Connecticut startup Bariatric Collar LLC is working on an innovative solution emergency medical services (EMS) providers can use to immobilize bariatric patients. The company was one of 10 finalists at the latest CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards, a Shark Tank-style pitch event in which Connecticut-based entrepreneurs and startups pitch to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win up to $10,000.
Bariatric Collar LLC Founder Timothy Andrew Kussow told Innovation Destination Hartford how the startup began and its plans for the future.
IDH: When and why did you start your company?
KUSSOW: I started my LLC in late 2015. I’ve been working on the patent for our product, the Bariatric Immobilization/Extrication Collar, since 2012.
IDH: How did you develop the business concept?
KUSSOW: I’m a firefighter/emergency medical technician and also a sculpture professor. In 2012, after responding to an EMS call at a construction accident where a bariatric patient fell off a scissor lift, I saw the need for an immobilization/extrication collar.
Through research, I realized that no viable options were available in the industry, so I began working on a more effective solution to immobilize bariatric patients.
I devoted a lot of time to product design and informal test trials and arrived at a final patented invention (U.S. Patent # 9,186,272) in 2015.
The business is solely based on the product and developing the product.
IDH: Tell us about your innovative product.
KUSSOW: The Bariatric Immobilization/Extrication Collar eliminates the frustration and difficulty of trying to cervically immobilize bariatric patients, and other patients that who are difficult to “collar.” The Bariatric Immobilization/Extrication Collar fills a need in the EMS industry that has not been addressed until now.
IDH: How did you become involved in the CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards?
IDH: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a startup?
KUSSOW: Time and money. I work two jobs plus the startup. Up until now, I’ve bootstrapped my funding. Right now I’m working on commercializing the product. For instance, to date I have personally manufactured and packaged collars for field trials and promotion. Currently nine services in Northeast Connecticut have the collars in use with several successful applications.
IDH: Where do you see your company in the next three to five years?
KUSSOW: Bariatric Collar LLC is still in its formative stages and is currently researching licensing and/or manufacturing options for the Bariatric Immobilization/Extrication Collar.
The Bariatric Immobilization/Extrication Collar has been well received by many medical professionals and is going through field trials with select fire departments and EMS providers in Northeast Connecticut.
Hopefully I will be working with a manufacture or larger medical equipment company in Connecticut to get the product to the next level—have it marketed nationally and internationally.