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Koalaa’s founder named in Forbes ’30 under 30’

We’re thrilled to share the news that Nate Macabuag, founder of Koalaa, has been named in Forbes’ prestigious European ’30 under 30’ listing, in the category of social impact.

Compiled annually by Forbes, the listings highlight 30 of the most influential people under the age of 30, from various industries around the world. Here’s what Forbes had to say about Nate on its website:

The prosthetics industry is broken: equipment is heavy and uncomfortable, as well as prohibitively expensive and inaccessible. That has left 35 million people around the world without access to prosthetics. Nate Macabuag is tackling the problem through less expensive prosthetics that are soft and modular so they can be fitted to anyone in the world through a virtual clinic.

Commenting on the news, Nate said: “I’m pretty speechless to be honest! I never expected to wake up to an email telling me I was a Forbes 30 under 30 and all the messages of support that have been flooded in are just phenomenal.”

A new kind of prosthetic

Nate first came up with the idea for making a new kind of prosthetic while doing his Masters’ degree at Imperial College London. With the insight, inspiration and ongoing support of quadruple amputee Alex Lewis, as well as various clinicians, charities and support organisations, Nate went on to found Koalaa in April 2020, with the aim of making prosthetics comfortable and affordable for anyone on the planet.

Koalaa prosthetics are suitable for both adults and children with below elbow limb difference or partial hands. A soft sleeve is worn that can be fitted with a range of different tool attachments, depending on the task the individual wearer wishes to do. This includes tools designed for holding cutlery, chopping vegetables, skipping, writing, painting, riding a bike, playing a guitar, holding a snooker cue, gardening, DIY….the list is endless!

Holistic support is also a big part of what Koalaa provides. Each wearer joins the #KoalaaCommunity and has a dedicated ‘Limb Buddy’ assigned to them, who has personal experience of limb difference and is always there to listen and provide advice and support.

As well as being available to buy directly from the website by entering a few simple measurements, the prosthetics are currently being supplied to children in the UK for free, as part of a special initiative called #ProjectLimitless.

Nate explains: “Unlike traditional prosthetic limbs, which are rigid and heavy, our prosthetics are soft and made from material, meaning they are far lighter and more comfortable. They can also be ordered remotely, with no need to visit a clinic; are suitable for children and adults of all ages; and are a fraction of the cost of other prosthetics. This makes them accessible for so many more people.

“We very much see our Koalaa prosthetics as a useful tool that is there when it’s needed and continue to create and develop new attachments, based on the ideas and feedback of our wearers, who sit at the heart of everything we do.”

He concluded: “I’m so proud of the whole team at Koalaa and how far we’ve come, but we’re still only at the start of our journey. So, watch this space!”.

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