Dealflow | July 27, 2020

Demo Day for a COVID-focused accelerator opens to the public

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, July 27 – Demo days have become Silicon Valley legend, or cliche, by now: anxious startup founders pitch business plans honed over the course of an accelerator program to an elite audience of angel and venture investors.

XX, an accelerator spun out of the crowdfunding site WeFunder, is changing things up.

On July 28 at 9 am EST, a dozen startups from its third cohort will pitch COVID-related solutions, from potential vaccines to virtual reality software, at an online demo day. The twist: anyone can invest – with as little as $100.

“We’re giving a chance to anyone that cares about this mission, or where the next vaccine is coming from,” says Gadi Borovich, a partner with XX.

The startups were selected from among 2,500 that applied to XX’s Fight the Virus challenge, and each received $50,000 from an XX fund.

On the agenda: Stark Therapeutics is working on a COVID-19 vaccine using a protein from the SARS virus to train the body’s T cells to target infected cells. Precision therapeutics company Petri Bio is developing peptides that could neutralize the virus. VivaVax makes an antiviral coating that eliminates microbes and 3C Bio is producing mobile testing labs.

Other cohort teams are pursuing indirect solutions to the COVID crisis, such as virtual reality software for teams or robotic delivery.

Previous XX cohorts have focused on women and immigrant founders.

The demo day will be hosted on WeFunder. Each startup has a lead investor from XX’s network, who has vetted and invested in the company on the same terms being offered on demo day.

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Unaccredited investors collectively can invest up to $1.07 million in each of the 14 companies under a crowdfunding securities exemption. High net worth, angel and venture investors can invest unlimited sums through a parallel “Regulation D” offering.