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#StartupsVsCovid19: India’s Tech Startups Join Forces To Fight Coronavirus

#StartupsVsCovid19: India’s Tech Startups Join Forces To Fight Coronavirus

The informal Founders vs Covid-19 group has now become a 600-member crew

The group is also trying to scale testing through telemedicine services

It has built various applications to help trace coronavirus patients and quarantined people

While much of India has just started to realise the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic as the country goes into lockdown, the Indian startup ecosystem had alerted about the need for such measures earlier this month.

Starting as a group of nearly 70 entrepreneurs and investors who had written to the government last week, the “Founders vs Covid-19” group has now become a 600-member crew which includes stakeholders from the healthcare sector, technology industry, the social sector and government. The collective has now transitioned into “Startups vs Covid-19” and is now fighting the coronavirus battle across multiple fronts.

The idea began with former Flipkart exec Mekin Maheshwari and now the group includes founders of Bounce, Homelane, Cred, Urban Company, BlackBuck, MyGate, 1mg, MapMyIndia as well as venture capitalists like Matrix Partners, Stellaris Venture Partners among others. The group had begun its work by writing to the government to enforce a lockdown and forcing citizens into a quarantine.

Now that that is in place, the group has added on several initiatives to help amid the crisis. From building apps to reduce transmission, such as contact tracing, reporting symptoms etc to targeted communications for COVID Literacy in multiple languages, the solutions are across sectors.

How Startups Are Fighting Covid-19

The group is also trying to scale testing through telemedicine, building multistage testing procedures, scaling the manufacturing of test kits and the healthcare infrastructure. Further, the group also planning for the path ahead which includes planning for Stage 3 of the pandemic or community transmission. The team has onboarded hotel chains to convert their free rooms into quarantine zones, and is working on scaling up the supply of ventilators and other medical equipment, masks, gloves and sanitisers.

The team is also working to provide supplies for healthcare professionals. It has also built various applications, such as a portal for citizens to report symptoms and a heatmap of the infection based on symptoms reported by doctors. A pilot for this will go live in partnership with the Karnataka government on March 26.

Finally, “Startups Vs Covid-19” has also onboarded healthcare professionals to devise a two-stage testing method which can enable them to test in higher numbers.  The goal is to create a pilot for a community of 10K tests first followed by larger testing of 100K. A two-pronged approach is followed to make it most effective given current resources and supply chain.