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Dr. Sonia Sousa, a founder of Kenzen, passed away in May of 2018. It was challenging, but the startup moved forward.

Kenzen was in the process of deploying a pilot with an industrial company. That pilot pointed to a new direction for the company—providing a predictive physiological monitoring system, including a wearable device that keeps workers safe from heat, fatigue, and overexertion.

In 2016, Heidi Lehmann, now the CEO of Kenzen, had been brought into the company to guide commercialization and help the company raise equity financing.

With the product-market fit identified, the management team at Kenzen realized that Kansas City, MO., was the best place to be headquartered. The company already had a presence there and it is close to industrial customers. As someone whose professional life was in New York City in digital media then consumer wearables, Lehmann had to find a way to fit in and find others who would, too.

Kenzen focuses on core body temperature, which doesn’t require a biomarker analysis or operating in the regulated market. Both require FDA approval to assess heat injury and illness from core body temperature. The wearable device is non-invasive, not an injectable pill, and not a rectal or esophageal probe. And a wearable device is easily scalable.

“We developed the largest validated data set of core body temperature across the globe,” said Lehmann. “It’s been tested by both genders across different age groups and worksites across the globe. We also recently had our algorithm peer-reviewed and are the only algorithm that accurately predicts heat injury or illness from a wearable.”

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