As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in Canada and around the world, businesses are taking steps to help flatten the curve and support customers through new products, services, and free offerings. This list will outline what Canadian tech companies are offering during the outbreak.
The list will be updated each Friday as more information comes in. Reach out to via email so BetaKit can add to the list.
CareGuide gives Canadian frontline healthcare free access to childcare matching platforms
Toronto-based CareGuide is offering all healthcare workers free access to its childcare platforms, CanadianNanny.ca for nannies, and Sitter.com for babysitters. These platforms are aimed to help families find and hire local caregivers with a wide range of skill sets, from casual babysitters to long-term and special needs providers. CareGuide hopes to support those taking on the added responsibility of sourcing healthcare in the current landscape.
AlayaCare develops COVID-19 screener for care workers and clinicians
AlayaCare has released a COVID-19 screener as part of its home care mobile platform. The application gives front-line workers an electronic tool to assess risk before they provide home and community-based services to the elderly and vulnerable patients. The tool can be used before each visit and is available to personal care workers and clinicians.
MediSeen offers free virtual care and screening software to all regulated health and wellness providers
MediSeen will offer physicians and certified health and wellness practitioners in Canada free access to its virtual care platform. The platform can be used as a tool to provide online assessments and in-home visits when necessary for patients to reduce the need for in-clinic visits due to COVID-19. The decision was made in an effort to ensure patients are able to access health and wellness practitioners during the current period of social distancing.
Outpost Health offers free virtual visit software app to healthcare providers
Outpost is offering its healthcare app for free to all healthcare providers globally for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow healthcare providers to triage cases and give care to patients while minimizing the risk of exposure to the virus. The initiative is aimed to prevent the spread of illness by allowing a provider’s current patients to seek the information they need from their homes.
Nesto gives Canadians one year of free mobile access to doctors and nurses
Nesto is offering one year of free access to Dialogue, which will allow users to have live chats with nurses, video consultations with doctors, prescription renewals, and free medication delivery. Users can now get specialist referrals when medically indicated, get help in navigating the healthcare system, and follow-up with a medical team. The service is available to users and their immediate family members.
Vidyard introduces free video messaging to improve internal communications during pandemic
Vidyard has introduced a new free offering, Vidyard for Internal Communications, to help remote workers stay connected through secure video content and messaging. The offer allows executives and employees to record, secure, and share private videos from their web browser and email app. CEO Michael Litt said it was a solution Vidyard was intending to release as a paid offering, but the company decided to accelerate the launch and make an early access version available at no cost in light of the pandemic.
Thoughtexchange opens free access to crowdsourcing platform
Thoughtexchange has opened free access to its platform for those who want to address COVID-19 with their remote employees, customers, and communities. The crowdsourcing technology allows leaders to connect with every member of their team or community and crowdsource anonymized answers to open-ended questions.
League offers enterprises free access to healthcare benefits experience platform
League is offering a complimentary trial of its Health Benefits Experience platform to enterprises in need. The three-month program is aimed to help alleviate the current healthcare and administrative burden on human resources teams during the COVID-19 outbreak. The platform will give employers health and technology resources to provide enhanced healthcare navigation, access, and resources to newly-decentralized workforces.
What Canadian telecom companies are doing to help customers during COVID-19
MobileSyrup highlighted of what telecom providers in Canada and the United States are doing to assist their customers amid the outbreak. In Canada, Rogers and Vidéotron have reportedly lifted all data caps in response to COVID-19. Telus will waive home internet overage charges through until the end of April, and waiving any additional usage fees.
Hockeystick launches list of active funders as COVID-19 creates cash crunch for Canadian startups
Hockeystick has released a new list of the active equity funders, lenders, and government funders in Canada. Raymond Luk, the founder and CEO of Hockeystick spoke about the rising sense of uncertainty in Canada’s tech community due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He said cash is top of mind for founders and entrepreneurs now more than ever, and his goal with creating the list of active funders was to make it easier for startups to quickly access funding resources.
Grassroots database launched to help unemployed Canadian startup workers amid COVID-19
In an effort to support out-of-work Canadian startup employees amid COVID-19, a group of Canadian organizations have created a resource to help those employees find work and support. The ‘Talent Help List’ allows workers to add themselves and list their skills and the work they are looking for.
Maple to launch COVID-19 screening for Ontario residents, free virtual clinic platform for doctors
Virtual care company Maple is providing online COVID-19 (coronavirus) screenings with a live physician to Ontario residents. Maple is also currently offering its virtual clinic software to all Ontario and British Columbia (BC) physicians free of charge amid the outbreak. Maple’s virtual clinic platform, which is currently being offered to all Ontario and BC doctors free of charge, will allow physicians in those provinces to launch virtual care capabilities from their home, office, or clinic.
PressReader offers free daily collection of stories regarding COVID-19 news
PressReader has launched a news feed and a digital newspaper of the latest COVID-19 stories from around the world. The digital newspaper, COVID-19 News, features top daily news headlines and expert analyses. The channel and digital newspaper are available for free and can be accessed on the PressReader app or online.
Cribcut to provide monthly stipends to clients losing out on earnings due to COVID-19 pandemic
Halifax-based Cribcut, which helps companies provide cosmetic services to employees, is providing the stylists that use its platform with a monthly stipend to circumvent their lost wages and tips due to business closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement comes after Cribcut decided to suspend 400 office visits and cancel about 3,500 appointments because of the pandemic.
Hootsuite provides free access to platform for small and medium-sized businesses during pandemic
Social media management company Hootsuite is offering free access to its professional plan for non-profit organizations and small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Until July 1, organizations can use Hootsuite to engage with their audiences, create content, manage crisis communications, and access a library of social media training courses for free.
Shopify to offer $200 million in small business funding to clients
Shopify has added $200 million to Shopify Capital, its fund that supports its merchants with small loans, as a way to support customers affected by COVID-19. Shopify Capital is currently only available to Shopify merchants in the United States, but the company is working with governments to make the funds available in more countries as soon as possible. The additional $200 million in loans being made available is in addition to other steps that Shopify is taking to support its customer base.
Lightspeed introduces initiatives supporting local businesses
Lightspeed is offering free access to three of its paid offerings: Lightspeed Delivery, Lightspeed eCommerce, and Lightspeed Loyalty, for omnichannel customers. The company will also be reimbursing employees in its 14 global offices up to $500 in local currency on purchases employees make from any Lightspeed retail or restaurant customer. The company said the new initiatives are aimed to support its local retail and restaurant customers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
BlackBerry makes support and solutions for remote work available to companies for free
BlackBerry is looking to help customers and other companies implement their remote working programs at no cost. BlackBerry Desktop software and BlackBerry AtHoc, its mass notification system, are now available free of charge for a 60 day period. The move is aimed to ensure every company has the resources necessary to keep their workforce secure, connected, and productive during the pandemic.
Knix launches fundraiser to donate medical equipment to frontline healthcare workers
Toronto-based Knix, which develops intimates for women, is calling for donations on GoFundMe to help the startup purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the frontlines in the fight against the outbreak. The startup is looking to donate N95 masks, surgical gowns, gloves and doctor and nurse kits from its own suppliers.
DMZ launches #HackTheCurve to launch solutions addressing COVID-19
Ryerson University’s DMZ is creating an online hackathon aimed to facilitate the development of solutions to help address the pandemic. The challenge, called #HackTheCurve, is aimed to provide an opportunity for individuals to create teams online and build solutions to drive social impact, with the aim of tackling challenges specifically related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The winner of the challenge will receive $10,000 in cash as well as an expedited application for DMZ membership.
eSight launches online resource for the low vision community, amid the pandemic
Electronic glasses company eSight recently launched #eSightTogether, an online resource for the low vision community as they learn to navigate through their new aspects of daily living amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The resource contains a list of the most pertinent resources for people with visual impairments to stay informed with COVID-19 and access useful tools for managing during the crisis.
Unbounce offering free accounts to critical services during pandemic
Landing page platform company Unbounce is offering organizations in healthcare, education, nonprofit, or government sectors a free Unbounce account for three months. The offer is available for sign-ups before June 1. The startup said the organizations it’s targeting provide mission-critical services, adding that landing pages, pop-ups, and sticky bars could help them share new information with their communities and customers.
MedEssist makes base app to pharmacies free to alleviate pressure on local pharmacists
MedEssist, a startup that helps connect patients with their local pharmacy, has made its base app free to use for all pharmacies across Canada. MedEssist said it has seen a huge lift in refills coming through the app to its existing pharmacy partners due to the outbreak. The company is also working on a free inventory system that any pharmacy can use to help them with the major drug shortage problem.
Willful offering free wills to healthcare workers to help with emergency planning
Toronto-based Willful is giving away 1,000 free Willful plans to healthcare workers across Canada who have been affected by COVID-19. The startup noted that healthcare administrators have called for frontline healthcare professionals to get their documents in order since their jobs entail higher exposure to the virus. Those interested must provide a form of proof that they are employed as a frontline worker.
Wize is making its online tutoring platform free
EdTech startup Wize is making its online tutoring platform free to help first-year university and college students impacted by the crisis. Wize is an online education platform offering instant access to course-tailored exam prep for major universities across North America. Schools across the continent have been forced to close due to the pandemic. Wize’s tutoring platform is aimed to make up for lost education support.
CoLab opens free access to pro plan for its project collaboration platform
Any team working to design and manufacture solutions to help fight COVID-19 will now have free access to CoLab’s software. The startup offers a review and issue tracking platform that aims to help design and manufacturing teams collaborate on projects. CoLab is also compiling resources on how to make the transition to remote working as smooth as possible.
Communo makes platform free for marketing and design freelancers
In an effort to help workers affected by the economic slowdown, Calgary-based Communo is offering its freelancer membership at no charge. Communo’s platform connects freelancers and agencies in the ad, branding, and design sectors, helping people find jobs and make themselves visible to potential employers.
Image source Unsplash. Photo by National Cancer Institute.