By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering
If you’re young and able-bodied, the bathroom is considered a relaxing space, where we go to refresh and rejuvenate. But for disabled and elderly people, the bathroom can be an accident waiting to happen.
For the elderly, the bathroom is so dangerous that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 85 years-old suffer more than half of their injuries near the toilet.
Two University of Connecticut Mechanical Engineering alumni are looking to reverse those statistics with a new company called SedMed. Their technology is a patent pending toilet lift assist product to help the elderly and disabled get on and off the toilet.
The company, which was formed after a senior design project this year, is the brainchild of Jeremy Bronen ’20 and Tim Krupski ’15.
“Funny enough, I met my co-founder, Tim Krupski (also a UConn Mechanical Engineering Alumni and a current UConn MBA/Masters of Engineering student) because he was my UConn Mechanical Engineering Senior Design sponsor. Our project was a powered toilet lift and we actually got 3rd place overall for Mechanical Engineering Senior Design this year. However, Tim and I realized we needed to completely pivot our design once we started analyzing the market viability of our product through the CCEI Accelerate UConn Program,” Bronen said.
CCEI (Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation), a center within the UConn School of Business, offers several programs to UConn faculty and students that spur innovation and entrepreneurship. Through Accelerate UConn, the Get Seeded program, and CCEI’s Summer Fellowship, the two took full advantage of everything UConn had to offer, including finishing as a finalist for the Wolff New Venture Challenge in the Fall.
Most important to Jeremy and Tim, who project they can capture a $17.5 million market in the first three years of manufacturing and distribution, is the intention behind their invention.
“The inspiration for this product is rooted back to Tim’s grandmother, who suffered from a stroke, rendering her wheelchair-bound when Tim was in high school. This company and this product were founded on the principle of caring for and helping the people we love – our families,” Bronen said.
As entrepreneurs and engineers, Bronen believes they’re the perfect team to bring this product to market.
“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. With my engineering background I’ve always loved creating things. So the idea of creating a novel product and building a company around that product is really something that gives me joy – even through the challenges.”
For more information on the upcoming Wolff New Venture Challenge, which will happen on October 19 and feature SedMed, please click here.