There’s no denying that what we are living through is new, difficult uncharted territory. With the COVID-19 crisis, we have all been forced to rethink and renew our ways of living, interacting and working. While the world may be in shock, society is proving its resilience and solidarity in overcoming the challenges that have arisen from this situation. Tech leaders, corporates and startups have reacted quickly by mobilizing their teams, resources and their innovative skills to fight this health crisis and its economic impact. We’re proud to see the tech world rallying to help, so we have decided to create this list to share these remarkable initiatives.
[Last Update: June 16, 2020]
Support for small businesses and startups
Small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic crisis in this challenging time. The world"e;s leading businesses and public organizations are consequently freeing up money to help the financial strain:
➜ Co-organized by VivaTech and 50inTech, the Female Founder Challenge is back to accelerate the financing of women-led startups. The 10 finalists, selected by a jury of global investors and EY, will compete online on June 18.
➜ Along with other VT partners, LVMH is determined to pursue its commitments towards innovation and the international startup ecosystem. Meet the 30 finalists of the LVMH Innovation Award during the online awards ceremony early July!
➜ Eyone, Mobihealth, Mama Prime, Teheca, the University Agency Innovation have emerged as winners in the final of the Sanofi in Africa 2020 Challenges, launched with VivaTech to improve health in Africa.
➜ Want to learn more about the future of mobility in Europe$2 Check out the top 50 startups selected for the European Startup Prize for mobility 2020 before the grand finale in November.
➜ Google’s commitment of $800+ million includes Google Ads credits for SMBs and more ad grants for governments, health & relief organizations across the world.
➜ Bpifrance is launching emergency loans up to €15 million by company with a significant delay in repayment for SMBs.
➜ Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to support small businesses.
Adapting to recover
It is now crucial to bring companies back safely and stronger to their workplace as we emerge from this health. Students, startups, large corporates, we all have our role to play in making safe decisions.
➜ The future of work is taking shape in the wake of the “Great Reset”. ManpowerGroup’s Human Age Series brings experts together in a series of online talks to anticipate those changes. Watch the first talk’s replay!
➜ Chatlayer.ai, a startup supported by Orange Fab Belgium, developed a low-code chatbot that responds 24/7 to up to 80% of customers’ and employees"e; questions about COVID-19.
➜ How can the tech ecosystem help companies bounce back after the crisis$3 We’ve selected some promising startups, though our Recovery Challenge, which tackle these challenges.
➜ Moho is launching 2044: the first European Youth Coalition to invent tomorrow’s world through virtual debates and pan-European entrepreneurial project pitches. Join the movement!
➜Discover how John Chambers, widely seen as one of the best performing U.S. CEOs, advises companies to manage a crisis and access more in-depth stories in The Innovator.
Support for medical staff & hospitals
The importance of solidarity continues, especially with innovations that promise to help in the long term:
➜ Thales, in partnership with other aerospace companies, delivered hospital ventilators in the United Kingdom. In France, the group distributed masks and gowns to hospitals in the region.
➜ Intuitive"e;s minimally-invasive robotic-assisted surgery enables hospitals to treat surgery patients in a precise and secure manner and can potentially reduce the length of stay, which is valuable in a COVID-19 environment.
➜ LVMH Group’s Maisons have begun making or supporting production or distribution of large quantities of surgical and alternative non-surgical face masks to help protect against contamination, as well as hospital gowns.
➜ Sanofi is dedicating 100 million euros to increase its efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in France and to provide long-term solutions: free medicine to care after patients with COVID-19, support for hospitals/EPHADs, investment in AI and Health Data.
➜ Total Corbion PLA is donating bioplastics for the production of 3D printed protective equipment. Over 125,000 biobased and biodegradable masks will be distributed.
➜ Room, an American startup making privacy-focused office phone booths, pivoted its resources to deploy coronavirus test booths. It allows healthcare professionals to conduct tests with a protective barrier.
➜ RATP Group has dedicated 22 bus lines for hospital staff in the Paris region to enable those who are fighting every day against COVID-19 to get to their workplace and get back home in the best possible way.
➜ The Makers and the FabsLabs of the Région Sud have organized themselves to voluntarily manufacture protective equipment for health professionals and exposed employees (masks, protective visors, glasses, fans). To date, 45,000 visors have been manufactured.
➜ Orange is donating €8 million in Europe & Africa to prevent the virus from spreading. They’re also supplying personal protective equipment in all countries where they are present.
➜ A task force, led by Air Liquide, has been set up to increase the production of respirators to 10,000 in 50 days.
➜ With the #ProtegeTonSoignant initiative, the French Tech and artists have raised more than €1.5 million to develop a concrete solution to the lack of medical equipment in hospitals.
➜ To facilitate the supply of hydroalcoholic gel and protective gear, Mirakl, the booming startup specialized in marketplaces, launched together with the French government a dedicated marketplace: StopCovid19.fr.
➜ Health workers are under a lot of pressure. In the UK, Unmind, a workplace mental health platform, is granting all NHS workers free access to their platform.
Reducing congestion in hospitals & the spread of the virus
Institutions, large corporations and small businesses are continuing to develop creative solutions to reduce the spread of the virus and to relieve hospital congestion.
➜ Sanofi and Luminostics have signed a collaboration agreement on developing a unique self-testing smartphone based solution for COVID-19. Individuals could know within a few minutes whether they are infected.
➜ Do you have questions on infection screening, measures to take, and where to go in case of medical emergencies$4 Ask IPsoft"e;s digital employee Amelia.
➜ The new passenger density crowdsourcing feature on the RATP’s app improves public health safety and comfort. They can now indicate the crowd density on their journey to ensure social distancing.
➜ The funds raised by BNP Paribas Emergency & Development Fund help Médecins sans Frontières to improve the detection and care of COVID-19 cases among the most vulnerable communities in and around Paris.
➜ The innovative biotech company NG Biotech launched its rapid diagnostic test. This first blood test has been clinically approved in France with results within 15 minutes.
➜ #IDFSolidaritéCovid connects purchasing communities and Paris Region industries with the capacity to produce critical health supplies. Paris Region aims at helping manufacturers increase their production volumes or develop new production lines.
➜ To support economic recovery by increasing the supply of “general public” masks to companies with fewer than 50 employees, La Poste has just launched the masques-pme.laposte.fr platform at the initiative of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.
➜ The Octopus Biosafety robot decontaminates large equipment and buildings. It disinfects fabrics and all surfaces without damaging them. Perfect for shopping malls and other buildings which are open to the public.
➜ La Poste, with its subsidiary Docaposte, has launched a website allowing the general public to assess its state of health free of charge to fight the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the pressure on the emergency services.
➜ Doctolib, the doctor appointment booking platform (fresh French unicorn), has made its teleconsultation platform freely available to all doctors in France.
➜ Lifen, an e-health startup creating tools to facilitate communication between healthcare professionals, launched a platform which provides remote monitoring of patients with symptoms related to COVID-19.
Find more innovative initiatives from the French startup ecosystem with this informative illustration by French Tech and France Digitale.
In 2015, Bill Gates warned that we needed to be ready for the next major virus outbreak. Today, the whole world is joining forces to innovate and to fight this crisis, and prevent the next one:
➜ Facebook offers maps on population movement that researchers and nonprofits are using to understand the coronavirus crisis as part of its Data for Good program.
➜ The Covitwo entrepreneurial collective, which includes Atos and the startup RCup, is looking for volunteers willing to cough to identify the sound signature of the COVID-19"e;s cough.
➜ BioWin launched a cooperative platform to gather health initiatives from industrial and academic players around specific and important themes such as new diagnostic methods or treatments, AI, and data science.
➜ Bouygues is financing clinical trials to develop a drug to fight COVID-19. The trials are being carried out at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital where severe forms of lung disease are being treated.
➜ Clara Health, an American healthcare software startup, launched World Without COVID to track the public health status of both the sick and healthy to draw COVID-19 treatment data for public health professionals.
➜ Intrepida, a European healthtech startup, launched its clinical trial search and match tool Ancora.ai to connect COVID-19 patients and volunteers with coronavirus researchers.
➜ Folding@home uses your computer’s untapped power to help simulate the dynamics of coronavirus proteins and potentially find an antidote. Unity is strength, donate computing power now!
➜ BNP Paribas has provided the Institut Pasteur with €1 million to support scientific programs fighting the COVID-19 epidemic and researching to develop a vaccine.
➜ IBM is calling all developers, data scientists and problem solvers to fight back COVID-19 with technology. Apply to their Call for Code Global Challenge before July 31st.
➜ AXA is supporting the 101 Fund, a network of 1,200 intensive care centers worldwide. They are sharing real-time information to accelerate the improvement of therapeutic protocols.
➜ Canadian startup ElementAI is offering a free platform for researchers and scientists to help accelerate the collection of data surrounding COVID-19 research.
This list is non exhaustive. Many other initiatives exist to prepare for the post-crisis phase. With our very own VivaTech Recovery Challenge, we aim to shine light on the solutions which tackle healthcare, economic rebound and individual well-being.
We will select the most promising initiatives to be shared with our community. If you think you can help, apply now.
Fighting against exclusion
The crisis we are going through doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. VivaTech supports two initiatives to address these inequalities.
➜ Currently, student orientation is becoming complex and inequalities are intensifying. JobIRL and Make.org launched the Operation Mentor Express group to connect students with professionals: Join the group!
➜ #GardonsLeLien by the Simplon Foundation aims to provide thousands of tablets to COVID-19 patients in hospitals, EHPADs, and social structures. Help them stay connected with their loved ones, donate now!
To ease your day
In these challenging times, business players are showing solidarity to ease daily life.
➜ BlaBlaCar, the world’s leading long-distance carpooling platform, launched its new app BlaBlaHelp to allow neighbours to help each other.
➜ Among other initiatives, EDF donated €50,000, through its Foundation, to the Break Poverty Foundation to provide more than 200 underprivileged young people with computers, to follow their classes at home.
➜ Majik"e;Connection developed by Majikan, a Veolia Nova affiliate, allows automatic reporting of incidents on public highways via an AI app. The intervention requests are integrated and processed on the Majikan digital platform. Everything is done remotely. Perfect for the current context.
➜ As part of BNP Paribas’ global emergency plan of more than €50 M across 30 countries, assistance is brought to students experiencing the digital divide, through partner associations in several countries (provision of computers and digital inclusion programs).
➜ KPMG set up a crisis management program called "Time to Adapt" which inspires with innovative initiatives taken by business actors and provides every week forward-looking contents such as articles, interviews with business actors and much more.