The startup scene was riding the success wave until the first quarter of 2020. Then came the sad tales of no funding, lack of activity and of course the lockdown. While startups that were into the digital arena made a killing, those that depended on events and lifestyle arena crashed. Meanwhile, WeHub seems to have used the Covid-19 to tick off actionable items from their To-Do list
WE Hub rocked the Covid season
Covid-19 was an unexpected jolt to the startup sector, but considering most startups are based on new ideas, we all adapted to fast to the ‘new normal’. The startups in the ecosystem revisited their business ideas, took to product pivots and remodelled it to suit the current needs and also realised the need to stay lean to be able to stop from falling harder. Instead of general webinars, we took actionable steps for our startups. We at WE Hub, for example, focussed on helping our members remodelling some of the products. We got the founder of the startup called Sweet Tooth, which was into gourmet desserts in Hyderabad, to start making essentials like daily needs and connected her entity to multiple hyperlocal delivery players. It not just saved jobs but made her expand her business to be able to scale to employ more people and expand her unit as a new product vertical was created. Then Radius, an edutech company which was primarily into designing hardware components which can digitalise any blackboard, focus on Octa, a video conferencing platform. We ourselves use this product here. WE Hub also waived off three-month rentals to the entrepreneurs. WE Hub is also working on funding mechanisms including a debt funding facility for the MSME and rural entrepreneurs.
DEEPTHI RAVULA, CEO - WE Hub
Digital switch helped us do well
Every situation has two sides — the opportunities and shortcomings — and I think this pandemic is an excellent time for any entrepreneur to capitalise on. Firstly, since the pandemic is a global phenomenon, your app has every chance of going viral. Despite many industries going bust in the last 100 days, the only platform that has remained unaffected is the internet. Earlier, digital transaction was an option for people, but now, it’s a necessity. Any person who is updated with the market can create a product which can be an overnight success. Our app, MYNYFY, lets you buy a product after comparing the prices offered by sellers in an area. Any shop can display their products on our app and connect to buyers all over the city.
KIRAN VAKA, co-founder, MyNyFy
Will have to wait for 2021 for tide to turn
The Covid-19 affected majority of the startups. Service startups like food, retails and others were not affected much but event management, performing arts venues and community-related organisations and startups were widely affected. I have my own startup called Unekha. It is a global platform for the creators and connects them to the largest on-demand creative community in the world. We developed our website platform to connect with other global creators like a social networking platform for talent. Due to Covid-19, the scheduled events like exhibits, meet-ups and other offline events got cancelled and resulted in huge losses in the past three months. In my opinion, even the startups which are awaiting the funding may have to wait until the situation get better. I don’t think there will be any community events or gatherings for the next six months. Food, retail and grocery and other essential goods startups are making hay while Covid-19 shines. Luckily, I managed to get a job now and will be organising online workshops or promoting others.
PRASHANTH JOGIRALLA, Founder of Unekha
60K downloads and counting
The pandemic, fortunately, has been good for us. In six months, we have seen 60,000 downloads of our app, which is a platform for children to try out simple exercises at home. With kids missing out on their daily outdoor activities, they are resorting to other means to keep themselves occupied. One of the challenges brought by the Covid-19 outbreak is that employees are stressed because of the health scares brought by the pandemic. Working from a physical office gives employees a space to socialise and lessen their anxiety level. However, in this situation, we can only stay positive and hope for the best.
PRATHIMA KOPPOLU, co-founder of Fitb.ee
Helped us to digitally innovate
OxyLoans.com is a peer to peer lending platform and our business involves both digital and physical efforts. However, 80% of our work is digital, unless we do physical verification of borrower, we can’t reach 100%. RBI has given Video KYC as a new channel. Covid-19 helped us turn towards 100% digital innovation. During COVID-19, we have also helped borrowers who are into farming and products trading.
KRISHNA THATAVART Founder & CEO of OXYLOANS