Startups made in Austria XIV: kiweno wants to change our health awareness

Vienna on Dec 9, 2015
Co-founder Bianca Gfrei and Roland Fuschelberger are presenting their self-test (c) Andreas Kowacsik

Just a quick prick in the forefinger and you receive a detailed diagnosis concerning your health and all that without seeing a doctor? Sounds awesome and thanks to kiweno it is possible. In the long term this self-test for food intolerance should lead to better health awareness.

Our December startup: kiweno

What does kiweno do? 

The startup from Vienna provides a test which you safely can do at home. The tolerance of 70 food products is examined. From kiweno you receive a little package including a tester which allows you to take a little sample of your blood which you send back to kiweno. In a standardized laboratory test your blood will be analyzed. The results will not overwhelm you with an incomprehensible stack of paper. On the contrary, kiweno edits the data and feeds you with understandable information. Bianca (CEO) says: “We think that people only can change their behavior and health if they really understand what happens with their body and what the food intolerance actually means for them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when you receive laboratory results from a doctor.” Kiweno translates the test results in such a way that everyone from a teenager to a pensioner can understand the information and the related consequences. Your own data should always be easy to access. Therefore it is presented online on the kiweno platform. You no longer have to stand in front of the supermarket shelf trying to figure out what you can eat or not. The answer you can find on your smartphone. The platform does not only inform you about your food intolerances, it also provides you with dietary advice and a nutritional adviser replies to all your questions.

The kiweno platform (c) kiweno

The kiweno self-test (c) kiweno

The kiweno self-test (c) kiweno

How emerges such an idea?

The reason is very pragmatic: through personal experience. Bianca had the suspicion of food intolerance. She went to see many different doctors but was still not knowing what she suffered of.  Finally, a doctor diagnosed food intolerances. Shortly after the dietary change her health problems were blown away. Together with the doctor who found out the intolerance and her best friend she started thinking about the simplification of such tests. They came up with the first idea in 2013 during their studies. It all started as a small project. In the beginning, it was about finding the best solution for a specific problem and not about a business model. However, one thing led to the other. In 2014 the kiweno team for the first time attended an exhibition. The young team was hoping to sell at least 5 of the 15 self-testers which they brought along. After only two hours they were sold out. The response rate was huge and the feedback positive. That was the moment when the co-founders decided to quit their current jobs and to invest all their energy in kiweno. Today they can finance their company with the sale of their self-test packages.

Co-founder Bianca Gfrei & Robert Fuschelberger (c) Blitzkneisser

Co-founder Bianca Gfrei & Robert Fuschelberger (c) Blitzkneisser

Who are the people behind kiweno?

The company was founded by Bianca Gfrei, Robert Fuschelberger and Roland Fuschelberger. These three people ran the business for the first two years. This year their company took off. During the summer the founders had the chance to triple their team thanks to the positive feedback and success. Today 15 employees are working for the company, some of them located in Innsbruck. Bianca says it is the “kiwi power spirit” that unites the team. A glance into the office fridge illustrates that most of them have the personal experience of food intolerance in common. You can find ten milk substitutes but no normal milk in there. The internal team slogan is “healthy, but not without fun”. They manage their daily business always with a wink.

The kiweno team (c) kiweno

The kiweno team (c) kiweno

What is next? 

Until now there was only a food intolerance test. In these days the company launches a histamine-test. The results of the two tests will be connected in one profile on the online platform. In a long term kiweno wants to change the people’s health consciousness. Talking about her vision Bianca says: “We want that people start to feel responsible for their own health. They have to be in control of their health and should not just take the pills which the doctor prescribes.” For realizing that vision, kiweno wants to provide the corresponding tools and services to its customers. In the future they want to offer all kinds of diagnoses which can be tested by blood or saliva and maybe extend their portfolio. Furthermore, the platform will be enhanced and a app will be launched in 2016.

By Mariana Wirz