Launched by a group of prominent Indian startup founders and investors in early March 2020 to help businesses and individuals tackle pandemic-induced challenges, the Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) now plans to raise INR 500 Cr philanthropic fund over the next two years to back solutions that generate social impact across education, healthcare, environment and women’s participation in the workforce.
ACT had started off by setting up an INR 100 Cr fund to support innovators working on solutions to control the spread of Covid-19. With this, the startup community issued grants to 54 startups, which are solving challenges like shortage of medical equipment, helping in monitoring the situation, providing mass and affordable testing solutions, and more.
Some of these startups were Housejoy, Cloudphysician, InnAccel, Qure.ai, 1mg, Drone Maps, ePsyclinic, Healthians, ImpactGuru, Karkhana.io, Nocca Robotics and more. The group also focused on mental health initiatives by betting on Mind Paper, Aatma Prakash and I Am.
Overall, ACT has funded about 100 projects, impacting 49 Mn lives across 27 states.
“We are now making this bigger, expanding the scope beyond healthcare with the aim to empower everyone who wants to make a difference – be it through time, talent or resources,” said Prashanth Prakash, founding partner of Accel and Investment Committee Member at ACT.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s India head Nachiket Mor is heading the leadership team for ACT Grants. Several big investment firms and startup founders had also joined in on this initiative. Some of the prominent names in the list are Lightspeed, Kalaari, Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners), Sequoia, Matrix, Omidyar Network India, Nexus, Accel, Chiratae, and Blume Ventures, along with OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CRED’s Kunal Shah, Freshworks’ Girish Mathrubootham, Dream11’s Harsh Jain, Unacademy’s Roman Saini, BookMyShow’s Ashish Hemrajani and others.
Additionally, InfoEdge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Nova Speciality Hospitals’ Mahesh Reddy, and Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani also joined the ACT.