Startup ClearMask scores $40,000 in prize winnings


Startup ClearMask had a successful week, winning $40,000 across two separate events.

The startup received $25,000 as the winner of the cohort prize at the Social Innovation Lab’s annual Impact+Innovation Forum. ClearMask participated in the Social Innovation Lab and was awarded based on peer evaluations by the other members of the 2017-18 cohort.

“Throughout their time with the Social Innovation Lab, the ClearMask team has never hesitated to support other startups and members of the SIL cohort,” Alex Riehm, director of the Social Innovation Lab, said in a statement. “This environment is exactly what SIL does best, and I’m happy to have shared this with ClearMask.”

Also Tuesday night, ClearMask won $15,000 at the Village Capital’s pitch competition at Gallaudet University. At the last minute, the judges increased the first place prize from $5,000.

ClearMask is the first full-face transparent surgical mask. It is designed to improve visibility for facial expressions of health-care providers. The mask improves communication, especially for deaf and hard of hearing patients and care providers.

Alyssa Dittmar, the company’s co-founder, is deaf and developed the idea after an experience in which she was unable to communicate with her surgeons.