Covid-19 crisis: Startups step up efforts to assist in oxygen delivery

Workers refill cylinders with medical oxygen for supply for Covid-19 patients, amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Photo: PTI
As the country grapples with an oxygen crisis amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, startups in India have stepped up to help in procurement efforts.

 

On Saturday, logistics startup Delhivery's co-founder Sahil Barua said in a LinkedIn post: "We're flying charters into India with oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies and can build more capacity on demand. If you need help with logistics or wish to collaborate with us on this please reach out to Vikas Kapoor or to me immediately (ceo@delhivery.com)."

 

Shailendra Singh, managing director at Sequoia Capital, tweeted earlier in the day asking for leads on importing oxygen concentrators to India. By evening, he tweeted, "thank you everyone, we got a few dozen leads that we are pursuing now, including some amazing referrals from our friends in Sequoia China ... gratitude".

 

ACT Grants, an organisation founded by 34 founders and corporate leaders and 44 mainstream funds, including Accel, Kalaari Capital, Ankul Capital, LetsVenture, and Lightspeed, also stepped up its efforts. "We are raising >75 cr. funds for: Home health Management, Oxygen Solutions, Supplement medical workforce. Pls step forward to support this fight. Pls write to me tejeshwi.sharma@sequoiacap.com or DM me to donate," said Tejeshwi Sharma, principal at Sequoia Capital, on Twitter.

 

Later in the day, a grouping of Gurgaon-based startup founders launched ‘Mission Oxygen’ to import oxygen concentrators. The machine concentrates oxygen from the ambient air and supply it to patients. According to a statement, the startup founders raised Rs 4.60 crore through crowdfunding platform Ketto by Saturday evening, and were aiming to raise a total of Rs 5 crore to meet the demand of 3,000 concentrators.

 

The group had already procured 500 concentrators from China which would be made available in hospitals by April 28 and another 500 were expected to be ordered by Saturday evening, they said. To contribute to the crowdfunding initiative, citizens could go to https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/mission-oxygen-helping-hospitals-to-save-lives.

 

The fund raiser has seen support coming from Bollywood celebrities, including actor Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan and Kunal Kapoor, among others. The initiative has been led by Democracy People Foundation and is being driven by Snehil Khanor of TrulyMadly, Mansha Kaur of Heart On My Sleeve, Hubhopper founder Gautam Raj Anand, Rahul Agarwal and Varun Agarwal of Designhill, Rahul Hari of Satvacart, Uday Anand of Mycrushfit, Gautam Ghai of Sourcefuse, Cuttlfish founder Shikher Gupta among others.


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