Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi did not know when they met at the University of Waterloo 11 years ago, but they are in late-night study sessions
The fruit of that lab is Trexo Robotics, which will graduate as part of the latest batch of Y Combinator's winter 201
In the three years since Udasi and Maggu launched their company Trexo has gone through the Techstars accelerator program in New York and raised $ 720,000 in seed funding. But the roots of the company extend back to Maggie's senior year at Waterloo, when he learned that his nephew in India had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The disease, which affects millions and 500,000 children in the U.S. alone, something not something Maggu knew much about.
" We started looking at what cerebral palsy is and what it would mean to him," says Maggu. "Tremendous negative health effects associated with sitting."
At first, the family looked at ways to encourage
"Initially we were like, let's buy him a robotics system or an exoskeleton, but after that, there's nothing out there," says Maggu. 19659002] That's when Maggu determined he would make the development of the exoskeleton the focus of his senior design thesis, back in 2012.
"After I could not stop working on this, "Maggu recalls. "I kept working on this on the side. I just working in my apartment doing design, doing 3D printing there. "
By that time, Maggu and Udasi had gone their separate ways. Maggu worked on the side while pursuing his career in the technology industry. He worked at BlackBerry and Qualcomm, but was in contact with his college friend, Udasi, who worked for a spell at Willow Garage and a few other robotics companies before returning to Canada to study for a masters degree in robotics at the University of Toronto.
Maggu had thus returned to Toronto to work on a masters in business administration.
But throughout that time, using a low-end printer for $ 600, Maggu kept prototyping.
By the time the two of them were together, Maggu would ask Udasi, the robotics expert, for his help.
"The first time we tried it did not work," says Maggu. "But my brother has a factory in India in Delhi, so we've made some more modifications and tried it out again."
After progressing through the Techstars accelerator and raising its seed round, Trexo now has six versions of its exoskeletons in private homes and hospitals. The company is conducting a clinical study at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital and has four paying customers in Canada.
These are still devices that are not affordable for most Americans – not by a long shot. Trexo is pursuing a direct-to-consumer approach for $ 899 per month through a lease model with a $ 1,000 down payment and financing for 36 months. Customers can also buy the product for $ 999 with a 12-month lease period, or they can buy a Trexo exoskeleton for $ 29,900.
The company is marketing the device as an exercise and therapy device, which means that it can  which oversees medical devices.
More than just treatment for children with mobility issues , Indeed, Maggu sees opportunities for the company to begin developing as well as health products.
"We see this as much more of a consumer product," says Maggu. "We strongly believe that wearable robotic systems are going to play a huge role in the future to come."