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Resilient Teams: How Harvard Innovation Labs Ventures Are Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Staff
3/31/2020

During a time when the world faces unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to share the stories of the innovators and entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to keep people healthy and connected to each other 

Many startups in the Harvard Innovation Labs Spring Venture Program are creating products and services that have the potential to reduce the spread of the virusimprove patient care, and create community when in person gatherings are not possibleWe’ve also recently seen numerous examples of former ventures re-focusing their efforts on inspiring initiatives related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Herewe’ve highlighted a few of the products and services that current and former Harvard Innovation Labs ventures are working on. In the coming weeks, we will update this post regularly as our ventures continue to respond and adapt to this global challenge 

Accure Health develops a digital diagnostic platform to enable fast, affordable and highly accurate diagnostic solutions at the point of care. Upon identifying that one of the biggest risks to addressing this pandemic is lack of adequate testing, the venture began devoting significant efforts to create a COVID-19 blood test that will provide rapid and automated diagnosis as well as real-time monitoring of vaccination effectiveness.

Aldatu Biosciences developed test kits for COVID-19 detection, and provided these kits to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Learn more. 

Buoy Health launched a free symptom checker for COVID-19, which is designed to help people understand whether they should seek care for the virus. The company has also begun socializing its epidemiological data around coronavirus symptom trends, including those that appeared prior to public COVID-19 case confirmation by state authorities. Learn more. 

ConductScience Founder and ED Physician at Mass General Dr. Shuhan has built GetUsPPE, a platform to connect people looking to donate PPE and to enable distribution of PPE to healthcare workers in need. The platform also connects those looking to volunteer and help in other ways with sourcing, creating, and distributing PPE both in the US and internationally. Learn more. 

Forgeant has launched Remote Workforce Sentiment Pulse, a tool for helping organizations understand the experience of their remote workforce. Learn more 

Hikma Health is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization building a mobile-first digital health platform to stop the spread of COVID-19 in underserved populations. The organization’s software is now being used to screen for COVID-19, including for Syrian refugee patients in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Learn more. 

Human Agency has launched Community V COVID-19, an initiative empowering everyone in need or looking to give with the ability to get help, give help, and donate money. Learn more. 

JustFix, a 2019 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge grand prize winner, has adapted the company’s technology for housing justice to help tenants create court filings online for emergency repairs and lockout disputes. Learn more 

Kinnos is creating a new standard of infection prevention to improve patient and health worker safety. More than 50% of healthcare surfaces are improperly cleaned due to human error, leading to over 99,000 patient deaths and $45B lost every single year. Kinnos’ solution is Highlight, a patented additive for existing disinfectants that colorizes them to ensure complete coverage on surfaces and which then fades to colorless to indicate in real-time when decontamination is done. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kinnos has closed its $6M Series A and provided several Chinese hospitals with Highlight to help them protect their staff. Learn more.    

LaPrincess Entertainment Group (L.E.G.) is a media corporation that produces, distributes and publishes original work that caters to black audiences. At a time when the organization’s performing arts cannot take place, L.E.G. decided to publish a coloring and self-affirmation book to give people a little hope and inspiration during this time. Learn more. 

LivelyHood is a platform that connects volunteers with elderly and immunocompromised individuals who need help running errands. Learn more 

Lovepop is using the company’s design and manufacturing expertise to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). As of April 13, the company is manufacturing 10,000 face shields in its first production run, and plans to ramp up to over 40,000 per day. Learn more 

June Motherhood recently held its first online childbirth education class, giving expecting mothers whose in-person classes have been cancelled a free session on the stages of labor and the essentials of preparing for delivery. June Motherhood plans on continuing to support this community with free childbirth education classes as well as well as other resources such as live Q&As with their providers around how to manage stress and prepare for delivery during this stressful time. Visit junemotherhood.com/classes to sign up. 

MDaaS Global, an organization that is building diagnostic and primary care facilities in Africa, has been working on COVID-19 response in Nigeria that’s focused on increasing testing capacity, supporting hospitals with supplies, and ensuring safety of staff and patients. The organization was a runner-up in the 2019 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge. Learn more 

Molecular Loop makes targeted DNA sequencing easier, faster, and less expensive for genetic testing labs. The company is currently exploring how its technology can help labs test many more people for COVID-19 per day. 

Nilus is using the company’s technology for food rescue to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Puerto Rico. Learn more 

Nurse-1-1 launched a service that lets anyone in the US text with a nurse for free. Learn more. 

SupportYourSpot was recently launched by founders of two Harvard Innovation Labs venture teams to help people support Boston area restaurants that have lost income from COVID-19. Learn more. 

Umbulizer is commencing manufacturing of their low-cost portable ventilator, helping to address ventilator shortages as well as the high cost associated with typical ventilators. They have recently raised funding from the Allston Venture Fund, and are currently looking to close additional funding to expand manufacturing, distribution, and service capabilities. Learn more about the company’s clinical trial here. If you’d like to learn how you can support the Umbulizer, contact co-founder Sanchay Gupta at Sanchay_Gupta@hms.harvard.edu. 

WHOOP was just named Fast Company’s Most Innovative Wellness Company of 2020 for “letting the masses monitor their well-being like elite athletes. WHOOP recently announced a series of steps it’s taking to help WHOOP customers track COVID-19 symptoms. Learn more.  

Last updated 5/7/2020

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