News #pivot
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9 June 2020
Unsplash © Avinash Kumar

22 businesses pivoting through 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.

  • New York-based condom company Trojan has launched a free online cookbook called ‘Rising Time’, including sensual bread recipes and food photography. Recipes include ‘Get A Pizza That Booty’ and ‘Knot Without A Condom.’
  • Lone Design Club is a small fashion, beauty and lifestyle omnichannel startup supporting independent brands. Their pop-ups are out of action so they launched “Phyigital” a shoppable window on South Molton Street.
  • Wild Iris is a Shropshire based fashion boutique opened in July 2019 by Toria Salisbury-Scott. Now they are providing support for local artists and charities during the pandemic. The shop has diversified it’s business model through virtual shopping experiences, contactless local delivery and free UK delivery.
  • Playmobil have put their injection moulding machines to good use to create plastic Playmobil Masks.
  • Incredible Bulk continue to offer Cornwall’s only mobile zero waste shop helping to reduce your everyday consumption of single-use plastic packaging by selling loose, package free food and home products at various locations. But now they are offering home-delivery too.
  • Wu-Tang Clan have introduced their own brand of hand sanitiser called “Protect Ya Hands”. Read more here.
  • Four time best restaurant in the world Noma has reopened as a burger joint. Read the story here.
  • Rebecca Brennan-Brown, owner of The New Black Studio – a corporate event management business based in London and have now created “The little black box” – an event in a box. The company had to completely pivot from a service-based business to product, and learn everything from scratch.
  • Secret London Runs usually provides runners with guided running tours around London. As all of their tours were cancelled, they have filmed a free virtual 5K running tour all about the 18th-century gin craze for anyone to experience from their living room and created a podcast series and a weekly lockdown quiz about London history.
  • Fledglink is an early careers support app and have now launched an online timetable with free digital events to help 16-19-year-olds prepare for life after education.
  • Jeroen Sibia and Dan Silvertown launched Lockdown Haircut, a platform connecting barbers with customers to avoid DIY disaster and raise money for the NHS.
  • YHANGRY is a private chef platform, enabling people to spend quality time at home with friends. The company created two COVID offerings: Virtual Cooking Classes where chefs teach you exquisite recipes and a Batch Cooking Delivery to enable foodies to order weekly home-cooked meals – Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian mains and some delicious snacks and desserts.
  • Say it with Champers have created the Personalised Mini-Prosecco, available in 13 different designs and a dedicated Vegan Champagne Champagne for sale online.
  • Friends Samantha Short and Phil Jones quit their jobs at the start of the pandemic to start Moneyed, an app that empowers people to take control of their financial future. Users can build a personalised financial plan to help meet important life goals (buying a house, planning a wedding, starting a family, round-the-world trips, retiring) and easily track progress, by aggregating and displaying all finances in one place (current accounts, savings, pensions, investments, property, mortgages).
  • Fintech startup Yoello has been propelled amid COVID-19 and has become a necessity in the reopening of hospitality and retail after lockdown. They are now working with businesses to help them prepare for reopening with table ordering, click and collect and delivery services all in place to operate within the guidelines for social distancing.

“The hospitality industry has been one of the worst affected sectors owing to the COVID-19 crisis and resulting social restrictions. The sector is responsible for employing millions of people whose jobs are now in serious jeopardy, particularly as the industry is expected to be amongst the last to be able to resume operating. Yoello’s mission has always been to be at the forefront of helping the hospitality sector innovate through technology. We are now able to provide the sector with the urgent support that it needs.” – Scott Waddington, Non-Executive Director at Yoello

  • KwizzBit is an interactive pub quiz provider and has had to pivot due to pub closures. They now offer interactive quizzes to remote working businesses to engage with their employees and boost team morale, charities to enable them to continue fundraising during this difficult time and homebound families and friends for lockdown entertainment.
  • Led by Margot de Broglie, Secret Sunrise has moved onto Zoom to host high-impact one-hour sessions featuring mindfulness, high-energy exercises, and teamwork to unlock participant’s potential with silent-disco headphones. This shift has been well received and has enabled the company to work with new clients such as the WWF, Sweaty Betty, Dentsu, and Mindvalley among others.
  • Hadean has extended its focus to the life sciences and healthcare sector, helping governments and research organisations combat the spread of COVID-19. Hadean’s technology, which has been applied to massive-scale online gaming experiences and the development of synthetic environments, is now being leveraged to solve the most pressing medical challenges of our time.
  • Bristol-based New Kings Coffee has created a donation scheme for customers to donate coffee bags to carers at local hospitals. To date, over 5,000 coffee bags have been donated to more than 40 hospitals across the UK. With donors from Australia, New Zealand, USA and even Lombardi, Italy.
  • My VIP Card is a multi-award-winning loyalty and member benefit scheme provider helping people to save money when they shop local. Since the lockdown, the company has been supporting thousands of independent retailers who had to close their doors and have created a brand new employee benefit for key workers. Cards for keyworkers offers 4500 discounts, rewards and cashback. It costs £20 for a year’s membership with 30% being donated to the NHS.
  • Digital care planning provider EveryLIFE Technologies recently created a free app for all providers of care, integrating the latest government guidance on COVID-19 symptom tracking, which enables companies to track COVID status, dependency level of care receivers and the means to manage PPE stock levels.
  • Co-Founded by CEO Dr. Vivian Chan, Sparrho curates, aggregates, and summarises the latest in scientific research, with over 60M pieces collected to date. Recently, the team has been developing a COVID-19 specific programme to help those interested gain access to the latest scientific research, while combatting the spread of fake news related to the pandemic.