OurCrowd launches $100m pandemic innovation fund

Crowdfunded venture investment platform OurCrowd has launched a Pandemic Innovation Fund with plans to raise $100 million 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 chief executive 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 fund will focus on the following investment sectors:

• Prevention and containment – vaccines, testing, personal protection, etc.
• Treatment and healing – therapeutics, diagnostics, remote monitoring, digital health, etc.
• Continuity and disruption mitigation – Distance learning, robotic process automation, home exercise, cyber security, etc.
• It will both invest in new startups and select relevant companies already included in OurCrowd’s existing portfolio.

The 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 new 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 an effective oral vaccine against 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 10 minutes.
• SaNOtize – Approved by Health Canada for trial of its Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution 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 and augmented reality, used by 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 – Artificial intelligence-powered intelligent digital companion for the elderly, helping them stay connected and engaged.
• Zebra Medical Vision – AI that automatically detects and quantifies suspected COVID-19 findings on standard chest scans, both contrast and non-contrast, and is already integrated in Apollo Hospitals Group in India.

The fund’s general partners are: Morris Laster, a healthcare executive with over 30 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry who has founded six companies that have gone public; Morry Blumenfeld, a venture partner and chairman of the medical advisory board at OurCrowd with a 30 year career in medical innovation at GE Medical Systems; and David Sokolic, an OurCrowd venture partner with a 20 year career at startups, technology leaders, and venture funds including Microsoft, Radvision and Battery Ventures.

“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,” commented Laster.

The fund is open to both accredited private investors (minimum $50,000) and institutional investors (minimum $1 million).

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