HabitAware grew out of founder Aneela Idnani Kumar’s two-decade struggle with trichotillomania, a disorder where sufferers distractedly pull out their own eyebrows and lashes. She devised a motion-sensing wristband that vibrates every time users make the gesture related to their habit—it’s recommended to help with nail-biting and skin-picking, too.
Arlan Hamilton is founder and managing partner of Los Angeles-based Backstage Capital, which has invested more than $5 million in 100 startups whose high-potential founders are people of color, women or LGBTQ. Two of those startups are in Minnesota, including Minneapolis-based HabitAware, the winner of the $50,000 grand prize in the 2018 MN Cup entrepreneurial competition, and the developer of a smart bracelet to make users aware of hair-pulling and other unwanted repetitive behavior.
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