The Globe and Mail: Health startups see surge in interest amid coronavirus crisis

AC JumpStart recipient O2 Canada, a Waterloo-based startup that produces respiratory masks called O2 Curve, has been selling ~2,000 masks a day since the spread of the coronavirus. Direct-to-consumer sales have increased 24,000 per cent.

March 11, 2020

“Three weeks ago, Waterloo, Ont.-based startup O2 Canada sold one or two masks a day on its website. But since the spread of the coronavirus, also known now as COVID-19, the company has been swamped with up to 2,000 orders a day.

“It’s been pure pandemonium,” says chief executive officer and co-founder Peter Whitby, acknowledging the company can’t keep up with demand.

O2 Canada is one of several Canadian health-care startups that are seeing an increased interest in their products in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

Mr. Whitby co-founded O2 with Rich Szasz, now the firm’s chief innovation officer, to tackle global air pollution. But its respiratory masks, called O2 Curve, have attracted consumer demand as a way of preventing transmission of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 was first detected in December, 2019, in Wuhan, China, and the vast majority of the cases and deaths have been there and in the surrounding province of Hubei. But the virus continues to spread worldwide, including to Canada.

Customers can purchase the O2 Curve, which sells for $93, by entering an online queue. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, direct-to-consumer sales have increased 24,000 per cent.” - The Globe and Mail

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