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TENZR, an Intelligent wristband to facilitate rehabilitation of hand, wrist and elbow injuries

A conversation with Lukas-Karim Merhi, CEO and Co-Founder, Biointeractive Technologies.

Tell me about yourself and your journey to this point. How did you decide to start the company?

I was trained as a biomedical engineer with specialization in medical/optical imaging. I decided to pursue entrepreneurship and technology commercialization vs. a PhD. I spent a number of years in academia, familiarizing myself with great technology that could meet massive unmet needs in the market.

My life has revolved around business – my family have had multiple small businesses and been involved in venture-backed enterprises which have instilled an entrepreneurial spirit. My first attempt at a healthcare startup was a spectacular failure – However, I did learn three important lessons:

  • Do not build accessories to accessories
  • Only work with decision makers in healthcare
  • Don’t run out of money

These important lessons are embedded in my latest venture. After I stopped working at my first startup, I needed a job to pay the bills and found myself back in academia (initially as a researcher turned lab manager). I met my current co-founders at this lab. They were working on tracking technologies for hand impairments.

The Vision for the company is to be a category leader in the digital physical therapy market and enable everyone to have healthy hands and stay active.

Because of my personal journey with physical therapy, I truly resonated with their work. Let me explain. I spent four years doing physical therapy to avoid back surgery. The entire process was inefficient and riddled with self-reporting and guesswork. I thought there had to be a better way – the entrepreneur’s credo!  Access to data, guidance and feedback would have my addressed the problems I faced during my recovery journey.

The Vision for the company is to be a category leader in the digital physical therapy market and enable everyone to have healthy hands and stay active!

Who are your Customers / Prospective Customers – What do they do?

They are patients who have neurological and orthopedic hand, wrist and elbow impairments caused by conditions like wrist fractures, stroke, spinal cord injuries, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis.

What Solution / Technology are you using to meet your Customers’ needs?

We solve this problem with our patent-pending TENZR wristband which is capable of tracking the hand. We combine the data from TENZR with a companion app to guide patients through their recovery journeyWe have a couple dozen peer-reviewed publications validating the technology in addition to market validations via clinical publications. Our technology is also enabling/supporting clinical trial research across Canada.

We are disrupting a broken model. When it comes to tracking technologies, our unique sensing capabilities make TENZR the only device capable of tracking the hand using just a wrist-band, without needing data gloves or cameras.

What differentiates your company from the competition?

Our real competition is the status quo. This includes lists of exercises, self-reporting and guesswork.

This does not solve the heart of the problem – patients don’t feel or believe they have the knowledge, guidance or data to take them all the way through to a successful recovery.

We are disrupting a broken model. When it comes to tracking technologies, our unique sensing capabilities make TENZR the only device capable of tracking the hand using just a wrist-band, without needing data gloves or cameras.

Our sensing technology can be applied to other joints in the future. Our team members have, and will identify business development opportunities to pursue. We create a fertile and encouraging environment to help them pursue new market opportunities – and share their program and impact with our wider team and community.

Written on 28 May 2020 by Randy Fisher, originally posted on the VANTEC blog.

Randy Fisher, MA, BJ, is a communications and market research professional with experience in business writing, customer interviewing, media relations and storytelling.