Kenguru is a startup looking to revolutionize mobility for wheelchair users. The Texas-based company is designing a car without any seats, but can be accessed from a rear-opening tailgate equipped with an automatic ramp. An interlocking device secures the wheelchair into place. Instead of conventional steering wheels, the Kenguru (Hungarian for "kangaroo") hatchback uses handlebars that resemble that of a motorcycle.
"People with disabilities are a very underserved segment of the population, with huge needs," Stacy Zoern, president and co-founder of Kenguru, told Entrepreneur. "Just getting to work is a huge challenge."
Zoern is a wheelchair user herself, having been born with spinal muscular atrophy. After getting into a car accident at the age of 19, Zoern swore off driving for a decade. After searching for new transportation options, Zoern came across Budapest-based Istvan Kissaroslaki, who originally attempted to develop Kenguru but his attempts were faltered after losing a €2 million loan. Zoern got in touch with him and five months later he agreed to move his operations to Pflugerville, Texas. The Kenguru is expected to enter production later this year, with each car selling for approximately $25,000.
"Getting a startup off the ground is the most difficult thing you can do. There's one obstacle after another, and so much personal financial risk," Zoern said. "But every single day, I get e-mails from people who visit our website and say, 'This is going to change my life. Thank you.' That lightens my load. It's a reminder of why I'm doing this."
Learn more about Kenguru below.