Project: Masks for america
Background of the project
For Project: Masks for America, I teamed up with Jesse Koltes is the Chief Operating Officer of LonoLife.
Because his factory workers were operating essential facilities, he sought out PPE several weeks ago to try to protect line workers that make his products. However, when the PPE shortage stories started to go viral, he stepped in to see if something had changed in the market. It still appears possible to import masks without price gouging if you know the right people.
We have identified 3 suppliers operating ten factories that sell all kinds of PPE in China. We want to start bringing it the United States and donating it.
To be sure, there are risks: there could be fraud, the certs could be sketchy, and the US federal government could seize the PPE material. However, we believe there is adequate supply (in China), surging demand (in North America), and a coordination problem best solved by a middle man willing to put up risk captial that could go to zero to capture an opportunity to clear the market. We have identified several large suppliers of KN95s masks, have negotiated a price with them, and believe I can import them expediously to the United States.
If you’d like to donate, you’ll find the GoFundMe here. To be clear, we will not be making any profit from this project.
We discussed Project: Masks for America in the video below.
April 20, 2020
Since the GoFundMe went live on Friday we’ve made a lot of progress.
My favorite story: my dad’s college roommate, called his former colleague, who called Senator Wyden’s Office, who called Senator Schumer’s office, who put me in touch with the New York City government’s department of federal affairs (and their procurement folks). All of them just said they trusted the person who called them, and that connected me right ot the city.
I told the city officials I just wanted to help, and as a sign of good faith would donate 5,000 masks to the city to show I’m real, but we need to work on bigger contracts directly from Asia to really move the needle. That shipment should hit the city tomorrow, and I should be set up as a city vendor in two business days. The first priority will be surgical gowns, which apparently is New York’s biggest need. We have a good lead on those.
Once again, here is the Go Fund Me link.