Kenzen: Combining US sales culture with Swiss technology

Stefan Kyora

12.09.2017 10:57
Kenzen ECHO smart patch

Kenzen, an innovator of wearables for precision health, has two headquarters in San Francisco and Switzerland. The combination works well, the start-up raised $5 million from strategic investors. The team in Switzerland will now be expanded. 

Kenzen is a developer of a next-generation wearables platform that continuously monitors, predicts and prevents avoidable health conditions using non-invasive sweat analysis. Kenzen’s ECHO Smart Patch wearable uses multiple patented biosensors to continuously measure vital health signs and gather reliable data to prevent injuries, illness and to optimize health. 

The start-up with 20+ employees has two headquarters: one in the USA and one in Switzerland. Twelve employees in Switzerland are responsible for the creation of the hardware, which ranges from the selection of sensors to the actual manufacturing of the product, the sweat analysis and data analytics. However the history of Kenzen started with co-founder and CEO Sonia Sousa, a native of San Francisco. Edith Schmid, COO at Kenzen and based in Zurich, explains: "Having worked with Swiss R&D institutes in previous career stops and life science projects, Sonia Sousa knew that Switzerland is a world leading center for sensor technology and thus would be a natural location to build products and further our innovation. As a result, Kenzen has been highly impressed with the results of our investment in Switzerland over the last few years."

Other US companies may have engineering teams in Switzerland, but Kenzen decided to have a second headquarter over here. "Our responsibility here in Switzerland is to create reliable, cutting-edge hardware while establishing long-term R&D efforts in the area of sweat analysis. This is such an integral part of who Kenzen is, that choosing Europe, especially Switzerland, for a second European headquarters was necessary to truly thrive and build a global culture.  Today we believe that part of Kenzen’s success is its uniform presence in the US and Europe, bringing together best of both worlds: The progressive, risk-taking sales culture of the US with a strong science and technology base found in Zurich", says Edith Schmid.

Speaking of success: Kenzen was able to raise $5 million this summer. For the further development of their product, Kenzen secured financing from various strategic investors including Digitalis, Hickory Ventures, Gaingels, and the Women’s Capital Connection.

“Technology continually improves people’s lives and wearables represent the next great shift that will boost precision medicine. Digitalis recognizes that Kenzen, led by its dynamic executive team, is in great position to address digital health initiatives promoting wellness and safety” Steve Allen, Co-founder and Partner, Digitalis Ventures.

“Kenzen has tremendous technology that can help sports teams, and impact fitness and health overall. As both an investor and customer, we are big fans of Kenzen and appreciate the team’s down-to-earth, honest and very intellectual approach to things. They’ve been a great partner in building a breakthrough product for athletes”, said Paraag Marathe, Chief Strategy Officer / EVP of Football Operations, San Francisco 49ers.

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