Maximilian Bohrer of Reactive Robotics tells us about intelligent medical robotics for the very early mobilization of critical care patients.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maximilian Bohrer: The pandemic, as well as the restrictions to fight it, not only affect the way we work but also severely limit our private life. I believe dealing with those issues is difficult for most of us, me included. However, I have been fortunate enough to keep working and staying healthy so far, which is all most of us can really ask for at the moment. Especially now that the weather is starting to get better again and I can spend more time outside with my family and our dogs, it all gets easier again.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Reactive Robotics.
Maximilian Bohrer: I have been more than fortunate to be able to get a good education in several different countries, and as a result, I have been looking for a way “to give back” and use my education to help people. When I first encountered Reactive Robotics, I realized that this was the perfect way to “help make the world a bit better”. This is why I have joined Reactive almost two years ago and haven’t regretted it once.
How does Reactive Robotics innovate?
Maximilian Bohrer: We have developed the worlds’ first robotic system for Very Early Mobilization (VEM) for intensive care patients. Our system allows hospitals to treat patients that would normally be severely affected to receive manual VEM therapy while needing less staff to do so. On the one hand, this results in faster recovery and less secondary complications for the patients. On the other hand, it relieves the nursing staff from the physical work and allows the hospital to treat more patients with the existing infrastructure.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Maximilian Bohrer: We were just starting to get our devices into the hospitals when corona hit the world. As a result, all the hospitals closed down, preventing us from approaching them, and the hospitals that were already using our system stopped doing so in order to focus on the pandemic. As a result, our whole commercialization process was delayed heavily (and still is). As a Start-Up, money is always tight and having to slow down commercialization (and therefore not having any revenue coming in) definitely didn’t make things easier for us.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Maximilian Bohrer: Fortunately, it did not come that far for us. We have a very dedicated team, most of which can work from the Home Office, thus giving the few that actually have to come to the office and the workshop enough space to ensure all Corona guidelines are met. As a result, everyone in our team has been working as productively as before the pandemic and driving the development of our device.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Maximilian Bohrer: Before the pandemic hit, we just hired a very experienced Director of Sales with very good contacts in the health care sector so we could prepare some contacts for the time after corona. In addition, we use Salesforce as well as Weclapp to make sure we can stay on top of our CRM at all times.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Maximilian Bohrer: As mentioned before, money is always tight in a Start-Up and Corona certainly did not make things easier. We were fortunate enough to receive support from our local government, and, as you know, every little bit helps.
Your final thoughts?
Maximilian Bohrer: The past year has shown how important it is to make our healthcare system more efficient in order to be able to react to dramatic scenarios like Covid-19. Although everyone in our team has been affected by what happened in the last year, we have all realized (once more) how important our work is and how much of an impact we can really have in the future.