Fifteen Boston-Area Startups, Programs and Initiatives that are Making a Difference During the Health and Economic Crisis

Have you noticed that this crisis has brought about a fantastic movement of support and volunteerism in every industry?

In appreciation of the local heroes who have stepped up to help others affected by COVID-19, BNT is producing a free, volunteer-run virtual summit to celebrate and be inspired by them on May 13th.

We expect hundreds of viewers from Boston New Technology's 50k network!

We hope you'll join us in attending Boston Tech Comes Together to Help Conquer COVID-19 Virtual Summit #BNT113 at 4 pm EDT on May 13th!

Here are fifteen fantastic organizations and initiatives that are making a big difference in New England.

We thank all of these organizations and commend them for their amazing work!

The first 13 below will be presenting at #BNT113!

Be safe and be well!


BostInno & Rhode Island Inno: Covering Coronavirus News Through a Startup Lens

From Rowan Walrath, Associate Editor, BostInno & Rhode Island Inno: These days, one of BostInno's main tasks is covering how coronavirus has impacted the Greater Boston startup community. Some of that news is grisly: At least 25 local startups and tech firms have collectively laid off or furloughed thousands of workers, and unemployment rates are skyrocketing in Massachusetts. Still, no one pivots quite like an entrepreneur. Rowan Walrath will cover some of the coronavirus-driven innovations by Boston startups. She'll also talk about balancing the good news with the bad as a reporter to ensure her news outlet continues to drive value to the community.

BostInno & Rhode Island Inno are all about startups, technology and innovation, offering news, events, insights and analysis. The Beat is a daily or weekly 2-minute conversation in your inbox, with a front row seat to the people,organizations, ideas and news driving your city’s innovation economy forward. Never miss a Beat. Subscribe to BostInno's newsletter and Rhode Island Inno's here.


Stanley Black & Decker: $10M COVID-19 Relief Program and Batteries for Respirators

Stanley Black & Decker is rolling out a $10M COVID-19 relief program. The manufacturing giant has pledged $5 million to the program for an emergency relief fund to aid employees and their families and $4 million in financial contributions to COVID-19 focused not-for-profit organizations and other community-based outfits across the world. Other funds will be used to purchase 3 million face masks and large amounts of other personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders in communities where Stanley operates. The company is also doubling employee’s personal donations to qualified charitable organizations. See Stanley Black & Decker's COVID-19 response and resources and learn about how Stanley Black & Decker is supplying DEWALT Battery Systems for Ford and 3M’s Powered Air-Purifying Respirators.


2 Global Rapid Ventilator Design Sprints - CoVent-19 Challenge & Africa Oxygen Challenge

Mike Grandinetti, Faculty Chair & Lead Professor of Innovation, Rutgers has been working with MD's from Mass General, recruited to an active Board role to launch and manage 2 global rapid design ventilator challenges. The CoVent Challenge targets FDA Emergency Use for deployment in US Hospitals. We have 150 teams across 25 countries and plan to select an optimal design that will begin production by June 1st. The Africa Oxygen Challenge will provide an affordable design to our partner the Africa Federation of Emergency Medicine, to support 26 countries across the continent.

The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation 8-week Grand Challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers. We will be launching the Challenge on the GrabCAD Challenges platform on April 1, 2020. We welcome all who are interested to join a two round challenge that aims to create CAD assemblies by May 1, 2020 (Round 1: General Admission) and functional prototypes demonstrating acceptable performance by June 1, 2020 (Round 2: Invitation Only).


The Ventilator Project

A Rapid And Scalable Solution To Solve The Global Ventilator Shortage. MEET AIRA. Our ventilator has a name. And we’ve doubled its air capacity. AIRA has achieved all three necessary modes of control – pressure control, volume control, and pressure support. It’s continuously evolving to best treat coronavirus patients around the world. Learn More & Donate.


Toucan Toco: The World's Situation Dashboard

Data-Storytelling better visualizes COVID-19's impact across the world. Stop being overwhelmed with different sources of information. At a time of unprecedented uncertainty and volatility, our mission is to provide a single source of accurate and timely information about health and economic data. Through this application, we will be covering the following topics:

  • Daily updates on the spread of the C19 pandemic
  • Responses of the international organizations and national governments
  • Market information : global equities, commodities and futures , currencies and general economic indicators
  • Interest rates (coming soon)
  • Financial concessions granted by Governments to support commerce and industry (coming soon)
  • Logistics and supply chain updates (coming soon)
  • Briefings on Geo Political implications (coming soon)
  • Applied Machine Learning on time series (coming soon)


CoronaTracker - Transforming Health with Open Source Software in a Crisis

From Brian H. Hough, UI/UX Lead: As the news grew more severe about an unknown virus, a single LinkedIn post with a call to action soon led to a global community of 280+, a progressive web app, and a hope to make a difference in a world plagued by a pandemic. While in public beta, our community-built progressive web app lets users track and monitor health symptoms, learn about COVID-19, and get ready if/when they need to speak with a doctor. With the power of open-source, full-stack development and blockchain, we hope to help people during this difficult time. Learn More.


Rubix LS: COVID-19 & Diverse Continuum of Care for Everyone through Tech

Using technology to ensure that all types of patients can access critical health needs during any pandemic crisis. Rubix LS is your infectious disease intelligence partner. We’ve conducted projects in hot-zones from West Africa to India on various infectious disease priorities. Real-time data and predictive modeling to make better medical countermeasure plans are what we strive for at every single second. Learn More.


CoCo - Coronavirus Communication - Best Practices To Gain Victory Against The Infodemic

From Steve Vilkas, Communications Specialist, Project CoCo: During the Coronacrisis, one thing we can all do is communicate well about Coronavirus. When we share helpful, truthful information, we literally save lives. That's why we created CoCo! CoCo is a messaging toolkit with ready-made tweets, images, and even memes that you’re free to use, remix, and share. They're cute and funny, but the mission is serious: you're saving human lives. We've created CoCo to empower anyone with an audience to spread helpful, truthful information.


NomaYoga - Leveraging Technology to Enhance Charitable Fundraising

From Silvia Tower, Founder: NomaYoga is a virtual community that brings people together to practice Yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic, while supporting a small business or non-profit, through donations. Many people right now are in distress and need a safe space to both relax, and practice physical activity, in a motivating way. At the same time, many who are in a position to give are looking for ways to donate and support others in need. So, we made it our mission to help them donate in the most effective way. Nowadays with technologies such as Zoom, G-Suite, Facebook Fundraising, and Weebly, setting up an informal non-profit organization is as easy as it's ever been. Learn More.


Ink'd: Commune-A-Tee Project for Small Businesses

Commune-A-Tee is born from the desire to help other local businesses. As a 20-year resident of Mansfield, when I had the opportunity to open a retail store front in our most marquee of locations, 'The Crossing', I was both honored and scared. Could I produce a business that was worthy of being alongside National Brands; would I fail in front of all of my friends and neighbors? Five years later, I'm pleased to say, you, my neighbors, have given me such love and support, I am grateful for the small chances I have to give back, like this. The Commune-A-Tee project is simple: Produce a basic, but unique, tee shirt from the local businesses around us. The shirt is light heather grey with a dark print. Each shirt is labeled with a custom logo commemorating this one time event on the sleeve. Many of the brands featured may never have a tee shirt - so this is a chance to show the support. All shirts will be produced the 1st week of May. The economics are easy: $19 per shirt. $10 dollars goes to the business whose brand is on the shirt. Shipping will be available or a free pickup option at Ink'd. Learn more, nominate a business and support local businesses here.


Riff Analytics - Making Online Teams Smarter

Beth Porter, CEO, Riff Analytics: With everyone in the information economy now working from home and everyone socially distant, we are on video calls all day long. Research has shown that video meetings are tiring and stressful, and often have many of the problems of in-person meetings — too long, not purposeful, dominated by one person going on and on. Beth will talk about how machine learning is being used to help groups learn how to work effectively together online, by giving real-time feedback about their conversations. Learn More.


Cutii: Robotics to Combat Senior Isolation

While the residents of senior homes are confined to their rooms, robotics are being made available to retirement homes. They allow the isolated seniors to 'virtually visit' their concerned families and loved ones, and enjoy daily 'virtual community' events (yoga, etc). Cutii broadens access to tele-health. These robotic devices are fast becoming a vital option to deliver much needed healthcare remotely, from social work, to cardiac consultantations. "Have happy encounters thanks to Cutii, a companion like no other. Cutii is an autonomous, benevolent, and devoted robot. Thanks to vocal commands, no learning curve is necessary to use Cutii. Controllable from a distance, he’s reassuring to your close friends and family. His platform allows Cutii to connect you to the world." Improving Access to the Best Information and Resources for the Health and Economic Crisis

There are thousands of free health, safety, education and business resources available to support COVID-19 victims, families, workers, owners and others affected by the Coronavirus. Our blog post with 150+ of the top resources, including access to thousands of free online courses, will be migrated to a new website shortly, featuring curated digital content, including news, events, webcasts, podcasts, blog posts, courses, eBooks, whitepapers and more. Users can browse, search, filter and sort, to quickly discover the most popular, newest, or most relevant content. Automation and crowdsourcing will automatically keep the website fresh with new, approved, trusted, content. Full website launching soon!


Here are two more Boston companies that are making a big difference, but were not able to participate in BNT113:


hubEngage: Effective Employee Communications During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Communicating effectively and easily to your workforce in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has become a challenge for many companies. HubEngage's complete employee communications and engagement platform can help tremendously. By providing apps for mobile and web, your internal employee communications can flow and each your people wherever they may be. As employees are being told to stay home and remote workforce plans are put in place, having the proper communications channels in place is more important than ever. Check out 7 best practices to dramatically improve your employee communications efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak. At HubEngage, we want to do our part to help companies communicate better especially in these challenging times, we are offering you access to our basic platform at no charge for three months. With the Free HubEngage basic access you will be able to: On-board and communicate with up to 500 employees in real-time with HubEngage iOS, Android and Web Apps, Engage employees with comments and discussions, Send push notifications and alerts to your employees, and Enable instant messaging for peer to peer and group communications. Right now, getting your employees updates and information is more important than ever. Companies need to communicate properly and also rule out misinformation as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds.


Formlabs: 3D Printing to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts

Formlabs is dedicated to helping the medical community use 3D printing technology to address the COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain shortages. We are working with dozens of hospitals, health systems, and government agencies around the world on various projects spanning COVID-19 testing, PPE, medical equipment, and non-clinical accessories. If you are a healthcare organization considering the use of 3D printing for COVID-19 or other medical applications, we recommend reading our guide: Considerations for Producing Safe and Effective Medical Devices.


The Dot Connector, Steve Vilkas' Blog

Learn about many more of the supportive work being done in the Boston-area on Steve's Medium blog.