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31 March 2020

19 businesses pivoting in response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is forcing companies to adapt quickly to change and redesign their products or services or even create new ones to respond to the demands of millions of people self-isolating around the world. Maddyness has selected some examples of these pivots from the UK and beyond.

Companies have no choice but to adapt as quickly as they can during the Coronavirus pandemic. While some businesses have shut down or suspended their activities, others are aiming to benefit from the outbreak through change and innovation…

  • Airbnb announced a new global initiative to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders around the world during the COVID-19 crisis. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.
  • accuRx have developed a video consultation service (in the space of a weekend!) and made it free for all frontline NHS staff. Patients don’t need to download anything and doctors don’t need fancy webcams or anything to use it. The statistics and feedback are incredible.
  • Top Cuvée, normally a neighbourhood restaurant and a bottle shop with a great bar becomes Shop Cuvée delivering food, drink and toiletries to their customers.
  • To help hospitals in fighting the coronavirus outbreak in France, the luxury group LVMH produced hand sanitiser at three of its perfume and cosmetics factories.
  • To support the NHS with medical equipment in the fighting against the COVID-19 crisis, Dyson has created the Dyson ventilator. It is efficient in conserving oxygen, bed-mounted, portable and doesn’t need a fixed air supply.
  • Tunisian taxi startup IntiGo has temporarily become a delivery service. For $4/hour, the company will deliver groceries and other products to customers.
  • In London, Experience Haus has created OpenHaus, a series of virtual workshops to join for free throughout April, to keep on learning while self-isolating.
  • Koru Kids are now helping provide emergency childcare to parents who are working at home. They are also working to train medical students to provide childcare to the children of NHS staff.
  • The Los Angeles-based food truck turned restaurant Guerrilla Tacos has just launched several ‘Emergency Kits’. The $149 option contains enough products for 60 tacos, plus a roll of toilet paper.
  • Signature Brew is paying out-of-work musicians to hand-deliver its ‘Pub In A Box’ product with glassware, snacks, a music quiz, playlists and beer.
  • Spiffy, the US on-demand car cleaning service have rolled-out a service to sanitise facilities and properties.
  • The UK’s Department for Transport will explore new transportation modes including e-scooters and e-cargo bikes, as well as bringing the on-demand model (popularised by services like Uber) to buses and other public transport alternatives, as well as using drones for medical deliveries. It has also announced funding of £90M ($112M) for three new Future Transport Zones to trial these new services.
  • ChargedUp, the specialist in phone charging stations created CleanedUp for venues to provide hand sanitising facilities for their customers, to keep everyone safe and give confidence during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
  • BrewDog has transformed its distillery in a bid to help with the shortage of hand sanitisers, by creating a new one for giveaways to those in need.


  • The Rapids have transformed their “Field Trip” workshops into “Remote Field Trips”, to help businesses seize opportunities, deliver mission-critical change and ride these rapids.
  • Netflix Party allows you to watch movies and TV shows with friends, wherever you are and also has group chat so you can react and discuss together.
  • 1Rebel, London-based fitness club has announced that it is willing to offer its gym spaces to the NHS for extra beds during the coronavirus pandemic. 1Rebel co-founder James Balfour has said that he believes the gyms have space for up to 400 beds.
  • In Canada, INKSmith, a startup that was making design and tech tools accessible for kids, has now moved to make face shields and is hiring up to 100 new employees to meet demand.
  • 3D-printing companies like Massachusetts-based Markforged and Formlabs are both making personal protective equipment like face shields, as well as nasal swabs to use for COVID-19 testing.