In order to prevent infection, surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected properly. There is a lot of room for improvement in the manual cleaning and disinfection surfaces of healthcare facilities. Kinnos has developed Highlight, a colorizing technology that’s mixed with cleaning products that allow healthcare personnel to intuitively confirm they have adequately disinfected surfaces visually without any specialized equipment. Additive solution can be easily applied to any existing cleaning product in the hospital. Originally developed in response Ebola in Africa, the demand for this novel technology increased during the pandemic. The company has now expanded its scope to allow use of various types of cleaning solutions as well. The World Health Organization has recognized Brooklyn-based Kinnos as an Innovative Health Technology, given the technology’s ability to reduce the pain, mortality, and financial implications of healthcare-associated infections.
AlleyWatch Kinnos Cofounder, Chief Innovation Officer and Cofounder of Kinnos Jason Kang to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which brings the company’s total funding raised to $22.8M, and much, much more…
Who were your investors, and how much money did they raise?
This round of funding raised $15M from both existing and new investors including family offices, funds and other institutions. Pioneer Healthcare Partners, Kapor Center, You can also find out more about the following: Partnership Fund for NYCAs well as industry leaders from Abbott and Baxalta. We intentionally raised funds from family offices and investors with expertise in infection prevention, healthcare innovation, and more generally, to help our team expand the business.
What products or services does Kinnos offer?
Highlight is a technology that colors disinfectants for use in hospitals. It helps to prevent the spread surface-borne pathogens among patients, their families and staff. Highlight is recognized by the World Health Organization as a temporary color for disinfectant wipes or cleaning solutions used in hospitals. This provides staff with a visual clue to improve their quality of work. A peer-reviewed article published in the American Journal of Infection Prevention Highlight improved cleaning metrics by up to 70% last year.
In the case of disinfectant wipes, Highlight’s blue color is added to the wipe through a unique dispensing device that is placed on top of the wipe canister. The wipe is released by pressing a button. As the wipe is released, the blue color is added. The blue color is used to indicate the surface’s coverage, but fades in minutes.
Our goal is to not only make the disinfection process more visible and safer for patients but also to bring the hard work done by the frontline staff, environmental services workers, and other frontline staff into the spotlight.
What inspired the start of Kinnos?
The idea for Kinnos came from the founding team’s experience fighting Ebola in West Africa in 2015. We discovered that workers could not see the disinfectant’s actual location on a surface, and they were missing many spots on equipment, personnel hazmat suits, and facilities. This resulted in a higher infection rate for both workers and patients.
Highlight is a colorizing techniqe that can be added to disinfectants. Our focus shifted from global health to the U.S. hospital system where studies show more than 50% of surfaces with high touch are not properly cleaned. According to the CDC, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) affect one out of every 31 patients, cause 72,000 deaths, and lead to billions of dollars in direct costs every year. Patients can actually get sicker by going into a hospital and coming away with an infection or illness they didn’t originally possess.
What is different about Kinnos?
Kinnos was the first to develop a technology to improve manual cleaning, without forcing hospitals or staff to add extra steps or change products. Other innovations in infection prevention, such as UV lights and misters that address the issue of missed spots on surfaces are also available, but they do not replace manual cleansing and must be used only after manual cleaning has been completed.
Highlight, on the other hand, makes cleaning more efficient by using a breakthrough, patented technology. This colorizing technique helps workers apply the correct technique in real time and reduces errors. It also provides visible peace of mind for workers, other employees, and patients and their family members. We make it simple for hospitals to quickly uplevel their quality and comply with regulations and stay at the forefront of the game by integrating directly into ready-to use disinfectant wipes they already use. Our product gives the under-appreciated environmental services staff at hospitals the confidence to do their job and to be recognized for their efforts.
What market is Kinnos targeting and what size?
Kinnos disrupts the global $30B+ infection prevention industry. While today we’re primarily focused on the US and Canadian healthcare markets, eventually we anticipate Highlight will become a core element of everyday cleaning worldwide.
What’s your business model?
Kinnos’ patented Highlight technology is sold directly to hospitals. Hospitals that purchase our wipe colorization cartridges will also buy the dispensers.
What are your plans to prepare for a possible economic slowdown.
We’re laser-focused around a core set of objectives and gating our spend based on milestones achieved. Infection prevention and reduction of risk remain paramount. This is especially true as hospitals are under increasing pressure due to increased economic pressures, high staff turnover and the proliferation new and deadly pathogens.
How was the funding procedure? What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome when raising capital?
Fundraising was undoubtedly a very unique experience. Institutional investors appear to be saving a larger portion of their funds for follow-on investments and supporting their existing portfolios, and are therefore much more conservative when it comes to making new investments.
What aspects of your business prompted your investors to give you a check?
A number of factors created demand and interest among investors. The urgency of the issue was first. Recent headlines on COVID and Candida auris The healthcare industry leaders understand the global challenges we face when it comes to combating emerging pathogens. Researchers have found that pathogens can be picked up on a surface and transmitted to patients. These bacteria can survive for months or even years. A recent report showed that hospitals have cleaning protocols, but there is still a 20% increase of hospital infections due to surface transmission. Kinnos’ technology helps close the gap on reducing the risk that surfaces remain contaminated.
In terms of business, this is an enormous market. Also, they found our expanding IP portfolio and engagement with hospitals to be compelling. There is no company today that can improve manual disinfection in real time.
At the same time, Kinnos evolved its team to include a number of successful, serial entrepreneurs and operators – on the leadership team (including the addition of our new CEO), the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and more. Many of Kinnos’ new investors worked with and alongside the new members of the team, and their combined success in the past made them more interested in investing.
What are your goals for the next six-month period?
Later this year, we will expand our technology platform so that it is compatible with wipes based on hydrogen peroxide. Kinnos is launching a new product that will improve the cleaning of all disinfectant wipes, including bleach, quat, and hydrogen peroxide.
What advice would you give to companies in New York who do not have fresh capital in their bank?
Think about the milestones that you can achieve without running out of money. Tell a story around that milestone that explains why it’s a big deal and get investors excited. If you really believe in what you’re doing, don’t give up. You will find others who share your convictions. Just find them.
What is the future direction of the company?
Kinnos is currently focused on expanding the technology platform of our hospital partners in North America. Eventually, our Highlight Technology will be ubiquitous across healthcare and beyond, as it helps ensure that the best cleaning possible is achieved the first time.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Jeju Noodle Bar – back when it was easy to make a reservation!