Glasgow wheelchair innovator secures investment

Alex Papanikolaou is the founder of Freedom One Life. Picture: Contributed
Alex Papanikolaou is the founder of Freedom One Life. Picture: Contributed
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Freedom One Life, a Glasgow-based venture specialising in advanced power wheelchairs, has closed its first external funding round, attracting some high-profile investors.

Murray Capital – the private investment office of the Murray family – is among the lead investors in the six-figure funding round, together with ex-SSE boss and Wood Group chairman Ian Marchant, as well as Stuart Macdonald, managing director of cyber security firm Seric Systems.

Alex Papanikolaou founded Freedom One Life in 2013 because he could not find a power wheelchair in the market that he could consistently rely on. In 2016, he was joined by Albert Nicholl, an experienced medical device business leader, to support the company in commercialising its activities.

The first funding round has closed at £280,000, and is the first of three tranches. The next two will be for £350,000 and £600,000 respectively.

Papanikolaou said: “This first tranche will enable us to complete design for manufacture, complete critical safety and regulatory testing, and get this important new product to market.

“The £350,000 will allow us to scale throughout the UK, and the £600,000 will take sales to Scandinavia and the US.

“This first round was very much the last hurdle to getting to market – we already have customers lined up waiting to buy.”

Marchant said Freedom One Life was attractive because it is looking to “solve a real problem faced by an increasing number of people”.