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The ground-breaking prosthetics supporting independence

Date: Oct 04 2021
The ground-breaking prosthetics supporting independence

Meet the start-up on a mission to make prosthetics accessible for all.


Koalaa is on a mission to make prosthetics comfortable and affordable for anyone on the planet. The company is disrupting the prosthetics industry, not only with the unique design of its products but with its ‘virtual clinic’ model that enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to access dedicated support and the prosthetics they need, at the click of a button.

Impressed by the user-driven design process and the company’s potential to have a positive social impact on a global scale, Koalaa secured the backing of British Design Fund in May 2021.


A new type of prosthetic

Koalaa’s soft prosthetics – the first of their kind in the world – are made from material, lightweight and flexible. As such, they can be used by adults and children of all ages, including babies.

The prosthetics currently available from Koalaa are suitable for those with below elbow limb differences and partial hands or fingers, with an above elbow sleeve also in development.

Their unique design sees users putting on a sleeve that can be fitted with different tool attachments, depending on the task or activity they would like to do. For example, to hold a pen or cutlery, chop vegetables, skip, paint, saw, ride a bike, play the drums or a guitar, and go kayaking.

The whole service operates remotely, with users able to be measured, fitted and supplied with their prosthetics via Koalaa’s ‘virtual clinic’ and the whole process – from ordering to delivery – typically taking just two weeks.

All users become part of the Koalaa Community and are provided with a ‘limb buddy’ (an individual with personal experience of limb difference) who supports them every step of the way. This support is a key part of the company’s ethos, which aims to bring together the limb difference community in a supportive and inspiring environment.


Solving a global need

Access to prosthetics is a global issue and Koalaa hopes to overcome many of the core hurdles people can face.

  • At least 10 million people worldwide have an upper limb difference
  • 90% of those who need prosthetics have no access to them. This is down to several factors, including a lack of clinical infrastructure and the cost of the devices, which can be prohibitively high.
  • 7 out of 10 people who do have access to prosthetics do not use them because they find them too heavy, uncomfortable or hard to use.


LimbBo Adventure Day 2021   Koalaa team at LimbBo day 2021

In person events

Alongside its virtual clinic offering, the Koalaa team is working closely with charities within the limb difference community, to support families through in person events.

One such event was the ‘Team LimbBo Adventure Day 2021’, hosted by the LimbBo Foundation, which saw 50 families from across the UK coming together for a day of fun and games in the sunshine.  For the children attending, it was a valuable opportunity to meet and play with other children with limb differences.

The Koalaa team provided families who were interested in receiving one, with a free Koalaa prosthetic arm, fully funded through a special initiative called #ProjectLimitless. In total, 35 children at the event received a prosthetic – a number of which were made there and then, much to the delight of the families in attendance who could watch them being put together before their eyes.

As well as receiving their prosthetics, families were able to speak to the Koalaa team and ask any questions they may have, as well as learning more about the different sleeves and tool attachments.

Once they had their prosthetics, the children were then able to use them if they wished, to take part in different activities that were put on throughout the day, including playing cricket.


Find out more

British Design Fund CEO, Damon Bonser, recently caught up with Nate Macabuag, to find out more about the company, how it all started and its vision for the future. You can watch the interview by clicking here.

You can also find out more by visiting www.yourkoalaa.com


Looking for investment?

We are always keen to hear from purpose-led start-up product businesses like Koalaa. To find out more about what we’re looking for and to apply, visit: www.britishdesignfund.co.uk/apply