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COVID-19 Update from Innovation Zone Contributors

"How has COVID-19 shifted the way in which you do your job—and your ability to do it? (Access to labs, materials, office?)" 

Mike Morello

My research consists of attending, speaking at, or exhibiting at science and technology-based conferences. It also includes conducting training onsite for clients. The pandemic has significantly disrupted this part of my ability to do my job. I have a fully equipped home office so that is not impacted. - Adriana Vela, Founder, MarketTecNexus


Mike Morello

 I am still working in a lab, but early shift and wearing a mask. - Dan Daly, Daly Business Consultants


Mike Morello

COVID-19 has impacted our organization globally, reducing access to labs and offices. While many functions can work easily from home, the labs cannot. This has slowed the progress of many projects. - Eric Breese, Investment Manager, Evonik Venture Capital


Carolyn Ribes
Al Ribes

 

 

 

We have not had access to our labs, so this has definitely slowed our development progress. We were also supposed to do some testing with a university that was canceled due to the virus. - Kristin Taylor, CEO and Yelena Kann, CTO, Radical Plastics 


Mike Morello

Every university and research facility that I am currently affiliated with in the USA, UK and India is currently closed. I have no access to labs, research materials or any office. My collaborator and I are unable to travel domestically and overseas. - Mukund Chorghade, President and Chief Scientific Officer, THINQ Pharma, Serial Entrepreneur


Mike Morello

Because our angel network is virtual, the COVID-19 crisis has had no effect on our activity except maybe a higher deal flow! Several very interesting early-stage COVID-19 related startups have applied to the Chemical Angel Network! Sid White, Founding Member, Chemical Angel Network


Mike Morello

The shift to virtual has been fairly transparent. Much more effort in lab safety due to different work processes and supporting lone workers do to shift work and extended hours. I have not changed office hours and still work closely with clients on ramp-up plans. - Tim Mueller, VP of Science and Technology, Director - Research Institute, Delaware Innovation Space


Mike Morello

Everyone is now remote and for companies that can, we are finding ways to support the frontline. As examples, Charge-it-Spot is providing charging stations to hospitals for their frontline workers to charge their phones. Simply Good Jars is donating their delicious salad jars to frontline workers at hospitals. - Vanessa Z. Chan, Professor, University of Pennsylvania


"How has COVID-19 impacted your opportunities for funding and your grant financing?"

Mike Morello

I know of a few funding opportunities did not receive as much funding as originally proposed, especially SBIRs (Small Business Innovation Research grants). - Dan Daly, Daly Business Consultants 


Mike Morello

COVID-19 has given us more time to focus on applying for grants and other sources of non-dilutive financing. In this way, there actually has been some benefit from the pandemic shutting down the labs and giving us time to refine our vision for strategy and funding down the road. - David Mackanic, Founder, Anthro Energy


Carolyn Ribes
Al Ribes

 

 

 

COVID-19 has not affected our grant opportunities, however, it has slowed down our discussions with investors. Face-to-face meetings aren't possible so everything takes longer. - Kristin Taylor, CEO and Yelena Kann, CTO, Radical Plastics 


Mike Morello

The opportunities seem to have increased. Funding agencies have increased the number of applications funded and we are currently pursuing these grants. - Mukund Chorghade, President and Chief Scientific Officer, THINQ Pharma, Serial Entrepreneur 


Mike Morello

It hasn't.  I do believe that for economic development, there will be greater opportunities but I do think the focus will be much shorter-term with immediate impact taking a priority over longer-term impact. - Tim Mueller, VP of Science and Technology, Director - Research Institute, Delaware Innovation Space 


Mike Morello

Angel investors are still looking for new opportunities in a limited way because we also are focused on ensuring our current portfolio companies have a large enough cash runway. There are many conversations and books opening for bridge funding startups that already have funding. - Vanessa Z. Chan, Professor, University of Pennsylvania 


"How has COVID-19 impacted your budget, overhead rates, and your sales?"

Mike Morello

Sales and budget have been hit harder for my consulting and advisory services as a result of the overall impact on the economy in general. Projects in place and/or approved have been put on hold and are at risk of getting deprioritized as a result of changes to the client’s circumstances. - Adriana Vela, Founder, MarketTecNexus


Mike Morello

COVID-19 has made us more budget-conscious, and we are trying to spend as little as possible, especially while labs are closed. - David Mackanic, Founder, Anthro Energy 


Mike Morello

As a CVC we see an impact on all of our portfolio companies. While many have cut costs the ability to raise funds and grow the commercial aspects of the companies has been slowed. - Eric Breese, Investment Manager, Evonik Venture Capital


Carolyn Ribes
Al Ribes

 

 

 

COVID-19 has impacted our budget in that our testing has been delayed, so it will take longer until we can achieve commercial sales. - Kristin Taylor, CEO and Yelena Kann, CTO, Radical Plastics 


Mike Morello

This is at a standstill. It is very hard to do a budget; we have no sales. Fortunately, some owners have frozen our rentals so that we can conserve cash. - Mukund Chorghade, President and Chief Scientific Officer, THINQ Pharma, Serial Entrepreneur 


Mike Morello

In many cases, sales are down (as expected) but some companies are also seeing silver linings if there are ways that they can help the pandemic. Everyone is freezing salaries and in some unfortunate cases needing to shrink costs by laying off people. - Vanessa Z. Chan, Professor, University of Pennsylvania 


This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

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