How our NEXT Canada Entrepreneurs are Playing a Part in Fighting COVID-19
At NEXT, it is our mission to support our community of 600+ entrepreneurs and all Canadian startups in any way we can. On a good day, it’s hard being a founder, so we recognize just how challenging this new set of circumstances must be for our intrepid Canadian entrepreneurs. Despite these new challenges, we’ve been blown away by our alumni and ventures who have really gone above and beyond to help other businesses weather the storm and provide resources for those on the front lines. Even as they fight to stabilize their own businesses, we want to recognize their altruism and the power of the collaborative Canadian startup community as they work hard to support others in need.
We are optimistic about the massive impact entrepreneurs will have on our future economy, and our ability to enable their continued success by the actions we take today. The initiatives, support and resources outlined below are further proof of the resilience of our Canadian entrepreneurs.
We want to thank our alumni and their ventures for going above and beyond – we will update this list frequently so please check back often.
First, thank you to our alumni who are practicing physicians and who are working the COVID-19 front lines to help flatten the curve, everyday:
- Sophie Weiwei Gao, MD Cardiac Surgery Resident
- Gordie Best MD Student McGill University
- Daniel Gottsman, MD Anesthesiologist McGill University
- Holly Smith, MD Cardiac Surgery Resident University of Calgary
- Nicola Sahar, MD University of Toronto
- Shahob Hosseinpour, Diagnostic Radiology University of Toronto
- Marc Cotran. MD McGill University
Ventures who are repurposing their supply chain, diverting resources or launching new products to support the fight against COVID-19:
- Atomwise does computational drug design and they are powering two efforts to find a new small molecule drug against COVID-19
- Envoi’s driver team is bringing health supplements, hand sanitizers, clothes, shoes, baby formula, essentials to our doorsteps so we don’t risk bringing in pathogens by going outside ourselves. Their founder Maarij is also offering his expertise to help retailers impacted by brick and mortar closures by empowering e-commerce engines.
- CleanSlateUV’s CEO Taylor Mann is experiencing overwhelming interest in their UV phone and tablet cleaning product in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. See how his team is minimizing the spread of germs here.
- #paid has been busy researching how COVID-19 is driving changes in consumer behaviour. Read the full report here.
- North’s team pulled together all the masks, gowns, eye protection they could find and 60,000 gloves to donate to local first responders and front line healthcare teams.
- Vox Pop Labs has helped conduct a public survey in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital, to find that Canadians are largely heeding public health advice. Read More
- Blue City Technology is monitoring the changes in pedestrian mobility with their 3D LiDAR solution.
- Comfable has developed a coronavirus spread simulator. As a part of the “Coronavirus Live Status“, it illustrates the effect of social distancing on slowing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.
- RockMass has joined forces with Mosaic Manufacturing, ReDeTec, and Glia to help fight the COVID-19 crisis by manufacturing 50,000 face shields to help keep front line medical workers safe. Learn more
- AccessNow launched a new “Access from Home” feature. Recognizing that people may not be able to leave their homes, they are working to identify, validate and promote businesses that offer services to people at home. Learn more
- Based on the Bauer face shield design, the Spring Loaded Technology facility has begun producing 1,000 face shields for the DGHF. Learn more
- Senso has launched SensoGo to support front-line staff throughout Toronto hospitals. SensoGo is coordinating meal and gift package deliveries to the front-line staff at Toronto Western Hospital. Learn more
- Sampler has launched a program called #ComeTogetherTO which encourages Canadians to support local brands, providing a special discount in exchange for your support. Shop the local list
Healthtech ventures who are making it easy for you to take care of your (and your loved ones) day to day physical health without going to a hospital:
- Tia-health has launched a Canada-wide partnership with Rexall. Tia Health will handle all of Rexall’s virtual care service for patients to help relieve the current burden on the acute healthcare system, specifically emergency rooms and hospitals. Patients will be able to talk to a doctor from the comfort of their homes by video chat or phone call and receive safe and effective medical care. Tia Health will be available at rexall.ca beginning on March 20. Read More
- Avail has developed a clinically-backed 30-second “check up” tool to curate the most effective point-in-time care recommendations from a pool of 1000s of articles, videos, and virtual clinicians. While this service is typically paid, in the wake of COVID-19 Avail is offering a FREE iOS, Android and Web app for anybody to be able to access the most relevant care resources to help address the challenges they are facing.
- Caribou provides a network that connects people to the best support and treatment options globally without the restrictions of going to your local healthcare provider.
- Pawzy launched their telemedicine software allowing pet parents to connect to vets virtually.
Ventures who are providing mental and physical wellness support for you, your loved ones and your business team:
- Resili gives access to live, at-home counselling and support from registered mental health professionals.
- Animo allows you to quantify, predict and improve the psychological well-being and performance of your employees. They’ve launched a remote work and mental health resource playbook that is open to the public.
- Myelin offers a collaborative platform for mental help support and the continued treatment of people with autism.
- Crescendo has released a free guide to tackling diversity and inclusion in the context of COVID-19. The guide includes learnings around: care-giving, xenophobia, and mental health.
- TritonWear is offering free injury prevention software during the crisis.
Physical health and wellness:
- FitDrive is aiming to help as many fitness professionals as possible to deliver their services remotely. They are asking personal trainers to join their facebook group for their app so that they can get them on-boarded.
Ventures who are providing important HR, talent and culture building solutions:
- Crescendo – Marginalized and vulnerable populations will inevitably be the hardest hit by effects of COVID-19, so Crescendo has made its D&I learning platform FREE for the next 6 weeks. This means businesses can be equipped with the right tools to scale their D&I strategy while enabling remote employees to practice inclusivity.
- ApprentX provides Employee Training Modules that actually work – great for everyone working at home who may require new training.
- Collage HR provides an all-in-one platform for small businesses to manage their HR, payroll and benefits.
- Hatchways has launched Volunteer for COVID, promoting new or established projects helping with the COVID-19 crisis that need support or talent. People can volunteer via the site or post new initiatives.
- Tribe is offering their community platform for free to organizations with a mission to help people during COVID-19. Learn more
Ventures who are helping to keep you and your kids entertained and educated:
- Robot Playtime is a mobile app that helps your child program a robot and learn introductory coding skills.
- MakerKids, creator of the first makerspace for kids in North America, brings its award-winning STEM programs to students via MakerKids Virtual, a live, virtual classroom experience that promotes social interaction and important tech skills, while learning about Robotics, Coding and Minecraft.
- Simbi just added over 2,000 new stories to the Simbi online reading platform to help bide your time during self-isolation. Whether you’d like to read a story with your friends/family or take 5 minutes and narrate a story for 40,000 others, Alex, founder at SImbi, created a simple guide on how you can make a global impact from the comfort of your home. Feel free to take a peek if you’re interested.
- Babbly is offering a 15min remote session with a registered speech therapist who can answer your questions and give you tips to work on at home. It’s free for a limited time. To book your call, visit Babbly.co
- SucSeed is sending seeds to families to grow basic veggies at home.
Alumni who are offering their business, leadership, etc, expertise to help other alumni*:
- Yangqi Xu, Destin.AI (Next AI, 2017) – offering calls via WeChat from China
- Rafal Dittwald, Bloom Ventures (Next 36, 2012) – offering support, processes and tools for remote teams
- Neda Ghazi, Comfable (Next Founders, 2017) – offering UI/UX design support. It may not be easy to reach customers during uncertain times, but it’s a great opportunity to focus on our products to prepare for post-outbreak. Neda is proud to offer a one-hour complimentary consulting video call to review your website, app or pitch deck design.
- Michelle Kwok, FLIK (Next 36, 2019) – If you’re a female founder or leader who really needs help on your business today, we are a free resource for you during this time. These students are adept in marketing, software development, design, and many other disciplines, they are looking for mentorship and professional development opportunities that you can give them. There is no cost to any of this and people just want to lend a helping hand! More info here
- Louis Victor Jadavji, Taloflow (Next Founders, 2016) – Offering TaloFlow AWS Optimization support. One of the first things to look at is controlling variable spend. For many of us, that’s the cloud bill, which we know how to optimize to a tee. We’re offering all NEXT Canada founders a free, detailed consultation and report on their AWS bill with one of our cloud economists (greater than $5k in value).
- Jason Greenspan, WHOOSH! (Next Founders, 2014) – bootstrapped the growth WHOOSH! without any venture capital and can help grow / stabilize within your means. He’s open to chatting with NEXT alumni, look at their business, cash flows or just bounce ideas off of.