Indian startup community ACT to aid firms in Covid-19 fight with Rs 100 cr grant

Indian startup community ACT to aid firms in Covid-19 fight with Rs 100 cr grant
Photo Credit: VCCircle
2 Apr, 2020

The Indian startup community and its connected system of stakeholders has created a Rs 100 crore grant to support ideas and solutions fighting Covid-19.

Named Action Covid-19 Team (ACT), the programme comprises founders from leading startups, members of investment advisory firms in India and independent investors, a note released on social media channels said.

Startup founders, including Kunal Shah of Cred, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip, Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Ritesh Agarwal of OYO and Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm contributed to the fund in a personal capacity, according to the ACT website.  Members of venture capital funds, including Accel, Sequoia, B Capital, Blume Ventures, GGV Capital, Fireside Ventures, Inventus, SoftBank and Lightspeed also made donations, it added.

ACT has partnered with United Way, a global non-profit organisation, to help coordinate the project and grant activities, as per information on the website.

Startups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can apply for a capital infusion of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 crore.  They must come up with products and services to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and scale testing, and discover ideas for better at-home disease management, mental health support, enhanced support for healthcare works and hospitals as well as for management of critically-ill patients, the website said.

Additionally, the ACT platform will offer its network, team and startup assets to help the chosen startups develop the solution. 

Read: Live updates on Covid-19 crisis in India

According to its website, the ACT has funded two projects so far. One is the Covid-19 helpline and the other, Covid-19 test kits, it said.

The affordable and fast-to-use test kit was created by Mylab, which received a grant of Rs 1 crore. The kit, manufactured domestically, has a local supply chain and is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

The helpline initiative, called Founders vs Covid, received a grant of Rs 25 lakh. It helps states with scalable interactive voice response (IVR) in Indian languages and directs calls based on urgency to doctors. The data generated from the IVR also provides inputs to state administrations on where to mobilise healthcare resources. 

Currently, India has 1,649 active Covid-19 cases, and 41 people have lost their lives, according to 

Data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.