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Entrepreneurs meet the crisis with kindness, imagination and generosity.

29 Apr 2020 By Octopus Ventures

Entrepreneurs thrive on challenge. So maybe it’s no surprise that our portfolio companies are responding boldly to the current crisis. Here are just some of the stories that confirm our belief that pioneers change the world.

Big Health

Big Health has partnered with NHS England and NHSX to provide its products Sleepio and Daylight at no cost to NHS staff, to help protect their mental health.

Over in the US, Big Health has engaged with over 160 employers, rolling out their products to companies ranging from Nike to the frontline healthcare heroes at public research university UCSF. The initiative has also allowed their existing customer Target to expand access to its whole population, at a time when store workers themselves are on the front lines.

Olio

Olio’s increasingly famous Food Waste Heroes have rescued food from over 80 businesses facing closure, including offices, caterers, hotels, restaurants, cafes, wholesalers and cancelled events. Over 24,000 kgs of food have been shared with local communities. One volunteer, Petko, has completed 39 collections, picking up a staggering 4,822 kg of food. This equates to 11,480 meals!

Meanwhile, these ‘Lockdown Care Packages’, from Olio-member Emma, are just one example of the imaginative initiatives that prove our communities are thriving in the face of adversity.

Quit Genius

Quit Genius is a recent investment for us, so it’s gratifying to see this physician-led company offering employers their smoking and vaping cessation product free. Given the respiratory effects of the Covid-19 virus, Quit Genius’ evidence-based coaching, wearable technology and medication package is well-placed to help those urgently reconsidering their smoking habits.

Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds brings intimate music gigs to unique venues around the world, creating a global community of artists and fans. Sofar has been advancing full payment to all artists who had events canceled as well as live streaming shows, encouraging donations for the artists. They’re also establishing a fund with an initial goal of $250,000 to provide direct financial support to the artists who rely on Sofar and other local gigs to make a living.

Sofar are also connecting artists with educators and have set up an online listening room featuring live streaming performances, video premieres and conversations with artists from around the world.

allplants

allplants is continuing to supply 100% plant-based meals to customers’ doors. In fact, demand is up and they’ve hired more chefs, some who had lost their jobs when restaurants closed at the start of the lockdown. People have been ordering for elderly relatives and all plants have added the ability to let them know if an order is for an NHS worker, or someone who is really relying on them, so they can prioritise those deliveries.

Uniplaces

Uniplaces is offering free short term accommodation for healthcare professionals, so far persuading 140 landlords to forego their usual rent. Uniplaces has sent the list to the biggest clinics in Portugal where many families live in multi-generational households.

Bought By Many

The UK’s most trusted pet insurance provider has been hosting Sophie’s Vet School which gives weekly virtual lessons on caring for animals to children.

Memrise

Memrise turned their offices into a virtual jazz club making their space and piano available to Kansas Smittys for an online gig.

Mush

Mush exists to connect mums and they’re running daily virtual meet ups for new mums during the lockdown. (They’ve also ranked nursery rhymes from the most to least annoying!)

Patch

Patch have been donating plants to hospitals across London, specifically to the staff canteens, helping them become more restful places for those under pressure.

Then there are the pioneering companies that by their adaptive, innovative nature, are helping their customers through the Covid situation.

By Miles

Traditional car insurers are benefitting from reduced claims during lockdown, but only one UK insurer has passed these savings onto its customers. By Miles, whose customers’ flexible monthly insurance statements are based on the distance they actually drive, is encouraging drivers to cancel their existing car insurance and switch over to them during the lockdown to save money. For any drivers that bought during lockdown and stay a minimum of three months, if they go back to driving over 7,500 miles a year once things are back to normal, the company will be waiving cancellation fees.

Antidote

Antidote’s Match tool included over 200 covid19 clinical trials. The company, which connects patients to medical research, officially added COVID-19 to their clinical trial search platform. Doctors and patients can visit their search tool to answer a few questions to help them match to a trial.

Trouva

Boutique owners can no longer operate from their bricks and mortar stores, but Trouva has pivoted to allow boutique owners to fulfil their online orders while maintaining social distancing guidelines, sending out their orders directly from their homes. In doing so, Trouva has enabled 75% of its UK shops to continue to trade.

Metrasens

Preventing the spread of Covid-19 infection in mental health hospitals and correctional facilities is a challenge across the globe, and Metrasens’ “stand-off screening” provides significant benefits at this time in comparison with traditional screening and search techniques such as manual pat-down and the use of hand-wand metal detectors.

Glofox

The gym management software company has launched a new platform that enables gyms and fitness studios to deliver live streaming and premium on-demand content, enabling businesses to keep operating remotely and fulfill their customer fitness needs online.

These examples – and there are many more – indicate to us that as we eventually emerge into a post-Covid reality, it will be entrepreneurs who will lead the way.

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