Covid19 Tech Impact
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With the number of positive cases of coronavirus crossing the 5,000 mark in India, India’s healthcare ecosystem needs every helping hand they can get. Tech startups that are working to solve major issues are being backed by the Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) comprised of startup founders, VCs and enablers.
The ACT has set up an INR 100 Cr grant to invest in innovative ideas of startups that have the potential to combat Covid-19. These ideas should be capital-efficient and scalable.
So far the grant has invested in six promising startups which are solving challenges like shortage of medical equipment like diagnostic kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Additionally, a startup providing healthcare services in remote areas has also received grants from ACT.
Any startup working on a scalable solution can send proposals through actgrants.in. The corpus does not have a strict deadline and it’ll be disbursed in the span of two to four months. “Initially, the fund will invest around INR 25 Lakh to INR 1 Cr, depending on the need. Once, the startup scales up, ACT will double down the grants,” Urban Company’s CEO and confounder Abhiraj Bhal, who is also a member of ACT, had said previously.
Here are the six startups which received grants from ACT
Most of the countries are following the South Korean model to curb coronavirus in their countries. But how did South Korea managed to flatten the curve while others struggled?
The answer lies in testing more thoroughly and Pune-based MyLab is the first indigenous Covid-19 testing kit manufacturer of India. MyLab secured INR 1 Cr from the ACT grant and the group is also helping the company solve supply-chain issues.
Founded in 2016, MyLab has created a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kit which is manufactured domestically, has a local supply chain and is approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The kit developed by the company is said to be cheaper than international counterparts.
Currently, India is facing a huge shortage of ventilators. As per rough estimates, India has around 40K ventilators with many of them even not in working conditions. With the number of coronavirus cases increasing each day, the demand for ventilators is going to increase in the near future and 40K of them might not prove to be sufficient enough.
To meet the demand of ventilators, Bengaluru-based Ethereal Machines provides a ventilator splitter uniquely designed for managing two patients with varying needs via differential pressure splitting. The device also helps in preventing cross-contamination between paired patients.
Simple splitters are increasingly being used in countries such as the US, Spain, and Italy. With an innovative design, Ethereal is able to increase the effectiveness of a ventilator while decreasing some of the risks of simple splitters. ACT has provided INR 50 Lakh to the startup.
Personal protective equipment or PPEs are the first line of defence for doctors and health workers treating coronavirus patients. As of now, the country is going through a massive shortage of PPEs.
To overcome the shortage, Sonam Motwani led Karkhana.io is using technologies like 3D printing, injection moulding, machining, fabrication, and design facility to manufacture PPEs at large scale.
Some of the equipment manufactured by Mumbai-based Karkhana.io are face shields, aerosol boxes, and goggles. The startup is also offering tools to help others manufacture PPEs and other ICU equipment such as valves, connectors, and ventilator parts. The startup has received INR 20 Lakh from ACT.
In India, neither the central government nor the state authorities have live data systems which track the total number of admissions in hospitals at the unit level on the ground or aggregate level at village panchayat, district, or state level.
However, Kerala has finally got such a dashboard, thanks to the CoronaSafe Network team which includes many web developers who are working for this noble cause. The project is implemented in Kerala with by a group of professional volunteers. Chief ministers office (CMO) of Kerala is also backing the project. As of now, CoronaSafe Network has received a grant of INR 50 Lakh from ACT.
Similar to Karkhana, Fashinza is also working to meet the shortage of PPEs in the country. Founded by Abhishek Sharma and Pawan Gupta, Fashinza is providing a scalable demand-supply matching platform for all PPEs.
The startup does so by connecting PPE manufacturers with third-party logistic providers to meet the shortage of raw materials. Fashinza also enables the production of complete PPE kits by taking help from more suppliers in areas of shortage. ACT has given a grant of INR 20 Lakh to Fashinza.
In a unique arrangement, Qikwell’s cofounder Raghavendra Prasad, Times Internet’s Rahul Gupta, cofounder of Pregbuddy Subhadeep Mondal, and Recotap’s founder Ganesh Chithambalam have come together to provide a cloud telephony solution to several state governments.
The service helps keep state-owned Covid-19 helpline numbers running even when the number of calls increases. The team is also helping some telemedicine startups to connect doctors with patients from remote areas For this solution, ACT has invested INR 25 Lakh in the Covid-19 Helpline team.