In this series of short interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the great companies in the exoskeleton world. If you want to successfully implement an industrial exoskeleton in your business, you have to pay attention to two points:
1. Choosing the right solution, respectively a solution that is the right fit to the requirements from all 75+ industrial solutions and not the solution that is advertised with the biggest marketing budget.
2. The properly trained and accompanied implementation in the company, so that the solutions are also sustainably intrinsically motivated.
Which solution is the right one is therefore only decided on the basis of technical details, but also which company is trusted to do this. For trust someone, you have to learn a little bit more about the people behind. This is the case because we are doing this interviews.
In these interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the companies, patents and inventions to get to know them better and to understand the drive behind the vision even better.
In the second episode, we talk to Seth from Nuvo Exo. Extremely exciting interview if you want to understand the US market. Thanks a lot Seth for the interview and keep up the good work!
Who are you and what do you do?
Seth: „My name is Seth and I work as VP of Growth for Nuvo Exo Innovations. Nuvo Exo functions as the US arm of ErgoSante, helping bring their ‚HAPO‘ exoskeleton line to the US market.“
What, when and where was your first contact with exoskeletons?
Seth: „I am relatively new to the world of exoskeletons. It was a little less than a year ago that I reconnected with an old college buddy of mine who introduced me to exo tech. I was somewhat familiar with medical exoskeletons at the time, but the idea of utilizing exoskeletons for industrial applications was brand new to me. As someone on the slow recovery from a lifting injury sustained in 2020, the idea of wearable devices to help prevent material handling injuries was immediately exciting to me!“
How do you think the market will develop in 5 and 10 years?
Seth: „Honestly, my answer to this question would probably change depending on the day or week that I’m asked! Like many in the industry, I am rather optimistic about the future of exoskeleton tech in the next 5 – 10 years. With the prevalence of ergonomic injuries, especially MSDs, across SO many industries, I think it’s abundantly clear that new and innovative solutions are needed.. Proving to end users that exoskeletons are (one of) the answers to this issue is the task at hand!“
What differences do you think there are in the us and europe in the use, implementation and expectations of exoskeletons?
Seth: „I think that there are a few primary differences that are evident when contrasting the US market for exos against the EU. Since Nuvo Exo was started with the primary purpose of bringing a French product to the US market, we have experienced many of these differences first hand. When we first started, we mirrored sales, implementation, and growth strategies that had already been successful in France. Some worked well while others did not work at all, and we’ve had to adapt. In my assessment, while the US tends to be a leader in embracing and developing new technology, our transatlantic partners are often more progressive when it comes to embracing safety and regulatory practices. We’ve had to examine these differences closely and find new and innovative strategies for reaching end users Stateside.“
What are the biggest obstacles / bottlenecks you currently see in the distribution of exoskeletons?
Seth: „I think there are two primary obstacles we see in exoskeleton adoption. One, is the simple fact that exoskeletons are a relatively new product for many users. Statistically, most companies are not prone to be early adopters of new tech. They want to see that it’s worked well for others before trying for themselves. We are in an introductory phase of exoskeletons, where awareness, education, and hands on experience with real end users are necessary components to growing the industry. I also believe that for mass adoption, collectively as an industry we need to work on bringing the pricing down, making these devices accessible to anyone who needs them!“
Tell us something about Nuvo Exo, like what also drives you and something about your size or company?
Seth: „Nuvo Exo operates on the principle of helping businesses create safer and more sustainable workplaces through the use of wearable safety devices. The heart behind what we do is simple: help people. We’re a small company, and while we’re new to the exo industry, we’re not new to back breaking work. Everyone who works at Nuvo Exo has a background in labor-intensive work (My boss/Nuvo’s founder and CEO, Ross Jewell, also runs a construction company, and I flipped houses for a few years to get through grad school). We’ve experienced firsthand the type of heavy duty work being done around the clock by honest hard working men and women, and we believe exoskeletons are a great way to help protect the people who keep our communities running!“
Tell us something about yourself that you haven’t revealed elsewhere that surprises us?
Seth: „Not sure if this is that interesting, but I just completed my first triathlon this year. Hoping to do more of them in the future!“
What’s the best way for you to switch off?
Seth: „Getting outside whenever I can! Hiking, camping, rock climbing, or paddling are some of my very favorite hobbies.“
Who would you like to spend a day with?
Seth: „May seem kind of nerdy, but J.R.R Tolkien is one of my favorite authors. I think he was brilliant, and very interesting, and I’d love to sit down with him at a pub and pick his brain!“
You worked before at the U.S. Department of State. Why did you change the job?
Seth: „I loved my time with the US State Department. I worked for the Bureau of Medical Services and helped with administration and logistics during overseas medevacs. I grew a lot professionally during my time with the department, but knew I didn’t want to stay there forever, so I decided to look for something new, that’s when I heard about exoskeletons!“
What was your best moment at Nuvo Exo so far?
Seth: „A few weeks ago we visited a client to do an onsite consultation and exo training. This particular client makes a very fascinating product and was one that I had been excited to work with for a long time. Getting to see our exos in use at their (very cool) manufacturing plant was super awesome for me!“
Is there a thesis about exoskeletons or their development that only you share and that others see quite differently, respectively that differs from many other theses?
Seth: „I don’t know if this is that much of a hot take, but I don’t believe one type of exoskeleton is the right fit for everyone. Some advice I got early on was „exoskeletons are not a one size fits all product“. I am honest when I say I don’t want to sell an exoskeleton to every person I have a conversation with. I’ve had consultations that end with „I don’t think our devices are the best fit for this specific problem“. If the application isn’t right, we want to point users towards the best possible solution. Some people may like our exo best, some may benefit better using competitor’s devices, and some might need to find an engineered solution that eliminates the need for an exoskeleton all together. I think exo companies need to be willing to embrace the fact that keeping workers safe is the #1 priority, whatever that takes!“
If European exoskeleton providers want to expand into the us, what are your three recommendations?
Seth: „1. Build a large library of real life user testimonies. Many companies want to see that the product has worked well for others in their specific industry before they invest. 2. Invest in longitudinal studies. US companies tend to be data-driven in their decision making. Showing empirical and objective proof that exos are effective (e.g., successfully reduce injury rates, increase worker retention, lower WC costs) is necessary to convince many that your product is worth their while! 3. Be prepared to have boots on the ground who can provide in person support to new users. We’ve seen first hand that this is critical for long term exo acceptance and implementation.“
At Least: How do you explain to your mom / dad what you do at nuvo exo?
Seth: „Ha, great question! When explaining exos for the first time I usually say „think of Iron Man from the Avengers and then think of a rock climbing harness, we’re somewhere between those two!“
About NUVO EXO:
Nuvo Exo Innovations is dedicated to helping businesses create safer and more sustainable workplaces through the use of wearable exoskeletons. We partner with ErgoSanté, a premier French manufacturer of passive exoskeletons, to bring their product line to the US market.
NUVO EXO INNOVATIONS LLC
2914 Orville Wright Way
Wilmington NC 28405-8635