Birmingham venture capital backs revolutionary mobility solutions company with £500,000 MEIF I investment

Birmingham-based mobility solutions company Centaur Robotics has secured £500,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF I) through the MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund, managed by Midven, part of the Future Planet Capital Group. This comes in addition to additional funding from Seedrs and angel investors.

This investment will enable the company to finish development of their innovative wheelchair and begin production. Centaur Robotics have developed a self-balancing electric wheelchair called the Centaur, that offers unrivalled mobility in and around the home. 

The wheelchair self-balances on two wheels, which allows increased mobility compared to traditional four-wheel models. The product has been developed by automotive engineers under the direction of Paul Campbell, a former designer at Ford Motor Company.

Recent research shows that there are around 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK. The Centaur prioritises the dignity and experience of the user, and places aesthetics at the core of the design. Its futuristic appearance challenges the norm. 

Wheelchairs play a pivotal role in enhancing the lives of disabled individuals, children, families and caregivers as they are essential tools that promote independent living and foster social inclusion. Only 9% of UK homes are accessible to wheelchair users and research estimates around 400,000 people in England are living in homes that are not adapted for their needs. 

Centaur Robotics’ innovative design helps alleviate some of the pressure on wheelchair users by improving mobility around the home. The Centaur can fit through standard door frames and the seat can be elevated to the height of a standard bar stool. Centaur Robotics has created a solution that continues to enhance independent living, taking it further than traditional wheelchairs.

Midven has supported Centaur Robotics beyond the funding process, introducing the company to industry leaders in the mobility space. 

Tony Stott, Investment Director at Midven says Centaur Robotics is at the forefront of revolutionising mobility solutions for wheelchair users. This investment marks a significant milestone in their journey, allowing them to bring their innovative self-balancing electric wheelchair to production.”

Eric Kihlstrom, CEO of Centaur Robotics says “At Centaur Robotics, we believe in challenging the status quo to redefine mobility for wheelchair users. This investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund marks a pivotal moment in our journey, enabling us to improve accessibility around the home. We are not just building a chair; we are crafting a future where mobility solutions enhance independence and contribute to a more inclusive society.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund supports innovative small businesses in the Midlands that will have a positive impact on local economies. This funding from the MEIF in Centaur Robotics for its revolutionary wheelchair will help enrich the lives of wheelchair users through improved mobility solutions and enhance independent living.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.