Two years ago, ARMR Systems moved to Baltimore to base development of a device to stop bleeding before a medic can arrive. Now the University of Maryland BioPark-based startup has new investment that includes participation from local funds, and is looking to expand its team.
The company said Monday that it raised a $750,000 seed round that included local backing: a $350,000 joint investment from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the Maryland Momentum Fund. The latter is the venture fund created by the University System of Maryland to invest in companies connected to the state universities. Working out of the GRID, ARMR Systems is the first BioPark tenant to receive investment from the Fund. The round also included participation from Naples, Florida-based Tamiami Angel Fund.
In 2017, the company moved its headquarters from Boston to Baltimore as it looked to be close to experts in emergency medicine and medical devices, as well as military installations. In the time since, the company worked with institutions like Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the University of Iowa and the Naval Medical Research Center to develop and validate the product.
On the ARMR team itself, it has combined apparel and bioengineering experience to create what CEO Chibueze Ihenacho dubbed an “airbag for trauma.”
“Chibs has the right mix of drive, ambition, thoughtfulness, integrity, and self-awareness which has helped him build an excellent company in a relatively short time,” Maryland Momentum Fund Managing Director Claire Broido Johnson said in a statement.
With the device, Ihenacho is setting out to increase access to care for trauma.
The company is keying in on the time between when a wound happens and when a person reaches medical treatment. Ihenacho said the advanced tourniquet is designed for use on a battlefield, where 90% of preventable military deaths are due to hemorrhage and time is a crucial factor in stopping the bleeding. The device can be applied to a wound by soldiers, even if they are not medics. Ihenacho also reported the product has been validated by law enforcement.
“The idea is, this is very lightweight apparel with your kit that you could wear with your uniform,” he said.
Going forward, the company is focusing on three areas: First, to go to market, it is aiming to earn approval for the device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With a wearable device that combines apparel and hardware, the company is also seeking to establish manufacturing partnerships as it ups the volume of devices being produced.
And it’s hiring to grow its team. Since moving to the GRID, ARMR has grown to a three-room workshop space. The company now has three full-time employees and a half-dozen part-time team members. Currently, Ihenacho said, positions are open for mechanical engineers and designers with industrial or apparel experience.