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


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.
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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.

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.

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. 

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