Dragon’s Den delights Cambridgeshire inventor Paul Westerman who created device after narrowly avoiding death
Following his appearance on Dragon’s Den earlier this month, RBR Active director Paul Westerman said he was “blown away” by the interest in his device, which dramatically reduces the risk of thrombosis.
The pitch sparked discussions with airlines, nursing homes and sports clubs, and raised awareness of the dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which, along with venous thrombosis (blood clots), kills 30,000 people in the UK every year.
Paul Westerman was almost one of them: his pitch began by telling investors how he had “collapsed to the ground, died” with a massive pulmonary embolism in 2011, days before his wedding.
He recovered and then researched the dangers of sitting for long periods of time in care facilities, airplanes, or while playing, determined to fix the problem. Paul became a trustee of Thrombosis UK and a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) committee in its review of thromboembolic diseases.
The device’s breakthrough came in 2017 when he met Professor Richard Beasley, a New Zealand-based academic doctor and founder and director of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Research.
Professor Beasley found that after 90 minutes of sitting at a desk, blood flow had decreased by 50% and at this point the threat of a blood clot looms.
“We talked through a NICE committee that we both belonged to at the time and I asked him about his research and he said he was doing everything he claimed, and a day, the leg stream device came along and we took it from there,” Paul explains.
“I read his research, and he had designed the device in 2014, and then it was sitting in a drawer. The idea was to increase blood flow to the legs and thereby reduce the risk of DVT.
His pitch was heard by Peter Jones, who spoke on the show about his own experience with DVT, which saw him admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles.
“I found that very moving – I was so proud of Peter Jones and what he said,” Paul remarks.
At the end of the March 3 show, Paul received an offer of £50,000 for a 35% stake from Touker Suleyman, who said he would be “willing to explore” the Leg Flow product and trials further. clinics that have taken place.
Westerman replied, “I am more than satisfied with these terms and would love to work with you.”
The device is based on two molded plastic cups that you put on the ground: you use your feet, including your heels and toes, to exercise your legs. The device has been clinically tested, is MHRA approved and is antimicrobial, meaning it can be used by a variety of people without risk of infection.
RBR Active, which is based at St John’s Innovation Centre, is run by Paul and his wife Ellisa, who live in Sawtry.
He adds: “We are discussing with a potential distributor in Germany and another in the United States. I want to make this a product that every airline has on board – you can fit 450 leg streams on an airline cart. It is sterile so can be used by multiple users, which is good for NHS trusts.
“It’s a great product for gamers – and anyone who’s been sitting in front of their screen for hours. This also includes businesses, like call centers. HR should provide it to their staff.
Currently, the dragon is doing its due diligence. But no matter what, says Paul, “having those 15 minutes in front of 10 million people opened the door for people to talk about thrombosis or blood clots.”
He adds: “It was absolutely fantastic, and to know that the product can save lives is phenomenal.”