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Shot Caller: A Podcast by Shannon Sagawe

Mar 13, 2020

“HeiQ Fresh, In one day of 6 hours of daylight in a normal standardized room, destroy up to 98% of the formaldehydes, thereby cleaning the air of toxic components, making them into fresh air components.”

Your next Shot Caller story, told by Carlo Centonze, CEO HeiQ Group in Switzerland (, will enlighten you on their truly cutting edge, innovative and AFFORDABLE textiles that fight air pollution and fight viruses like the CoronaVirus, but also partnering with companies like Speedo to create elite swimwear; all the while, reducing waste and pollution in the apparel production supply chain!  

Carlo and his Co-founder Dr. Murray Height, created HeiQ in 2005 after a HIKE in the Swiss Alps where after a few days of intensive hike’s were told by their partners to keep a BIG distance due to the smell that wafted their way.  Both Carlo and Dr. Height were graduates of ETH, one of the most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math schools in the world.

With a very strong ethos around sustainability, HeiQ, under the leadership of Carlo and Dr. Height, has become a global leader in textile innovation creating some of the most effective, durable and high-performance textile technologies in the market today.

In 2019, HeiQ was awarded the 2019 Swiss Environmental Award for HeiQ Clean Tech because of their solution to reduce environmental footprint of polyester dyeing by 30-40% in terms of saving 30-50% water, energy and CO2 emissions. But most importantly, reducing the cost to the manufacturers, creating an AFFORDABLE GREEN TECHNOLOGY! 

In a world of fast fashion, rising global temperatures, strained clean water resources and seriously unhealthy pollution levels, the fashion industry is ripe for this type of innovative solution.  The clothing and textile industry has an ecological footprint which is far from sustainable. In 2017, the industry emits 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 annually, is responsible for extensive water use and pollution, and produces 2.1 billion tonnes of waste annually. (source: WWF, Changing Fashion, The clothing and textile industry at the brink of radical transformation, 2017)

Carlo and I also discuss the gender balance or lack-there-of in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)  as well as how the numbers currently break down at ETH. The last 12 hires at HeiQ have been women, but he makes it clear that their mission is to hire the best.  But, he says, “That means we hire the best!” (gender not a factor)

We talk about the many “near deaths” disruptive, new technologies go through, including HeiQ.  Carlo also emphasizes how important it is to have good timing in addition to a cutting edge product or solution.

Lastly and with unbelievable great timing, he announces their newest innovation, Viroblock NPJ03 antiviral textile technology which was tested effectively against the Coronavirus! 

“HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is a unique combination of vesicle and silver technologies designed to inhibit the growth and persistence of bacteria and viruses. The HeiQ vesicle technology targets lipid-enveloped viruses (such as coronavirus) providing rapid virus deactivation, while the HeiQ silver technology inhibits the replication of both bacteria and viruses. HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 can be applied to a wide spectrum of textile surfaces including face masks, air filters, medical gowns, curtains, drapes, and more. 

Besides testing on human coronavirus (229E), HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 also demonstrated dramatically improved reduction of virus infectivity against Influenza types H1N1, H5N1, H7N9, and also Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). For more information about Coronavirus, visit the CDC website. To learn more about HeiQ Viroblock, email us at”

I am truly thrilled to be able to highlight stories like Carlos and Heiq’s, both from an innovation as well as a potential future investment perspective.  While they are not currently a publicly traded company, we hope to see them in the not-so-distant future enter the public markets.

Please share far and wide as the world needs to hear this story as well as be inspired to continue to carry the torch of innovators developing both profitable and purposeful companies!