COVID-19 Pandemic: Startups Giving Back In A Time Of Crisis

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Unfortunately, since the coronavirus pandemic has escalated, we’ve written a lot about startups that have had to lay off employees.

Those stories are as painful for us to write as they are for you to read. But there is some encouraging news to share.

Last week, I reported on startup Better.com’s goal to hire laid off hospitality workers (like 150 a month) to help it meet increased demand for its digital lending offering. I also covered Pager and hims & hers’ boosting their telehealth offerings to help alleviate the strain on the current health care infrastructure.

Over the weeks, I’ve also received tons of emails about companies trying to give back to their communities, or help laid off workers, or just help people in general during this unsettling and (very) scary global health crisis.

While we can’t cover them all, here’s a roundup of some of those efforts. Keep in mind this is a live document that we’ll keep adding to over time so keep checking back.

SparkCognition

Austin-based AI startup SparkCognition (which raised $100 million in a Series C financing last October) is working with UT Dell Medical School and a group of other organizations to 3D print and donate masks for an initiative called COVID-19 ATX Exchange (created by UT Dell Med). These masks will be distributed to healthcare workers and essential personnel who would otherwise be low on the priority list for masks around the Austin community.

The startup is also donating its compute power (such as spare computers and servers at the office) to Folding@home, a crowdsourcing project to research COVID-19, with the goal to discover the virus’s vulnerabilities.

Give InKind

Seattle-area female-founded startup platform Give InKind aims to enable volunteers across the country to organize efforts and allow communities to come together to donate tens of thousands of meals to their local hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus. More details can be found here.

Juni Learning

Edtech startup Juni Learning says it is actively hiring hundreds of university students as instructors for its online learning platform for kids. The San Francisco-based company says that over the past month it has seen a 400 percent increase in new student signups for its online math and coding classes, which are taught live online by university students from colleges around the country including Stanford, Berkeley and The University of Texas.

The startup is also donating $150,000 in tuition waivers to families of hospital workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 who can’t be home to help with their children’s education. The goal is to allow their children to take advantage of Juni’s newly launched small group classes, known as Juni Team Sessions, which are available for students ages 11-18.

Optimus Ride

The Boston-area fully-electric autonomous shuttle company, repurposed its fleet serving a California retirement community to deliver food to seniors who can no longer leave their homes.

Alto Pharmacy

San Francisco-based Alto Pharmacy has launched a program to pick up donations of critical PPE (masks, gloves, and more) and get them to hospitals in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Seattle.  In just over a week, Alto coordinated nearly 100 donation pickups with more than 3,600 masks, 13,000 gloves, goggles, and cleaning supplies with delivery to area hospitals. Any individual within the areas that Alto covers in the Bay Area, Seattle,  Los Angeles and Orange County can fill out a form to request a donation pickup from Alto.

Elementor

Tel Aviv-based Elementor has rolled out a new marketplace platform, Elementor Experts, that allows its subscribers to offer up their skills, expertise and project portfolios as freelance developers, designers and marketers in the era of COVID-19.

The platform is still in beta mode, but Elementor sped up its launch to happen ahead of schedule to help the number of people who have been laid off in recent weeks.

Awake Security

The Santa Clara-based startup is offering 60 days of free access to its network traffic analysis platform to hospitals and healthcare organizations to help identify ransomware and other cyber threats from slowing the COVID-19 response.

Procore

Construction management software unicorn Procore Technologies (which recently filed to go public) is providing current customers the opportunity to access the Procore platform and customer support for their work on COVID-19 emergency relief construction projects at no additional cost. Announced in early April, the Carpinteria, California-based company’s goal is to help accelerate the construction of COVID-19-related emergency relief facilities.

Procore customers can visit its website to learn more about the program and to submit their COVID-19 emergency relief project for consideration.

Flip

New York-based Flip’s offering allows people to show and view apartments without having to come into contact with other people. Flip is making this existing feature available to landlords, brokers and tenants who need to get out of their lease at no cost.

Revolution Foods

Revolution Foods is working with school districts and charter school networks across the country to ensure school children, especially students on a free or reduced lunch program, continue receiving healthy meals at home. Learn more and contact the Revolution Foods team with your emergency food plan here.

The Oakland-based company has raised over $138 million from the likes of Revolution (the VC firm co-founded by Steve Case).

Mint House

Tech-enabled hospitality startup Mint House (which raised a $15 million Series A last May) is offering up to 50 percent off long-term reservations for those who need a place to work or stay during this time of uncertainty. If you or anyone you know has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and is in need of accommodations, they are encouraged to reach out to the New York-based company at sales@minthouse.com or 1–855–972–9090 for additional information.

K4Connect

This Raleigh, North Carolina-based startup has developed a solution to help create smart senior living communities. The K4Connect team has created a weekly newsletter series—the COVID-911 Bulletin—to provide additional guidance and resources on how K4Community tools can be leveraged to serve residents and their families. The newsletter can be accessed here.

Arena

Launched in collaboration with nonprofit senior living associations such as Argentum and ASHA, and restaurant and hospitality trade associations, Baltimore, Maryland-based Arena is donating use of its predictive analytics platform, Arena.io, to match recently unemployed hospitality workers with front line health care jobs at senior living communities and health care systems.

Savi

Washington, D.C.-based social impact fintech startup, Savi, aims to help student borrowers find better federal repayment and forgiveness plans “quickly, easily and automatically.” In order to assist however it can through the current economic conditions, the company is providing access to its COVID-19 Student Loan Aid Tool site to the public for free.

Silicon Slopes

Billing itself as the voice, hub, and heart of Utah’s startup and tech community, American Fork-based Silicon Slopes has partnered with the State of Utah to double that state’s COVID-19 testing capacity with implementation of its #TestUtahChallenge.

Participants in the challenge are asked to complete an online assessment, data from which will be aggregated to help public health officials track the spread of the disease through the state.

TigerConnect

TigerConnect, a provider of clinical communication and collaboration solutions, is sharing its platform with hospitals at no charge for six months in efforts to help combat the coronavirus.

Founded in 2010, the Santa Monica, California-based company has set out to speed up the rate of coordinated care by replacing the outdated technology most hospitals presently use.

Trust & Will

Trust & Will, a San Diego, California-based estate planning firm, said that effective April 1 it implemented its Healthcare Heroes program. Any health care professional working in a public health setting in the U.S., can apply to receive a free will-based estate plan for themselves, which includes health care documents, HIPAA Authorization and Medical Power of Attorney.

In December, the company raised a $6 million Series A led by Link Ventures with participation from several previous investors.

U.S.-based health care professionals interested in the service can find more information or submit verification of credentials here.

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