Innovation in the face of COVID-19

These are unprecedented times. The globalization of humanity has allowed countries to better utilize their comparative advantages while sharing technology, knowledge and capital, however, with this increasing interconnection has come a greater vulnerability to widespread chain-reactions when disaster strikes. The COVID-19 pandemic has, within only a few weeks, altered virtually every aspect of our lives. Uncertainty pervades the future of our lifestyles, our policies and our economies.

Amid this crisis, the world has come together to color the future with hope. New relationships have proliferated across the public and private sectors to rapidly address the present challenges and prepare for our forever-altered future. Governments have mobilized scientists worldwide in search for a vaccine and pharmaceutical companies have issued calls for proposals to fund research that can arm us in the battle. Manufacturers like Ford, Siemens and GM are retasking their manufacturing plants to address shortages in medical equipment while innovation platforms like Plug and Play have launched COVID-19 focused accelerators and technology incubation programs to scale up the capabilities of startups that can help address the pandemic.

What these activities all have in common is the open, rapid and collaborative nature with which they are being approached. In times like this we are best served by bringing our skills to the fore in joint effort. We at TandemLaunch and our portfolio companies know that technology is the best weapon we have in the present fight against COVID-19 and the best tool we have to prepare ourselves for the future.

What our companies are doing:

While all our lives have been altered by COVID-19, some groups face greater risk in these circumstances. The health risks of COVID-19 to the elderly population are disproportionately higher than other age groups and our healthcare systems have been so overburdened that many have had to remain isolated in their homes.

Aerial is leveraging their motion detection intelligence service for remote monitoring solutions of at-risk populations, allowing healthcare providers to oversee the health of their remote patients using only residential WiFi routers already in the home.

logo new

An elevated body temperature has been identified to be a reliable indicator in the early detection and screening of individuals who might be infected with COVID-19. Fever and temperature detection technologies stand to have great impact in tracking community transmission and help response teams contain the outbreak, unfortunately, existing solutions remain expensive and require labor intensive installation.

c2ro-1C2RO’s newly launched product, BeSafe, leverages its scalable cloud-based AI video analytics platform, to provide a biometric-free, frictionless, passive and contactless thermal screening solution. With a real-time alerting system and centralized analytics dashboard, BeSafe identifies individuals with abnormally elevated body temperatures, allowing essential service providers to identify high-risk individuals and take an appropriate action to keep their staff and customers safe.


With C2RO’s deep expertise in GDPR and Privacy-Act compliant computer vision, C2RO BeSafe proactively prevents health and safety threats in physical facilities while respecting individuals’ privacy rights.


Artificial intelligence is playing a key role in responding to COVID-19. Companies like Alibaba and Google DeepMind are developing tools that can aid in virus detection and track its spread. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that causes respiratory illnesses in humans and animals. Humans infected with other viruses that target the respiratory system, show a uniquely identifiable set of compounds in their breath that indicate the presence of an infection.

Stratuscent AI-driven eNose technology is fast-tracking the research and development of a breathalyzer test for the detection of breath compounds that could indicate if a person has been infected with COVID-19. Such a test would be non-invasive and rapidly deployable in both clinical and domestic contexts.

Edgehog RGB

You cannot track what you cannot detect, and viruses are notoriously difficult to detect directly due to their size. Quick blood tests can tell us if our bodies have begun to respond to the infection. Whereas swab tests to the back of our nose or throat directly collect viruses and remain the only effective method for early detection. However, the analysis for swab tests is slow and confined to centralized labs. Nanotextured surfaces have been known to significantly enhance detection and analysis in bio-medical applications, through techniques such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. There are several promising research avenues considering these structures for point-of-care testing. Edgehog is exploring the use of their unique superhydrophobic nanotextured surface technology for this purpose, making use of the unique geometries of the surface and increased surface area to increase the sensitivity of such detections and identify even low levels of viruses.

What our technology team is doing:

COVID-19 is a catastrophic shock to the hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by this disease as well as the global economy. Our immediate challenges surround the wellbeing of humanity across the globe, and to that end, companies have shuttered their offices, closed their manufacturing plants and shifted to remote work policies to protect their employees. In the longer term, we must contend with a permanently altered landscape in both how we live, and how we work. It is to that horizon that we now set our gaze, and staying true to our philosophy, we are looking to find answers in the academic world.

University researchers have taken up the call to focus their ingenuity on this global challenge. Technology transfer groups are mobilizing to proliferate these technologies rapidly. Meanwhile, our researchers in the TandemLaunch Venture Development team have been hard at work identifying new inventions that, through their commercialization, can address the current and future challenges of our world. In the course of their search they are also identifying technologies that may be of interest to companies with the resources and position to bring such inventions to market. For a list of these inventions click here.

Innovation has never been more important:

It is all our hope that the impact of this pandemic will be short lived, and that we will be able to return to a semblance of normalcy soon. However, in the longer term what we have learned in this crisis will lead to sizeable shifts in the dynamics of our lives and the needs of consumer and enterprise. Such challenges sow the soil of innovation and TandemLaunch is prepared to bring its reproducibly successful model for deep-technology commercialization to bear. Industry innovation has never been more critical, and our industry partners have enjoyed an unequaled level of visibility and access to both our portfolio companies and our deep-technology innovation engine.

We invite companies who are looking to initiate or expand their innovation capabilities to contact us at and share your needs. We can provide:

1. Detailed information on technology and product offerings from our portfolio companies to address your specific needs.

2. Notifications on financing rounds for portfolio companies of interest.

3. Customized invention scouting reports by our venture development team addressing a specific topic or theme.

4. Access to a network of over 300 universities worldwide with support surfacing research groups and inventors that are targeting your areas of interest.

Omar Zahr
Director of Technology