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#StartupsVsCovid19: Google, Apple Team Up; TikTok Announces Global Fund On Day 18 Of Lockdown

#StartupsVsCovid19: Google, Apple Team Up; TikTok Announces Global Fund On Day 18 Of Lockdown

Apple, Google have jointly developed an app to contact track users

TikTok has pledged to contribute over $250 Mn around the world to support relief efforts

Healthian has launched drive-thru Covid-19 tests in Gurugram

On day 18 of the 21-day of lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government may extend the lockdown if necessary. Modi clarified that he is open to hold discussion with state heads and take in suggestions on how to effectively tackle the situation. Some states have independently announced extensions of lockdown.

Meanwhile, Inc42 hosted Paytm CEO and cofounder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in the fifth edition of our ‘Ask Me Anything’ series under the #StartupsVsCovid19 platform. Sharma touched upon the shift of online to offline during the lockdown, and the opportunities in the fintech industry post Covid-19.

Being in the fintech space, Sharma says that this is the time the classic curve in a journey where people who underwrite well will boom.

“So these are the days of building lending at a different scale unsecured lending. Companies that swing around to the opportunity of distributing unsecured loan and collecting them well, and underwriting them well will become the champions of tomorrow,” Sharma added.

In terms of payments, his core business product, Sharma answered a user saying that Paytm will soon enable offline mode payments. He expects that a lot of people will move to digital platforms inevitably, and there will be new user behaviours emerging from this. Sharma also talked about the recent new entries in the grocery industry.

Tech Giants Join The Fight

Day 18 of the 21 Day of Lockdown was definitely owned by private players jumping in with their tech solutions to make the situation easier to deal with. The biggest news of the day was definitely the rare collaboration between global tech giants Apple and Google, who rolled out a contact tracing smartphone app that will alert the users whenever they come in contact with Covid-19 patients.

The companies are also planning to release an API to allow the app to be linked with the apps developed by public health authorities. The companies have assured that the app is secure and gives utmost importance to users’ privacy and consent.

Meanwhile, Silicon-Valley-based non-profit global venture fund Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation flagged off the first day of its CODE19 Online Hackathon, which is aimed at finding tech solutions to deal with Covid-19. The three-day event hosted over 6K innovators and developers from across the world, including India. The winning innovation will be announced on April 21 and will be given the grant to develop it.

Ecommerce giant Flipkart has also announced its partnership with Tata Consumer Products to keep the grocery supply steady. Under this, Tata Consumer Products’ distributors will list themselves as sellers on Flipkart.

Healthcare Startups Join Testing Efforts

To bolster the testing efforts by government hospitals, Gurugram-based healthtech startup Healthians has flagged off three drive-thru Covid-19 testing centres in Gurugram. The drive-thru testing centre will offer non-contact, safe testing to ensure more tests are being conducted in a safer manner. The company is being supported by the municipal corporation of Gurugram.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad-based healthcare firm eKincare is offering online doctor consultations to employees of companies such as Grofers, Dunzo, Sony Pictures, Amul Dairy, and McKinsey, among others. The company will also offer medicine delivery, home sampling and free Covid-19 app-based screenings.

Chinese tech giant Bytedance-owned TikTok has pledged to contribute over $250 Mn around the world to support relief efforts as well as to fund creators and healthcare workers. The company will be contributing $150 Mn to local organisations funding medical workers, supplies and healthcare reliefs. $50 Mn in grants to educators and nonprofit educational content makers. $40 Mn to local organisations serving musicians, artists, nurses, and families.

Whereas Pune-based fitness startup FITTR has pledged to donate INR 5 Lakh every month till its feasible. Besides this, the company announced that it has donated INR 21 Lakh so far.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru-based Indian regional language social platform ShareChat has set aside INR 50 Mn in ad-credits to fund extensive outreach campaigns of the Aarogya Setu app set up by the government. The government had urged social media platforms to promote the app to enable contact tracing on a mass scale.

Meanwhile, Delhi-based foodtech startup Hoi Foods has come up with an innovated “Donate A Meal” initiative that allows customers to donate meals for daily wagers and the people work for them. So far, the company is serving close to 2K meals a day and plans on offering meals to over 50K daily wagers by the end of April.

Organic skincare products company Cosmeto Food has started manufacturing hand sanitisers and will be distributing them free of cost to government hospitals, police canteens and NGOs. The company is also distributing the sanitizers in the industrial areas of Narella, Kundli and Rai in Haryana.

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