Startups are providing solutions

The number of Amsterdam-based startups helping fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – by offering support, assistance, and technical know-how – is growing by the day.

The range of efforts on display is broad. For example, location expert GeoSpark is tracking the spread of the virus in real-time while the programming educators at Bomberbot are giving relief to stay-at-home parents by offering free lessons for children.

Though the battle against the virus is new, certain trends are already apparent. Startups are concentrating on three areas: supporting the healthcare community, applying business expertise to find solutions to the problems posed by these uncertain times, and harnessing the goodwill of the general population.

Looking out for Amsterdam’s healthcare workers

Many corona-related apps are focused on assisting healthcare workers. For example, under the name ‘deliver healthcare’, crowdsourcing specialist Roamler has activated thousands of volunteers to provide doctors and nurses working long shifts with groceries. 

MedTech company Siilo is offering medical professionals free access to its crisis management feature while digital car park operator Parkbee is providing free parking, making it easier to get to work.

Amstel canal Edwin van Eis

Using technical know-how to combat the crisis

Other companies are applying their specialised technical know-how to help alleviate the crisis. The online manufacturing platform 3D Hubs is working to supply hospitals with medical equipment by launching a manufacturing fund and bringing together partners to boost production. 

The AI consultants at Xomnia are applying their text and data mining expertise to tackle scientific questions surrounding the pandemic by using a massive open research dataset recently released by the US government and leading research groups. 

Meanwhile, data capture tool developer Castor EDC is helping medical researchers collect and integrate data through a global monitoring and research platform meant to facilitate rapid trials of potential vaccines and treatments.

Entrepreneurs are looking after one another

Many startups have also been inspired to help fellow entrepreneurs survive the crisis. For example, in the restaurant industry, Super-Market is providing a platform that allows local eateries to sell surplus inventory.

Smart mobility firm felyx is providing free use of its scooters for food delivery (among other services) and Foodlogica has expanded its last-mile delivery logistics service so it can be used by restaurant owners.

Recently, the app Local Heroes was launched ahead of schedule in Amsterdam West, allowing users to order products online from food-based businesses in their neighbourhoods. 

Amsterdam canal night lights Koen Smilde

Making it easier to lend a hand

Many people want to help during the crisis, and local startups are making it easier to do so. Deedmob, which already specialised in linking volunteers with organisations through its free online platform, has launched coronahelpers.nl. The site has attracted thousands of volunteers and over 100 official partners, including the Dutch national government, Microsoft, and TomTom. 

GoodUp, which develops software that encourages employees to take on impact-focussed actions based on their company’s higher purpose, has released coronacommunitycare.nl, which also connects volunteers with organisations, much like iWillHelpYou.

Ensuring volunteers make the most of their knowledge and experience

Meanwhile, the folks behind the Yort app, which mobilises volunteers, are taking things to the next level and using tech to help people make the best use of their skills. 

“Our next iteration will [centre on] each person's individuality and experience…you will be able to tell Yort what you want and can do, as opposed to trying to fit into specific categories of services,” says founder and director Andrei Nikiforov.

“Our vision goes far beyond connecting volunteers,” he says. “We are expanding shortly with online knowledge and experience sharing. For the time being, it will be strictly through video calls and we will see what's next, depending on the situation we're in.”

Though other companies are taking a similar approach to the crisis by making it simpler to volunteer, Nikiforov does not see them as competition. “We are happy to see more platforms of this kind and have made efforts to collaborate. We believe it's about the same goal,” he says.

Amsterdam canal summer boating C. Vonk

A startup ecosystem that cares

This commitment to doing good and helping fellow entrepreneurs make it through the crisis embodies the resilient spirit of Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem and the creativity that makes it great, even when times are tough.

Read more news about Amsterdam's startup scene.