Startup Pitch: Reducing injuries with ultrasound


Caressoma's ultrasound tomograph allows to examine and monitor muscles, tendons and ligaments. With the device, physiotherapists and personal trainers can help athletes to optimize their training sustainably and prevent injuries in the long run. However, the potential extends far beyond the training market.


Athletes seeking to reach their performance limits walk a fine line between top results and overstraining their bodies or even injuries. Caressoma comes to the rescue. The medtech start-up has developed an ultrasound tomograph allowing to take standardised ultrasound images of the entire body. They provide information about the condition of the soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments - everything needed to move the body.

"The advantages of our device called Sonit are the standardization of the images and the possibility to separate where the images are taken and where they are interpreted", says Sophia Borowka, co-founder and CEO of Caressoma. Until now, ultrasound images have been taken by hand, which means that the exact angle, position and the pressure applied are never quite the same. As a result, the images are difficult to compare. With the Caressoma system, a robotic system takes the 3D pictures while the athlete rests in a predetermined position, so that the tissue will be always seen from the same angle. The pictures can be easily compared and with this - for the first time - a monitoring is possible. In addition, the image can be taken for example in a training centre, and a doctor or physiotherapist can evaluate these images remotely.


The benefits of this system are immense. "In Europe alone around 3000 athletes sustain injuries every day," explains the founder, "according to estimates, 40% of these injuries can be avoided if the athletes train in the optimal way. With our ultrasound tomographs, we want to empower physiotherapists and personal trainers, to let their athletes take a big step in this direction". In addition, ultrasound studies show that overstrain can also be detected early on and athletes' careers prolonged in this way.

Caressoma does not have direct competitors. There is no ultrasound solution that can be used for all parts of the body. And an alternative product that works with X-rays has a disadvantage of exposing the athletes with radiation.

Caressoma was incorporated at the end of 2018. "The biggest milestone we have achieved so far is our MVP," explains Sophia Borowka. The device is currently being tested with athletes as well as doctors, physiotherapists and personal trainers.

For the first step into the market, the company needs another financial boost. Almost 300,000 francs from investors had been invested already. Now another CHF800k are needed. "Our goal is to develop a safe, marketable product for the training market with the additional funds," says the CEO. In this segment, market entry is easier than in the diagnostics market with its regulatory hurdles.

However, this is not the end of the story. The start-up company also intends to gradually enter the diagnostic field. In this area, too, there is a great medical need. The highest direct and indirect health costs are caused by problems related to soft tissue. There is therefore a broad field in which Caressoma can contribute to better diagnosis and prevention.

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(Stefan Kyora)