One year of lockdown: Looking back at India’s battle against COVID-19 pandemic
Exactly a year ago, India went into a nationwide lockdown in an effort to minimise the spread of COVID-19. A decision that would forever change the way we work, travel, eat, study, and live.
And, the Indian startup ecosystem has been at the forefront of bringing about this change.
In April, a NASSCOMsurvey stated that about 70 percent of the startups had less than three months of cash runway due to the impact of COVID-19. But, the Indian startup ecosystem fought back, and investors diversified their portfolios to support startups with small ticket-size funding rounds.
YourStory MediaResearch reveals that Indian startups raised $9.4 billion across 881 deals from around 1,476 active investors in the ecosystem — only a minor drop from 2019.
As the lockdown forced educational institutes to shut down, edtech startups ensured continuity in learning by leveraging technology to make quality education accessible to all. On the other hand, social distancing led to a rise in loneliness, depression, and pandemic-induced anxiety. And to help people cope with isolation and more, several startups and NGOs stepped in to offer easier access to mental health services.
The lockdown led to reverse migration of many workers as they lost their “big-city” jobs, especially those with blue-collar jobs. Good Samaritans and welfare organisations rose to the occasion and helped the homeless, the unemployed, and those returning to their hometowns and villages with food, water, and shelter.
The pandemic also changed one thing — perhaps, for good. The digital economy, which had been only playing a supporting role until now, became mainstream.
Sectors like healthtech, edtech, fintech, OTT, etc., grew at an accelerated pace and are now playing a far greater role in our lives.
With the pandemic-induced restrictions and increased digitisation, work from home has become the norm. This has also necessitated the need for increased collaboration between teams. Capillary Technologies CTO Pravanjan Choudhary, Honeywell SPS India CTO Ajeya Motaganahalli, Innovaccer's Ankit Maheshwari, and Atlassian's Dinesh Ajmera discuss how technology is shaping the remote working narrative.
Editor’s Pick: 100X Entrepreneur
For Ghazal and Varun Alagh, starting Read more.stemmed from addressing a personal pain point. The parents were unable to find the right kind of products for their baby and were relying on importing them from outside of India. Realising that many parents faced similar issues, they started Mamaearth in 2016, which has now crossed an annualised revenue run rate of Rs 500 crore.
Ghazal Alagh and Varun Alagh, cofounders, Mamaearth
COVID-19 changed how people perceive personal hygiene and health. To help people adapt to the new normal, Kavin Kumar Kandaswamy and Raja Palanisamy launched MYPPE Wellness Service Pvt Ltd (better known as MY). The safe lifestyle startup designs and manufactures UV pocket sanitisers, UV tabletop sanitisers, antiviral face masks, scarves, and overalls to protect people from the pandemic. Read more.
Illustration: YS Design
News & Updates
- Fantasy sports unicorn startup Dream Sports, which owns Dream 11, has raised $400 million in a second investment led by TCV, D1 Capital Partners, and Falcon Edge. This round valued Dream Sports at $5 billion.
- Elon Musk today announced that customers can purchase Tesla vehicles with Bitcoin as payment. He said the Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, and will not be converted to fiat currency.
- Practo announces the launch of veterinary telemedicine services on its platform. As a part of these services, the company is partnering with licensed veterinarians across India to offer 24x7 online consultation services for pets.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman raised the limit for tax exemption on interest earned on provident fund contribution by employees to Rs 5 lakh per annum in specified cases from Rs 2.5 lakh proposed in the Budget.
- Swiggy has announced that it would bear the entire cost of the COVID-19 vaccination for its two-lakh plus delivery staff. It is also requesting authorities to prioritise delivery partners in the vaccination drive.
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