Business Name: KNOWHEN®, a natural family planning service
Type of Business: Fertility
Business Location: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Reason for starting
At age forty, KNOWHEN® founder and owner, Helen Denise, nearly died due to an ectopic pregnancy and post-operational complications. She was determined to develop a product for women to accurately, easily and cost-effectively monitor and understand their reproductive cycles. Helen recognized that this personal awareness was crucial for women’s health at every stage of life, from puberty, through menstruation and pregnancy to menopause. KNOWHEN® is a lipstick-sized, highly accurate medical marvel for home use that allows women to take an active role in their fertility/birth control choices. For example, every year there are 7 million women in the United States with conception problems and 5 million of them are fertile. KNOWHEN® gives them a holistic, natural approach to understanding if they are ovulating, when they are most fertile, the exact time of month to have sex and/or seek professional help.
How do you define success?
Throughout her career, Helen has had great financial success and recognition in multiple professions, both in her native Russia, and in the United States. Yet, her personal perspective defies these conventional measures. Helen defines success by the freedom to choose want she wants to do, to dedicate her time and talents to achieving her personal and professional goals despite significant odds. For example, Helen is responsible for the capital raising, product development, intellectual property rights, worldwide patent rights and manufacture of the family of KNOWHEN® Fertility products. In 2000, her company sponsored the first-ever U.S. clinical study in compliance with FDA requirements to test the effectiveness of its saliva ovulation microscope versus urine-based testers. After achieving a 98% accuracy rate and submitting her clinical results, the FDA granted Helen approval to market in 2003.
When Helen launched Zepter International in the United States in 1995, she managed the marketing for this $20 million sales organization and was responsible for recruiting and training of the 500 sales representatives that covered the US market. During her tenure, she hosted over 100 cooking shows on Channel WMNB and garnered considerable press. Helen won both the Women’s Choice Award and was the Sharkette Tank Winner at the 2013 Own It Ventures Conference. The award determinations were made by judges from companies such as FORBES and USA Today. KNOWHEN® was awarded First Prize and Best in Class for the Health Care Category at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s “Startupalooza” event in May, 2012 and the iParenting Media Award.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Establishing and running her own company has at times, presented a challenge to Helen’s financial independence and to finding personal time. Helen stay keenly aware of striking a daily balance between her professional objectives and enjoying her personal life.
Who is your most important role model?
Helen admires those in the public eye who have experienced setbacks and tolerated criticism, but held fast to their dreams and persevered.