How a tiny 3D printing startup became a critical supplier of face shields

April 9, 2020

source: Fast Company

Just two weeks ago, John Carrington was looking at the stock market’s collapse, mulling which of his 20-person staff to lay off, and seeing investors bail on another round of funding.

Today, his whole life has been upended. His company, ZVerse, a maker of 3D-printing software in Columbia, South Carolina, is one of the most important players in the battle against the pandemic, producing millions of reusable face shields for major hospital systems, municipalities, and the U.S. Veterans Administration. Carrington is hiring dozens of new employees to keep up with the demand, raising millions from investors, and having tearful conversations with desperate healthcare workers and relatives of victims.

Amid the apocalyptic economic news—tens of millions newly unemployed and the vast majority of small businesses shut down and facing potential bankruptcy—some companies have pivoted in ways that meet the urgent healthcare needs of the moment. Their bootstrap remedies are essential, but they also illustrate how unprepared the country has been for such a pandemic, with stories abounding of price gouging and supply chain bottlenecks.

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