Oakville Couple successfully pitch “Upseat” to the Dragons

Oakville Couple
Oakville Couple successfully pitch “Upseat” to the Dragons
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Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi is a postgraduate student at Sheridan College pursuing Public Relations - Corporate Communications.Mashaal has worked as a writer in film, television, theatre, advertising, communications, and even in speechwriting during his time as a Toastmaster.An avid reader, video game enthusiast, and musician ( who presently plays drums for a band called "The Downgrades"), Mashaal enjoys gathering experiences around Oakville, and is ecstatic to be on the team covering events that breathe life into the community.

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Meet Steve Pankratz and Kim Kucher, an Oakville couple taking the baby market by storm. They created the Upseat, an ergonomic chair for infants. Innovation, quality and above all health are at the forefront of their venture.

Most recently, the couple’s idea was featured on Dragon’s Den!

Oakville Couple

Kim Kucher and her husband Stephen Pankratz on Dragons’ Den.

The story begins with their adorable son Jack. He was born with cerebral palsy. Steve and Kim have to be particularly sensitive to his posture.

Through the guidance of the best physiotherapists and occupational therapists in the world, the couple discovered the following about the ideal seat:

  • It should facilitate anterior pelvic tilt (is forward-tilted).
  • Legs should be widely splayed.
  • Most competing seats are backward tilted and have leg grooves that are narrowly angled. These impinge an infant’s hips and thighs.
  • The PTs and OT didn’t like existing seats in the market, nor did the online community.

The Upseat is a unique chair, innovated by Stephen and Kim to help their son Jack with Cerebral Palsy.

Working with talented designers and engineers, an ergonomic chair was created. It immediately improved Jack’s posture. Kim and her husband conducted several trials, testing the Upseat in daycares, and attended occupation therapist and physiotherapist conferences. They received positive feedback.

“We also ensured to keep the product Canadian manufactured,” explained Kim as she shed light on the ergonomic chairs ideation. “Keeping manufacturing close allowed us to work towards quality control that meets the health standards for such a product.”

Eventually, the product was created and the couple pitched before the investors on Dragons’ Den.

Here are the highlights of the episode:

  • The buy-in was $200,000 for a 15% share.
  • Dragons offered competitive proposals to be a part of the product’s ambitious launch.
  • The Dragons positively received the Upseat with competitive offers of each Dragon.

Jim Treviling, Chairman and Owner of Boston Pizza International Inc. examining the Upseat on Dragons’ Den.

“Being on Dragon’s Den for the Upseat has been a surreal experience. We were very nervous to put ourselves out there in front of the Dragons on national television, but we are very grateful for the experience. We highly encourage anyone with a great idea to go for it!”

To follow more on the Upseat, click their website or check out the full pitch on Dragons’ Den. The product aims to soon be made available in the US as well as international markets.

As for the couple and their adorable son Jack, we wish them all the best as our resident Oakville couple.

 

 

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