Tech startups around the world have come forward to put leading-edge innovations at the service of mankind and frontline Covid warriors. While a plethora of companies played their part by contributing to government funds such as the Indian government’s PM Cares Fund, many ventures launched with an entrepreneurial mindset in different parts of the world took the centre stage and decided to make a difference through their technology.
Here we take a look at four such companies and what role they played in easing the way for scores of people impacted by the pandemic.
Optibus: Awarded as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, Optibus is an Israel-based cutting-edge software platform that brings innovation to public transport. It powers complex transit operations in several countries through planning and scheduling movement of vehicles and drivers to improve the quality and reliability of transit service, thereby making operations more efficient.
During the pandemic, the company has offered mass transportation agencies free of cost planning services to help them ascertain best routes, crew schedules and costings. The idea is to enable as much safe mass travel as possible during the pandemic. It helped transit agencies create a multi-layered Covid-19 exit strategy so that they could have an easy transition from the lockdown stages to the opening up.
Nanomatrix Materials: The Indian startup is one of the few players that are into wonder material graphene and its integration into application across different verticals. After thorough R&D, the startup has developed a technology that combines the power of graphene and silver into a membrane, which has the potential of not just preventing but also destroying SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
When tested as per the ISO 18184 protocol, it showed a 99% reduction and a 99% kill rate in just a matter of seconds. The graphene-silver composite, developed by the company is a collection of millions of microscopic razor-sharp blades with electric charges that rip apart bacterial and virus cells on the membrane. The membrane is breathable, washable, reusable, pollution resistant and anti-odour.
Takeoff Technologies: At the time of lockdown, several companies struggled to meet the surge in online orders pertaining to grocery and related items. With tight staffing and congested store aisles, fulfilling all the requirements of customers appeared to be an uphill task. It was at this juncture that Takeoff Technologies came to the rescue with its micro-fulfilment centres.
The company helped businesses create mini-warehouses at the back of grocery stores wherein robots prepared the orders. This not just helped in the maintenance of social distancing norms, but allowed local entities to meet the requirements without investing in an automated warehouse.
Digital Aristotle: The Edtech platform has developed India’s first social learning app named Aristotle. While most Edtech players have focused on replication of school learning in the wake of prolonged closure of institutions, Aristotle combines the power of Edtech and social networking, resultantly providing a convergence point to students, teachers as well as tuition centres.
It offers a huge bank of User Generated Content and also lets students clarify their doubts almost instantly. The personalized app helps students improve each day by spending just 10 minutes. Personalized revisions, quizzes and a mechanism to scan a question from textbooks for step-by-step solutions are among the different offerings of the unique app.
To break the monotony induced by remote learning, students get to earn points, badges and even Amazon vouchers while learning with Aristotle. The app’s forum for asking/answering questions and challenge interaction saw participation from thousands. The app's forum & challenges are growing exponentially in popularity owing to the social nature of the features.
Appy Pie: The world’s leading cloud-based mobile app builder has come to the rescue of many small businesses during the pandemic. Apart from developing apps and websites for those who have no technical know-how, the no-code platform helped businesses offer personalized services to their customers through customized chatbots.
When remote working became the new normal, the company helped smaller businesses with an entire bouquet of no-code solutions. They further helped several businesses automate their complete workflow with their automation platform Appy Pie Connect. The tool helped them in the integration of different apps, automation of the mundane and repetitive tasks related to vendors, and other internal operations.
Jumia and Twiga Foods: Both Jumia and Twiga Foods are widely recognized as African tech pioneers. These two Goldman Sachs-backed companies joined hands during the pandemic to help deliver farm produce using adaptive measures. As part of the collaboration, Jumia’s large online delivery business across Africa was connected with Twiga Food’s huge network of more than 17,000 farmers, effectively easing the process to provide many households with fresh food amid restrictions.
People were able to get safe and fresh food items in the most affordable way during intense lockdown situations. According to the claims made by the companies, they helped households save almost 50% when compared to supermarkets.
Eat Luv N Pray: The largest Indian virtual listening platform, founded recently by two young Indian entrepreneurs, is a holistic wellness portal that thrives on the concept of emphatic listening. They have highly trained listeners and consultants on board to help people overcome issues related to their lifestyle.
The listeners at ELP do not indulge in giving advices and merely focus on letting people talk their heart out. If it is found that someone needs further assistance, they are given the option to consult clinical psychologists and other specialists. With people stranded inside their homes for the most part of the year, the platform has acted as a bigtime healer.