Simon Slama (Co-Founder, CTO), Theresa Ebeling (Co-Founder, CMO), and Ehsan Khaljani (Co-Founder, CEO) © Jasper Kettner


Rewarding Hygiene

Founded in 2017
7 employees
Funding Undisclosed

HygNova helps hospitals and nursing homes avoiding their hospital infections. They use sensors to measure hand disinfections, the single action with the highest impact on hospital hygiene, and a tablet that reminds to sanitise in the right situations. Gamification in the HygNova App motivates a long-term behavioural change by centering the needs of healthcare professionals. Within a year, HygNova developed the required hardware and software, and is now being used by the first paying customers. Website

Interview with HygNova

What inspired you to found your startup?

Our vision is to avoid infections in healthcare settings and to prevent costs and the misfortune that come with them. Our CEO Ehsan worked as a urological surgeon himself for 7 years and was directly affected by infections in his everyday work. Infections lead to increased stress and less time for hygiene which results in more infections. With our solution, we want to break through this vicious circle and add value to the work of healthcare professionals.

How do you define success for yourself and your company?

We want to reach a sustainable impact with our development but not at all costs. We rely on strong values like social responsibility which are an essential part of our company culture. We want to build a company that is financially successful on the one hand and that unites safety for patients, the interests of our multidisciplinary team and values the needs of medical staff on the other hand.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?

If we would know the things we know now in the beginning of our work, we could develop our technology faster and save resources for our partners. But still, we acknowledge that we gained a lot of expertise during the development process and could optimize our product to perfectly fit the market needs.

What problem does your product solve?

HygNova can increase the hand disinfection rate over 40% on the long-term. An 18% increased hand disinfection rate leads to 41% less hospital infections (Pittet et al. 2000). Therefore, increased hand disinfection directly affects costs for infections. A mid-sized hospital with 500 beds spends around € 2.4 million per year for infections. € 1.2 million of these costs are avoidable. HygNova can help medical institutions to save money which can be better invested in patients’ care.

Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?

1 year: Successful market entry with revenues that cover major costs
5 years: Global usage of HygNova solutions. Close cooperation with partners and supporters.
10 years: Relevant decrease of hospital infections by HygNova. Measurable effect of the HygNova technology in the fight against multi-resistant germs.

How are you different?

HygNova works without wearables, alleviating data vulnerabilities and providing a system that can’t be lost or forgotten over the course of a hectic shift. Additionally, HygNova considers the worries and needs of healthcare professionals and is the first company that uses behavioral change theory in a technical solution to fight hospital infections.

How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?

The HygNova solution will be permanently present for users in every patients’ room. The system automatically interacts with the movement pattern and disinfectant use of staff in patients’ room. The HygNova App on a screen in the patients’ room positively supports required behavior like an indoor navigation system.

Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?

In times of increasing antimicrobial resistances, rising hospital infections and growing request for quality by patients’ and cost bearers, HygNova delivers data to improve processes and useful content to support medical staff in their valuable work.

How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?

All founders where very active in the startup scene in Berlin and could follow the changes on first hand. Theresa worked for a startup incubator, Simon worked in three different startups for around 10 years and Ehsan co-founded a startup focusing on medical education. While 10 years ago, there was literally no relevant startup environment, we now all benefit of the vivid startup scene that combines the right mindset with economical expertise.

What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?

Berlin is our home-base. We can use a wide network to bring our product to the user. Also, Berlin offers other startups and corporates that are very valuable for collaborations and that can share their lessons-learned. Sitting in Berlin, we shouldn’t oversee that it is a global problem that we are tackling and that others should benefit from our technology as well.

Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?

Rewarding hygiene is a difficult goal to achieve, but we believe that there is no problem too big to be tackled by a startup. Still, we’re constantly looking for corporates and startups for collaborations and venture capitalist that share our values to accelerate the HygNova movement.

HygNova was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.

The picture above was taken at:

Charlottenburg Gate

At an intersection of history, the neo-baroque Charlottenburg Gate flanks the western approach of the Straße des 17. Juni leading to the iconic Victory Column, named for an uprising of East Berliner workers against state violence in 1953. To the West lies the upscale district of Charlottenburg, named after the first Queen of Prussia, Sophia Charlotte of Hanover.

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