February 19, 2024

Black Engineer Secures $1.2M For Innovative, Soft Prosthetic Limb Startup

Black-owned London-based startup Koalaa has recently closed a significant funding round of $1.2 million (£925,000) for its world-first soft prosthetic arms.


Established in 2020 by Imperial College alumnus Nate Macabuag, Koalaa has been dedicated to addressing three critical challenges faced by the limb difference community worldwide.

These are access, affordability, and comfort, with their creations crafted from breathable fabric, offering a lightweight alternative to conventional prosthetics.

Macabuag was named as part of the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2021.

His design through Koalaa has proven to especially benefit young children and facilitates affordable global distribution.

Currently, Koalaa’s team includes 18 members, serving approximately 1,000 users globally with their unique soft prosthetic arms.

The product line features designs like the ALX, Paww, Joeyy, and Day One prosthetics, catering to a diverse range of needs from below-elbow limb differences to immediate post-amputation use.

The prosthetics are notable for their interchangeable tools that facilitate various activities, from tennis and yoga to cooking and playing the guitar.

New users are also supported by a ‘limb buddy’ system, ensuring guidance and support throughout their journey with Koalaa’s products.

The Funding Rund

The British Design Fund initiated the funding round, including a £200,000 ($250,000) investment from the Imperial College Enterprise Fund II.

The funds raised in this round support ongoing product development and the growth of Koalaa’s team in both the UK and overseas.

It is additionally seeing the company expand its work with clinicians and NGOs internationally, including increasing the supply of prosthetics to those within conflict zones.

“A huge thank you to British Design Fund, Imperial College Enterprise Fun, and our angel investors for their continuing support,” said Macabuag.

“I still find it incredible that something that started out as a spark of an idea at University has turned into a fully-fledged company, employing a team of 18 people and with around 1,000 people worldwide now using Koalaa prosthetics.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.