The Future of Handwashing with Ibraheem Alinur
Ibraheem Alinur is the CEO and founder of City Health Tech. City Health Tech educates and helps build healthy communities by mitigating the spread of diseases globally.
In this episode, Ibraheem shares his story about how he came with the vision and mission of City Health Tech. He will be telling us what makes City Health Tech one of the 25 most promising student startups in the country and was featured by the Obama Foundation, founded in 2017 with the thesis of investing in disease prevention solutions.
“I think our device is really interesting because it takes a passive thing you do when you’re on your busy days to wash your hands, and asks you to slow down. Every time you do that, we hope you think about how your one-hand effective hand washing is affecting another person.” [16:18]
Who is Ibraheem Alinur? [00:57]
Ibraheem just graduated from Northwestern with a degree of Industrial Engineering. He was raised in a single-family household with three other siblings. According to him, he’s raised in the middle of nowhere in the swamps of Florida so when he got the scholarship in Northwestern, it was such a big deal for him as this secured his education and future.
He knew from the beginning that he’s an entrepreneur. Ever since he’s a kid, he would sell candy, he would start tutoring furthermore and just do everything for his hustle. And over the last few years, he’s understood the fulfillment from charity and building an impact. He founded a few non-profits organizations. His professional career started in this world of strategy and that’s when he realized the opportunity of the processes being slow and how to live sustainably.
He started his career in the healthcare industry when his mom told a story about them being taught how to wash their hands and how it’s supposed to last the duration of the happy birthday song. He saw the opportunity to collect data for hand washing and how to encourage the behavior of hand washing.
How did the Covid-19 situation affect City Health Tech’s business model? [04:38]
Ibraheem said that the current situation started a lot of things they would like to accomplish. In example, they have started educating in schools as this is a controlled environment and it’s one place to educate the future generation. He said that investing in our future generation creates a big impact on others too. Starting with washing their hands, they can promote the understanding of building a healthier community.
What and how does the City Health Tech’s device and dashboard help the community? [7:22]
It is a small device, as small as an apple, that can be easily attached, depending on the environment may it be a rubber slip mat or you can contact a manufacturer that has a different adhesive. It is called OPAL, which will standardize community health education while introducing healthy hand washing habits, and collect data to provide insights. This will be able to play different forms of content. Ibraheem said that once they educate people on what 20-30 second hand washing looks like, they’re going to be able to promote other content.
What data does City Health Tech collect and how do they leverage it? [09:08]
Ibraheem used franchises and organization as an example. One example is McDonalds which has hundreds of branches in different locations. The franchise owners would be able to see and monitor the employees’ duration and frequency of their hand washing.
How does City Health Tech engage in conversation and facilitate education to their markets? [10:56]
According to Ibraheem, it always starts with education awareness. He said that we should use all conversation as an opportunity to educate people. And when people go home and wash their hands, the conversation sticks to them and that’s a win-win situation.
As of now, City Health Tech focuses on getting into the academic community by partnering with organizations that are looking specifically at education from an economic perspective.
What is the vision of City Health Tech for infection control and disease prevention? [14:36]
Ibraheem said that it is, first and foremost, important to understand why this industry of disease-prevention technology does not exist. He said that we spend trillions of dollars looking for trivets and vaccines only for bacteria to resist it within a year. Prevention is really better than cure, as the old saying goes. And as Dr. Fauci has put it, this will not be the last pandemic we will experience unless we learn how to really take necessary actions to control infection and prevent diseases.
What challenges did City Health Tech face? [18:12]
According to Ibraheem, even during the pandemic, people would be frowning as they’re asking “do I really need a device that would tell me to wash my hands?” The challenges they are facing are getting people on board and state of funding. He said that convincing people to take the risk now will pay off later and the education system needs to focus on prevention rather than curing. Other than that, he said that there are people who are really excited about what City Health Tech can do to build a healthy community.
What are the numbers that can bring importance and get people’s attention? [20:41]
A hundred million days of work missed due to the common cold. 30 new infectious diseases that have emerged over the last 40 years. 30 reemerging infectious diseases that have been recently found on the way. Lastly, the increase in bioterrorism and bio-engineering.
What advice would you give to people who are interested but don't know how to go about it? [23:22]
Get connected - as per Ibraheem, that was the advice he got. He said you have to figure out who has the job that you want and start talking with these people. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to get connected to like-minded people. Try and venture to the academics where people are willing to share their research.
Ibraheem answers the rapid-fire round of questions. [24:52]