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Innovation Amidst Rising Fear and Panic

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Now that you’ve washed your hands, grab your daily doze of Dalgona coffee and swipe right when you’re ready!

The entire editorial board of this Newsletter is absolutely mesmerized by the kind of innovation that goes into making a glass of dalgona coffee and specialized tick off bingos! Just Wow!

We’re also a little guilty that in the process we’re probably overlooking the kind of innovation the startups and even government authorities are coming up with to deal with this shared crisis.

So we’re here to seek redemption. Here are some of the most innovative ideas brought to life during the Pandemic:

1. New Product Development
  • PhonePe has launched a Corona Care insurance policy at a premium of ₹ 156 for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are hospitalized. The company has tied up with its insurance partner Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, providing a cover of ₹ 50K for people below 55 years of age. It will also take care of the expenses for 1 month on pre-hospitalization and post-care medical treatment.

  • IIT Ropar students have developed a trunk-shaped device fitted with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology, which they recommend placing at the doorstep to sanitize deliveries, including grocery and food as well as currency notes. According to the team at IIT Ropar, the trunk when commercialized can be available at less than ₹ 500 and takes 30 minutes to sanitize items.

  • Mumbai-based Log 9 Materials has developed a CoronaOven, which relies on UV-V light and other design parameters to disinfect any surface. The company has claimed that the product can also be used to disinfect objects, personal protective equipment (PPE) and more.

  • Bengaluru-based Ethereal Machines provides a ventilator splitter uniquely designed for managing two patients with varying needs via differential pressure splitting. The device also helps in preventing cross-contamination between paired patients.'

  • Bengaluru based startup Bione is ready to put on market an anti-body based rapid test kit for Covid-19 that will givea results at home in 10-15 minutes.

  • MyLabs has created India’s first indigenous testing kit: a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kit which is manufactured domestically, has a local supply chain and is approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

  • Sequoia-backed healthtech startup has partnered with Italian San Raffaele University Hospital to provide its Chest X-Ray analysis system for diagnosing Covid-19 patients. The startup uses AI algorithms to detect brain trauma and diagnose chest diseases.

  • Healthians has started offering at-home testing for COVID-19. Priced at ₹ 4,500, as mandated by the government, the test promises results within 24 hours. Healthians’ at-home testing is available for users in Delhi NCR and Mumbai region.

2. Food Distribution
  • Zoho Corp, a software development firm has restarted its captive kitchens, which were used to serve the employees, to distribute 1000 meals a day in southern Chennai.

  • Agritech startup Simply Fresh is donating food and essential supplies to underprivileged kids to an orphanage in Arjunpatla, Hyderabad.

  • Stanza Living said it has launched a food distribution drive to supply 5000 meals each week across Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Indore.

3. Protective Equipment, Hygiene and Other Areas
  • Reusable diaper brand Superbottoms is now developing reusable cloth face masks & is serving them to hospitals & other essential service providers in Mumbai without profit.

  • Car renting startup backed by Hyundai, Revv is offering 1000 cars, free of cost to healthcare workers.

  • Logistics startup Locus launched an application to help all the drivers stuck between state borders with the shipment. In partnership with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Highway Delite, it will help the truck drivers with information related to the access of facilities like food and availability of safe parking on the highways.

  • Pune-based Nocca Robotics which makes robots that clean solar plants has now adjusted its infrastructure to develop low-cost ventilators, recognizing the acute shortage.

  • CureFit has taken its entire brand of online through The live fitness classes can be accessed across devices. The service is absolutely free of cost for everyone and involves live classes given by athletes and experts.

  • Sonam Motwani led is using technologies like 3D printing, injection moulding, machining, fabrication, and design facility to manufacture Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) like face shields, aerosol boxes, and goggles, at large scale.

4. Information and Information Tech
  • Audio content platform Khabri has launched an exclusive helpline portal for visually impaired audiences. The platform will allow users to get inputs from experts for medical, psychological, social or financial support.

  • Digital media startup WittyFeed is running a coronavirus campaign to counter the misinformation and fake news on social media related to the pandemic, especially for people living outside the metros. So far, the company has produced 70 informative reports on coronavirus which has reached to over 40 Mn people.

  • CoronaSafe, a network of web developers have taken up the task of counting the daily cases by tracking the total number of admissions in hospitals at the unit level on the ground.

5. Financial Support
  • Fashion platform LimeRoad has launched a new Financial Clinic to provide assistance to its seller partners by providing them with solutions around a variety of issues including operational and fixed cost management, inventory and working capital management, access to short term credit etc.

  • Top fund managers from leading VC firms, including Sequoia capital, Accel and LightSpeed Venture Partners and prominent startup CEOs have opened a 100 crore grant that will back fledging firms working on products and services to combat the pandemic. The Action Covid Team (ACT) Grants, possibly the first of its kind globally, has already received 40% of corpus. Any startup working on a scalable solution can send proposals through Grants disbursed till date:

    • MyLabs: ₹ 1 crore

    • Ethereal Machines: ₹ 50 lakh

    • ₹ 20 Lakh

    • CoronaSafe: ₹ 50 Lakh

6. Policy Innovations by the Government & Local Authorities
  • Andhra Pradesh government is using a system that alerts the authorities whenever a person who has been advised to be under quarantine, tries to leave their accommodation.

  • The Bengaluru Police has started using drones to monitor the city residents’ compliance with the lockdown and to better strategize police force use.

  • In Karnataka, police wore coronavirus-themed helmet, in Punjab police performed Bhangra, and in Bengal police sang regional songs to spread awareness about the virus and safety norms.

  • The Indian railways overhauled 2,500 coaches to create 40,000 isolation beds, available on the move, equipped according to medical advisories. The railway coaches provide the unparalleled advantage of mobility, allowing them to be deployed as per need to even small towns or rural areas with limited local healthcare infrastructure.

  • Under Operation Shield, The Delhi government began a massive sanitization drive in the COVID-19 red and orange zones - using technologically-advanced machines from Japan.

  • Kerala has started off doorstep delivery system of delivering mid-day meals to Anganwadi children immediately after the state decided to shut all schools.

  • Uttar Pradesh government has allocated over 10K vehicles to make deliveries of essential commodities at your doorstep.

  • The Bhopal Nagar Nigam has started home delivering fruits and vegetables to 44K residents of the city.

  • Kerala Government has also come up with a door delivery of Cash with the help of the postal department.

  • SIDBI has announced Covid-19 Startup assistance scheme (CSAS) to provide working capital financing up to ₹2 crore, for those that are unit economics positive. Interest rate: 10.5%. Maximum tenure: 36 months.

  • Maharashtra government is installing disinfectant tunnels at crowded places like markets, railway stations, stops among others with the help of Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai.

  • Punjab Govt has taken its Essential commodities Vendors Online With COVA Grocery Delivery App.


This article is a part of the April'20 edition of our Startup Newsletter. Here's the complete publication:


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