Originally from Sweden, Sophie Brundin, Co-Founder of NOMI: No More Injuries, formerly SIQ Engineering, moved to the United States to attend college and play soccer for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. During a senior design project, she and her two co-founders, Izah Deang and Quinn Guzman, combined their skills as engineers and experience as student athletes to produce a unique ankle brace.
“We’re all Mechanical Engineering majors,” said Brundin. “We’ve also all experienced ankle sprains in the past and couldn’t find good solutions. Most braces are too bulky and tape doesn’t work very well. The current braces on the market don’t fit in soccer cleats and they’re not customizable. That leaves you with a brace that doesn’t fit well.”
Brundin continued, “As part of our senior design project, we started doing research to design and build a light-weight customizable brace that provided good support and a tight fit. Izah was the first to join the team. When we pitched the idea to the class, Quinn was selected to be part of our group.”
By August 2019, Brundin and her co-founders developed their first prototype using a 3D printer. They continued to make progress in the fall of 2019 and the early parts of 2020 before receiving funding through Embry-Riddle and winning a local pitch competition funded by The Cairns Foundation. The earnings were applied to a provisional patent – a process they continue to work through with a legal team. Despite graduating in May, the team is still fully committed to developing a final product and bringing it to market.
“We’re still doing testing on our brace to prove its superiority compared to current braces on the market,” Brundin said. “We plan on finalizing testing by May 2021.”
Looking ahead, Brundin and her team are focused on production and distribution. They’re planning on building an eCommerce website and will sell directly to sports clubs, university sports departments and Physical Therapists. They eventually plan on strategically placing 3D printers in different parts of the world and U.S. to quickly make and deploy their braces to those in need. Long terms goals are to have their brace covered by insurance and to manufacture additional medical devices.
What advice does Brundin have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Just do it,” she said. “Even if you fail, you’ll learn a lot along the way.”