It’s time for tech to move fast and fix things
OurCrowd, a crowdfunded-venture investment platform, has announced the launch of its Pandemic Innovation Fund. The Fund plans to raise $100m for investment in urgent technological solutions for the medical, business, educational and social needs triggered by global pandemics and other health emergencies.
“The rapid spread of the coronavirus has validated our vision of a connected digital world poised to solve any crisis through global communication and rapid response,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved.
“To ensure that we get the world back on track, there is now an urgent need for innovation. Technology can help us overcome many of the problems resulting from the crisis. It’s time for tech to move fast and fix things."
The pandemic has accelerated the pace of technology adoption across many domains. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella recently stated: “We saw two years of digital transformation in two months.”
The FDA has approved new digital diagnostic tools, and these will remain in use once the current pandemic has settled. Appstore downloads of remote working apps have soared. 75% of IT professionals reported changes to fintech firms’ cyber security programmes to manage the transition to working from home. Salesforce predicts the use of AI-driven customer service and chatbots will more than double.
OurCrowd’s Pandemic Innovation Fund will focus on the following investment sectors:
- Prevention & Containment - Vaccines, Testing, Personal protection, etc.
- Treatment & Healing - Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Remote monitoring, Digital health, etc.
- Continuity & Disruption Mitigation - Remote working, Distance learning, Robotic process automation, Home exercise, Cyber security, etc.
The Fund will both invest in new startups and select relevant companies already included in OurCrowd’s existing portfolio.
OurCrowd’s portfolio already has more than 20 companies actively working to mitigate the coronavirus crisis and its effects, some of which will be candidates for follow-on investment from the Pandemic Investment Fund. OurCrowd’s existing investments in technologies on the frontlines of coronavirus response include:
- MigVax - Developing the MigVax-101 COVID-19 oral subunit vaccine for humans based on a proven platform developed over four years that was shown to be a highly effective oral vaccine against IBV (Infectious Bronchitis Virus) in poultry
- Sight Diagnostics - Compact complete blood count analyser that provides lab-grade results with two drops of finger prick blood sample in under ten minutes
- SaNOtize - Approved by Health Canada for multi-centre Phase II trial of its Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution (NORSTM) for the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19
- TytoCare - Remote physical exams and monitoring for primary care, chronic care and COVID-19 patients, protecting medical staff and reducing the burden on health systems
- MeMed - Provides diagnostic insights to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections and is working on actionable solutions to help enable early intervention, before the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and the implementation of measures to identify infection severity and improve patient management
- Techsee - Remote Visual Assistance powered by Computer Vision AI and AR used by leading brands like Vodafone and Verizon to provide uninterrupted tech support while ensuring safety of employees and customers under social distancing
- Kryon - Robotic process automation used to transfer and verify millions of coronavirus test results with individual patient health records in a fraction of the normal time
- Intuition Robotics - ElliQ AI-powered intelligent digital companion for the elderly, helping them stay sharp, connected and engaged
- Zebra Medical Vision - Zebra-Med’s AI automatically detects and quantifies suspected COVID-19 findings on standard chest CTs, both contrast and non-contrast, and is already integrated in Apollo Hospitals Group in India
Advisors to the Fund, portfolio company experts, and top speakers from around the world will participate in the OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference - an online event on June 22, 2020, broadcast from Jerusalem.
The Fund’s general partners are:
- Morris Laster - Healthcare executive with over 30 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, an expert in the identification, development, management, and financing of biomedical technologies who has founded six companies that have gone public.
- Morry Blumenfeld - Venture Partner and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board at OurCrowd, with a distinguished +30 year career in medical innovation at GE Medical Systems.
- David Sokolic - OurCrowd Venture Partner, +20 year career at startups, technology leaders, and VC funds including, Microsoft, Radvision, and Battery Ventures.
“Together we must tackle the current pandemic as well as plan for future ones, because this story is just beginning. Entrepreneurs are uniquely skilled to provide fast and effective solutions to some of our greatest challenges.
"Our new fund will create the bridge between the innovations we need and the far-sighted investors able to provide the resources required to improve our world,” Dr. Morris Laster, Fund Partner said.
The fund is open to both accredited private investors (minimum $50,000) and institutional investors (minimum $1,000,000) and further information about this opportunity is available at here.