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#StartupsVsCovid19: From Essentials To Emergency, Startups Take The Onus On Day 20 Of Lockdown

#StartupsVsCovid19: From Essentials To Emergency, Startups Take The Onus On Day 20 Of Lockdown

90% of employees are concerned about exposure to coronavirus due to work travel

Google has launched a website dedicated to coronavirus updates in India

Zomato is planning to raise INR 10 Cr to help more than 100K delivery partners

Allow us a moment to take inspiration from the Ramayana reruns being aired on DD National these days, looks like Indians need to prepare to stay within the Lakshman Rekha of their homes for a couple of weeks longer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the country at 10 AM on the day 21 of the countrywide lockdown. There are a few reliefs expected in manufacturing and production of essentials, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

The pandemic has raised concerns for employees too, affecting their productivity. Udemy had conducted a survey to assess the thought process of employees and has found that 90% of employees are concerned about exposure to coronavirus due to work while 73% are very concerned. Clearly, offices won’t be getting back to their hustle and bustle anytime soon.

Further, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has appealed to the Government to enable digital onboarding of customers for all regulated non-banking financial services entities like Prepaid Instruments (PPI), Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), Lenders and others going forward to avoid physical interaction between the customer and the employees of the entity.

At the same time, Facebook has tied up with UNESCO to launch an online resource guide titled, ‘Supporting Education Communities: An Online Learning Resources Guide’. The online resource will guide education communities on how to collaborate and continue the learning process using Facebook products, tools and programs while also providing information related to COVID-19 from authentic sources. Currently, the guide is available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Kannada.

Further, Google has launched a website dedicated to coronavirus updates in India and tweaked its search engine and YouTube to prominently display authoritative information and locally relevant details about the pandemic from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Also, Hubhopper said that it has tied up with MyGov and the PMO as their official podcast platform partner. The users would be able to receive official coronavirus updates on the Corona Samwad Podcast as well as the PMO’s Mann Ki Baat Podcast on Hubhopper.

Bringing Essentials Closer To Home

As the home delivery of the essentials continues to see a surge in demand, PhonePe has added new filters under its Stores product— ‘currently operational’ and ‘home delivery’. The ‘Stores’ section on the PhonePe app lists all local kiranas in the customer’s vicinity, as per their current location.

Further, CoutLoot has also introduced an “Essentials” service category on its platform. The new category will leverage CoutLoot’s extensive offline seller network to safely deliver or self pick up of essential goods sold through its platform.

CoutLoot has listed several grocery shops, medical stores, Vegetable vendors etc. on its platform, allowing consumers within a 1-3 kilometre radius to place orders for an essential household by either picking them up from the store or getting them home delivered.

Ola And Uber Offer Emergency Services

Ola has tied up with Cloudnine Group of Hospitals to offer mobility services to its customers. This service will be available across all six Cloudnine centres in Bengaluru. Following the government’s advice, booking an Ola ride will remain restricted to essential visits to the hospital only.

It also an Ola Emergency feature on its app to enable essential medical trips on its platform in collaboration with the Government of Haryana. The new category will provide convenient, reliable and safe transport to citizens who need to access a hospital for medical purposes. Ola Emergency is available in Gurugram and users can book rides for over 100 hospitals.

Delhi Lockdown Impacts Ola, Uber Services Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Further, Uber also announced Uber Essential to facilitate essential travel for residents of Mumbai. In the coming days, the service will be extended to additional cities across India.

Uber is partnering with the city’s traffic police and has identified a select fleet of vehicles for pick-up and drop from and/or to city hospitals. All drivers have been issued curfew passes by local law enforcement authorities to ensure seamless movement to medical facilities.

Helping The Gig Economy

DigitalOcean has announced the launch of Hub for Good initiative where it will make $50,000 in cash donations to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, made up of 6 nonprofits. Further, it will offer $100K in infrastructure credits to not-for-profit projects related to Covid-19. It will also offer promotion and visibility for projects, virtual events, and hackathons through its channels.

Further, Zomato is planning to raise INR 10 Cr to help more than 100K partners, in addition to its other relief measures for affected partners and vendors.

Zomato Claims ‘Frenetic’ Growth In Tier 3-4 Cities Amid Controversies

In a blog post, Zomato said that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected the daily income of over 100K riders in around 350 cities across the country. As most of these delivery partners work on contractual bases, they depend on daily wages to earn a living.

Fashion platform LimeRoad has launched a new Financial Clinic to provide assistance to its seller partners who are currently facing financial challenges as a result of the uncertainty. The Clinic will focus squarely on its small and medium-scale sellers, essentially manufactures for the domestic market and exports, and provide them with solutions around a variety of issues including operational and fixed cost management, inventory and working capital management, access to short term credit etc.

Further, Berger Paints India Limited has come forward to help painting contractors tide over the crisis through financial assistance. The company has already started the process of transferring money directly into the bank account of the contractors who have been associated with the company. It intends to cover more than 20,000 contractors across India with this activity. More than 5000 painters have already been transferred money in their accounts last week.

Also, Housejoy said it has partnered with GiveIndia, an online donation platform that aims to channel and provide resources to credible, non-governmental organizations across India, for a campaign that aims to help provide a safety net to their network of daily wage workers facing the major brunt of Covid 19.

Also, Google chief Sundar Pichai has donated INR 5 Crore to Give India, matching Google’s earlier donation to the non-profit organisation for the coronavirus pandemic. “Thank you @sundarpichai for matching @Googleorg’s Rs 5 crore grant to provide desperately needed cash assistance for vulnerable daily wage worker families…,” Give India said in a tweet.

Food, Masks And Protective Shields

Footwear brand Bata has provided 1000 masks to EIC hospital and Batnagar police. It is also producing 2K face shields. Also, HCL in collaboration with Noida authority has set up a control centre to assist authorities in monitoring Covid-19 related queries.

Alpine Capital, Fosun RZ Capital, together with Fosun Foundation donated 20K Coronavirus testing kits to India. The medical supplies were received by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and passed the validation on Thursday, April 9. In addition, Fosun RZ Capital has also donated 5,000 medical masks in a prior shipment to Indian local hospitals, schools, etc.

Stanza Living said it has launched a food distribution drive to supply 5000 meals each week across Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Indore. Joining hands with local police authorities, the company will be providing meals to people stranded due to the lockdown and adversely impacted by the scarcity of resources.

Further, K Ganesh, serial entrepreneur and cofounder of Portea Medical, along with entrepreneurs including Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder, Paytm; Venkat Narayana, CEO, Prestige Group, and Juggy Marwaha of JLL and social servants of the KVN Foundation have conceptualized FeedMy Bangalore (FMB) along with the Oota Company and B2B food technology company Hungerbox. Starting small with 500 meals in Bengaluru, they have now served over 4.6 lakh meals, started operations in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Noida.