The purpose of Client Tell is to spotlight the incredible work of our clients, and to help businesses learn from and connect with each other. We sat down with entrepreneur Dustin Prescott, Co-Founder and Marketing Director of OpenGait Prosthetics, to learn how this Raleigh startup is revolutionizing the prosthetic possibilities for above-knee amputees across the globe.
As the son of a life-long business owner, Dustin Prescott came by his entrepreneurial spirit honestly. In high school, he started his own car detailing business, growing it to 75 regular clients. He was always dreaming up new ideas, so it made sense that he was drawn to like-minded students Aaron Fleming and Lindsay Sullivan while earning his MBA degree at North Carolina State in 2017.
Aaron and Lindsay were working on their PhDs in the joint department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State, and when the trio came together to partner with a local nonprofit helping amputees in the developing world, they hit it off immediately. Dustin recalled:
“We realized we were all aligned in our passions, as well as our entrepreneurial goals and strategies. As we started to understand a major problem around the world, we decided that together, we could provide a solution.”
Meeting a Global Need
Dustin, Aaron and Lindsay founded OpenGait Prosthetics, a startup that provides high quality, low cost prosthetic solutions to global aid organizations. “There are over 8 million above-knee amputees in the world, but due to prohibitive costs and a complicated manufacturing process, only 5 percent of them have access to a quality prosthetic device,” Dustin explained. “We’re creating a simple and affordable solution that will allow aid organizations to provide these individuals with a better prosthetic device.”
OpenGait is developing and mass producing a kit containing all the parts and tools needed to fit an amputee with a full prosthetic leg. The kit will allow for adjustability to meet the specific anatomic needs of each amputee, giving them a high-functioning, comfortable prosthetic device. Global aid organizations will get access to the kits at a low cost, allowing them to have a greater impact, helping people in the United States and around the world.
Building A Firm Foundation
Today, Dustin leads OpenGait’s business operations, branding and marketing. Aaron handles the mechanical design and prototyping, and Lindsay heads up design, testing and analysis. Their goal is to get the cost of the kit down as low as possible, and to continue raising awareness with clinicians and organizations for mass distribution. The entrepreneurs are driven by their mission is to restore mobility and independence to as many people as possible.
Dustin attributes OpenGait’s rapid progress to the strong connections the founders made at NC State and through other organizations. “We’ve taken advantage of every resource around us, from local labs, networking groups, our professors, and other entrepreneurs, which has been critical to our success,” he said.
When asked what advice he would give other entrepreneurs trying to lay a strong business foundation, Dustin replied: “Leverage the people and resources around you and take every opportunity to learn. Connect and lean on people who are more experienced to advise and help you, especially in the areas where your business isn’t as strong.”
Hitting the Ground Running
One of the valuable connections the OpenGait founders made early on was with Jesse Jones and John Dials from Fourscore Business Law. Fourscore helped them set up their corporation and walk through the process of becoming a formal business, officially founded on January 1, 2019. Dustin remarked:
“It’s been really helpful to have access to Fourscore’s experience and understanding, especially with forming a corporation and how to organize the equity split. We were completely new to the process, and we wanted to make sure we managed things well from the start. The advice we’ve received from the Fourscore team has been critical in establishing our partnership and preparing us for the future.”
To learn more, visit OpenGaitProsthetics.com.