During these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus, we are obviously all thinking about our health, our families, our business continuity and our economy at large. Yet, some companies have managed to reach out and adapt their services to the particular societal needs of the hour. We are extremely proud of some of our past EUSP winners who have shown agility and leadership in tackling the current situation, even from confinement. Here are three examples of startups from our two previous editions who are providing dedicated mobility service for essential workers during the crisis:
Free-floating e-scooters platform, CityScoot, has launched a feature called CityHelp for caregivers in Paris and Nice. The feature offers caregivers in these respective cities 30 minutes every day for FREE. This allows caregivers who do not own their own vehicle to avoid public transport and commute on their own. If you happen to know a caregiver in one of these cities, invite them to register here.
On-demand shuttle mobility platform Shotl, has launched a new innovative product that helps cities adapt their fleets to facilitate the mobility of – and only of – essential workers. The product permits buses to avoid unnecessary stops, limit their capacity and restricts access only to authorised passengers. This idea could also feed into the debate of the lockdown exit strategy, in which we will probably see a gradual release based on criteria which governments will be determining.
Finally, Karhoo, typically a B2B marketplace for taxi services, has just offered the British and French governments to use its platform in order to provide critical staff with access to state-sponsored transport service. Once again, by ensuring that high-risk populations avoid public transport, we can slow down the spread of the pandemic. And even if they own their own cars, driving after an endless shift at the hospital is not necessarily the best idea. The least we can do to thank them is to send them home comfortably to get some rest.
But the challenge is not just about helping essential workers commute; it’s also about ensure essential goods reach their destinations. Cocolis is a peer-to-peer delivery service, active in France. The company is currently recruiting volunteers volunteers to transport urgent materials to hospitals, nursing homes, and people in need, using its sharing platform. If you want to volunteer or ask for help, join their dedicated request platform.
All of these initiatives are a testament that our startup community is not only thinking about their own survival but also about contributing and showing solidarity during these difficult times. We applaud their innovation and their support for front-line essential workers across our societies. While our startups are looking for solutions for the health crisis, we are looking at how we can support our startups during the economic crisis of the day after. That is why, this year for the first time, we will create investment opportunities for our startup community from both EU institutional funds and private ones.
This could also be another reason for you to apply for this year’s edition (if you haven’t already). Apply by the end of April and show to the world how your innovation can disrupt mobility, making it smarter, cleaner, and more inclusive – whether at times of crisis or normalcy.
Written by Yash Das Sharma & Dan Sobovitz