How Our Portfolio Companies are Responding to COVID-19

By Georgie Mallett
8 April, 2020

We’re incredibly proud to see how our portfolio companies have responded to COVID-19 over the past few weeks. In such a short period of time, they’ve already shown impressive progress. Their tenacity in these difficult and uncertain times has been nothing short of an inspiration to the EF team and wider community.

The new constraints brought about by the global pandemic are unsettling, but they’re also a powerful motivator, and a force for encouraging creative problem solving. Within just a few weeks, our portfolio companies have already demonstrated the power of entrepreneurship.

AccuRx have had an astonishing impact on the NHS over the past few weeks, releasing two new features to help NHS staff across the UK respond to COVID-19: video consultations, avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact, and a triaging questionnaire.

Responses to AccuRx’s work via Twitter

“Over a weekend, we built, shipped, tested and enabled two new products for 3600 practices – over half the country. I’m so privileged to work with such a talented and motivated team,” Jacob Haddad (CEO of AccuRx) said, “We’ve seen years of digital transformation of the NHS happen in days.” AccuRx now host over 100,000 GP video consultations per week, have gone live in hospitals, and are now being used by over 6000 GP practices.

One of the results of lockdowns across the globe is that many ships, and some 150,000 crew, have been trapped at sea, unable to go home. Greywing, an online security platform, are developing a risk assessment tool to assess the COVID-19 threat level of vessels, to facilitate the movement of crews at ports.

Greywing’s tool applies historical information from the Centre for Disease Control to assess and analyse the threat of COVID-19 onboard vessels. Their risk assessment will take into account port calls, geographical movements, crew changes and the input of vessel managers.

“We are also building an anonymised dataset on vessels that are clear of, and infected by COVID-19,” said Nick Clarke (CEO, Greywing) “By assessing where vessels that are clear and infected have been, we can assess the likelihood of a transmission happening at those locations and continue to refine the risk assessment to be more accurate.”

Nick Clarke (CEO, Greywing)

The concern is that, as the days go by, the situation becomes a humanitarian crisis, rather than just a commercial one, with groups being trapped offshore. “I can see the ships the seafarers are trapped on outside my window, the ship managers we are working with to resolve this problem are across the road,” said Nick Clarke, “This is a global problem but I think in Singapore with the help of the ICA, MPA and the Singapore Ship Owners association it will be solved locally. Our aim is to help resolve this as quickly as possible.”

In Singapore, Kronikare worked with the government’s healthtech agency, IHiS, to build an AI tool to automate temperature screenings in crowds. “We were very proud to be able to collaborate with IHiS at such a difficult time,” said Hossein Nejati (CTO, Kronikare), “I think technology is going to provide a lot of support to help us deal with the new issues we’re facing. Although we didn’t have the exact technology at Kronikare, we were well-prepared to quickly turnaround the product we needed.”

The device scans people’s temperatures as they pass by, making it quicker and safer for frontline staff as well as the public. Using AI, iThermo identifies the specific temperature of the forehead, as well as adapting to ambient temperature. Kronikare and IHiS built the device within two weeks, adapting Kronikare’s existing wound-scanning technology. 

Right-Hand Cybersecurity have launched a new campaign this week called #DefendTogether as a response to a recent spike in phishing emails and other cyber attacks due to COVID-19.  “Cyber attackers have reminded us of the type of adversary we’re up against, by using COVID-19 as an opportunity to victimise human distress for profit,” said Theo Nasser (CEO, Right-Hand). 

Theo Nasser (CEO, Right-Hand)

As part of Right-Hand’s #DefendTogether initiative, they are offering a free cyber training module to any business in need of cyber support during this difficult period. The module is a short and gamified means of educating people on the tactics cyber attackers are currently deploying, and how we can better defend ourselves and our organisations.

“Right-Hand empathizes with the challenges that organizations around the world are going through right now, but unfortunately, cyber attackers do not.  We are determined to play our part in supporting organizations as they are experiencing these unplanned business pivots and transitioning their employees to work remote,” Theo said.

Lingumi, a pre-school education platform, are donating 20% of their revenues from global families during the COVID-19 lockdown to the Global Fund for Children’s COVID appeal. They have also launched a 14 days of ‘Stay Home Activities’ free in their app and on their website so parents can entertain their children with easy, educational games.

Lingumi co-founders, Toby Mather and Adit Trivedi

“It’s a particularly challenging time for parents who find themselves having to keep their kids happy, entertained and learning, often on top of their own remote working schedule,” Toby Mather (CEO, Lingumi) says, “Lingumi’s mission is to bring the world’s best teaching experience to pre-school children, through technology, and so we can get quality teaching into the home at this critical time.” And as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also created a fun ‘Wash my hands’ song!

An entrepreneurial drive is key to finding new solutions – for COVID-19, as well as for the many other global challenges that could benefit from innovation. At EF, we have a strong belief that the greatest opportunity to make an impact lies in entrepreneurship; this is especially true for the world’s most talented individuals.

If you have the ambition to make an impact, consider joining our programme. We provide a monthly stipend from day one, and you don’t need a team or an idea to apply. We’ll help you meet a co-founder, develop an idea, and build your startup from scratch. These are challenging times, but EF exists to remove many of the barriers that founders face – from financial support, to ideation, to meeting a co-founder and gaining traction.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!