An interim liquidator has been appointed to Staels Design Limited, trading as WheelAir. The firm is behind a range of products to regulate the temperature and moisture levels of wheelchair users, who are at higher risk of overheating. Its proprietary technology previously attracted the attention of Dragons’ Den investors Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden, who wanted to invest in the business after its founder Corien Staels appeared on the popular BBC TV show.
Donald McNaught, restructuring partner at accountancy and business advisory firm Johnston Carmichael, who has been appointed as interim liquidator, said: “Following funding issues, WheelAir is unable to continue trading in its present form, but offers a very exciting opportunity to acquire an established business with an innovative market-ready product and unique intellectual property with the potential to transform the lives of wheelchair users. Interested parties have until February 8 to place a bid.”
Hilco Streambank is assisting Johnston Carmichael in the sale of Staels Design’s intellectual property (IP) and business assets. Founded in 2016, the company is best known for its WheelAir system - an award-winning patented cooling wheelchair back-rest cushion which can be retrofitted to any wheelchair. Designed with the input of Paralympic athletes as well as wheelchair producers, Wheelair is the product of several years of research and development and almost £1 million of investment.
The system works by dispersing air evenly across the seat surface to lower temperature, remove moisture build-up and keep skin dry and clean. It employs in-built fan technology. In 2020, the mobility company said it was growing its teams after expanding into Europe with the launch of a Netherlands office. WheelAir heralded the move as a “game-changer”. At the time, the firm said it would expand its team in Glasgow and on the continent to support the growth, which came after WheelAir bolstered its range and released its second generation cooling system. Corien Staels said: “With sales increasing in Europe we thought that now is the time to branch out. We will be maintaining a strong presence in the UK and remain fully focused on serving our existing loyal customers and new ones.”