Company: 6SensorLabs, San Francisco, CA, USA
Company Description: Founded in 2013, 6SensorLabs is creating greater food transparency that enables consumers to make better health decisions. Currently in development, its first product is Nima, a discreet, portable device that allows consumers to test their meals for food allergens in two minutes or less, delivering social freedom and making mealtime enjoyable again.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Startup of the Year - Consumer Products Industries
Nomination Title: 6SensorLabs
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words). Begin this section with the date since July 1 2013 on which this organization began operations:
Driven by a personal struggle with food allergies, Shireen Yates recognized a need for a technology that helps millions of people like her who suffer from food allergies stay happy and healthy. We don’t always know what’s in our food. Up to 15 million Americans have a food allergy, which has been increasing in recent years. Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room, and accidental exposure to amounts of food as small as 1/200th of a teaspoon can lead to serious health repercussions. In October 2013, Shireen co-founded 6SensorLabs to develop Nima - a portable sensor that detects allergens in foods - the first test being gluten - for the millions who are actively avoiding gluten. The company’s goal is to alleviate the stress around unknown food ingredients, deliver social freedom and make mealtime enjoyable again.
In just one year, 6SensorLabs has demonstrated the market need, proven the technology and scaled it to manufacturability - leading to the patented technology in development today. Leveraging a year of market research and surveys of thousands of people, Shireen devised the ideal product for allergen-avoiding consumers and worked with the engineering team to create a product requirement document that prioritized speed, accuracy, portability and reliability.
-Since then, development has moved at lightning speed for Nima. Within the year, the team developed a novel approach to rapid, portable protein detection to allow consumers to use the device anywhere, anytime. The product has gone through three prototypes, thousands of product parts and more than 200 different test foods. Her dedication to consumer needs drove the decrease in product size three-fold, so it now fits in a pocket or purse.
-With her goal of reducing the amount of time an allergen sensor would take to produce a result, the team also crafted its own proprietary chemistry to maximize the product’s performance for gluten. In just a year, the team took a lab-based process and decreased the testing time from 10 to two minutes.
-To maintain the accuracy of the technology, Shireen knew the device had to have a very sensitive chemistry detection system so that trace amounts of proteins could be sampled in a very short period of time. Championing these requirements, the team delivered a technology that was 10 times more sensitive than existing methods.
-Shireen was instrumental in the selection of the contract manufacturers for the hardware and chemistry components of the product to produce millions of units of the product without sacrificing quality. She travelled around the globe to evaluate and select partners who had experience working in chemistry, electronic and plastic manufacturing. She was able to sell the vision of the company and work with these more established partners who had not always collaborated with smaller organizations with no previous track record.
Since July 2014, Shireen has led the team through a Series Seed financing round for $4 million, which was $2 million oversubscribed and closed one quarter ahead of schedule. Today, more than 10,000 people have joined the waitlist for the product in less than a year, and Nima is on schedule for pre-orders in Fall 2015.
Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 125 words):
Shireen Yates is co-founder and CEO of 6SensorLabs. She has been leading a gluten-free diet for the past eight years due to multiple food allergies and still finds it risky to eat out safely. After five years in sales/marketing at Google and an M.B.A. from MIT Sloan, she decided to pursue her passion for helping people lead healthier lifestyles by starting 6SensorLabs. Founded in 2013, 6SensorLabs is creating greater food transparency that enables consumers to make better health decisions. Currently in development, its first product is Nima, a discreet, portable device that allows consumers to test their meals for food allergens in two minutes or less. The company’s goal is to alleviate the stress, deliver social freedom and make mealtime enjoyable again.
Choose one (even if both apply):
The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.