News: Press Releases

March 9, 2017

Groton native featured in UMass marketing campaign

Erin Keaney, UMass Lowell '13, '14, discusses startup company creating low-cost prosthetics

BOSTON – Groton native Erin Keaney is featured in a current University of Massachusetts marketing campaign highlighting the achievements of recent alumni. Keaney appears in a video discussing Nonspec, the startup company she co-founded that creates low-cost prosthetics for individuals in developing nations.

“Nonspec started when we won the campus-wide DifferenceMaker program here at UMass Lowell,” says Keaney, who received a bachelor’s degree from the university in 2013 and a master’s in 2014. “We got $5,000 to really start looking at this as more than just an idea. We wanted to make something that brought prosthetics into the 21st century.”

For the Nonspec team, that meant focusing on below-knee prosthetic devices that met high-quality standards without the high cost.

“We aim to sell our device between $20 and $40 U.S. dollars, as compared to the $3,000 and $4,000 devices that are on the market right now,” Keaney says in the clip. “That difference is astounding.”

Also astounding, she says, is seeing how a company that started on campus is changing lives around the world.

“We were actually able to see the first patient ever walk on our below-knee prosthetic,” Keaney says. “It was kind of magical. Seeing that really just drives us to keep going.” “What we learn at UMass really can contribute to larger global solutions,” Keaney adds.

So far, the Nonspec video has been viewed more than 365,000 times on platforms including Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, regional news publications and connected TV.

The UMass President’s Office marketing campaign, conducted in collaboration with Boathouse Group, runs through the end of April and includes a total of six videos produced in partnership with Pilgrim Films. Four videos feature inspiring young alumni from across the UMass system, and two feature President Marty Meehan, the first undergraduate alumnus to lead UMass, who discusses the university’s impact on students and their communities.