First of all, thanks to each and every one of you for subscribing and reading this newsletter. I’ve immensely enjoyed getting to write to you all every week over the past year. I hope that all of you are safe and sound at home, and either staying healthy, or on the path to recovery.
If you’ve enjoyed these newsletters, and have ever wondered, “Gee, I’d love to thank Alex for writing these in some way”, or maybe you haven’t thought that until this minute right now but it sounds like a good idea: well, now is your chance.
Two COVID19-related initiatives that I’m asking you to help out today, if you can:
The first one I’d like to tell you about is a business in Montreal called AON3D.
AON3D was founded in 2015 by a group of material science engineers from McGill University (where I went to school), and I’ve known them since they got started. AON3D has one of the most interesting, thought-provoking and mature theses around the future of material science and manufacturing that I’ve ever heard, and I’ve seen a lot of them. They build industrial 3D printers and a material science platform meant for demanding applications in industry, aerospace, and other high-performance environments. If you are at all interested in 3D printing or the future of manufacturing in general, you should check them out.
But this week, the future has to wait.
The McGill University hospital system, like many hospitals around the country and around the world, desperately needs PPE for its doctors, nurses and frontline workers. The world’s supply chains and manufacturing facilities are reacting admirably to this challenge, but not fast enough to plug the gap for the next two weeks. We also face a looming ventilator crisis: we need local, rapid, distributed capacity to make ventilators and ventilator parts, and we need them now.
So AON3D is stepping up, producing face shields, respirator splitters, and other critical supplies. They’re able to make much higher-quality PPE and equipment parts than most 3D printing shops can thanks to their high-performance material science expertise, meaning their equipment can be sterilized and reused in medical settings (unlike many kinds of plastic). More importantly, they can make them today.
They’re also partners in the Pratt & Whitney / Bombardier Ventilator Project and the Code Life Ventilator Challenge - group efforts to produce a low-cost, locally manufacturable ventilator in a time frame that will help COVID-19 patients as soon as possible. This is a moonshot but if it works, it’s a game changer.
Here are the asks:
First: If you’d like to help fund BOM costs, shipping costs, employee time, and any other expenses that AON3D incurs in getting PPE to medical frontline workers, I’d really appreciate that. I and another donor are matching up to $25,000 in pledges, and I’d love to have as many of you possible help us out.
(Also, if you are an angel investor or VC - if you’re interested in funding AON3D’s business through this crisis and beyond into the next decade, email me and I’ll connect you with their team. This is your chance to get into their cap table, and save lives while doing it. The world’s manufacturing and supply chain capability will be massively different post-COVID; if you’re an investor who funds the future, well, here it is right in front of you.)
Second: If you are a doctor / medical professional in North America (or are close to someone who is) and your team needs face shields urgently, please fill out this google form. We can’t promise anything, but please tell us and we’ll try our best to get you what you need.
Third: if you have access to 3D printers or laser cutters and a materials supply chain and want to help, OR if you have a need for parts or supplies that could be 3D printed, contact AON3D - someone on their team will reach out for assistance as soon as they can.
The second one is a local organization that I’ve known for many years called Fred Victor. Originally founded 125 years ago, Fred Victor is a small organization here in Toronto that provides essential housing, health and employment services for around 2,000 people on a typical day. Fred Victor helps people who are vulnerable, homeless or living in poverty with three core things: getting safe and stable housing, addressing physical and mental health challenges, and finding meaningful and stable employment. It’s really important work, and they are everyday heroes.
COVID19 is obviously hitting everyone hard, but the population of people Fred Victor serves are especially vulnerable during the next few months. An employment crisis and a public health crisis hitting at the same time are doubly threatening for their community. Fred Victor has the people and infrastructure in place to help right now, in these critical first few weeks of community transmission, but they need resources. So please help fund them through this time if you can.
Thank you all for helping, from the bottom of my heart. Things are going to get worse before they get better, but we will get through this. If you’re safe, healthy, and fortunate enough to help out, please do.
Thank you as always for reading, for helping, and for being great.
Stay healthy, be thankful, and see you next week,