Cool Company Spotlight: Cooler Heads

Jun 14, 2022

Welcome To The Cool Companies Spotlight

Featuring Cooler Heads

We’re excited to be kicking-off our annual The Class of 2022 Cool Companies is absolutely stellar and we are excited to share them with you. This spotlight series provides the opportunity to learn more about each company from their founders, CEO’s, or Presidents. We will provide you a glimpse into the incredible innovation and talent being cultivated in San Diego.

The first 2022 Cool Company Spotlight is dedicated to Cooler Heads.

Cooler Heads

Cooler Heads empowers people to manage the side effects of cancer treatment on their own terms. Our debut product, Amma™, is a patented scalp cooling system that’s been cleared by the FDA. Affordable and transportable, Amma’s self-administered solution is the first scalable solution for scalp cooling. People now have a choice in whether they lose their hair during chemotherapy. By democratizing scalp cooling, we do more than reduce hair loss for people diagnosed with cancer; we improve their sense of self, their mental health, and their recovery.

The recognition of being a 2022 Cool Company is a tremendous boost to us and increases our credibility. Thanks to the program, we have gotten invaluable press and introductions. I am very grateful for the exceptionally hard work the entire Connect/SDVG puts into the program. It is truly paying dividends for us.
Kate Dilligan

Founder & CEO, Cooler Heads


What inspired you (CEO/Founder) to start/run this company?

Like so many founders that have gone before me, Cooler Heads was born from my own experience as a cancer patient. I underwent 8 cycles of chemotherapy between 2016 and 2017 and spent over $8,000 to keep my hair with a high friction, hard to use product. When my friends would drive me to chemo I would marvel to them how sad it was that there is a solution that works but that was simply out of reach for most patients. I am proud we are changing that.


What's the best entrepreneurial advice you've received?

Each funding round is to prove key facts about the business, reduce risk, and crystallize the next milestones.


What's your favorite local coffee shop, restaurant, small business, etc?

I have two favorites that deserve a shout out. The first is South Bark Dog Wash which is owned by two San Diego women, one of whom is a veteran, and has everything you need for your cat or dog. The other is Tribute Pizza whose biancoverde pizza is a work of art – I recommend getting it with the jalapeno sea salt crust.

What do you want San Diego to know?

I want San Diego to know that Amma is available locally by the end of May, though our inventory is limited. We are excited to start providing chemotherapy patients with an easy to use and affordable option to keep their hair.


What’s your most satisfying entrepreneur moment so far?

This is an easy one for me – the day we received clearance from the FDA. That was the day my idea became a reality and a lot of people who had been skeptical got on board.


Why is your company the best solution to the problem you're solving?

Everyone has watched someone they care about face the ravages of cancer treatment. Cooler Heads is making it possible for cancer patients to live full lives during and after treatment by providing them with the evidence based products, content and services they need to manage the side effects of treatment. We are starting by making hair loss from chemotherapy the exception rather than the rule. Hair loss from chemo is a public signal that someone is sick and the pity or discomfort that follows from family, friends and strangers is one of the hardest parts of being sick for patients. Chemo patients want to maintain their identity, and with it their privacy, so they can be seen as a whole person instead of someone who is coping with a devastating illness.


Who was your role model growing up?

My role model remains my big sister. I am the youngest by over 7 years and I idolized her as a kid, trailing behind her and asking her to play with my plastic horses and me. As an adult, I continue to look to her as a touchstone for how to handle life with empathy and humor.

Cooler Heads

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Here at Connect our mission is to help San Diego’s incredible startup companies grow and succeed. We hope you enjoyed reading The Cool Company Spotlight. Stay tuned for more upcoming spotlights!