Business

The startup that helps people with disabilities get back on their feet

With electromechanical technology, Kirón Store created the GetUp standing chair, to give back the possibility of standing to people with motor disabilities.

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This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Mexico . Subscribe »

The startup that helps people with disabilities get back on their feet
The startup that helps people with disabilities get back on their feet

After two years of working on her own project that sought to meet the orthopedic needs of older adults, Estela Reyes was about to give up on not having the resources to start her business. Her last letter was a trip to Chile in 2018 to participate in a softlanding, a support and boost program for high-impact startups, but she did not imagine that this would change her course and meet her future partners.

In Chile, he met Pablo Vicentini, Francisco Espinoza and David Bravo, founders of the Kirón Store, the Chilean brand that four years earlier had developed the GetUp standing chair, to stand up people with motor disabilities. Estela was shocked by the chair and by the brand's philosophy, which was aligned with what she was looking for with her entrepreneurship project: “Improving the mobility of vulnerable people through technology in a sector that has lagged behind in innovation.”

Estela Reyes / General Manager of Kiron Store México. Portrait: Isaac Alcalá Nácar

After meeting, talking about their interests and noting that they shared the same business philosophy, this Mexican and the three Chileans decided to give way to a series of negotiations to bring the GetUp chair to our country. After a year of analysis and market studies, Estela Reyes became general manager of the brand for Mexico.

Innovation on wheels

In 2014 in Mexico there were 7.6 million people with motor disabilities, of which 2.6 million were motor type PCDs, according to the National Council for the Development and Inclusion of People with Disabilities (Conadis). In Latin America there are 19 million, and Mexico ranks second, only behind Brazil, in the largest number of people who must use a wheelchair to move, indicates information from the Kirón Store.

The challenge is very great, since cities are not designed to serve people with this disability. However, the GetUp chair seeks to make daily activities a little easier, such as reaching for a shelf, looking in the mirror or hugging a loved one.

With the GetUp chair in eight seconds a person can return to standing. The chair weighs 25 kilos and has a battery life of seven hours.

The GetUp chair works by means of a mechanical electrical system that raises the backrest through manual control, and to support the weight it has velcro fasteners for the instep, knees, waist and chest, which at all times help to maintain the vertical position.

Although the standing chair has existed for several decades, Estela Reyes shares that the GetUp differentiator is to make it more accessible in cost and give it a more practical and intuitive operation. The cost of the chair designed by Kirón Store ranges from 35,000 to 40,000 Mexican pesos, with the option of financing card payment, deferred to months.

The impact of the chair on people with motor disabilities is reflected in two aspects:

1. Psychosocial level : Seeing the world from above restores self-esteem. Doing activities that were not done before, such as opening the freezer door, looking in the mirror, going to the bathroom and even washing dishes, allows the user to feel more self-confident.

2. Therapeutic level: Other benefits of standing are the prevention and treatment of problems caused by sitting or lying down permanently (bedsores, pressure ulcers, muscle shortening and osteoporosis) and the activation of the circulatory and digestive systems.

Same language, different strategies

Despite sharing Spanish as a language and being united by Latin culture, the founders of Kirón Store had not found the strategy to expand their brand to Mexico. Although the brand has a presence in Peru, Colombia and Uruguay -in addition to Chile-, our country required different tactics to achieve the impact they were looking for.

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“The initial idea was to get to Mexico through distributors, but the final price of the chair tripled and it was not feasible,” says Estela. That is why when he joined the firm in 2018, he contributed his knowledge of the Mexican market and they decided to do it with a different strategy: reduce operating costs and invest in digital marketing.

Kirón Store officially arrived in Mexico in 2019 without stores, without offices, only with a winery from which the business operation is concentrated. “When selling a new product, you have to reduce unnecessary costs and achieve a more competitive final price,” Estela explains.

Among the market barriers they have encountered is the acceptance of a different product that breaks paradigms. Estela shares: in Mexico “we have normalized seeing a person with a motor disability sitting down; We must change this perception of normal coexistence. ”

The business model that Kirón Store México follows is based on a completely digital marketing strategy. Website and social networks are its main allies and a good segmentation in guidelines are keys to reach the market.

Once the potential client seeks more information, the method is face to face, providing all the information necessary to clarify their doubts, show the chair without commitment to purchase and make a diagnosis of the user to offer them the right product; for example, knowing their height or knowing whether or not they have trunk control.

Seven months after starting operations in Mexico, the amount of sales amounts to 500,000 pesos, equivalent to about 20 chairs. The coverage is national, and Estela has representatives in Veracruz, Puebla and Chihuahua.

Kirón Store specializes in the development of tools to improve the quality of life, so in addition to the GetUp chair , its offer includes the ultralight Activate chair, which allows greater mobility, and soon the Let's Go device, which will convert any type to electric wheelchair, and Akiles (Kinetic Assistant for Stimulated Locomotion), which will be a gait rehabilitation tool.

Among the brand's plans is the sum of investors, business partners and allies that are bringing the GetUp chair to vulnerable markets, because they are convinced that its mission is to improve the lives of people with motor disabilities.

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