Weekly Digest

Deep Tech Startups vs Covid-19, with Khosla Ventures, Fifty Years and SOSV

Benjamin Joffe

This is a summary of a live panel ran by SOSV to introduce and discuss solutions funded by some of the most active investors in the field. Each of the three funds (Fifty Years, Khosla Ventures, SOSV) had published an impressive list of their relevant portfolio startups. IndieBio even made a call to fund Covid-fighting startups as part of its newly launched NYC program. If you’d like to know about future events, follow us on Twitter at @SOSV or sign up to our newsletter.

VCs discuss Covid-19: Jun Axup (IndieBio), Alex Morgan (Khosla Ventures), Seth Bannon (Fifty Years)

  • Verdex (a SOSV portfolio company) has developed a nanofiber material that filters out particles above 100nm — effectively blocking the virus — and is also more breathable.
  • HabitAware, a HAX portfolio company, had created a machine-learning-powered bracelet to prevent body-focused repetitive behaviors (e.g. nail biting) by recognizing and alerting of specific gestures. The pandemic provided a new direct application of their technology.
  • Avidbots) to toilet cleaning (Somatic).
  • announced its solution initially intended for business travels was now in high-demand with movie and TV studios who are resuming operations.
  • Youibot, an autonomous logistics startup, managed to repurpose their technology to provide disinfection with UV-C lights, and temperature detection.
  • WWII, with potential deaths in the tens of millions.
  • 17 of our portfolio companies did.
  • HelixNano (from the George Church lab at Harvard). Working on a vaccine to counteract SARS-Cov-2 evolutions and antigenic drift.
  • BillionToOne found a way to run a test on Sanger sequencers at low cost and high volume.
  • Opentrons (a co-investment with Khosla and SOSV) built a low-cost lab robot to automate liquid handling, already deployed in multiple labs around the world to test covid.
  • Voodoo Manufacturing directed their cloud farm of 3D printers to focus on combating Covid-19 by producing PPE and more at cost. Solugen, that makes hydrogen peroxide, realized they had the capacity to make hand sanitizer and now do so pro-bono.
  • reinvent social infrastructure with technology’, looking for investments combining financial returns with societal impact (e.g. Impossible Foods, Color, etc.). We also have a list of companies responding to Covid-19.
  • Genalyte has a FDA-approved testing solution that takes 15min. Current capacity is about~250k patients / month.
  • Luminostics designed an optical test that cane be run with a small device attached to a phone.
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