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Start-ups step up to tackle nationwide lockdown amidst coronavirus outbreak

A group of start-up founders numbering over 200 from India have come together to develop solutions to battle the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

Published: 26th March 2020 10:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2020 10:43 AM   |  A+A-

Thermal screening of passengers during lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Kolkata on Tuesday | Pti

By Express News Service

With India going into a massive lockdown to prevent the spread of rising Covid-19 cases, start-ups have begun offering their services in battling the virus. Many start-ups, from large operators like Paytm and Zomato to smaller companies, have either extended monetary assistance and support or send goods and services in helping contain the crisis and assist people in distress. Here is a look at what India's fledgling companies are doing in the fight against the pandemic:

Drone services in healthcare

Pune-based drone technology start-up FlytBase is offering free remote drone operations through its FlytNow Pro platforms to users involved in public health programmes working against Coronavirus. “Whether it’s helping the police manage lockdowns, providing situational awareness to first responders or supplying medicines to last-mile clinics, drones are likely to play an important role in helping mitigate the virus,” said Nitin Gupta, FlytBase CEO and founder.

Founders develop Q-app

A group of start-up founders numbering over 200 from India have come together to develop solutions to battle the spread of the Covid-19 infection. Calling themselves unofficially as founders against Covid, the group includes names like Mayank Bidawatka and Apremeya Radhakrishna co-founders of Vokal, Mekin Maheshwari, co-founder of Udhyam.org and several others. The group is developing an app called Quarantine app or Q-App, which will live track patients who are in home quarantine.

Online Hackathon

Another group of start-up founders have organised a digital hackathon to come up with solutions to tackle the disease. Initiated by Wingify founder Paras Chopra and the company's CEO Sparsh Gupta, the hackathon seeks to turn the capabilities of innovators, researchers and start-ups to collaborate with players from the healthcare community to build special projects that will minimise the impact of virus. The online hackathon was flagged off on March 22 and will continue to run till the pandemic is brought under control.

Employee Contingency Fund

Co-living company Stanza Living has set-up a dedicated Employee Contingency Fund, which is based on voluntary contribution from employees. Its employees across 10+ cities have come forward to pledge a part of their salaries to the fund, with co-founders pledging 50 per cent contribution to the fund collection. This fund has been set-up to cover basic medical expenses for any employee in need, in the unfortunate incidence of contraction of COVID-19.

Feeding daily wagers

Zomato is seeking Rs 25 crore for its fundraising campaign “Feed the daily wager” where it is aiming to provide daily essentials including food to construction workers, delivery boys, and daily wagers of transport, hotel industries who have been left stranded due to the lockdown. The food aggregator said it has partnered with various NGOs for providing food kits to daily wagers who have been affected by the lockdown.

Paytm commits Rs 5 crore

Digital payments major Paytm has also announced that it will be investing Rs 5 crore to help innovators and companies find solutions to tackle the potential shortage of clinical ventilators and other medical equipment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to burn across the world. "If you think that your innovation can help save lives, we are here to help you in every way possible. Please drop us a note with your contact details and enough information for us to act. You can reach us at — covidcure@paytm.com,” it said.

Rs 50 lakh from AngelList

The Indian arm of US-based online platform for start-ups -- AngelList — has committed an investment of Rs 50 lakh into start-ups that are working on possible solutions to deal with the pandemic. The investment will be made through The Collective, which is an India-focused fund launched in April 2019 and has been backed by several angel investors.



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