High potential startup of the day: Glanta
May 9th, 2012
Article published in The Daily Business Post, 9 May 2012 by Philip Connolly.
Glanta has developed a mobile device that trains users to wash their hands thoroughly.
We are currently profiling companies from Enterprise Ireland’s high-potential startup (HPSU) programme. The latest is Glanta Ltd, who makes SureWash image processing technology which measures hand hygiene.
Company: Glanta Ltd.
Founders: Seán Bay and Gerry Lacey
Funding: Enterprise Ireland HPSU
What it does: image processing technology to measure hand hygiene
The last thing a patient in hospital needs to worry about is getting an infection. Unfortunately bugs spread throughout medicals wards, often due to poor hand hygiene.
A spin-out of Trinity College Dublin, Glanta has developed a mobile device that trains users to wash their hands thoroughly. The company was set up by Seán Bay and Gerry Lacey at the end of 2010 to commercialise the SureWash image processing technology.
Glanta hopes the training technology will improve hand hygiene standards in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The SureWash system takes users through a step-by-step training video and allows them to practice the techniques shown. An in-built camera then assesses how well they wash their hands judged against World Health Organisation recommendations.
Originally the company supplied units to the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin. The company has since sold into hospitals in Navan and Drogheda.
“What we are trying to do is hone everyone’s skill in hand hygiene into a fine art,” said Seán Bay, CEO and co-founder. “The technology is taking on the role of repetitive training. At present most hospital workers get one training session a year on hand hygiene. You wouldn’t ask somebody to pay a football game on one training session a year.”
Glanta has also taken the product overseas with units sold in Geneva and the company has developed a network of distributors in Europe. Recently the company also opened an office in Australia to move into both the Australian and Canadian markets.
“What everybody is saying is that they didn’t know you could do that,” said Bay. “We have patents granted in Europe and the US. We are the only company in the world that is doing this. There are a lot of companies out there who count when you wash your hands. We are the only company who can give you analysis on how you wash your hands.”
The technology can keep an audit trail of training from a reporting point of view. SureWash can also be used anonymously for private practice.
Lacey had the idea for the product after hearing a radio report about the SARS outbreak. Lacey and Bay met at a First Tuesday networking event for entrepreneurs and investors.
“The whole thing came up about handwashing and how it was not just when but also technique,” said Bay. “It clicked with Gerry to measure how hands move using video technology. He put the two together.”
Bay is also hoping to introduce the technology in a corporate environment. “Studies have been done that show a hand hygiene campaign in a corporate environment can reduce absenteeism by 21 per cent,” said Bay. “An area we do want to look at is education.”
Bay has worked in both the technology and healthcare sectors having worked previously for the Blackrock Clinic managing patient information systems. Lacey is a senior lecturer in TCD.
In 2011 the company raised funds through private investors and also became part of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Startup programme (HPSU).