As everyone adapts to new ways of working, studying and staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic, a number of startups have come to the rescue, providing tools, apps, and platforms that can help people make the best of a stressful and disruptive situation.
Managing a newly remote workforce
Almost overnight workforces everywhere have become entirely distributed, and some organizations are turning to online training providers to help them manage this sudden transition to remote work.
Corporate training platform Hone offers live, online instructor-led training sessions online. Launched in 2018 and headquartered in San Francisco and New York City, it was originally designed to facilitate team building and build bonds between remote employees.
CEO and cofounder Tom Griffiths says: “Now we are helping organizations affected by the current crisis by providing a way for their newly dispersed employees to stay connected and working as a productive team, without feeling isolated.”
Staying organized in social isolation
When they’ve been used to working as a member of a busy team in a vibrant physical space, the solace of home working can leave people feeling disorientated and struggling to organize their time and effectively tackle their to-do lists. They will adapt over time, but that transition can be eased by the many productivity tools now available, including the solutions offered by New York-based Y-Combinator backed startup Taskade, which describes itself as the unified workspace for distributed teams.
Taskade can be used for a multitude of purposes, from mind mapping and planning weekly tasks, to organizing project goals and taking meeting notes from virtual team meetings, with integrated video chat.
Keeping scientists in the loop
The current pandemic has forced the cancellation of conferences around the world, which has proved particularly troublesome in the case of academic conferences, where the very newest research findings are shared. Without access to this research, scientific progress is being held back at a time when it is needed the most.
Berlin-based SaaS provider Morressier is helping research societies navigate these difficult times by providing an online platform to boost the dissemination and discoverability of research that would have been shared at physical events.
It recently helped the American Chemical Society pull off a quick turn around after its Spring meeting was cancelled due to the current pandemic. Around 15,000 scientists were set to share the newest chemistry research at the meeting, including findings that could accelerate COVID-19 research.
Morressier launched the SciMeetings platform to gather posters from would-be attendees and disseminate them in an open-access format to the entire scholarly community, fostering scientific progress when it is needed most.
Cofounder and managing director Sami Benchekroun says: “This enables scholarship to keep advancing forward at a time when in-person interaction is limited. Right now, it is essential that research is widely accessible as without it there will be no breakthroughs in the search for a cure for COVID-19, or whatever challenge next faces humanity.”
Helping students to study and earn
Among all of the communities impacted by the coronavirus, university students represent one of the most diverse groups. As most of them have now been forced to return home or isolate they are searching for ways to keep studying and earning money.
In the U.K. 77% of students need to work part-time in jobs such as baby sitting, dog walking and bar and restaurant work. With the implementation of government measures due to COVID-19, they no longer have access to this income.
Launched in January, online peer tutoring platform Yourtime is enabling university students to earn up to £30 per hour by delivering Video Chat study sessions to other students.
Cofounder Carla Soussana says: “During the past week there has been an over 85% increase in video chat sessions requests and we’re been seeing our largest download and user signups numbers to date. Our video-tutoring service allows students to keep their studies going, earn some money and gain valuable tutoring experience to make them more employable.”
Yourtime has just updated its app to include an additional 40 universities and plans to add more in line with demand from students.
Contributing to health services
Recent weeks have seen a huge increase in demand from global health systems in search of tools to help combat COVID-19.
Current Health is a patient monitoring platform that combines a continuous wearable vital sign sensor, connectivity with other devices, alarms, and telemedicine video call capability into a single platform.
CEO and cofounder Christopher McCann says: “Our wearable can be placed on patients at risk for COVID-19 in the hospital, or shipped directly to the patient’s home, and we are already working with NHS trusts around the U.K. as well as U.S. health systems.”
The Edinburgh and Boston-based company is seeing unprecedented demand with inbound interest increasing by nearly 500%, and deployment time reduced to less than a week.
As well as monitoring patients in the hospital, particularly those believed to have COVID-19 but awaiting test confirmation, Current Health is also helping with the monitoring of COVID-19 patients who are self-isolating at home, both through physical monitoring and virtual visit assessment.
McCann adds: “We’re now also utilizing the vast amount of data we’re capturing on COVID-19 patients, physiological and symptom-based, to attempt to digitally diagnose and digitally stratify the severity of the COVID-19 disease, which could lead to further significant use cases and benefits.”