SwipeSense Makes the Cut in ‘WSJ Startup of the Year’ Documentary Series
Northwestern student startup selected as one of final 10 competitors in five-month online competition
SwipeSense, a medical startup founded by two recent Northwestern graduates through the University student group Design for America, has been selected as one of the final 10 contestants in the Wall Street Journal’s documentary, “WSJ Startup of the Year.”
Twenty-four startups began the competition, which premiered June 24 on WSJ Live, the Journal's online video platform. The episodic video series matches the startups with global business leaders and influencers, and tracks their progress from startup to success over the course of five months.
Created by Design for America co-founders Mert Iseri (combined studies ’11) and Yuri Malina (integrated science ’12), SwipeSense offers a way to help solve the problem of hospital-acquired infections, which kill an estimated 90,000 people per year in the United States. (Design for America is a national student group founded at Northwestern that creates local and social impact through interdisciplinary design.)
About the size of a pager, the portable hand-sanitizing system affixes to health professionals’ belts and dispenses sanitizer at the swipe of their hand. A wireless tracking system also monitors how often the wearer sanitizes his hands.
So far, startups have completed tasks — rejuvenating their name, tagline, and logo, and designing a culture-building activity for their employees — and received advice from guests like actor Seth Green and rapper MC Hammer.
Iseri and Malina have connected with business and healthcare leaders including tech entrepreneurs Vivek Wadhwa and David Tisch, and Dean Ornish, physician and founder of the nonprofit Preventative Medicine Research Institute. The team is currently filming the next episode, which chronicles “a day in the life” of the company.
Other global business leaders participating in the series include Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group; Steve Case, chairman of the Case Foundation, chairman of Startup America and co-founder and former CEO of AOL; and Tory Burch, CEO and designer of Tory Burch LLC.