We launched our Fight The Virus challenge in March. Our deadline was tight — we had three weeks to review 2,500 applications, interview 200 of the best ones, and finally choose 17 of those for our program, where we invested $50,000 into each of them to build products fighting COVID. Today, 13 of those 17 are ready in time for this Demo Day, and for the first time ever, anyone can invest as little as $100 into these startups, on Tuesday 28th.
I want to try and change your perspective on the future of startup funding and accelerators. We started XX because we believe raw talent exists everywhere, not just in coffee shops in Silicon Valley. Solely relying on VC for fundraising is problematic both for startups and most folks who cannot invest and miss out on generating wealth. So XX proposes an alternative model - one where networks of everyday folks can invest in the next Facebook and Airbnb, and global communities can share in that wealth.
We started this with quite unreasonable goals and prepared to perhaps suffer a bit in the process, but we had little idea of how it would turn out. The amount of immediate support we started receiving was incredible. Many world-class founders like Daniel Ha (Disqus), Holly Liu (Kabam), Paul Sawaya (Human Interest), and John Waldeisen (Lucira Health) started offering their time, and from this, we realized how much people are willing to help for causes that matter.
The 13 companies in Fight the Virus are all very impressive, and we are proud to be the first accelerator to be democratizing access to investing in startups that are changing and saving lives. Some like Stark Therapeutics, developing a vaccine that the pharmaceutical industry has overlooked, or Petri Bio, who is working on the next-generation therapeutics from gut microbes, are directly saving lives. Others like Immersed, by letting teams collaborate in the same virtual space, or Literaseed, that’s building a simple visual software to prevent communication from being a barrier to life-saving care, are changing how our hospital care will look like.
But what I am personally most proud of is 19 founders behind these companies. These people made the conscious choice to put years of their life to build what they believe in, and instead of speaking for them, I’d much rather have you watch this video to understand what their companies mean to them.
If you believe in what we are doing, please join us by spreading the word on Demo Day, and perhaps consider investing in one company yourself! Would love to use this blog to start a conversation around change, and get to read your constructive criticism on what we can do better.
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