Peter Kassel, HealthySole - Studio Interview | LSI Europe ‘22

Speakers

Peter Kassel

Peter Kassel

CEO, HealthySole
CEO, Peter Kassel and HealthySole are the pioneer and technology leader in reducing the pathogen load in settings where pristine environments are required.

Transcription

Nick Talamantes  0:00  

Peter, thanks for joining us here in LSI. Europe. Thank you, Nick, tell me a little bit about HealthySole.

 

Peter Kassel  0:04  

So healthy soul is the first clinically proven method of dealing with shoe borne pathogens in a controlled space. Essentially, if you think of the way that dust settles so high up in your house and how it gets there, that's from air currents of foot traffic, essentially. And you know, within a hospital, you have this coincidence or irony of bringing the most infected people into a building, where they have shared staff shared facilities. And as a result, you know, an abnormally high number of infections occur within hospitals. So our product is sort of a new way of looking at ways of bringing down both the number of infections, and then the cost burden on facilities that have to then pay for the coverage of infections that happened within the space. 

 

Nick Talamantes  0:50  

So what's the standard of care today look like for taking care of combatting you know, hospital acquired infections,

 

Peter Kassel  0:58  

Essentially, washing your hands, okay, that's, you know, terrifyingly enough. There are actually a lot of us facilities that don't really use mops with disinfectants, while anybody is in the room. Essentially, one of the reasons is there are concerns of litigation if somebody slips and falls. Another is that the kind of solvents that we have to use on floors are so intense now due to by biological resistance, that they actually cause discoloration of the tiles. So hospital, facility managers will actually disincentivize the idea of using mops or, you know, chemicals in general, within hospitals, which is obviously of a huge concern. And so the standards of care are pretty good. You know, we were seeing improvements of infection rates. And then once COVID hit, five years of improvements were immediately undone in terms of infection rates. So we've got proof that what we're doing right now, even with the old standard of infections didn't quite work. And as antibiotic resistance come along, and climate change changes, sort of the amount of infections and how, how much they spread, or how long they last, we're probably going to be dealing with the need to very much reevaluate how we address those spaces.

 

Nick Talamantes  2:15  

Is it safe to say we live in a post COVID world yet? Has that changed the reception to your type of technology? How's it going?

 

Peter Kassel  2:23  

Well, actually interesting. COVID expanded essentially, our total addressable market, we had always assumed that hospital spaces were kind of the space that we were going to go to, during COVID, our biggest buyers have been first responders and long term extended care. We've had food confectioner's, buy it for QA, we've had the United States Government buy it for the testing labs of the National Institute of Health where, you know, they do all the FDA testing for AIDS, cancer and vaccine medications. It's really grown enormously. I mean, if you look at the issue, even of disruptions to logistics and travel, there is needs to address infection control. And you know, one of the reasons why I sort of bristle almost at the, you know, when people were talking about the new normal or something like that, essentially what we got was a rude awakening that the way that we were addressing space has stopped working. You know, we've had antibiotics, we've had chemical solvents. And so we've become complacent to a system that we've been lucky enough to be able to take advantage of for 80 90 years, that's run its course and COVID in the way that that spread was not really the starter's pistol, it was a symptom of the problem. And if we don't address that problem, the symptoms will continue to come up and continue to rear their head

 

Nick Talamantes  3:36  

so we could find HealthySole, not just in hospitals, but even in this hotel we're talking at.

 

Peter Kassel  3:41  

Absolutely, we've had conversations with hospitality. I mean, I would imagine having them outside of public bathrooms in places like amusement parks, I mean, one place I wish I could use it is when going on the air bridge to a plane, if everybody were to stand on that when they were checking in their ticket, I mean, everybody's already queued up to begin with. And you know, I'm about to be stuffed into a plane with these people for nine hours circulating circulating the same air. I mean, my son spent some time when he was an infant in, you know, in a very sensitive Ward, and my wife would regularly have to call management to have them come and mop the floor, even when he was incredibly susceptible to infection. And this was one of the top facilities in the world. So I think that there is going to be products like this and we're going to see a number of products which are leveraging technology to laser pinpoint currently unaddressed or unrealized vectors of infection.

 

Nick Talamantes  4:35  

So why start with the bottom of your shoes instead of putting the technologies let's say in the ceiling?

 

Peter Kassel  4:41  

Yeah, no, absolutely. Well, some people are definitely doing that. I mean, Hvac systems in general have had UVC light for decades. Essentially, the biggest problem with shoes is they are coincidentally enough both one of the most mobile items and a hospital and one of them most infectious. So I mean, if you look at the soles of our shoes right now, we will have microbiology, we will have 6 million times more microbiology on the soles of our shoes than on the toilet seat in a patient's hospital room. And for example, in a room that we were doing some some studies and efficacy testing, there was the presence of C diff, which is a fecal spore that is incredibly infectious at the Clean Air input of a hospital room. And so the way that a hospital rooms air recycling goes, there's an intake at the floor to the H vac system that's going to purify the air that then is pushed out at the top of the room, they're finding C Diff spores at the Clean Air output nine feet off the ground. And obviously, there isn't any fecal material that has gotten there. It's just the actual spread from these diseases. And when we placed our unit into that room, just outside the medical facility was getting 70% compliance of using the device. And we saw a 30% reduction of that CTF on the walls and the Clean Air input just by addressing the soles of shoes,

 

Nick Talamantes  6:08  

that's fascinating that you can put this technology anywhere, and it can really just clean up the space. Are you only in the US right now, what's sort of the commercialization strategy looking like?

 

Peter Kassel  6:19  

so we have had sort of pockets of distributors in lots of different territories, we've explored them, we've made sales, we have, you know, patents, which have really helped protect us in those spaces. And, you know, to a certain degree, we've seen adoption, you know, soft adoption in some of those areas that prove that there are levels of interest based upon people's education. The truth is, is that nobody is going to educate people about the product better than we will. So one of the things about our Reg A+ raise that we want to do is actually use that money to incorporate within Europe and start an EU office, so as to be able to work with, you know, the smaller governments of the EU do pilot studies, and sort of push for adoption in that regard. Europe is just far more proactive about this kind of thing than we are. And Europe also doesn't rely on what are called, you know, real world control trials, which in the US, you can build protocols that will kind of prove what you want them to in Europe works much more on sort of a logical use case basis.

 

Nick Talamantes  7:21  

You mentioned Reg A+, how is that going? Did you have you launched jet? You're one of the few innovators that I know that is actually pursuing this innovative funding path? Yeah, tell me a little bit more about it?

 

Peter Kassel  7:33  

Well, so one of the difficulties that we've had being an infection control products is that we are essentially innovating in an area where there isn't a lot of investment. So companies like Clorox, 3M, chemical solvent makers have been the main drivers of infection control, you know, innovation, research, all of that. So when coming to a group like LSI, we have exciting meetings, we have great conversations, but a lot of these groups end up investing in areas that are, quote, they're late. But what had happened was, every time I talk to somebody about the product, and I describe it, there's immediately an emotional response in recognizing my you know, my God, that's I wish that was in my kids nursery, I wish that was in the hospital, where my grandmother's being treated like, there was always an emotional hook into that, which is the same reason why I got interested in it and started to push the product. And so when we learned about the Regulation A, and we had sort of learned the concept of how it's so much more about the story than the stock, we had seen that there was a really great opportunity. And I mean, you know, a lot of people, my generation sort of talk about vote with your dollar, right, as a consumer buy products that you feel best meet your values. And so it resonated with me the opportunity to you know, not just a byproduct, but also to have our hand in what we, as every everybody is going to interact with the medical medical system. So why wouldn't we be able to drive the medical system in the way that we felt passionate about and also reap the rewards? You know, the general public can know, at a certain point, God forbid, whenever it happens for any of us being in a hospital, if they were to see a health care professional stand on the unit, know that they helped make that happen. It's a pretty powerful option. And you know, it really ends up being something of a virtuous cycle in our eyes.

 

Nick Talamantes  9:23  

Yeah, I would agree that the Reg A+ option definitely allows you to take your story, your mission, your purpose to the globe and resonate with people who coming off of a pandemic will absolutely understand the need for something like this.

 

Peter Kassel  9:38  

Absolutely. And, you know, our product has always been sort of adopted in a grassroots regard. The people in a facility who most appreciate the product, or the biggest champions, are the nurses, the people who are on the front lines, and the people who are most excited about the product, when I would tell them was the general populace people who would eventually be treated in hospitals. And so this just seemed like a no brainer when, you know institutional investment is very, it does amazing things, but they're very interested in intervention, high technology and things like that when our product and our mission was to create something that was affordable, effective, I mean, almost invisible, right, just able to be slotted anywhere, you kind of see that it's there, it feels good that a hospital is taking charge, but it sort of isn't, as, you know, acute as some of the other inventions. So the public just seemed like the best place to go to find the support that we believe we needed. 

 

Nick Talamantes  10:30  

Yeah I see that you brought a unit all the way from across the,

 

Peter Kassel  10:33  

our distributor in Ireland actually sent that over. So that's great. Yeah, we were finally able to leverage some of those connections that we have, you know,

 

Nick Talamantes  10:40  

lay oh, well, speaking of Ireland and the UK, what brings you to LSI Europe?

 

Peter Kassel  10:46  

Really, you know, Europe is on the forefront of infection control. I mean, single payer systems really have an impetus to make sure that their systems work? Well, you know, every every step that they take is about bed turnover, making sure that outcomes of patients are better. And there's sort of more of a humane approach to a lot of medicine than some of the commercialized sort of nature of the United States. So we saw this as an opportunity to get in front of the right people start to build connections, I mean, especially consulting connections for people helping us build offices out here, once we've raised the, you know, necessary funds. So you know, there's always draw to be at an Investor Summit meet the right people find the right institutional partners, because, you know, they don't just come with money, but they come with all sorts of connections, understanding experience, knowledge, you know, the all that stuff that sort of comes along with it. But also to start laying land for what we think is a really important strategic move on our side.

 

Nick Talamantes  11:44  

Tell me a little bit more about scaling. 

 

Peter Kassel  11:46  

Well I mean, we've had great initial sales, we've had a lot of excitement, we've sold units to the Los Angeles Police Department, even prior to COVID, we've sold to, you know, the National Institute of Health, the VA Department, we've sold to sterile manufacturers, all kinds of people. But the truth is, is that in enterprise and medical sales, you can't just do it with, you know, with income and revenue, we need outside money to do that. And so that's really our scaling effort. And, you know, besides just getting out there and getting the money and making the sales, another big portion of what we're going to be doing is dedicating capital to studies essentially, is to really proving to people that this is so much more of an issue than is necessarily seen, for example, we just submitted for review to a publication, a systematic review of what degree shoes actually cause infection spread within hospitals. And there's actually a surprising amount of research. But every single time they sort of suggested Well, you know, we think this is a problem, but we have no way to test against the control. And that's where a product like ours comes in is, is we will be able to slot in and show what happens when you actually address shoes as as opposed to when you do not 

 

Nick Talamantes  12:59  

You're technology is definitely a paradigm shift from what is currently being done. So you've got to scale up in order to be your biggest advocate in a lot of ways to prove to prove to the non believers that this is truly a paradigm shift.

 

Peter Kassel  13:14  

Absolutely. I mean, I don't blame any anybody who works at a medical facility. But anybody who has salespeople, approaching them on a daily basis, has to get very good at saying no, that's just part of the job. And we as a company, and we as innovators, our job is to make sure that there is no way that somebody can say no.

 

Nick Talamantes  13:33  

When did you start your Reg A+? Is there any additional information for maybe someone who's not familiar with healthy soul pursuing this route?

 

Peter Kassel  13:40  

Yeah, absolutely. We started about three weeks ago, we've been seeing, you know, great response, it's, every morning, I get reports of investment, and it's really amazing to be able to see that somebody believes in our mission enough to put down $10,000 of their own money. It's just, you know, It's unfathomable to me because I've never had, you know, we've never had that kind of broad range support. So if anybody's curious, are we you can go to our website, invest.healthysole.com, you can go to healthysole.com. And there's an invest button that'll drive you there. We have information about our team, our advisors, our plans in terms of expansion, sort of, you know, you can find all kinds of great studies that we've been a part of, and also a lot of studies that actually really nail home, the reality of the issue prior to our even being on the market and, you know, all the support matters to us. We do this because we care. It's you know, medicine was not my background. I was motivated due to you know, a family member almost passing due to an infection and we had sort of been playing around with this idea to begin with. So it's, it's as much sort of a personal and passion project as it is something that we just see it as being a success as well.

 

Nick Talamantes  14:54  

If I don't have $10,000 handy right now. Can I still go on invest?

 

Peter Kassel  14:59  

Yes. Absolutely, we have a minimum investment right now of $116. So really any amount can come through and all every bit of it counts towards our mission. I mean, that's just it is used to make this better it is used to help improve the medical outcomes of folks who enter into the medical system. And, you know, the CDC suggests that 70% of these infections are preventable, if we can take down just 1% of that if enough companies and innovators can work with the public to make one to 3% gains that eventually comes to that 70%. So you know, any any bit of it helps and we just love having the support of the people that we believe will be helping.

 

Nick Talamantes  15:41  

Peter, I really appreciate you sitting down to talk with me. Is there anything else you want to share?

 

Peter Kassel  15:45  

No, no, I believe I've said enough. Okay. Well, Peter,

 

Nick Talamantes  15:47  

Okay. Well, Peter, thank you so much for stopping by

 

Peter Kassel  15:49  

Appreciate it.

 

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