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Clean Crip - For a cleaner population

Five high school students reinvented the door handle. Now it is bacteria-repellent.

Five students from Aarhus Business College are behind the newly started company, Clean Crip. Their product consists of a bacteria-resistant door-handle with the purpose of improving the national health level.

According to the latest statement from the National Research Center for Occupational Health and Safety regarding labor market absence, no less than 3,7% of the full labor force is absent from work on a daily basis. This means that each full-time employee is absent, equivalent to 8.6 days a year. From a financial point of view, this means a public expense of approximately DKK 40 million per year.

One for the environment

This expense, in particular, is being targeted for reduction by Clean Crip. With its bacterial repellent grip, Clean Crip is a good example of an innovative product created with an eye for the environment, the health of the population and improved quality of life.

The team behind the idea requires a bit of an introduction as it consists of no less than five young entrepreneurs. Oliver, Emil, Mikkel, Christoffer, and Christopher met at Aarhus Business College in Viby, where they through an elective course in innovation, were given the opportunity to start their own business. The idea of a cleaner environment in the public institutions originated from a vision of doing something good for others because according to the boys themselves, "that is where focus resides nowadays".

Unsmart bacteria and a silver door handle  

What makes Clean Crip's door handles differentiated from the regular is its surface treatment in silver salts. Its effect has a technical description which can be summarized as follows. When a hand touches the door handle, bacteria are released. After contact with the silver salts, the bacterium occupies a higher salt level than its core which due to an osmotic pressure causes water to be transported from the center of the cell to the cellwall as an attempt to compensate for the unbalanced salt level. Christoffer Møberg from Clean Crip interrupts the chemical description by explaining; "Bacteria is actually not very clever". They deliver access water from the core to the cell wall however, when water is added to the bacteria, it collapses and thereby loses its power to reproduce and infect.

Business students on hostile territory  

If you think the description sounds advanced – fear not, you are not alone. The five business students were just as insecure about the periodic system and chemical reactions when they initiated the product development. Luckily, the boys could learn from a peer student from the general high school (STX) who, with his scientific approach, could explain to the boys why their product can solve the spread of bacteria and thus prevent diseases.

More than just a door handle

But that is not the only challenge the five entrepreneurs have encountered on their way. Already when closing off their first sale, the boys realized that things don’t always go as planned and that books don’t always do justice in real life situations. Where the boys initially considered door handles as "just a door handle", they were quickly faced with a number of requirements as well as specifications that required the company's full attention. Having overcome that challenge, Clean Crip invited Jacob and Nikolaj from Metalwo on board as consultants whom they could ask for business advice, support or guidance when needed. Because even though the five young entrepreneurs attended several innovation fairs from which they received great inputs to their products, they still sought strategic partners who can navigate in a business environment.

An environment open for newcomers 

In starting their own business, Clean Crip explains that the legal and accounting aspects of the company's establishment have been particularly challenging. They do however emphasize that they have experienced great openness and helpfulness in these areas and that many of the services have been favors rather than expenses received by Clean Crip in recognition of their idea and business plan. Generally speaking, Clean Crip have experienced an overwhelming enthusiasm from their stakeholders, they say. "We are Denmark's future" Christopher says, and continuous to explains how Clean Crip has always been met with optimism and seriousness despite their young age and subtle time on the market.

And the interest in the company is not to be mistaken either. Already 20% of the company has been sold to four different investors, each focusing on different segments. For example, investor Martin Faurholt, Arp-Hansen Hotel Group who is certain that the bacteria-repellent door handles have great potential in the hotel industry where visitors come from different parts of the world and where the bacterial burden is an essential problem. However, despite its obvious potential, the hotel industry is not the primary target for Clean Crip as it is right now.

Focus on the youngest part of the society 

Clean Crip’s current focus is getting the door handles installed at the primary schools in Denmark. Because according to Clean Crip the key to fewer sick days can be found in the youngest part of society. Children are often the most vulnerable ones when it comes to infection as they not only lack skills in personal hygiene but they also tend to infect their parents which then becomes sick, Christoffer explains. By implementing the door handles at the schools and daycares, Clean Crip thus manages to bring the bacteria burden to life through a passive solution.

The ambitions from the five Aarhus-based teenagers are not to be mistaken. Rethinking public health into the building standard is, therefore, a development that Clean Crip monitors closely. Because if door grips can be made bacteria-repellent, well-being and health among the general population can be increased and Clean Crip proves its relevance on the market. Already now you can find the significant silver-grey door handles at Skovvangsskolen in Aarhus.

In the long term, Clean Crip will target the hotel industry and later companies as well as private homes. The five entrepreneur’s points to companies as a remarkable segment as there in a similar manner as seen in the public sector, is cost-intensive hours involved due to sick employees.

We at Metalwo look very much forward to follow Clean Crip in the future.