Revolutionary personal mobility device company reaches fundraising milestone. Reveals plans to expand its nationwide coverage and entry to Europe.
SAN FRANCISCO – May 31, 2016 – WHILL, the startup company revolutionizing both the personal mobility and wheelchair industries through beautiful design and technology, today announced a successful $17.5 million Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures.
Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, Golden Asia Fund II, L.P., and others are contributing to the round as well. This brings WHILL’s total funding to date to $30.2 million since the company was founded in 2012.
The company recently received FDA clearance for their next-generation wheelchair, Model M. By providing physicians with a new modern wheelchair option for their patients, WHILL aims to address the millions of mobility device users who suffer from a lack of innovation in the industry. This is in line with WHILL’s mission to change the perception of mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters. The clinical appearance of these devices can give the impression of illness, making the user self-conscious and uncomfortable.
“WHILL will use this investment to expand its presence throughout the U.S. and into Europe later this year.” says WHILL’s co-founder and CEO Satoshi Sugie. “With our FDA cleared Model M, we are extending our expertise to the medical device category and are changing an industry that for decades has seen limited innovation.”
The company aims to establish a brand for its innovative personal mobility technology as well. In addition to market expansion for its medical device, using the Model A the company plans to accelerate its research and development programs for autonomous driving, remote device management system, and rental program at airports.
David Milstein, Head of Japan and Partner at Eight Roads Ventures said: “WHILL is one of those companies you come across every now and then as an investor which inspires you at a core human level. It’s a genuinely innovative mobility product offering a universal solution to a problem faced by people around the globe.” He continued: “WHILL’s personal mobility devices bring dignity and grace to the user through innovative design and the use of technology in a sector that has often been left behind. We are delighted to partner with this talented team whose values and vision we share.” David will join the board at WHILL.
About WHILL, Inc.
WHILL is making transportation enjoyable and smart for everybody. WHILL’s mission is to change the perception of mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters through advanced technology and smart design. The founders are Satoshi Sugie, an ex Nissan Designer, Junpei Naito, an ex Sony Mechanical Engineer, and Muneaki Fukuoka, an ex Olympus Electrical Engineer. Founded in 2012, and headquartered in San Francisco, WHILL Model A is currently available in the U.S. and Japan.
The Model M is scheduled to be available for sale with a prescription in the U.S. this summer. Those interested in test-driving the Model A or Model M can find WHILL at select reseller partners across the U.S. and at upcoming events including the Abilities Expo Chicago in June and the RESNA conference in July. To learn more about WHILL and to find a reseller partner and an event near you, visit their website at www.WHILL.us.
WHILL Airport Rental Program is program run with Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). WHILL Rental is a new category of service that transforms the airport experience by adding WHILL’s next generation personal mobility device, WHILL Model A.
WHILL Airport Rental Program Video: https://youtu.be/iu2uTKEmvpo
WHILL Model A is not considered a medical device and has not been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review or clearance. Federal law restricts Model M to sale by or on the order of a physician.
About Eight Roads Ventures
Eight Roads Ventures backs technology entrepreneurs with aspirations for greatness. By combining a collaborative approach with the strength and resources of the Fidelity network and a 50-year history of investing, Eight Roads helps companies across the globe accelerate their growth and become leaders in their field. A strong track record includes investments in Alibaba, China PnR, CloudByte, Cúram (IBM), Kaizen Platform, Metaps, Plaid, Retty and Treatwell (Recruit).
About Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership
A fund backed by Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SPARX Group Co., Ltd to invest in enterprises and projects that possess innovative technologies in the core fields of artificial intelligence(Al), robotics, technologies to help achieve a hydrogen-based society, as well as other related projects.
The Fund began its operations in November 2015 with SPARX as an operator. In the end of April, AUM reaches 21.6 billion yen ($196 million).
About Golden Asia Fund II, L.P.
Golden Asia Fund II, L.P. is a collaboration between Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC) and Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Capital (MUCAP) with a size of US$47 million. ITIC is a venture capital firm wholly owned by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the largest and most prestigious industrial research consortium in Taiwan. MUCAP is a venture capital firm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world’s largest comprehensive financial groups, comprising a diverse range of leading companies in a wide array of financial businesses.