EquiFund startups and COVID 19 [5/6/2020]
The unprecedented health, economic and social crisis caused by the COVID 19 pandemic has changed the focus of research, business and technological efforts, towards the fight to tackle the pandemic or to mitigate the social consequences it has caused, nationally and globally.
In this context, the technologically innovative start-ups funded by the EquiFund, used their know-how to either help tackle the pandemic or to help society cope with its consequences and the special circumstances. .Indicatively, we mention the following: Causaly, has developed artificial intelligence and is able to directly process the medical and scientific publications to identify rapidly the drugs which include ingredients that can help in the fight against COVID 19. Also the company proceeded to mapping all public knowledge regarding the virus so that it can be exploited by researchers.
Purposeful 's contribution could be characterized as complementary. It is a biotechnology company, which directly examines the possibility of redefining the use of existing drugs to treat COVID19. It has already created a list of 42 promising drugs and is currently in the process of exploring possible funding for its in vitro evaluation by Democritus University.
Also important in medical research is the contribution of Biomtech, which seeks to accelerate monitoring methods by creating affordable real-time imaging systems for experiments performed on laboratory mice used in COVID19 research.
Enzyquest, produces enzymes for molecular and biotechnological use, develops molecular diagnostic tests of SARS-CoV2 which is produced in Greece while investigating the creation of an alternative molecular rapid response tests. The Enzyquest team is working intensively so that the country can have a large number of tests for the next period of time ,in view of the tourist season and the possible second wave of the disease.
At a different level of crisis management, that of human and social resources, Novoville, which specializes in technological solutions for local government, has developed an application (app) for the local authorities in the UK that directly identifies those who have volunteered, in order to contribute to the efforts made. The system locates the volunteers by category and connects them with the respective social services.
Blueground is a lease and property rental company which is high technology-oriented. The company allocated 100 apartments in 12 different parts of the world to workers in the health sector, who have to travel often ad are on the move n order to help address COVID19.
In a different way, the company TENDERTEC decided to contribute, by developing remote monitoring systems for the elderly and other vulnerable groups. Given that lockdowns make it difficult to care for people and move caregivers and nurses, TENDEREC's system, based on thermal cameras and artificial intelligence, helps identify those in need of immediate assistance, limiting unnecessary movement and transmission of the virus. The TENDEREC team is also developing a system to help remotely detect warning signs of possible COVID19 cases.
Advantis, which provides medical imaging - radiodiagnostic services' (medical imaging) in the cloud, uses the platform to provide assistance for medical examinations that have lower priority because of the pandemic crisis. At the same time Advantis organized medical webinars which were attended by over 160 participants from 54 countries. Medical examinations through the platform are expected to play an important role, as medical organizations return to their normal operation.
It is a given that the COVID19 crisis has created huge needs for antiseptics in various forms (wipes, gels, etc.). YOUTHLAB developed a series of such products while protecting the skin.
It should be noted that there were cases where pre-existing technological services proved to be particularly useful in the conditions of the quarantine. One such case is the InstaShop application which provides online ordering of grocery products in foreign countries. The company recorded an impressive increase in turnover after the outbreak of the crisis. On 27/08/2020, InstaShop, thanks to its successful course, was the subject of the largest acquisition that has taken place in a Greek startup, namely by the German Delivery Hero for the amount of 360 million dollars.
Another retail app, bespot, added estimated and live traffic information to partner supermarket stores as well as data on the queue to enter them. This way its users avoid queues and overcrowding.
The funds of EquiFund contributed significantly to their expertise and continuous counseling in all areas was crucial for the development of this successful project examples.
The selection of the software company TEKMON by TfL, the body responsible for controlling and coordinating public transport in London, should also be mentioned at this point . The possibilities for remote briefing provided by the application of the company is very important period of COVID for numerous maintenance employees the company has.
The investment platform EquiFund funded with 200 million. Euros from EPANEK (European Regional Development Fund and national resources) by 60 mil. Euro from the EIF (European Investment Fund / EIF), to 40 m. Euros from the European Bank Investment - resources of the European Strategic Investment Fund (EFC - Juncker Plan) and institutional and private investors. With leverage of additional funds from institutional and private investors, the initiative has reached 450 million euros of available resources.
The significant action and the impressive reflexes shown by the Greek startups in the pandemic crisis utilizing biotechnology, artificial intelligence and other technological means, but above all utilizing the human resources and the collective intellect of the teams that form these companies, highlight the decisive The role of investing in innovation and the importance and usefulness of co-financed programs that offer new opportunities in the economy of our country, but also in society to face unprecedented crises.