Would you like to hear some good news from the founders, startups, and innovators doing remarkable things in tech communities between the coasts?
The pandemic — which has infected nearly 2 million people, has affected us all. I figured you might like to hear about some of the magic that’s happening in tech hubs like Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham, Indianapolis, Santa Fe, and Cincinnati.
So I channeled my inner Marie Kondo this morning to share some stories from the Powderkeg community that sparked joy for me. I hope they do the same for you. Feel free to share these stories or other favorites of your own to help spark more joy in the world this week.
Tech CEO Launches Virtual Tip Jar for Service Workers
Amidst layoffs and restaurant closures, Boardable CEO Jeb Banner created and shared a spreadsheet where Indianapolis service industry workers could receive virtual tips via Venmo to help during these crazy times.
There are already more than 3,000 people represented on the spreadsheet and this initiative has sparked similar efforts in other communities around the world.
North Carolina Startups Launch Medical Face Shield Operations
Durham-based energy management firm Plotwatt and Apex-based systems integration company Klarrio has launched efforts to create and distribute face shields and other medical devices to hospitals for doctors and other medical workers on the frontlines.
In local news coverage, Klarrio CEO Jim Smith was quoted saying, “It makes sense at this time that we give back to the community that we’re in.”
Company Pivots to Launch Reusable Sanitizing Wipes
Santa Fe, NM
Final is a reusable foodware company that makes collapsible straws. They were preparing to launch a new reusable fork product. But as the world hit pandemic status, the company decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for reusable sanitizing wipes to help slow the spread.
SINGER Donates 30 Sewing Machines to Face Mask Effort
Kansas City, MO
SINGER (Long-time Sewing Machine Manufacturer) shipped 30 sewing machines to Rightfully Sewn, a Kansas City-based fashion workshop and seamstress training program.
Rightfully Sewn founder, Jennifer Lapka, is leading the charge to convert their small-batch production to produce fabric masks to donate to local hospital workers.
The team has been asked to double their output — from the original goal of 20,000 masks to 40,000 masks in the same time period. The masks will still be available for purchase for less than $7.
Revolution Foods Creates Contingency Meals for COVID-19 School Closure
Revolution Foods is serving up those in need and working directly with school districts and charter schools around the country to help ensure school children, especially students on a free or reduced lunch program, receive healthy meals at home.
The firm is backed by VCs like Revolution, co-founded by Steve Case, who also launched the Rise of the Rest seed fund to invest in companies in the middle of the country.
Startup Community Bands Together to Make an Impact
To help better serve and address the severe shortage of protective masks for the pandemic, several Cincinnati-based startups have launched a “pop-up” mask production operation using 50 3D printers at Union Hall, Cincinnati’s local coworking and event space.
Here’s a list of contributors in Cincinnati’s startup community that are working non-stop on this collaborative project:
InfoTrust – Local marketing tech startup with an employee-backed foundation, managing the crowdsource funding for the masks
Polar3D – Local provider of 3D software, hardware, and materials
Cintrifuse – Startup community catalyst assisting with logistics and connections
Union Hall – Tech-based coworking and event space owned by Cintrifuse, providing space for the production
The Health Collaborative – Helped donate 70,000 yards of elastic to help complete the masks
Northern Row Brewery & Distillery – Donated N95 filter material to help complete the masks
This blog post was inspired by a new segment from our LIVE Virtual Events and was curated by Alexander, Casey, and myself from the Powderkeg team.
Got 30 seconds? Share some of the good news with us! Our team will share the best stories in an upcoming virtual event, on social, or in future blogs.
Stay safe out there,