XPrize Puts Up $5 Million to Jumpstart Faster, Cheaper COVID-19 Tests

Leslie Ignacio

Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.

XPrize Puts Up $5 Million to Jumpstart Faster, Cheaper COVID-19 Tests

A $5 million rapid COVID-19 testing competition launched Tuesday by the Culver-City based XPRIZE Competition seeks to make tests cheaper and faster.

Long wait times for test results have hampered efforts across the country to contain coronavirus. As labs have fallen behind in some parts of the country, wait times have stretched into days and even weeks — and that's meant potentially infectious patients who haven't yet gotten their results aren't self-isolating.


"Fast, affordable, and accessible testing is crucial to containing the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopening schools, businesses and other vital institutions around the world," said CEO of XPRIZE, Anousheh Ansari in announcing the competition. "XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing is inspiring the best entrepreneurial and scientific teams to come together to work towards rapid, affordable COVID-19 testing at scale, and ultimately, getting the world up and running again."

XPRIZE is partnering with OpenCovidScreen to spur production of a low-cost, easy-to-use and fast-result test. The organization hopes it will allow more people to be tested, and bring them closer to safely returning to their jobs and schools.

The competition encourages high school students, university groups, innovators and startups to form teams and work on a solution for the lack of testing capacity. It allows contestants to enter into one of four different categories such as: At Home, Point-of-Care, Distributed Lab, or High-Throughput Lab.

Teams have until August 31st to enter the competition and just 6 months to develop the test with certain requirements. The test must have a maximum turnaround time of 12 hours and cannot cost more than $15.

Blue Shield of California, Cambia Health Solutions, Health Care Service Corporation, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, Horizon Healthcare Services, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, The Anthem Foundation and Anthem Inc. are among the companies backing the effort.

And companies including Google, Amazon, Ilumina, Ancestry, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Exact Science, Centerview Partners, Twist Bioscience, Opentrons, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Testing For America will help support contestants' need for technology and labs.

Five winners will share $5 million and can go on to benefit from The Covid Apollo Project's $50 million fund that aims to bring new testing methods to the market.

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Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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