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COVID-19 Tech Updates: Local Startups Take an Active Role in Fighting Coronavirus Pandemic in Dhaka, Food Delivery’s Second Order Consequences

The fallout from coronavirus pandemic continues to deepen. Governments across markets race to put in measures to save the economy and help businesses and people survive the crisis. There have been initiatives to support both big companies as well as startups. 

While the Bangladesh Government has yet to put forward any concrete measures for the startups, there has been talks around putting together policy proposals to offer a lifeline to startups in the next six months put forward by a number of entrepreneurs and stakeholders. 

Future Startup is chronicling the impact of the pandemic on the tech industry, how startups are addressing the challenges and much more. 

Startups take on the fight to contain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh. A host of local early-stage tech startups are doing serious work to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Dhaka. 

Sheba, one of the on-demand services marketplace, has jointly launched a program called Save Bangladesh along with a long list of other organizations, that has been sending essential safety materials to people who need them across Dhaka. 

Companies like Chaldal, Khaas Food, and Pathao have continued their operation despite the growing risk to ensure delivery of groceries and essential items. 

Apploye, a local time tracking, and scheduling startup, has made it platform free for Bangladeshi companies with employees less than 50 until June.  

bKash has made it simpler to donate to organizations like Bidyanondo Foundation. Many companies have also taken measures like donating salary of the entire to charities working to contain the fallout from coronavirus pandemic on poor people in Bangladesh. 

While many startups are facing a grim prospect amid the growing fallout from the pandemic, it offers hope that people remain resilient in the face of insurmountable challenges. 

Food Delivery’s Second Order Consequences. Food delivery companies are gradually waking up to a new reality amid the growing impact of coronavirus shutdown in Dhaka. 

While the logical consequence of a lockdown should give rise to the orders of food delivery companies, which it did, so far it has been a difficult experience for the food delivery companies in Dhaka. 

There are several layers to this reality. 

One, finding delivery people has become a far more challenging affair in the past few weeks. 

Second, the restaurant industry is one of the most adversely affected sectors and most restaurants have shut down their operations amid the lockdown. 

The confluence of these two forces has made it virtually impossible for food delivery companies to fulfill any demand let alone the increased demand created by the lockdown. While cloud kitchens could have played a role in easing the challenge, many independently run cloud kitchens have also closed operations to minimize the risk of employees. 

This is a new reality and a missed opportunity for food delivery companies. It is likely to impact the business of food delivery companies long after we pass the pandemic. 

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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