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10 July 2020

23 of the best and most innovative COVID-19 pivots

During lockdown, startups across the country were forced to make tough decisions to stay alive and with global restrictions this meant quickly adapting activities to remain profitable, and this often meant pivoting. Over the last three months, Maddyness compiled various lists highlighting companies and their pivots during the pandemic - here's a wrap-up of the most creative initiatives.

  • 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 waived all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.
  • In London, Experience Haus created OpenHaus, a series of virtual workshops to join for free throughout April, to keep on learning while self-isolating.
  • Cards against Humanity rushed the release of their family-friendly edition, it is free, downloadable here and sure to keep families entertained.
  • In America, EVO Entertainment has converted its carpark into a movie theatre with other Drive-in movie theatres popping up around the country.
  • With the cancellation or postponement of all major sporting events, BMW switched up their marketing spend and are backing esports as the sports of the future. Read more on Forbes.
  • Brompton launched a campaign called “Wheels for Heroes” committing 1,000 iconic folding bicycles to key workers in the NHS.
  • Car & Away created Karshare aiming to establish a fleet of 10,000 cars, on loan from members of the local community, to be used by charity workers, food bank and NHS volunteers, health workers, care workers and food banks absolutely free of charge.
  • Medshr, used by 1M doctors worldwide, created, an anonymous survey to provide healthcare services with up-to-date, free, non-commercial, anonymous data to track the spread of the virus. Read more on Techcrunch here.
  • This crisis has been a test for even the biggest brands. Some companies responded with rebranding efforts that supported the need to stay at home and practice social distancing. See more at Dezeen.
  • Pluto a company providing travel insurance for millennials was hit hard by the crisis but the team have used the time wisely to build a complementary product called ‘Pinboard’ in which users can share their personal travel recommendations and tips to make their next trip the very best.
  • Facebook launched Tuned, a scrapbook messaging app just for couples. The NPE team’s latest venture is a messaging app meant only for you and your significant other.
  • Collectiv Food, originally a food procurement platform for restaurants, partnered with Farmdrop to offer fresh and quality meat, fish, plant-based alternatives and desserts delivered to your home in London.
  • Encore, a platform for booking musicians, launched a new initiative that allows customers to book artists to create personalised music videos for friends and loved ones.
  • The Mayor of London launched a new innovative initiative to help businesses weather the storm and secure their trade for the future with Pay it Forward. More info here.
  • Created as a low-cost computer board for teaching coding, Raspberry Pi started to used in Colombia to make ventilators.
  • Fashion brands let the WHO take over their Instagram accounts. Read more on Refinery29.
  • Starling Bank started issuing spare debit cards for trusted people who may be doing shopping on your behalf. Read more here.
  • accuRx 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.
  • Burning Man 2020 cancelled its desert event this year but revealed plans to host an online alternative called Virtual Black Rock City. Read more on Dezeen.
  • 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. The company has successfully installed cleaning stations in all London Underground stations.
  • Playmobil put their injection moulding machines to good use to create plastic Playmobil Masks.
  • Jeroen Sibia and Dan Silvertown launched Lockdown Haircut, a platform connecting barbers with customers to avoid DIY disaster and raise money for the NHS.
  • 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.