Hilco Streambank (“Hilco”) is seeking offers to acquire the intellectual property and business assets of Staels Design Limited (In Liquidation) (“WheelAir” or the “Company”) on behalf of the Liquidator of the Company, Donald Iain McNaught of Johnston Carmichael LLP.
Wheelchair users are at higher risk of thermal management issues than others, often because of medication, autonomic nervous system dysregulation, or a worsening of neurological symptoms, but also compounded by seating systems that lack ventilation. While prevention strategies are naturally multifaceted, a wheelchair user’s first line of defence is their cushion. Founded in 2016, the Company developed and manufactured its non-invasive solution to overheating and moisture management, the WheelAir, an award-winning patented ventilation solution designed for integration into wheelchair seating systems.
Designed with the input of Paralympic athletes as well as wheelchair producers, WheelAir is the product of several years of research and development and c. €1.1m in investment, including investment from wheelchair users, and the parents of wheelchair users. The WheelAir system employs a novel temperature and moisture control system designed to fit any wheelchair. The system works by dispersing air evenly across the seat surface to lower temperature, remove moisture build-up, and keep skin dry and clean. The Company’s product employs inbuilt fan technology, which not only cools the back but reduces the user’s core temperature by taking away excess heat and moisture, allowing for instant comfort and better temperature control. The product is available as a B2B solution sold to wheelchair seating manufacturers, which accounted for 80% of the Company’s business, or as finished B2C products, being a backrest and seat cushion cover.
In 2018, with the endorsement of double Paralympian Michael Kerr, WheelAir appeared on the British reality television business programme Dragon’s Den, presenting the novel product and business opportunity to a panel of five wealthy celebrity investors. The product received strong praise from the industry titans, with the Company receiving four investment offers before successfully securing £75k of investment from two of the programme’s most sought-after investors. WheelAir gained much exposure from its appearance on the show, bolstering the Company and its offering.
Before Liquidation, the Company had successfully penetrated several markets, with significant traction in the UK, Europe and Australia. The Company has a global customer base, including care homes, wheelchair manufacturers and rehabilitation centres.
Pressure ulcers are a costly and common condition, estimated to cost the UK National Health Service more than £1.4m every day. Pressure ulcers are exceptionally prevalent among wheelchair users, and heat and moisture are two proven contributors to their development. This opportunity offers a prospective buyer the chance to acquire a clinically proven, innovative and market-ready product, a well-known and cultivated brand and the supporting intellectual property and business assets to capitalise on the demand for a practical, stylish, comfortable wheelchair ventilation solution.
Almost a decade old, the WheelAir brand is widely known and highly respected. The brand distinguishes itself from its competitors in the space, offering a one-of-a-kind non-invasive solution to overheating for wheelchair users.
Confidence in the brand was boosted by investment and backing from two well-known investors via the television show Dragon’s Den, with the Company and product receiving high praise and securing the backing and funding of two reputable and distinguished investors.
The WheelAir brand and product were also recognised at the Scottish Edge, Converge Challenge and Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, all highly acclaimed UK business competitions.
The brand has been publicised by various media outlets and key industry sources, including BBC Scotland, THIIS Magazine, Daily Record and Access and Mobility Professional.
The Company holds several registered trade marks in relation to the “WheelAir” brand and product name, with broad territorial coverage.
The Company is likely to possess rights in the unregistered trade marks protecting variations on the “WheelAir” logo and the Company’s product line brand names and logos, WAcare and WAgo.
A full trade mark schedule is available via a virtual data room.
The Company’s innovative WheelAir products and associated patent portfolio are available to acquire.
The Company’s patent portfolio relates to its unique support structure for supporting the user of a mobility device or the like, with granted patents and pending patent applications across a wide range of territories.
The Company holds an extensive portfolio of WheelAir and Staels Design-branded domain names, including the primary wheelair.co.uk domain name, which hosts the Company’s attractive and professionally designed e-commerce website. A full domain name schedule is available via a virtual data room.
The Company owns the copyright in the website content hosted at the Company’s various active domains.
Rights in the social media accounts are also available to acquire across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
The Company holds a database of c. 800 email addresses of newsletter subscribers.
The Company is highly accredited, with a complete Quality Management System (QMS), Class I Medical Device. The Company also achieved EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) Compliance and, prior to Liquidation, was working towards ISO 13485 Certification.
The Company is also likely to hold organisational knowledge in relation to the everyday operation of the business and product development.
Stock is also available to acquire.
 NHS Lanarkshire, Worldwide Stop Pressure Ulcers Day (Article dated Nov 17, 2021)
All expressions of interest and bids are to be directed to Hilco in writing. A Bid Submission Form is available on request. Please contact Hilco to gain access to a virtual data room of further information on signing a confidentiality agreement.
The Liquidator acts as an agent of the Company and without personal liability.
The bidder acknowledges that Hilco acts as an agent for the Liquidator who offers for sale only what right, title and interest (if any) the Company possesses in the assets. Such sale will be without any warranties, expressed or implied. The information provided has not been verified by Hilco or the Liquidator and bidders are deemed to have carried out their own due diligence.
VAT, if applicable, at 20% will be added to the price. A non-refundable deposit of 20% will be payable by the buyer within 48 hours of bid acceptance. A buyer’s premium of 10% of the sale price is payable by the winning bidder. Legal completion to occur within 5 business days of bid acceptance. Hilco’s full Terms and Conditions apply.