First funding received from Vasudhara Foundation in December 2015

Completed the Remarkable Disability Focused Accelerator program in April-July 2016

Legal structure

AbilityMate is a social enterprise, which at the moment means it is a Pty Ltd company registered in Australia, with a special Constitution and Shareholder’s agreement that locks the organisation to its social purpose even if ownership changes We believe in a fair distribution of ownership and are experimenting with worker owned or co-op structures to see what might make sense.

Business Model

Main revenue is from selling assistive devices through our online platform. Currently we are focusing on Orthotic Splints, which cost $1000 - $5000 a pair. Second revenue stream is from Maker-style events, including setting up Maker Spaces in Disability Accommodation Houses and just going wild with making stuff!

Social Impact Strategy / Theory of Change

Venture Stewards

  • Rose Lu
  • Sam Rye
  • Joshua Vial

Enspiral Foundation Contribution

Financial: TBD/mo flat contribution at present.

Non-financial: We’re trying to figure out how we can best contribute to the Enspiral network.

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