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#StartupsVsCovid19: Swiggy, Zomato Take New Measures As Startups Seek Relief Package On Lockdown Day 8

#StartupsVsCovid19: Swiggy, Zomato Take New Measures As Startups Seek Relief Package On Lockdown Day 8

Startups founders have urged finance minister to announce a bailout package

Swiggy is distributing food and essentials to lockdown-affected daily wagers

Zomato has launched Zomato Market to delivery groceries

For the first time ever, the number of coronavirus positive cases registered in a single day crossed the 300 mark on the eighth day of the lockdown, indicating that more rough times are waiting ahead. In addition, the revenue and cash flow stress on many startups is also rising by the day.

In times likes these, startups are facing major challenges in operating their business, looking at options such as layoffs, salary cuts, and even winding up the business. In a letter jointly written by many startups to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, startups urged the government to announce a bailout package for the startups as soon as possible

They said that Covid-19 crisis threatens to destroy all of the progress and future potential of the startup ecosystem in a few months. “Unfortunately, our startup companies across the nation are inherently young, less resilient, and most vulnerable. Many of them face likely devastation during this extraordinary economic downturn,” the letter read.

Startups Lend A Helping Hand

Although startups are facing major disruptions, they are still aiming to do what it takes to help those severely affected by the lockdown. For instance, in a unique initiative, food delivery platform Swiggy is helping restaurant-partners and daily wage labourers.

Swiggy has taken up the initiative to deliver food and essentials to daily wage workers from partner restaurants which are also at the risk of shutting down due to lack of revenue. It claims to be helping thousands of kitchen workers, waiters, and chefs to earn a living in these times. The initiative is launched in partnership with Milaap.

Swiggy’s rival Zomato has now added grocery delivery services amid the huge surge in demand for home deliveries for fresh produce and staples. The Zomato Market service is now live on the Zomato app and is displayed prominently before the food delivery listings.

Also, fintech platform Cred is aiming to help over 500K frontline healthcare professionals in the battle against Covid-19. The company has launched an “Every hero deserves a mask” programme, under which Cred users can donate masks by redeeming their reward points.

Meanwhile, fintech major PhonePe has launched a coronavirus hospitalisation insurance policy named “Corona Care” in partnership with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. The policy is priced at INR 156 with an insurance cover of INR 50K for a person aged under 55 years. It is said to be valid at all hospitals offering coronavirus treatment. It covers 30 days of expenses related to pre-hospitalisation costs and post-care medical treatment.

Besides Indian startups, Bytedance-owned TikTok is also committing to donate INR 100 Cr worth of medical equipment to healthcare professionals in the country. TikTok will provide around 400K hazmat medical protective suits and 200K masks to doctors and other medical staff who are in regular contact with positive cases of Covid-19.

Supporting Remote Working

According to a recent report by job listing platform Indeed, job seekers across the country are showing more interest in working remotely amid the Covid-19 crisis. The report added that job seekers are increasingly searching for terms like ‘remote’, ‘work from home’ and related phrases. Overall, the searches for remote work have increased by over 261% on Indeed India since February 2020.

To help businesses overcome challenges in remote working, US-based edtech platform Udacity, in partnership with freelance job listing platform Upwork, has launched a free course to promote best practices for remote team management as many companies are working remotely for the first time.

Besides this, Cloud-based training provider Cyberbit has announced that a $100K worth free, remote cybersecurity training to help organisations maintain training continuity for their information security teams.

Financing The Covid-19 Battle

In prolonged crisis situations like these, financial support is crucial to keep the battle going.

On day eight, fitness platform has committed to donating INR 4 Cr to help India’s battle against coronavirus. While the company will contribute INR 2 Cr, cofounders Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori will donate INR 1 Cr. The management team is also contributing INR 1 Cr to the cause. These contributions will be given across PM Care Fund, ACT Grant Fund and other non-profits.

Further, online poker platform Adda52 has decided to donate the money collected during ‘Falcom’ tournament to PM-CARES Fund. The new tournament was launched on the platform from March 27 to April 1.

Asset reconstruction company Arcil has pledged an amount of INR 1.5 Cr towards India’s fight against Covid-19. It has donated INR 1 Cr to PM-CARES Fund, INR 25 Lakh to Maharashtra CM relief fund and INR 25 Lakh will be reserved to back future preventive measures.

Even large enterprises have joined the fundraising and donation causes. Wipro Limited, Wipro Enterprises and Azim Premji Foundation have committed INR 1125 Cr towards the current health and economic crisis. The fund will support frontline medical and healthcare professionals as they strive to keep up with the rising number of cases.

Innovations Taking On Covid-19

While some startups have provided their support monetarily, others are also coming contributing to the larger good of the society by driving innovations aimed at solving coronavirus-driven problems.

  • Chennai-based SaaS major Zoho has launched a Covid-19 dashboard to offer a source of reliable information for everyone. The dashboard has been created using Zoho Analytics for the dashboard.
  • Mumbai-based ecommerce platform CoutLoot has introduced a “free-sell” model. Using this, offline retailers of essential products can now sell their products online and ensure a steady flow of income in a hassle-free manner.
  • SaaS provider Kissflow has launched a Covid-19 self-assessment tracker, an application that helps organisations to periodically check whether the employees are showing symptoms of the disease. The app sends employees a list of risk assessment questions that helps individuals to understand the symptoms and take appropriate medical care.
  • In response to the government’s recent regulatory nod to telemedicine platforms, Meddo Health has launched a teleconsultation platform for free. Meddo will offer free consultations from general physicians and specialists to all citizens.
  • Mobile scanning app CamScanner is providing access to its premium subscription to teachers and students for free till June 30, 2020. Using the application, teachers or students can share scanned documents online without any restrictions.
  • Chennai-based meat selling startup TenderCuts has introduced contactless selling of products at the retail stores. Under ‘Contactless Retail’, a customer can place the order on the app and can book a time slot to pick up the order from the store.

Following the directives of the Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai-based SME lending platform U GRO Capital has approved a three-month moratorium on loan repayments. The decision was taken by the company’s board of directors on March 30, 2020, through a video conference.