We can’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. However, there are so many things often getting in the way of it—from external disturbances like a snoring partner to our own restless mind or discomfort from the conditions not being right. Our bodies can get too warm, too cold…or too sweaty! And finding the best solution for that is key to getting our much-needed rest.
Having one too many sweaty nights sparked an idea for the Keyhorse-backed founder Alli Truttmann to make better sheets, her company, Wicked Sheets, has become much more—orienting towards smart solutions for home and healthcare settings.
We asked Alli a few questions about her journey, inspirations, and predictions for the future of sleep solutions.
How did you become interested in sleep solutions and sheets in particular?
AT: In 2008 I tore my ACL which led me down an interesting path of unrest and sleepless nights. It turns out that I was suffering from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweat for no medical reason—sexy, I know!). But knowing that this wasn't something that was going away any time soon, I knew that I had to find a solution. Growing up playing soccer, I was very familiar with wicking activewear, like that of Nike DryFit or UnderArmor, so I just applied that to the bed and innovated my own bedroom! I started Wicked Sheets shortly thereafter and have been living out my entrepreneurial dream ever since.
What inspired you to co-found a company?
AT: My inspiration comes from the experience I explained above, however, I think this would be a great time to speak about our recent pivot from moisture-wicking and cooling bed sheets to a highly absorbent, sensorized bed pad that detects and mitigates issues surrounding excess moisture in the bed. I originally came up with the idea in 2017 when my grandmother was suffering from these same issues before she passed away. She and my grandfather always slept on Wicked Sheets, but as her health declined, she needed more wicking, more absorbency, and something reusable since they were very environmentally conscious. Insert: the Wicked Smart Pad! I started development on the pad alone that year, and then in early 2021 teamed up with two engineering researchers at the University of Louisville in order to add our detection technology. The Wicked Smart Pad is the first of its kind to be washable and reusable and detect moisture through our multi-layer Wicked Sheet design in less than five minutes.
Smart bedding solutions have already arrived, just like the rest of the smart home, but smart bedding in healthcare settings and data management of these new data sets is on the horizon.
Tell us about your support system.
AT: I am a solo-preneur! Some days I regret that I have been "going it alone" for 14 years; weathering every storm in my brain and my brain alone. However, it has been the joy of my life to learn along the way, make mistakes, and learn to lean on my team, my investors, and my Board members. The best "team advice" I ever received was to "staff your weaknesses" and that's exactly what we're doing with the Wicked Smart Pad.
Where do you see sleep solutions headed in the future?
AT: Smart bedding solutions have already arrived, just like the rest of the smart home, but smart bedding in healthcare settings and data management of these new data sets is on the horizon. Our population is getting older, and eldercare is getting harder to manage. This is exactly the place for technology to step in.
What does success look like to Wicked Sheets in the short term and long term?
AT: Every entrepreneur would probably say "an exit", but I'm cautious to make any long term goals as this market is just evolving. I would say that continuing to wake up and do what I love (solving problems for others) is "success" to me.
Find out more about Wicked Sheets at wickedsheets.com. Are you a startup based in or looking to relocate to Kentucky? Keyhorse’s current quarterly investment cycle is open! Apply now.