Kirsten Curtis is a supply chain expert, Principal at a private equity firm, former CEO and COO of technology companies as well as a National Karate Champion. With a Masters in Engineering in Supply Chain Logistics from MIT, as well as an undergraduate degree from Stanford, Kirsten has been COO of a Cyber Security Company, VP of Operations at a Consumer Goods Company, and Head of Supply Chain at a Restaurant Company. She also speaks five languages. This is what she told me today:
"During the past three weeks, William Scriven and I have teamed up to assist our country in this time of national crisis. We quickly mobilized a team of about 10 other people, and together we are working to bridge the gap between PPE suppliers and hospitals. Given my supply chain background and Will’s power network, we have been working with hospitals across the country (NYC, Boston, Detroit, LA, etc.) and suppliers around the world (US, China, the UAE, Mexico, etc.) One of the interesting things that we’re finding is that we don’t so much have a shortage of supply of medical PPE, but rather a mismatch between supply and demand. There are several reasons for this, but one of the largest issues we are seeing in the market place right now is that suppliers are demanding payments of 50% to 100% up front to fund their working capital needs, but buyers don’t want to pay until the product is received and verified, given the amount of fraudulent products in the market and shady characters who are cropping up. Additionally, given the frenzied need for medical supplies, distributors and suppliers are selling out of product in a matter of hours, often faster than it takes for a hospital to issue a PO. As such, suppliers are saying they have inventory, hospitals need product, but without alignment on payment terms, and the ability to act at lightning speed, product isn’t flowing properly. This opens up an opportunity for financiers who can act quickly and are willing to bear the risk that the suppliers they are backing are legitimate and will ship the product. Will and I are working on creating such a financial vehicle / product that can assist to bridge this gap." Kirsten bless you and Will for your expertise and the way you are applying it during this crisis.