Tag: ClearMask


Good News: December 2018


Good News: December 2018

Startup news

  • Social Innovation Lab alums named OSI Community Fellows
    Ava Pipitone of HostHome, Emily Thompson of PIVOT and Brittany Young of B-360 Baltimore are part of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s 2018 cohort. Each will receive $60,000 for a term of 18 months as part of the program, which seeks dynamic activists and social entrepreneurs interested in implementing projects that address problems in underserved communities in Baltimore City.

  • AsclepiX Therapeutics raises $5M
    Johns Hopkins spinout AsclepiX Therapeutics raised $5 million in new funding that will assist in development of new treatment for eye diseases that are leading causes of blindness in adults. The convertible note round was led by Barer & Son Capital, with participation from Rapha Capital Management, Salem Partners, TEDCO, and Piedmont Capital Partners. It brings the company’s total raised to $11 million.

  • FactoryFour Expands with $5M Series A, Led by August Capital
    The funds raised from this round, led by August Capital, will help accelerate development of our platform and expand our global footprint including new offices in Los Angeles and London, while ramping sales and marketing efforts to bring FactoryFour to every manufacturer.

  • Marigold Helath looks to raise $2.3 million
    Formerly Sunrise Health, the mobile therapy startup has raised $1 million and plans to use the funding to help the company grow and target larger potential clients.

  • EduMD LLC receives Pre-Seed Builder Fund Support from TEDCO
    The creator of MileMarker, a medical training assessment tool developed by clinicians from Johns Hopkins that helps enhance training programs for surgeons in residence and in medical schools, was one of five ‘economically disadvantaged’ startups that will get up to $50,000 in funding as well as business training and mentorship.

  • BurnAlong raises $1.3M seed round, former IKEA executive and Md. investor join board
    BurnAlong, part of JHTV’s M-1 Ventures cohort in fall 2017, raised a $1.3 million seed round and is expanding an offering that allows companies to provide employees with access to streaming health and fitness classes. Along with the funding round, the Baltimore startup is adding two new board members with experience scaling companies.

  • ClearMask takes second at Open Works’ EnterpRISE Venture Competition
    ClearMask earned $5,000 with its vision to build more breathable foams at Open Works to incorporate into the company’s clear surgical masks. Cofounder Aaron Hsu works to help those who are deaf and hard of hearing find comfort and access to clear, nonverbal communication cues while experiencing medical care.

  • CortiTech places second in Collegiate Inventors Competition
    A team of Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering students earned the silver prize Friday at the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition with a device intended to reduce the likelihood of injury during brain surgery. Team CortiTech — sophomores Jody Mou, Kevin Tu, junior Sun Jay Yoo, and seniors Jack Ye and Linh Tran —developed a new brain retractor, which they call Radiex. It features a rounded, compact design that shrinks the point of entry for surgeons.


Baltimore news

  • Baltimore No. 5 on Forbes’ list of top 10 rising cities for startups
    “The proximity to Washington, D.C. helps Baltimore’s startup community. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures serves as the commercial arm of the school’s researchers and investors. JHTV had 164 patents last year, seventh most among schools.”

  • Christy Wyskiel named to The Baltimore Sun’s “25 Women to Watch in 2018″”
    “Wyskiel … brought her investment savvy and passion for startups to Hopkins five years ago, in the midst of the university’s efforts to commercialize research. …(M)ost of the companies founded on Hopkins technology (had) left Maryland for Silicon Valley or other tech hot spots. That’s starting to change, and the opening of FastForward 1812, a Hopkins business incubator with office and lab space for entrepreneurs, has a lot to do with it.”

  • Remington Storefront Challenge
    The Greater Remington Improvement Association and its partners, The Johns Hopkins University and Seawall are excited to announce the Remington Storefront Challenge. Up for grabs are two pop-up retail stores right next to R. House, in the heart of the inspiring Remington neighborhood. Challengers will be evaluated and narrowed down by a panel of judges made up of Remington residents, anchor institutions, and local business owners.

  • Remington Storefront Challenge
    Welcome to the neighborhood, Ulman Foundation, which just opened a new space on East Madison Street providing free housing for young adult cancer patients receiving treatment in Baltimore and their families.

  • The Ulman House opens
    Welcome to the neighborhood, Ulman Foundation, which just opened a new space on East Madison Street providing free housing for young adult cancer patients receiving treatment in Baltimore and their families.
Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: ClearMask is Improving Doctor-Patient Communication

Meet the Entrepreneur: ClearMask is Improving Doctor-Patient Communication


Inspired by a negative pre-surgery experience, Allysa Dittmar co-founded ClearMask to improve doctor-patient communication. Whereas traditional surgical masks hide doctors’ facial expressions and prevent the ability to read lips, the ClearMask provides a fully functional mask with full-face visibility.

As the company grows, it will look back at April 24 as a defining moment. That evening, the ClearMask team split into two to attend two pitch competitions, winning them both and $40,000. Within hours of collecting a $25,000 prize at the Social Innovation Lab’s Impact+Innovation Forum, it won $15,000 at Village Capital’s pitch competition at Gallaudet University. The funds will help the company move toward an NIH clinical trial, FDA approval, and product launch in 2019.

Below, members of ClearMask’s team — Dittmar (a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences alumnus), Aaron Hsu (a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine research assistant and alumnus of Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences), Elyse Heob (Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, Bloomberg School of Public Health, MBA/MPH candidate) and Inez Lam (Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D. candidate) — discuss their venture and the support it has received.

In a few words, what does your company do?

ClearMask: making healthcare more human.

What are your goals and how will you get there?

Elyse Heob: Our goal is to improve as many lives as possible with the masks. In 2018, we will finalize our mask design with Harbor Designs & Manufacturing in Baltimore and apply for FDA approval with mdPACE under TEDCO. Next step is selling the ClearMask on the market and getting our masks into hospitals everywhere!

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?

Aaron Hsu: We are excited to be developing the ClearMask in Baltimore. Baltimore is realizing its potential to be a major biotechnology and entrepreneurship hub, where there are vast amounts of Baltimore-centric resources and people dedicated to giving back and strengthening the community.

What’s truly unique is the intimate focus — with the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Maryland, TEDCO, and Harbor Designs and Manufacturing. We have taken advantage of opportunities to work closely with key individuals and expand our idea through an extremely supportive entrepreneurship community that is passionate for social change.

If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?

Elyse Heob: We believe that finding the right team of people is essential. You can have the best idea in the world, but the execution all comes down to the team’s leadership and management. It’s quite difficult to do everything on your own, and having a like-minded, trustworthy and reliable team is a tremendous asset. It helps to ensure that the team has its best interest at heart and that everyone works well together – clear communication is key!

What innovator do you look up to? Why?

Allysa Dittmar: Any innovator who embraces the concept of universal design. We need more products that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their age, ability or status. I particularly love Selwyn Goldsmith’s work, who was a pioneer in universal design and created the dropped curb, a feature that’s now widespread in our built environment and benefits everyone. Similarly, the ClearMask benefits many people, not just deaf and hard of hearing individuals. We all use facial expressions, language markers, and emotions when communicating with others.

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?

Allysa Dittmar: We’re usually together after hours and on the weekends as a team, and we love to go to Mt. Vernon Marketplace!

What’s your favorite non-work-related thing to do in Baltimore?

Allysa Dittmar: My favorite is to ride the water taxi on the Inner Harbor and visit the local farmers market on the weekends.

Aaron Hsu: I love to try new food and restaurants.

Elyse Heob: Baltimore Free Yoga!

Inez Lam: Attending local events (e.g. Artscape) and exploring new places!

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