Indian startups fight COVID-19

As India reels under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, startups have again risen to the occasion to help Indians at this wanted hour.

As India reels under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, startups have again risen to the occasion to help Indians at this wanted hour. 

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

Set up last March to minimise the impact of COVID-19, it raised 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.

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 Rs 50 crore to commit to Oxygen solutions, vaccinations and home healthcare. Let's make it count!” the tweet read. 

In fact, foodtech unicorn Zomato kickstarted the “Help Save My India” mission through its not-for-profit arm Feeding India in association with Delhivery to source oxygen concentrators and related supplies to help hospitals and families in need.

In Maharashtra, one of the worst-hit states in India, Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala’s Swadesh Foundation is working with the District of Raigad to promote COVID-19-appropriate behaviour across more than 1,000 villages for vaccination and more. 

The Interview

One of the earliest social media platforms to go mainstream, Twitter is used widely by entities, ranging from the government, corporates, entrepreneurs, and influencers to communicate effectively. In 2020, with most of us locked indoors, Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari said the purpose of the microblogging site became a source of information and engagement in public conversations. 

And it still holds true amidst a raging second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. At present, Twitter has become the go-to resource centre for oxygen cylinders, life-saving injections, hospital beds, home-cooked meals, and more.

Editor’s Pick: Women in Tech

From a young age, Katya Ivanova was good at both languages and mathematics, which made her university degree choice hard, and she had quite a wide variety of specialities to choose from. However, she never studied STEM until she started working at Acronis. Her actual knowledge and qualifications in STEM came with a practice that she secured through work. She believes Acronis is her real alma mater. In a conversation, Katya, the VP – Worldwide Inside Sales, Acronis, talks of her career journey, the challenges of working during a pandemic, and her future plans. Read more

Startup Spotlight

How MultiLiving is disrupting Indian rental housing industry

Driven by an increase in the number of migrants from rural, Tier I, Tier-II, and Tier-III towns to the urban and metropolitan areas for occupational and education purposes, Indian residential rental space is now at an influx, attracting a large number of entrepreneurs to experiment and find solutions for the existing gaps. One such entrepreneur is Pankaj Singh, who founded Mumbai-based proptech startup MultiLiving that offers curated apartments with tech-assisted home management and hospitality services for a hassle-free living experience. Read more

News & Updates

  • The Indian Railways announced that over 5,601 train coaches were converted to Covid Care Centres. Presently, a total of 3,816 coaches are available for use, which can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the Covid Care Centres.

Before you go, stay inspired with… 

Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder and Chairman, UpGrad

“On a narrow level, Swadesh Foundation, which has been working on reverse migration for five years, had over 95,000 migrants to work with. It was a problem of massive and plenty that wasn’t triggered for the right reasons. It meant we needed to work around different levels to ensure they have a life in their hometowns. Whether it is creating jobs, ensuring good education facilities and jobs.”

Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder and Chairman, upGrad, and Founder trustee, Swades Foundation

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