A Note of Hope

A note of hope
Matt McCooe
CEO, Connecticut Innovations


Like you, I’m concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m concerned about my family and friends. I’m concerned about those who are on the front lines. I’m concerned about those who are sick. And I’m concerned about what’s happening to the economy. As in the aftermath to 9/11, I’ve also been uplifted as I witness people reaching out to assist others in extraordinary ways.   

As a strategic venture capital fund, Connecticut Innovations not only invests in innovation; we also help bring new ideas to market. We do this by connecting our startups to our network of established businesses and government partners to drastically shrink the typical timeframe that occurs between proof of concept and purchase order—a move that benefits us all.  

Case in point: Sema4, a patient-centered health intelligence company in CI’s portfolio, announced this month that it began processing COVID-19 tests, including regular screening of medical personnel and others at high risk for the virus. Testing is critical if we hope to bring the pandemic under control, and Sema4 is now returning results in just 24 hours.  

As an investor, CI and our advisory board of scientists understood Sema4’s diagnostic capabilities and recognized its potential to use existing equipment to fight the pandemic. When Sema4 CEO Eric Schadt, PhD, approached us about his interest in helping the State of Connecticut, we validated his approach in less than 24 hours, and connected him to Josh Geballe, Chief Operating Officer for the State of Connecticut. Geballe, as the former CEO of Core Informatics, was deeply familiar with Sema4 and its accredited lab. Despite the very late hour, he immediately connected the company to his contacts in the Department of Public Health, who rapidly facilitated the approval of Sema4’s CLIA-licensed and CAP-compliant lab. Just 10 days later, the company was able to run 6,000 tests per week. Sema4 is now helping our healthcare professionals identify COVID-19 cases and treat those who are infected to bring the virus under control and reopen our economy.  

These kinds of connections give me hope in these trying times.