Freedom One Life is developing a new generation of wheelchairs to empower those with physical disabilities to lead more independent, adventurous lives.

Freedom One Life is currently awaiting closure pending final checks.

The story

If you ask anyone who uses a powerchair, whether they use it to go to work, or travel the world, everyone has a horror story about breaking down and being stranded. Existing power wheelchairs are not built to be used all day, everyday.

People end up stuck at home if their chair breaks down – waiting several weeks to get it repaired. Ultimately, they limit their life based on the limitations of their wheelchair. They don’t go out at night, alone, in bad weather, they don’t go far from home, some never even go on holiday.

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The more breakdowns people have, the more they limit how they live their life. If you use a conventional powerchair daily, it is almost always in your mind. Will it fit on the bus? It’s raining, will it breakdown? Are the pavements accessible? Do I have enough charge to get home? Should I bring the (huge) charger? If I do breakdown, what will I do? At the airport, will they break it?

Freedom One Life want to completely redefine this experience, they want their wheelchair to almost be ‘forgotten about’ and for people to focus on their day/life and trust that their chair will just work as it should.

The founder, Alex Papanikolaou, created Freedom One Life (FOL) due to the limitations of the stagnant powerchair market which he experienced first-hand. FOL’s vision is to deliver radical change to the market, offering a revolutionary power wheelchair to improve independence and stretch the boundaries of powerchair users.

Founder Alex Papanikolaou has used powerchairs since he was at school. He has developed an independent work and social life as well as visited over 40 countries independently with his chair. He has significant firsthand experience of the limitations that are imposed upon people by chairs which are outdated, expensive and not fit for purpose. He has developed as an entrepreneur by working to improve inclusiveness in various projects around the world, most recently with Network Rail.

The lead investor

The lead investor for Freedom One Life is Ian Marchant, who is Chairman of the Wood Group - a global technical and professional services company - and also recently appointed as Chairman of Thames Water. He was previously CEO of SSE, a FTSE 50 energy company, for 11 years and has been investing on the side for the last 4 years.

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