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  • Writer's pictureMichael Nelson

City Health Tech

The Future of Handwashing

One of the countless societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the realization of just how strained our healthcare system can get. This inspired the team at City Health Tech to test how technology can be enabled to prevent disease spread in urban areas and thus help build healthier cities. In order to jumpstart progress towards this ambitious goal, they produced the Opal, which sits next to a sink faucet and promises to be the future of handwashing.


The path to a tomorrow of better personal health starts when the Opal automatically detects a user as they approach and puts their hands into the sink bowl. The device will play an animation to encourage better and longer handwashing habits and notify the user when they have reached a full 20 seconds. It’s worth noting how revolutionary better handwashing habits can be – 80% of infectious diseases are spread through touch, which means that the healthcare gains for cities worldwide stemming from more thorough rinsing are profound.

The process does not end when the user is finished scrubbing, however. Once handwashing is completed, the Opal will collect and transmit data to a server that aggregates handwashing data into an application that enables major urban or community stakeholders to glean insights on location-specific issues such as handwashing times and foot traffic. One of the aims of City Health Tech is to create the largest data set on handwashing in the world – they hope that medical leaders everywhere can utilize this to enable better outcomes for people across the globe.

Co-Founding Team

Ibraheem Alinur and Irewole Akande share a passion for discovering how technology can be utilized to solve some of the most vexing problems facing modern societies. Ibraheem (the CEO) is a Gates Millennium scholar who recently graduated from Northwestern University in Industrial Engineering and Management. He is an experienced advisor to angel investors and to venture investors such as DeepWork Capital and WeFunder. In his limited free time, he serves as a member of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corp. The inspiration for founding City Health Tech is Ibraheem’s mother, who has spent her career on the healthcare front lines as a nurse.

Irewole (the CTO), graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a background in Engineering Management and Electrical Engineering. He spent three years as an IoT Electronics Engineer at WPG Holdings – one of the largest semiconductor distribution companies in the world. He is currently an MBA candidate at SMU’s Cox School of Business and has been recognized as a Lewis Latimer Honeree by the Edison Awards. More recently, he was bestowed with a Future Legend award by the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Along with their team, Ibraheem and Irewole aim to change the health habits of the world for the better.

Go-to Market

The team has successfully completed their product development and recently piloted the Opal at elementary schools on Chicago’s south side which is a good representation of the initial client base that is being targeted. Ibraheem envisions three types of clients from which the Opal can eventually scale: (i) K-8 and charter schools, (ii) food & event centers, and (iii) life sciences centers. Each of these consumer bases gather large amounts of people and have a particularly vested interest in maintaining a clean environment with healthy stakeholders. From there, they see the next steps as a roll-up strategy to scale their consumer base to new markets. They currently target to place 50 devices over the next 4 months.

Heretofore, the team has received capital backing from Northwestern University’s Accelerator program, Chicago Booth’s NSF I program, Jumpstart, and Astralab’s NewChip Accelerator, and they will soon be announcing a new investing partnership in Chicago. Going forward, they are prepared to bootstrap future financing needs but remain open to partnering with the right investor who is appropriately focused on establishing a relationship with the team and their global healthcare goals.

Find out more about City Health Tech at Ibraheem can be reached at

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