Tech for Corona: How startups can help in times of social distancing

On March 13, 2020 the European Commission put out a call for startups and small businesses with technologies and innovations that could help in treating, testing, monitoring and other aspects to combat COVID-19.

Since various tech companies are rushing now individually to solutions and tips, I wanted to compile a list of innovations (mostly available in the European markets) to help in the time of the Coronavirus outbreak. Below you can find a summary of already existing tech solutions, startups, tools and brands which can support you to navigate through these times to work, live and play and help to limit the spread of the virus.

The list will be continuously updated since many startups are putting in place individual measures to help on a daily basis.



Studies show that we pass microorganisms, ranging from mouth bacteria to flu-like virus, through cash. Businesses can reduce contact with questionable surfaces by accepting the card or contactless payments at the POS, thus limiting the spread of COVID-19.

  • SumUp (btov portfolio company): Fintech Unicorn that enables businesses to accept card payments at the Point-of-Sale or on the go

Remote Work

Covid-19 is shifting working patterns as companies are forced to embrace remote working. Remote-first SaaS companies such as SlackZoom or Asana see a surge in demand as employees are forced to stay at home.

  • Notion is your teams all-in-one workspace where they can write, plan, collaborate, and get organized


As the virus is shaping the way we work, we need to rethink how to do conferences as well. Alternative ideas such as webinars and panel live streams have not livened up to expectations. New startups are trying to recreate large gatherings online.

  • Run The World (recently backed by Andreessen Horowitz): Enables event organizers to hold live online events where participants can learn from experts and connect with others while reducing the environmental and financial costs associated with attending large conferences

Home Schooling

According to the United Nations, school closures in 13 countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 are disrupting the education of 290 million students globally. Millions of teachers and students face a move to online learning. While countries were initially slow to embrace virtual education, it could become the new normal far earlier and to a far greater extent than previously predicted.

  • CENTURY Tech: UK based AI-driven teaching and learning platform for schools. Offers free support to all schools closed due to the outbreak



In response to the pandemic, telemedicine startups see a surge in demand. Most of the companies saw an increase of 20–40% in bookings in the last weeks. Telemedicine startups provide faster care and help patients to avoid hospitals, where they risk either infecting others or coming into contact with the disease. Even though virtual doctors can’t test people for the disease, they can help to coordinate with healthcare centers.

  • Ottonova (Germany): Digital health insurance. Offers medical video consultation and 24/7 Concierge

Neighbors and Community

Startups connecting the local community become increasingly important as they offer a platform to offer assistance to at-risk neighbors.

  • Wir gegen Corona: Platform which connects volunteers to help people who are at higher risk for illness from COVID-19 because of age or chronic medical conditions (Germany only)

Food Delivery

As eating outside is less of an option now, food delivery startups are a preferred alternative. While COVID-19 could boost customer demand, it could batter also the restaurants that supply the food and threaten the health of workers who deliver it.

  • GlovoJustEatDeliveroo, UberEats: Food Delivery startups continue to operate to deliver food and essential items and put sealed bags, credit card payments, contactless delivery and free delivery in place


Harvard Medical School recommends Yoga and meditation to deal with Corona anxiety. Other ways of practicing self-care are taking time to finally read the books on your reading list, cooking, picking up a new skill and listening to podcasts.


  • Asana Rebel: Asana Rebel offers a Yoga-inspired fitness app combining the best of Yoga and fitness


  • Headspace and Calm: Digital health apps that provide guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training. Headspace is offering right now a free selection of meditation, sleep and other experiences to support you during the global crisis (section ‘Weathering the storm’).


  • Happify (btov portfolio company): Effective, evidence-based solutions for better emotional health and mindfulness

Learn something new

  • Masterclass: Online education platform redefining the digital learning experience by bringing world-class experts to students globally through a cutting-edge technology platform and online videos


  • Kitchen Stories: Recipe site and mobile app that features step-by-step photo instructions and video tutorials on making dishes of various types


  • Inkitt: World’s first reader-powered book publisher


  • Curio: Online media startup that curates narrated articles from publications

Drug Discovery

Disease outbreaks like the coronavirus often unfold too quickly for scientists to find a cure. But in the future, artificial intelligence could help researchers do a better job and be better prepared for outbreaks.

  • BenevolentAI: UK Biotech Unicorn and leading computational and experimental drug discovery platform that enables scientists to uncover new ways to treat disease and personalize drugs for patients. They are using now their AI technology to search for existing approved drugs that might be helpful in limiting COVID-19 infection

While the Corona situation is shaping our everyday life and fuels sudden demand for tech solutions in the short term, this could mean in the future accelerated growth, change of consumer behavior and habits in the areas of remote work, conferences, Edtech, telemedicine, and delivery across all countries.

Of course, the list does not claim to be complete but it is simply an attempt to make the current situation a little bit easier by using the means of existing technologies. If you have any questions, additional suggestions or are building companies in this space, I am happy to start a conversation! Reach out here on Medium, email me at [email protected] or add any tips below in the comments.

Posted on Mar 17, 2020

About the Author: Jennifer Phan

Technology enthusiast. Associate @btovPartners. Jennifer cares about ideas and ventures which change how we work, live and play.

Article reposted with permission from the author. Send Jennifer some claps on her original Medium article here