Recently, Hy5pro went bankrupt, with Norwegian founder Bjørn Kjos and his son Lars Ola Kjos on the side of the owner, among others.
The recording appears in the Vestre Innlandet County Court.
The company’s main focus has been its Hy5 product, the world’s first hydraulic prosthesis, which targets a global market of eight to nine million people with amputated hands. Since the beginning, the company has spent more than 60 million NOK on sales, development and marketing. It is funded in part by Investor Market and grants from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and Innovation Norway.
But the turnover was long, and in 2020 up to 93 percent of the company’s NOK 5.2 million revenue came from public support.
Corona virus show
It is a chain of events that led to such a situation. We are first and foremost a victim of the COVID-19 virus. The pandemic came when we were visiting clinics and talking about our product, and we didn’t. We think it’s very sad, we have a good product, but we haven’t had a chance to bring the product to market, says Chairman Halsten Mork.
Mork says this fall’s fundraising didn’t go according to plan.
We got a drought in the market. Mork says our existing shareholders have lined up waiting for more investment.
In the end, there was no money left. In the late summer of last year, businessman and general manager Christian Friedrich Stray also joined the company.
– There is no drama around. The general manager at the time wanted to step down, and we found a new general manager at the company.
Bjørn Kjos says he knows the company very poorly.
“It was only a small passive investment we made a few years ago to help the entrepreneur,” the Norwegian businessman writes in a text message.
DN has not been able to contact current General Manager Alexandre Lasell.
Josephus Porters at PCI, which is the largest shareholder, did not want to comment on opening bankruptcy. Lars Ola Kjos also did not respond to DN inquiries.
The opening of bankruptcy comes after the company incurred a total loss of NOK 33.2 million over the next five years. DN described the early beginnings of the work.
The latest published annual accounts showed a pre-tax profit minus NOK 3.6 million in 2020.
The Kjos family owns a total of 6.6 percent of the stock in Hy5pro, divided into 3.3 percent in joint investment firm Observatoriet Invest and 3.3 percent in Green 91 wholly owned by Lars Ola Kjos.
Founder Christian Frederic Stray holds 3.8 percent through Apriori Group, while Arctic broker Gaute Ulltveit-Moe owns 2.3 percent through Grum Invest.
From robots to humans
Hy5pro was started in January 2015 by Christian Fredrik Stray, Dutch engineer Jos Poirters and two other investors.
Ten years ago, Poirters began building robotic hands at De Efteling amusement park in the Netherlands, but has since developed the product for human use.
Regarding the company’s startup, Stray told DN that current manual prosthetics were made with an electric motor and were too expensive for most people to afford, and that the Hy5 should use hydraulics rather than electronics to provide a more delicate grip than existing ones, hooks or tongs.
With headquarters in Oslo and production facilities in Raufoss, the company had big ambitions for global investment, but it cost money.
Hy5pro has been dependent on a lot of public money, and in 2016 it received support for a project worth less than NOK 15 million from start-up fund Eurostars, a collaboration between the European Union and research network Eureka.
Chairman Mork stated that public funding has helped the company develop.
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