Here’s How Indian Startups Are Helping Employees And Customers During The Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus is now a full-blown global pandemic, and has also upturned life in India — schools and colleges are closed, malls are shutting down, and even the IPL has been postponed. Startups and companies are impacted too — many companies are now working fully from home, while others, like cinema theatres, have shut down operations. But even amidst the upheaval, some startups and companies have tried to do their best for their customers and their employees.

1.Ixigo: On 4th March, before the severity of the coronavirus crisis had hit home for most Indians, Ixigo has announced a “No questions asked” full refund policy for international flights most affected by the coronavirus. “Because we care,” Ixigo CEO Aloke Bajpai had said.

2. Urban Company: As the coronavirus spread, Urban Company (formerly Urban Clap) provided a new health insurance and income protection plan for all its 30,000 service partners in India. Service personnel move from house to house, so are particularly vulnerable to contracting a communicable disease like the coronavirus. Under the new insurance cover, Urban Company’s service partners were offered a hospitalisation cover of up to Rs. 25,000  and income protection cover of up to Rs. 14,000 in the event of hospitalisation due to positive diagnosis of COVID-19. 

3. Zomato: Zomato came up with a similar measures of its own. “We’re also informing our delivery fleet that they don’t need to force themselves to work for financial reasons if they get infected with COVID-19. We’ll support our delivery partners with financial assistance, on top of medical insurance in case they are diagnosed with COVID-19,” said Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal. To help out customers, Zomato also came up with a new feature called contactless delivery, through which delivery personnel could leave the food outside a customer’s door, send them a picture, and leave, thus minimizing contact.

4. CureFit: Fitness startup CureFit suspended its classes across all its India locations, but gave customers an extra 14 pause days on their memberships, which meant that they could get an extra 14 days of workouts when the classes resumed.

5. Haptik: Chatbot company Haptik, which was recently acquired by Reliance, made a chatbot which answered questions related to the coronavirus. “Based on data available on the WHO website, the bot is trained to answer frequently asked questions on the new coronavirus. Some of these include information on following basic hygiene standards, preventive measures, common symptoms and myths amongst others. Moreover, the helpdesk also provides access to a video link on the novel coronavirus,” the company said. The bot can be accessed on WhatsApp at +91 93213 98773.

6. Byju’s, Toppr, Unacademy: As schools are closing across the country, ed-tech companies have realized that it’s their time to step up and shine. BYJU’S announced that it will be providing free access to its complete app to school students from Classes 1 to 12 till the end of April. Toppr too made its services free for all students from Classes 5 to 12. Unacademy also said it would offer free classes for UPSC, banking, railways and more till March 31.