Earlier this year, Ann Arbor company Warmilu's infant warming blankets had been placed in two hospitals in two companies. But thanks partly to a partnership in Kenya, the company's products can now be found in 28 hospitals across eight countries.
Grace Hsia has focused on warmth as a vital human need, like food or water, since she founded Warmilu as a University of Michigan class project in 2011. Seven years later, her message hasn’t changed and neither has her vision for the non-electric warming technology company. Hsia wants her products to save lives by preventing hypothermia-related deaths.
While Warmilu’s product line includes warming packs for general pain and stadium seat cushions, the company's IncuBlankets are getting a lot of attention these days. Containing a patented rechargeable warming pack, the warming blankets are designed to help premature infants maintain healthy body temperatures, thereby increasing their chances of survival. Every purchase of a Warmilu product helps send more warming blankets to resource-scarce areas globally.
Hsia says this unfolded partly as a result of strategic partnership building and the relationships that she and her team have been nurturing since 2013.
"Amazingly, a researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), who we were in touch with years earlier, was still closely following our progress," Hsia says.
Earlier this year, an update that Hsia sent regarding Warmilu’s warming efforts in KEMRI's region caught the interest of that researcher and others at KEMRI. After several months of collaboration, KEMRI single-handedly helped Warmilu expand into 17 hospitals within its network.
Moving forward, Hsia says she'd like to expand into more American hospital and prehospital operations. The company just started its first U.S. prehospital adult homeless warming project with Detroit-based Covenant Community Care.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Warmilu.