Fast 50 contender: TASKA Prosthetics
Making a strong start for their first year in the Deloitte Fast 50 programme, TASKA Prosthetics recently took home the regional Rising Star Award for Canterbury and Upper South Island. Now, as we approach the Festival of Growth, they're contenders for the national title.
For those unfamiliar with the Fast 50 category, the Rising Star award is designed to recognise those newer businesses showing the potential for fast growth, but who haven't been in operation long enough yet to enter the Fast 50 index. In order to qualify, businesses have to have been registered for at least one year and to have expanded quickly. In advance of the Festival, we took the time to speak to TASKA Prosthetics CFO, Simon Boyd and learn more about what the company does, their purpose and their unique origin story.
Can you tell us a little about who you are and what your company does?
My name's Simon Boyd, I'm the Chief Financial Officer of TASKA Prosthetics. We manufacture a myoelectric prosthetic hand for amputees. It's a ‘world first’ hand, in that it is fully waterproof and rugged.
How did TASKA Prosthetics first get started?
Our prosthetic hand was invented by Matt Jury, a director and shareholder in the company. Back in 2002, Matt had a mountain biking accident, where he went over the handlebars and broke both wrists. He was out of action and unable to do much for himself for an extended period. While he was incapacitated, he got thinking about how amputees must navigate the world with limited mobility and that’s how the idea came about. After researching the market, Matt found that the other products on the market had a lot of shortcomings and decided to embark on building a hand that was tough and versatile.
What is unique about the TASKA prosthetic hand?
It is a niche product in a niche market - our hand is not the type that everyone will choose because some might say it looks a little intimidating. But it’s been specially designed for people that are very active and want to continue leading a relatively active life.
How would you define the company’s purpose?
The theme of TASKA Prosthetics is ‘Do more’. It's quite simple but it's comes back to our product, which is made so people can get as close to a normal life as they can.
Why did TASKA Prosthetics enter the Deloitte Fast 50?
We chose to enter the Deloitte Fast 50 to build on our national brand recognition. Our main competitors are large overseas companies and they are fairly big in the space they are in. We’ve put our focus in promoting our product in New Zealand and the Fast 50 is a good opportunity to meet and collaborate with other national organisations that are on a fast growth trajectory.
How has your team approached funding the business?
The company was originally funded by a small group of shareholders and they’re still the shareholders today. Funding also came from Callaghan Innovation and various other grants along the way. We don't have any venture capital and so far we've been able to fund out of cash flow. We've sold 400 hands to date, and those sales will increase as we sign more distribution agreements.
Have there been any specific challenges in achieving growth?
Being in New Zealand, distribution across the world can be a challenge. In order to get product to market, you've got to partner with people that are established, so very early on we established a relationship with a large Med-Tech distributor in the US. They’ve enabled us to get the fast start that we needed by selling our products to prosthetic clinics around America. More recently, we signed an agreement with a distributor in Germany that services German-speaking European countries, and we're also very close to signing distribution agreements with a number of other European distributors.
What are TASKA Prosthetics’ plans for the future?
Our plans are to increase growth and sales, and invest in a lot more R&D work on the product. The hand is already in its second generation, with medium and large sizes, and we are currently investigating a small hand. Along with new geographical territories, this new product will open out the market for us.
Felicity Clarke works in the Clients & Marketing team as a Market Development Manager.