Tech for good during COVID-19: Pivots and partnerships to help people deal
Some of us have learned how to be uniquely scrappy during this pandemic. I’m talking socks as masks and chickpea water as a vegetarian egg-white replacement type of scrappy.
And you will learn in this week’s installment of Tech For Good startups are no exception. Companies around the world are pivoting and partnering their way into helping us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a list of some recent partnerships that caught our eyes, as well as other goodness from private companies.
From greeting cards to virtual therapy
Ali O’Grady founded greeting-card startup Thoughtful Human in 2017. The greeting cards tackle difficult topics, such as cancer, grief and, more recently, quarantine and the pandemic. Thoughtful Human has partnered with BetterHelp Therapy to offer a month of free virtual therapy through phone or text.
Zira wants to help you bounce back if you were laid off
Zira is an automated workforce solution to help with shift schedules and team communication. Now, it launched a free tool called Bounce Back to help those laid off due to COVID-19. The application chiefly teaches users how to navigate unemployment, curated by location. It also creates a community for users to stay in touch with former employers, and has a job marketplace.
Yext goes up State
Yext, a site search tool, has partnered with the US Department of State to create a COVID-19 informational hub to disseminate information about travel alerts. In the last month, Yext has developed sites for the State of New Jersey and the State of Alabama.
An alternative to a good ol’ restaurant menu
My Menu, which traditionally offered a digital tablet menu platform to restaurants, is now giving away its underlying technology to help restaurants become online-friendly overnight. Using My Menu technology, restaurants can create a menu that pops up when customers scan a QR code on their phones. It will help restaurants make their menus more accessible.
Creativity using the cloud
DigitalOcean, a cloud provider, created a hub for developers to share projects aimed at helping people deal with the pandemic. Projects that have sprouted up as a result include an app that lets people anonymously report their health conditions to pulsecheck the spread across the world, and a remote learning group of Kenyan primary school teachers.
Founder therapy for free
Betaworks is launching a free, 6-week, peer-to-peer mentorship program to connect founders and company leaders in mentor-led support groups. The application deadline is April 13, and participants will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Janelle M. Jimenez, the founder and CEO of sustainable clothing startup Stellari, is using her startup capital to work with Los Angeles manufacturers to create masks. She has invested $15,000 of seed money into partnerships with factories, and needs $10,000 to produce cloth masks at scale. She plans to donate the masks at cost and support the local garment industry at the same time. The effort has raised nearly $24,000 on Indiegogo.
Coders unite to make websites COVID-19 friendly
Coding Dojo has launched an initiative to connect its alumni group of coders to small businesses that need website development. Coders will take on projects, for no charge, like creating a website for that corner bodega or adding a delivery feature to existing websites.
As the marathon gets canceled, Boston’s new stride
Tom O’Keefe is the founder of StrideForStride, which buys race bibs for low-income runners from around the world, ranging from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Jamaica, and the US. Due to COVID-19, they lost a fundraiser at hotels and donations from restaurants and Sam Adams. Stride plans to host running clubs around various businesses and bars in Boston once everything re-opens, and in the meantime has launched a website DownloadBoston.com to highlight local businesses.
A group of New Yorkers has launched a challenge called #InMyScrubs to raise money to send meals from local restaurants to feed health care workers at critical-need hospitals. While this isn’t a tech initiative, it is heartwarming. The idea is to post pictures of yourself on Instagram in home “scrubs” like sweatpants and athleisure as an act of solidarity with those in their hospital scrubs. The challenge has raised nearly $68,000.