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Startup Stories: Thermaband Offers a Smart Personal Thermometer for Women in Menopause

Markea and Debbie Dickinson

In this series, we talk to student and alumni entrepreneurs about how they are making an impact with their startups.

Venture: Thermaband is the maker of the Thermaband Zone, a smart personal thermometer that uses temperature-regulating technology to make women experiencing menopause more comfortable. The device provides cooling or heating sensations on the user’s wrist, along with personalized health insights. The company was founded by Markea Dickinson ’20 and her mother, Debbie Dickinson.

Thermaband was recently selected as a recipient of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund. The company will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive capital and technical support from Google.

Founder: Markea Dickinson ’20

What was the moment when you had the idea for this startup?

The idea of Thermaband was borne from my mom’s lived experience as a menopausal woman. She’s a benefits attorney, wife, mother of four, and entrepreneur, yet felt completely unprepared for menopause. She shared openly with me about this season of life, and how frustrated she was with the lack of cooling relief for hot flashes. 

I’ve always been passionate about women’s empowerment and equity, so seeing her (and other women) suffer in silence during this natural season of life catapulted me into action.  

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the gap that you’re trying to fill?

The current solutions for people who are frequently cooler or warmer than others are either impractical, invasive, or ineffective. We’re focusing on the menopausal market, given our founder’s story and the fact that 93% of these women seek a noninvasive tech solution to manage thermal discomfort. Studies show that it’s not just about comfort. These symptoms negatively impact productivity, quality of life, and economic outcomes.  

What was the most important resource Yale SOM contributed to your startup?

Yale in general was an incubator for us during the early stages of launching Thermaband. Building a tech product without a tech background is challenging, to say the least. 

So, I’d say the most important resource Yale SOM contributed was a belief in our potential and a consistent push to step outside our comfort zone. One of my most vulnerable points was, within the first few months, deciding whether to commit full-time after graduation to launching this business or to take the consulting offer I had.

Yale SOM professors and students also helped connect us with the broader Yale ecosystem, from the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) to get access to undergrad engineers to the Yale Club of New Haven, where we pitched our business to alumni.

What’s the biggest milestone your startup has hit since graduation?

Here are three!

  • We’ve raised more than half a million dollars in venture funding and F&F for our pre-seed round
  • We’ve beta tested our unit with over 50 women, and our product is now in production!
  • We were featured in Cosmopolitan magazine and are now funded by Google!