Many commentators have described the last few months as the eye of the storm.
After a difficult spring that saw the novel coronavirus spread largely unfettered in many of America’s largest cities, enhanced clinical practices and warmer weather have bought authorities a brief respite before the onset of what many fear could be a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
As we enter flu season, concerns that an influx of influenza cases, which closely mirror COVID-19 symptoms, could overwhelm ERs have become more acute than ever. Many businesses remain closed or operating with taught staffs under immense restrictions. Children remain out of school, athletes play without crowds and opportunities for leisure remain limited. Life is far from normal.
Last week, we sat down with a venture capitalist and philanthropist who believes that investors have a critical role to play in making a significant difference in everyday Americans’ lives as the pandemic persists. Amit Raizada, CEO of Spectrum Business, described to us in an interview the ways in which the VC sector can help make a splash.
“Across my more than 20 years in venture capital, I’ve always sought to invest in ventures that fulfill two valuable societal functions: delivering returns to my firm and partners, and improving life for those in desperate for innovation,” Raizada said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, socially-conscious venture capitalists have the opportunity to harness the resources at their disposal to alleviate suffering and deliver solutions.”
Raizada has worked to invest in the products and firms that produce material benefits individuals and families across America. He was an early investor in Dalent Medical, which developed a trailblazing SinuSleeve treatment that has revolutionized the way ear, nose, and throat doctors treat and diagnose patients. Raizada said he was particularly proud of his investment in and support of a revolutionary cancer drug that weaponizes the body’s immune system against tumors and malignant cells, eating away cancer from the inside.
“In these instances, I sought to make a difference by seeking out firms and products dedicated to delivering a higher standard of care and treatment to those in need,” Raizada said. “Many firms rely on investment to launch their life-altering products off the ground. During the COVID-19 pandemic, aspiring investors should look for the startups and ventures developing novel, high-quality products or services that change peoples’ lives for the better.”
Raizada said that—while perhaps most intuitive—investing directly in COVID-19 vaccines or treatments is not the only way to catalyze change. During this unprecedented moment, Raizada motioned that Americans are suffering not only from the pandemic, but from an unrivaled recession, reckoning on race relations, natural disasters.
“From the virus itself to the social challenges it has exposed, there is significant latitude for compassionate investors to catalyze the innovations needed to overcome these historic inequities,” Raizada said. “Look, for example, at services or models that can help ailing small business or better educational outcomes for children in underserved communities. Search for ventures aimed at preventative medicine, helping to mitigate potential public health crises before they balloon a la COVID. Many entrepreneurs and innovators are limited in not by ability or vision, but by capital. I urge you to be the difference.”