Tech For Crisis

This article's purpose is to give a little more details on what we're trying to do with the Tech For Crisis initiative and also to offer a space for discussion and feedback in the comments.
We started putting together our investment strategy before there was any notion of the upcoming crisis. But looking at the wider digitalisation trends in the world, the relative strengths of the European startup market and what kind of companies the best employees gravitated towards, it was clear to us that the following five sectors would have an advantage in the future: Education and Remote Work, Health and Wellbeing, Entertainment and Media and Communities, Sustainable Living and Financial Inclusion.

And when the crisis hit, we realised that the future of full digitalisation was here sooner than we had even anticipated. But with the forced speed of adoption of remote work, digital learning and telemedicine, many people are feeling lost or confused. And we saw that with our amassed knowledge of all the startups in these fields, we could help people navigate the transition, so we curated the repository that you see under Tech For Crisis and would love to receive even more submissions for it. 

Our target audience is people and employees who need to find new ways of working and living. We try to delight you with as-yet-undiscovered digital tools and solutions that are useful, easy to learn and free where possible, while also highlighting companies that you may already have heard of, but that are doing something new or particularly useful for the crisis. 

But we also try to help out employers who need to communicate with their teams in new ways now, medical and emergency response and education providers and our day to day focus: small and young companies that may not yet be stable enough to survive the crisis on their own.

We have tried or are actively using most of the solutions ourselves and are also sourcing them from the portfolios of well respected technology investors. We do not want to overwhelm our readers with choice and have therefore kept the numbers per category small and highly curated.

We are European investors, based predominantly in UK and Baltics, and while we try to find solutions that work globally, Europe is both our first priority and also the market where we know most of the startups. So while we try to balance out the coverage between European and American companies, in certain sectors, particularly those that are regulated like health or finance and where it is therefore more difficult for startup offerings to cross borders, it is likely that we will display more locally available solutions only. Some solutions may also only be available in a single geography and we feel it would be unfair to not provide those for the people it might help (especially when related to Health) just because it's not available to anyone else and we hope that at least these may also inspire founders and consumers to create and use similar services and products elsewhere too. Also, as we are English-speakers, the resources are unfortunately mostly limited to that.

In terms of the sectors, here's a deeper dive into how we see each of them adding value in this crisis. Many of these categories overlap a bit, or present a matrix between product and market, so if something is not in a subcategory you'd expect, you may find it elsewhere where we thought it a slightly better fit

Whilst this is primarily a healthcare crisis, it has also emerged as a crisis of restricted mobility for the still healthy workforce and student body. Many people are able to continue working, but find themselves without access to their usual workspaces, tools and teammates or without teachers and other usual educational resources for their children. Many people also find themselves with time on their hands to learn a skill they've always wanted to, or unfortunately have to reposition themselves on the market by acquiring new skills after losing their job.

With that in mind, we have gathered resources for work to a) be able to communicate with each other via video b) be able to share files and documents c) work together when not necessarily speaking to each other d) be able to track what each member of the team is doing and e) finally, for those whose work requires larger gatherings of people than just the team, there's ways to produce events online that replace physical conferences or product demonstrations etc.

For education, we have tried to find resources for a) students to help them handle their schoolwork remotely and independently, b) for institutions to be able to communicate with their students and organise learning remotely c) for parents to be able to keep their pre-schoolers occupied at home d) for all age groups to learn new skills, be it languages, coding, or any other various topic taught on the massive online open course platforms

As with work and education, there are also ways that the current crisis impacts people's health and wellbeing even if they are not sick with coronavirus, so we have tried to provide resources for both.

We have gathered resources for both patients and healthcare institutions / individual doctors and also for employers concerned about their employees' physical and mental wellbeing. To help people take care of their mental health during these highly stressful times, we have aggregated solutions on meditation, fitness, nutrition and sleep

Entertainment and socialising with community is as important for mental health and productivity as taking care of the body is. With people locked down in their homes, many of the traditional ways to consumer culture or interact with others have disappeared, so we have tried to provide alternatives.

We have gathered solutions for video streaming, music, books and art. Under Communities we've provided digital ways to interact with both your physical neighbours and with likeminded communities or friends regardless of where they physically are  

As consumption has become fraught with risks - from physical products possibly being contaminated, to crowded stores being closed, to not wanting to endanger delivery drivers, we try to offer ideas and solutions for sustainability, recycling and reuse

We have gathered solutions for both consumers and companies for energy, retail products, packaging waste reduction, etc.

Unfortunately not everyone will be able to do their jobs remotely during this crisis. More and more people are becoming unemployed, or as freelancers or contractors see their incomes severely reduced and need access to financing to survive these times. 

We have tried to offer solutions for these situations - from consumer finance to more accessible financial services such as digital bank accounts to insurance services to protect from even more severe hits in the future.

Startups should hopefully be able to use many of the services and products listed under the other topics, both as employers, employees and service providers. But there are two features that distinguish startups from other companies, and these are faster growth of revenues and regular need for funding to finance that growth. And unfortunately during crisis times that financing tends to dry up, even if the demand for digital products is higher than ever.

We have therefore tried to offer solutions both for obtaining financing and for maintaining the revenue growth with constrained resources, as well as ways to offer more for the customers for less and for keeping own expenses under control to weather the storm. 

We hope these resources are useful and we welcome all suggestions for additions and feedback

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