South Bend-based TayCo Brace says about 13,000 patients have already used its ankle brace designed to be an alternative to the traditional walking boot, and that number is growing. The medical device startup says more than 65 NCAA teams and 17 NFL teams are using the brace, developed at the University of Notre Dame. The company recently secured $1 million in seed funding and co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Gavin Ferlic says the company’s revenue this year has jumped 50% compared to 2020.
Ferlic talked about the importance of the funding in an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta.
“We’re growing, which means increased demand on our team’s time, but we’ve been able to expand our team already with that funding. We’re investing more heavily in marketing and it’ll just be really exciting to make an impact on more and more patients,” said Ferlic. “So, ultimately, that’s what the funding is going to allow us to do is to reach more and more patients and impact more and more lives.”
TayCo Brace’s device, Ferlic says, offers similar stability as walking boots but eliminates the issues they can cause by going over a person’s normal shoes.
“A walking boot is going to create a limb length discrepancy, which often causes pain in the knee, the back or the hip. And a walking boot is heavy. It’s cumbersome and it’s just difficult to live your normal life.”
The brace was invented by TayCo co-founder Mike Bean, who is also an athletic trainer for the Notre Dame football team. Ferlic says the normal internal ankle braces didn’t provide the stability he needed to help his players and they also didn’t fit well inside the players’ shoes.
“[It’s] not the most efficient brace to put on for in-game injuries, so he had an idea: Why not brace the outside of the shoe, which would actually be more stable because you stop the shoe from turning and really provide stabilization for the ankle and hind foot. So, he really invented something phenomenal.”
Even though it was designed for athletes, Ferlic says the brace can be used by anyone. He adds t he goal for the company is to become the standard of care for ankle and hind foot injuries.