OurCrowd, a global venture investing platform, reports that thousands of investors from 80 different countries will participate in a virtual event the OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference. OurCrowd states that investors, VCs, corporate executives, government officials as well as the press are participating in the online event.
The news included an announcement from SaNOtize CEO Dr. Gilly Regev that the company’s coronavirus therapy is pursuing clinical trials in the UK.
Currently undergoing clinical trials in Canada, Regev said that, if approved by regulators, SaNOtize’s technology, based on nitric oxide and supported by Nobel Prize-winning research, will be the only recognized therapy on the market proved to prevent COVID-19 from infecting the upper respiratory system.
Head of the MIT Molecular Machines Research Group Joseph Jacobson, asked if a vaccine could be developed as quickly as people hoped, had this to say:
“I think we’ve come a tremendous distance from our early vaccine technologies. We’ve got a tremendous number of tools in the tool chest. I think we will be able to be successful both on the vaccine front and on the therapeutic front for COVID.”
The OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference, streamed on June 22 to participants around the world, also discussed priorities for the new $100 million OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Fund.
“We think this crisis is going to have an impact on many different aspects of society as well as the economy. The overall strategy for the fund is to put together a portfolio that includes medical as well as non-medical opportunities,” said David Sokolic, one of the Fund’s principals. “One of the areas where we expect an acceleration is in education. The world has been through a massive experiment in distance learning in the last few weeks. We think this crisis is going to open an opportunity to experiment with new forms of education.”
Attendees heard key insights from Scott Bessent, CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Key Square Group, Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners and Deven Parekh, Managing Director, Insight Partners.
The virtual Conference also featured Ruth Atherton, Deputy General Counsel and Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Paul Rothman, Dean of the Medical Faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, and Neil Ackerman, Head of Advanced Technologies, Global Supply Chain, Johnson & Johnson.
Also speaking was Eli Beer, founder and president of United Hatzalah, who recovered from COVID-19 after 30 days of intubation and coma.
Beer shared his experience with COVID:
“The second time they came to me and said sorry we have to put you again into a coma, and I was crying, and I actually thought I’m never going to come back and I had to say goodbye to my family and I had to say again goodbye to all the volunteers and supporters of United Hatzalah and I thought this is it – and a few days later, luckily, miraculously, thanks to prayers from all around the world, I was able to wake up.”
The conference heard from investors and CEOs whose companies were thriving during the global economic crisis as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain technologies in new areas including working, studying and exercising from home, alternative food offerings, remote technical assistance and cybersecurity.
OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved said they believe that now is a very effective time to invest as not only are we in a financial crisis – a good entry point for the market – but in this case the private market is at a social inflection point:
“These changes in society, whether it is socially distanced work or learning, or new needs to protect ourselves from cyber hacking, these are the ‘new normal,’ which absolutely indicate a new opportunity to take advantage of big trends. Today we see several companies who are growing in the pandemic, whose revenues are going up, who are acquiring new customers and who are both doing well and doing good.”
OurCrowd says that a major feature of the Conference was access for attendees directly to startup CEOs and topic experts in over a dozen live meetings. More than 180 one-on-one investor meetings with startup CEOs were scheduled.