Amazon Launches Local Shops Amid Lockdown

The government is looking for startups to build wristband linked with Aarogya Setu

Amazon has launched Local Shops for nearby kirana stores to sell online

Uber said it has disbursed grants to 55,000 drivers from the Uber Care Driver Fund

India has finally completed a month under lockdown, even though it may seem longer. During the initial days, the startups had been focussed on building technology-led solutions and donating for NGOs, gig workers and healthcare workers. It evolved into startups helping each other as well over time and now most startups are looking to pivot to essential services to keep their business running and stay relevant.

The government also turned to startups-led solutions for contact tracing and other support. Along with the Aarogya Setu app, the government is looking to launch a wristband, which will be linked to the smartphone app and alert users seamlessly.

The government’s technology procurement body Broadcast Engineering Consultants India (BECIL) closed the technical bids for the wristbands on April 20. It will pitch the design for the wearable device to AIIMS and other government hospitals this week. This will be followed by an interaction with state governments.

Further, in another example of startups boosting technology use and providing their services towards building solutions, point of sales provider Pine Labs has opened the application programming interface (APIs) of its Android-based remote payment application – ePOS by Pine Labs for developers.

This allows merchants to download the app and convert their Android phone into a payment acceptance device for cards, UPI and wallets. Developers can build innovative fintech products for their customers in retail, grocery, transportation space using the remote payment APIs of ePOS.

Further, similarly, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company Datacultr is enabling banks, NBFCs and other financial institutions to lend securely and reduce risk on existing as well as new-to-credit customers post Covid-19. The company said its machine learning technologies enable financial institutions to facilitate access to credit and expand their loan books at a much-reduced risk.

Enabling Supply Of PPE Kits

B2B player Bulk MRO Industrial Supply has been shipping PPEs to hundreds of customers, including corporates, governments and hospital networks in India and other countries around the world. It also manufactures medical products including masks, gowns, hazmat suits, gloves, sanitizers and various medical equipment etc.

Further, another B2B player Bizongo launched a live demand-supply platform and is offering its digital supply chain services for auto-replenishment of PPE Kit supplies. The services are available exclusively for hospitals, health centres, pharmacies, providers of essential goods or services, large public entities, NGOs and other medical fraternities across public and private sectors.

Partnerships And Local Shops By Amazon

Amazon India has launched ‘Local Shops on Amazon’ to help customers discover products from local shops in their city while helping shopkeepers supplement their footfalls with a digital presence and expand beyond their normal catchment. The company said it had piloted this program for six months with over 5000 local shops and retailers from over 100 cities across India.

Further, digital credit player ePayLater has partnered with Zipgrid to launch ZipMart for last-mile logistics of essential commodities. The initiative intends to help select residential societies with online ordering while ensuring contactless delivery necessary to curtail the pandemic. The service is now operational and available to all residential societies registered with Zipgrid in Mumbai and NCR.

ZipMart offers an assortment of edibles and other essential items available at ePayLater’s partnering stores.

Further, D2C logistics aggregator Shiprocket has partnered with Dunzo for Shiprocket’s hyperlocal delivery services for essential items such as groceries, pharmaceuticals, and food items. With 1,200 existing active sellers for hyperlocal services, the partnership provides extended delivery service which starts with a minimum range of 3 Km and a maximum of 15 Km.

At the same time, WayCool Foods has leveraged its sourcing and cold supply chain network in more than 50 locations in India including the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Bengaluru through partnerships and collaborations to boost delivery of essentials during the current lockdown due to Covid-19 crisis.

WayCool said it collaborated with multiple partners to reach customers directly, reaching both apartment complexes and individual homes. The company partnered with Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo in Chennai, Coimbatore and Bengaluru, FreshCura and HESA in Hyderabad, and with Meesho in Chennai for last-mile deliveries.

Alibaba’s SME Enablement Programme And More

Alibaba Cloud has launched a Global SME Enablement Program to provide cloud technology relief worth more than $30 Mn to new and existing small and medium enterprise (SME) customers around the world and equip them with the solutions needed to maintain business continuity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the program, new SME customers worldwide can apply for the relief between now and June 22 to start using a portfolio of proven solutions from Alibaba Cloud. The portfolio consists of a support package with 12 key products, including Elastic Compute Service (ECS), which powers cloud applications with low latency, and Object Storage Service (OSS), an encrypted service for data storage and backup in the cloud, as well as Alibaba Cloud Academy Courses.

Existing customers can also apply for product coupons between now and June 22 to help them expand or upgrade their cloud applications. In addition, Alibaba Cloud will reach out to SME associations to help meet their members’ technology needs as they fight the pandemic.

Further, Uber said it has disbursed grants to 55,000 drivers from the Uber Care Driver Fund, which it set up with an initial commitment of INR 25 Cr, to support drivers amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The company said more than 23,000 Uber riders and employees have already contributed INR 2.15 Cr and NGOs and corporations have donated an additional INR 4.28 Cr, which has already been deposited into the Driver Fund, for immediate distribution as grants to the next batch of drivers.

Essilor has also donated INR 75 Lakh for PM-CARES fund and is also supporting the government in their efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

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Written by Bhumika Khatri


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