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How This 24-Year-Old Entrepreneur Pulled Off a Coronavirus Pivot Before His Company Even Launched

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When the Coronavirus struck the U.S. in January, 24-year-old Dakota Hendrickson was just weeks away from launching his nanofiber HVAC air filter startup, Filti. Suddenly making filters for facemasks became an even better idea.

"I will not forget the minute we flipped [the website] on," says Hendrickson. It was March 27 at around 10:30 a.m. "In a couple of days, I had 2,000 emails in my inbox," he says.

The experience since has been nothing short of dizzying--and par for the course for any company in the business of selling personal protective equipment (PPE) these days. While live events companies and restaurants have been hamstrung (or worse) by the pandemic, the businesses that make PPE or that have transitioned to producing different protective garments have been buoyed by the unfortunate turn.

Indeed, the market for PPE, which includes facemasks, gowns, and face shields, is expected to top $80 billion by 2026, up from more than $50 billion in 2019, according to a July report from researcher Global Market Insights.

That growth is apparent at Filti. The Kansas City, Missouri-based company has shipped more than 325,000 square meters of bulk facemask material and around three million standalone mask inserts. On average, one square meter can yield about 25 to 40 facemasks. Filti booked roughly $2 million in sales from the material in its first 45 days of operation and has grown 190 percent in the past 90 days.

The idea for Filti originally........

© Inc.com

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