Respond and Rebuild: COVID-19
Our Response to the Pandemic
The Partnership Fund is committed to the recovery of the city’s economy. We have been working to deliver key resources to New York’s hard hit, small business community and to stimulate new economic activity and job growth by investing in up-and-coming sectors, such as life sciences and quantum computing.
New Investments: Economic Recovery
CLEAR is a biometric identification platform offering a secure health tracking solution to get New York City employees back to work safely. In response to the pandemic, CLEAR launched “Health Pass” to create a touchless, common health identity platform that connects users’ verified identity with their health insights, such as COVID-19 related results and records.
In 2020, the Partnership Fund invested in CLEAR as a part of a broader initiative to bring New York City employees back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the revival of the local economy.
To accelerate small business recovery and strengthen the city’s economy, the Partnership Fund joined the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and the five borough Chambers of Commerce to launch the NYC Small Business Resource Network (NYCSBRN) in September 2020.
The NYCSBRN is a one-stop shop to help tackle mounting barriers to economic recovery with a specific focus on minority-, women- and immigrant-owned businesses. The initiative, funded by a $2.8 million grant from the Peterson Foundation and additional in-kind support, gives neighborhood storefronts and other small enterprises personalized guidance and resources to help to sustain their businesses. The Fund is investing up to $1 million to fund administrative costs of operating this Resource Network.
With unprecedented amounts of venture capital investment and new accelerator programs like IndieBio coming to New York, public and private sector efforts to grow life sciences are beginning to take root. The Partnership Fund has worked closely with the public sector to continue to support New York’s budding life sciences ecosystem. Over the past decade, we have committed over $50 million to support the growth of commercial life sciences in New York.
Quantum computing has the potential to be a major engine of economic growth in New York. As quantum technology moves out of academic labs and closer to adoption, this emerging sector is primed to bring significant benefits to the region. An October 2020 report by Accenture Research shows that quantum computing is expected to produce $332 billion in GDP and create 95,000 jobs in New York over the next ten years.
In 2019, the Fund made its first investment in this burgeoning field into Seeqc, a hardware company based in Brooklyn that combines quantum processors with classical computers.
Watch a discussion with Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City, and Marc Carrel-Billiard, Accenture’s Global Lead of Technology Innovation and Accenture Labs, as they take a deeper dive into the promise of quantum for New York, the potential impact of that expansion on businesses and the implications for cybersecurity and workforce development.
Partnership Fund portfolio companies leveraged their innovation and agility to respond to emerging needs due to the pandemic, including demand for enhanced disinfection products, emergency equipment and food access. The following are select use cases from our funded investments.
American Prison Data Systems
American Prison Data Systems provides incarcerated individuals with access to rehabilitative and educational opportunities to reduce recidivism. APDS’ secure, ruggedized tablets continue to facilitate remote educational programming for incarcerated learners through the pandemic.
Kings County Distillery
Kings County Distillery makes artisanal moonshine and bourbon in its Brooklyn Navy Yard distillery and tasting room. To address the shortage of medical supplies at the height of the pandemic in New York City, Kings County Distillery converted its factory to produce hand sanitizer for front-line workers and businesses.
Kinnos is an early-stage life sciences company that makes colorized disinfectant wipes and color additives to improve surface disinfection in health care settings. In October 2020, Kinnos was selected for the 2021 Transit Tech Lab COVID-19 Response Challenge to help address unprecedented challenges in public transit.
Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi) is a Black-owned fintech company committed to bridging the wealth gap through a mobile-banking platform. In Brooklyn, MoCaFi worked with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation to assist those Brooklynites hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. MoCaFi’s Mobility Bank Account and Immediate Response solutions allowed it to disburse cash grants for food and supplies to approximately 500 residents to date.
MoCaFi has also partnered with the City & County of Honolulu to distribute CARES Act funds to thousands of O’ahu households that have suffered economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Lab is a collaborative design and fabrication workspace in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that fosters innovation in design, prototyping and advanced manufacturing. New Lab, along with other members of the Emergency Ventilator Response consortium, designed the Spiro Wave, a lower-cost automated “bridge ventilator” to be used to help treat COVID-19 patients.
New Lab also joined resident company StrongArm Technologies in a back-to-work pilot using StrongArm’s industrial safety device, a solution that tracks employee interactions and helps ensure social distancing. StrongArm is a graduate of the 2018 FinTech Innovation Lab.
Located in Harlem, Red Rabbit provides healthy meals and snacks to New York City schools and after-school programs, many of which are in low-income communities. To address the need for food in underserved communities, Red Rabbit shifted its business model to distribute prepared emergency meals across the city.
Shapeways is a global 3D manufacturer. In response to the pandemic, Shapeways worked with major hospitals in New York and Boston to design and produce 3D-printed medical supplies, including face masks, nasal swabs and ventilator parts.