During the current Covid-19 crisis, sourcing face masks from verified manufacturers has become critical for organizations around the world. Two technology executives in the United States are temporarily stepping away from their normal startup duties to help local governments and front-line healthcare staff in the U.S. acquire necessary personal protective equipment.
Maryland tech entrepreneur and investor Matthew Siegal announced that his latest tech venture, Potomac, Maryland-based Transformania LLC, has suspended operations indefinitely so that Siegal and Transformania President and CEO, Daniel Levinson, can work full-time on answering the appeal for face masks and other personal protective equipment from hospitals and government agencies.
GreatBarrierMasks.com, a K-Byes LLC service, is an American-owned distributor of quality PPE serving consumers, companies, institutions, and government agencies with a variety of face masks including general purpose, corporate logo, surgical, and FDA/OSHI/CE N95 and KN95.
"The critical shortage of face masks and other PPE is a catastrophe for ill-equipped frontline caregivers who are literally risking their lives to help others," said Siegal. "It's a major problem, one that's completely familiar to those of us with experience sourcing manufactured goods from China. To succeed, it takes both personal contacts and a thorough understanding of Chinese politics and culture."
As lead investor and board chairman of Transformania, Siegal recruited former Vocus China CEO Daniel Levinson to be the SaaS startup's CEO. An American who has spent his business career running companies in China, Levinson was the obvious choice to join Siegal in expediting the procurement of N95 and KN95 respirators, surgical masks, and general purpose facial barriers.
"In terms of socioeconomic upheaval, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most disruptive event since World War II. If America is to open for business, and, as importantly, to stay open, this generation is going to have to answer the call as our grandparents did nearly eighty years ago," said Levinson. "We believe that it's incumbent on those with experience and resources to lend a hand, even if it means setting aside their current projects."
Siegal and Levinson have launched a company, K-Byes LLC, and the website GreatBarrierMasks.com, where individuals, companies, medical institutions, and government agencies can procure a variety of face masks ranging from N95 and KN95 respirators with FDA, OSHI, and CE certification, to corporate logo antimicrobial masks, to general purpose masks with whimsical and inspirational graphics. The company operates on less than standard margins and offers non-profit and government customers transparent pricing and free shipping by air, two highly unusual features when sourcing products from China.
Siegal is donating five percent of the company's gross sales to the American Nurses Association's Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses via the Matthew Siegal GOODWORX™ Foundation, a Potomac, Maryland-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by Siegal.
"We created this company in ten days, from concept to open for business," added Levinson. "We've secured reputable sources in China who've committed to allocate us millions of masks for government and institutional buyers. We've submitted bids to several state governments and hospitals totaling more than 8 million masks of various kinds."
In addition to sourcing products from China, Siegal and Levinson are private label manufacturing general purpose face masks in New York, Los Angeles, and Latin America.
"The demand for masks may seem overwhelming now, but it's nothing compared to what will be in a few months. When the country does begin to open again, staying open will require hundreds of millions of Americans to mitigate risk by wearing masks," added Siegal. "That's when the greatest shortages will occur unless capable business leaders answer the call."