Action COVID-19 Team Grants steps up again to battle COVID-19

ACT Grants is now enabling a supplement medical workforce, and also sourcing oxygen concentrators from abroad. Its latest mission is to raise Rs 75 crore to help India fight COVID-19.

Action COVID-19 Team (ACT) Grants stepped up its efforts last week to support hospitals across India by enabling a supplement medical workforce, and sourcing oxygen concentrators from abroad.

ACT is a social change movement involving India’s startup ecosystem to enable changemakers who use their time, talent, and resources to mobilise solutions to fight the pandemic.

It was set up last March to minimise the impact of COVID-19 by raising Rs 100 crore from 34 founders and leaders, 44 funds, and 37 strategic partners. It now has a base of 100 volunteers, apart from a five-member COVID-19 Prospecting Team.

In its latest mission, ACT Grants set up a payment link late last night, enabled by RazorPay, for corporates and institutional donors as part of its plan to raise Rs 75 crore ($10 million), according to a tweet by Tejeshwi Sharma, Principal at Sequoia Capital. “We have already raised 50 crore to commit to Oxygen solutions, vaccinations and home healthcare. Let's make it count!” Sharma tweeted earlier today. 

So far, Raise Financial Services CEO Pravin Jadhav has pledged $50,000 to ACT Grants, as has CoinSwitch Kuber, which pledged $1 million. “I encourage all start-ups to contribute in whatever ways possible,” tweeted Ashish Singhal, CEO of CoinSwitch Kuber.

ACT Grants, with Omidyar Network and Wadhwani Foundation, has already given wings to StepOne, the largest doctors volunteer group to fight COVID-19. In the past week, StepOne has come forward to mobilise home healthcare personnel in an effort to reduce the burden on hospital infrastructure.

In the past three days, ACT has also been working to enhance the availability of oxygen concentrators, which are medical devices that concentrate oxygen from ambient air. It is mapping out hospitals in dire need of oxygen concentrators on the demand side while aggregating a network of suppliers of oxygen concentrators from outside India.

“We are urgently looking for avenues to import Oxygen Concentrators into India,” tweeted Shailendra Singh, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital, on Saturday. The effort will prove crucial as India prepares to have an infrastructure for 2.7 million active COVID-19 cases.

During the first wave of COVID-19, ACT evolved into a philanthropic fund that funded 54 startups and more than 100 projects in 27 states.

It seeks to award grants to tech-driven companies that can scale against COVID-19. It also wants to connect companies to local, state and national governments, and NGOs fighting COVID-19, and help companies scale by bringing together networks, startups and additional grants, according to ACT Impact Report 2020.

Institutional donors can act here.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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