Covid19 Tech Impact
Latest updates & innovations, in-depth resources, live webinars and guides to help businesses navigate through the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on India's economy.
As the debate rages on about lighting candles and flashlights on Sunday for 9 minutes, the positive cases of coronavirus in the country have continued to surge fast. At the same time, Indian startups continue to wait for a relief package may come to an end soon.
In a meeting with startup ecosystem stakeholders on Friday, the commerce minister Piyush Goyal assured that a relief package for startups will be announced soon. The meeting was attended by industry stalwarts from venture capitalists from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, 3one4 Capital to entrepreneurs like Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal, Curefit founder Mukesh Bansal etc.
The idea was to discuss on the measures suggested by the players in a letter jointly written by many startups to the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying that the Covid-19 crisis threatens to destroy all of the progress and future potential of the startup ecosystem in a few months.
But even as the ecosystem waits for relief, hard decisions impacting employees have started to come. Fintech companies IndiaLends and CreditMate have asked employees to take pay cuts while founders also took salary cuts.
Gurugram-headquartered lending marketplace IndiaLends has asked some employees to opt for leave without pay and others to take steep pay cuts as it looks to navigate the current economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the lockdown.
Mumbai-based fintech startup CreditMate has cut salaries for employees and founders as the company tries to sort through the challenges of pandemic-induced lockdown and the RBI moratorium on term loan repayments.
However, pay cuts on the surface and intent are better options amid the ecosystem where layoffs are imminent. While over 130 companies appear to have laid off employees, there are a few confirmations from the company’s end.
This aside, the ecosystem continues to solve together towards the fight against Corornavirus crisis.
Startups Helping Startups
Payments gateway PayU has launched several innovative initiatives to help merchants, small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs amid Covid-19 lockdown. This includes an offer to build a free website for any merchant’s business with a built-in payment gateway and get 100% TDR waiver on the first INR 50,000 worth of business done via PayU.
The company has set up “Startups Helping Startups” platform to enable emerging businesses to take help from each other in these challenging times. With 32 partners such as Shopify, Zoho, Shopmatic, Verloop, Atlassian etc., startups can avail offers ranging from setting up ecommerce stores at INR 50 per month to the free web, app and Whatsapp Chatbots for customer support automation.
It has also partnered with Indifi to bring easy loans for merchants who need credit up to INR 50 Lakh to run their business smoothly.
Further, SaaS company Zoho has launched COVID-19 App Program and is offering to build free web and mobile apps to help communities around the world fight this pandemic. These solutions can cover a range of uses, like contact tracing, health equipment inventory tracking, or patient management. This program is not limited by geography and is fully non-commercial in nature.
Google has announced $6.5 Mn in funding to support fact-checkers and health authorities to counter Covid-19. The fund will come out of the Google News Initiative, which works with journalists and publishers globally to fight misinformation.
Getting The Essentials To Public
Beam Suntory India is partnering with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) to pledge INR 1 Cr to provide relief to thousands of staff of member restaurants and their families at this period of the lockdown. The company has launched a ‘learn and earn’ program to encourage bartenders to utilize their time at home effectively by taking up online training modules.
Marico has tied up with foodtech companies Swiggy and Zomato to deliver essential food items to consumers during the lockdown period. Under this partnership, Swiggy and Zomato would deliver essential food items under the Marico portfolio which includes Saffola Oils, Saffola Plain Oats, Saffola Masala Oats and Coco Soul Virgin coconut oil, at doorsteps of the customers.
This service is available on Zomato in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru. It will be activated in other cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Ahmedabad from next week. While Swiggy stores have started the delivery in Gurugram, the service in Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Mumbai will begin this weekend.
The government of Punjab has launched an on-demand delivery of essential goods and groceries through its COVA app. Vendors can easily list themselves and their delivery platforms on the COVA app to get a pass to continue with their services.
Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) through member hotels has voluntarily offered the government access to over 45K hotel rooms from across the country. The rooms have been set aside to quarantine inbound tourists who may require quarantining as well as for others who are stuck in the country because of the travel ban.
Rajasthan’s Frontier Markets has been granted permission to deliver across rural location through its assisted ecommerce platform that connects rural customers to high quality, life-improving products and services. The company said it has recruited, trained, and deployed a network of over 3K rural women across four states in India to support customers in making purchases. It will start the first 10K deliveries on Monday, and scale that to 300K by the end of the month.
Donations Pour In Towards PM-CARES
Aditya Birla Group has announced INR 400 Cr donation to the PM-CARES Fund, INR 50 Cr to FICCI-Aditya Birla CSR Centre for Excellence for COVID-19 relief measures, and INR 50 C to supply ventilators, masks and protective equipment.
Nestle India has announced an initial grant of INR 15 Cr to provide food and essential groceries to the needy amid the coronavirus lockdown. It would also support the purchase of medical equipment for hospitals to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hyundai Motor India Foundation (HMIF), the CSR arm of Hyundai Motors India, said it will contribute to PM CARES Fund and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. The foundation said it is also preparing to provide the Indian medical fraternity with much needed protective and patient care equipment. It will also provide 25K advanced COVID-19 diagnostic kits imported from South Korea, which have a very high level of accuracy.
SHEIN India, in association with Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, has pledged to donate 100K 3 Ply Surgical Masks for the safety and health of the medical staff on the frontline of the pandemic.