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Startup initiatives in times of Covid-19

The coronavirus has shaken the world. With schools being closed, entire industries coming to a full stop and several countries being locked down, it is hard to overestimate its economic impact. But that doesn’t mean our imec.istart founders let their spirits sag. On the contrary! Through many innovative initiatives they contribute to flattening the curve.



Because primary care providers and emergency departments are currently over-loaded, Bingli has developed a COVID-19 triage module. With the help of 10 simple questions, the test can determine whether you should contact a doctor today or not.

It is easy to succumb to stress in the face of Corona. To motivate both the beginner and the more experienced meditator to pay attention to mental well-being during this difficult period, moonbird organizes free live webinars from March 23rd onwards. Each weekday at 6pm a Flemish expert will share insights and methods that can really make the difference now.

In response to the shortage of protective gear, Twikit invented two masks: One DIY, easy-to-make-at-home mask; and a second, reusable and comfortable mask for medical professionals. Twikit now gained the support of the largest companies in the world for production. The next step is finding the certified filters: FFP2, FFP3, and N95. Reach out to Twikit if you can be of any help.

UgenTec supports the diagnostic community in managing the Corona virus crisis. Laboratories that apply today will get access to a free and AI-powered data analysis tool for the CDC's Corona virus assay.
Joined forces initiatives
In a collaborative effort with EPCON, BHIC and Keyrus, imec.istart portfolio companies Bingli and Adunio, together with Gaga, developed the app ‘Flattening the Curve’. The app tracks users’ movements and regularly checks their health condition by means of a uniform questionnaire. As such, the app can detect areas with a high number of COVID-19 infections, and warns the user when he was recently in such a ‘danger zone’. The app is also useful for governments and hospitals, as it allows them to make decisions and estimates more easily. As of next week, the app can be downloaded for free via the App Store and Google Play.


Alexandria.Works for COVID-19 is an information discovery tool that returns relevant document snippets related to your query. Alexandria.Works has indexed the CORD-19 dataset curated by the World Health Organization (WHO) (, containing around 33.000 full text scholarly articles about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses. This way, they want to support the research efforts of those looking for ways to deal with this virus.  
The data and tool will be made available for free to all people who would benefit from having access. In addition, any feedback on the results, or the experience in general is very helpful. 

Sixty percent of our young people think that the coronavirus is no danger to them. This is the striking conclusion of a survey conducted by market research app Buffl on March 17th.
Dennis De Clercq of Buffl discussed the results of the survey on Radio 1. 
To keep you informed on the spread of the Corona virus, made a dashboard with COVID-19 data from JHU-Systems. 

As a response to multiple research groups requests, and thanks to the authorization of data owners, EisphorIA has deployed its NLP-solution and now allows researchers to navigate in thousands of Covid-19 related scientific papers, being assisted by artificial intelligence. It helps them to find insights, identify trends and apprehend quickly critical contents while working in a collaborative environment.

IP Metro
With the COVID-19 disease spreading across the globe, more and more fake information, counterfeit drugs and ineffective treatments are being proposed, often for financial gain. In order to counter these practices, IP Metro is putting forward their state-of-the-art online monitoring technologies in order to guide internet users to verified content and genuine products. 

Play It Safe
Knowledge is power. Knowledge on the Corona virus can even save lives. It is therefore crucial that communication on the virus and its prevention should be comprehensible to all of us. To spread the right information in a fun, accessible way, Play it Safe developed two games: the Corona Prevention Game to educate all of us, and the Corona PPE Prevention Game to learn caretakers working at residential care homes how to deal with personal protective equipment in a correct way. 

The coronavirus has catapulted us all into a new reality. A reality that brings uncertainty and challenges, but also opportunities & possibilities. How do you overcome this crisis and emerge stronger as a company? Sitemanager organized a Webinar: From Business Plan to Battle Plan. They provide useful templates that you can use to adapt your business plan to the new reality, a framework to estimate the changed reality by looking at challenges but also at new opportunities, and a sounding board of young entrepreneurs who will frame what decisions they have already made and plan to take.

Remote Working

Contento created a Social Media Communication Kit with communication advice, some caption templates and a number of dedicated post images. Feel free to use these materials at your convenience. Together with Teamleader they also developed a landing page, which makes it easy for entrepreneurs to share the articles of the website WorkSmarter on social media, and as such spread valuable information to fellow entrepreneurs.

Conversation Starter
Conversation Starter offers a tool for matchmaking during real-life networking events.  As COVID-19 is forcing us to meet virtually, they have now added a videocall option.

As a producer or post house, how do you manage remote post-production? To answer this question, Limecraft made a blog post in which different options for remote ingest, editing and verification are explored.

As everyone is forced to start doing everything remote these days, selling has become a tad more difficult. But no worries: Salesflare has written a guide on how to sell remotely like a pro.

SiteManager helped with the preparation and distribution of the survey 'What's the impact of Corona on your business?'  for FeWeb. By mapping the impact of the Corona virus on the sector, the federation of web companies can render its voice louder.

Mealhero is currently looking at a +50% increase in demand. As its community is a little more dependent on their frozen meals nowadays, Mealhero wants to continue to serve them (and you) through this difficult time. In smaller groups of kitchen chefs - and with extra safety measures -  they are now running a 24x7 kitchen.

Onlinewerkrooster & Deliverect
Onlinewerkrooster developed the platform, which maps the take-out places of catering businesses. Interested catering businesses can register for free on the website. The fact that 400 registrations were recorded on one single day underlines the need of the sector for such an initiative. Online catering suppliers Reseno, Apicbase, Are They Happy, and our alumnus Deliverect have already confirmed their collaboration.


Other startup initiatives

If you fill in surveys on the  BUFFL app, you can now donate your tokens to the  Covid-19 Community Response Fund

Via the boostbox initiative, Kadonation wants to give caretakers the boost they well-deserve.
For every 15 euro that is collected, a vitamin-rich box full of fruit and vegetables is donated to our local helping hands.

How far apart do workers need to be in order to maintain a safe minimum distance of 1.5 or 2 metres between each other? Nobody really seems to know. Thankfully, SafeDistance from Lopos makes it easy. The wearable device automatically warns you if the required distance is not respected.

The negative side effect of social distancing measures is queuing and grouping at authorized locations (food stores, pharmacies, hospitals, parks). To tackle this issue, Seaters – who normally helps to distribute sponsoring tickets for sports and cultural events – has transformed its product into a Virtual Queuing System. It allows us to request an appointment voucher for authorized locations. Each voucher mentions an hour of visit, that takes into account the social distancing rules (max. 1 person per 10 m2) and the necessary time per person (max. 30 min. for groceries, for example). The demo version of the platform can be activated nationally in 24 hours.

Special startup deals & offers

The platfom of Azumuta enables you to digitize, communicate and check working instructions in a user-friendly manner. In times of COVID-19, it is of vital importance for care takers to meticulously set up and follow working instructions. To facilitate this process for them, Azumuta has made its platform available free of charge to care centers.

As classes are currently suspended due to COVID19, BookWidgets wants to support schools by offering free access to their platform in Smartschool until the end of the school year. As such, BookWidgets makes it much easier for teachers to create interactive online exercises and tests.
The Guardian solution of provides people who are active in stressful and dangerous environments essential tools to perform their work safely and effectively. is now offering health care workers and public order authorities a free extended version of Guardian (for 3 months), thereby focusing on easily converting COVID-19 reporting from the field into actionable information. 

As due to the COVID-19 outbreak hospital check-ins are being postponed or made remote, Epihunter can help people with (suspected) absence epilepsy and their doctors by making objective EEG and seizure data available via its neurologist reports.

Helpilepsy helps neurologists and people with epilepsy in managing and monitoring the epilepsy. Due to COVID-19 measures, non-urgent neurology consultations are cancelled. With the Helpilepsy dashboard, physicians can monitor their epilepsy patients remotely and recently they can also propose video consultations to ensure continuity of care.

Families have no other (responsible) option than to retreat to the safe space of their homes. As digital screens now offer our only 'window' to the outside world, healthy digital habits are essential if you and your family want to collectively find a good work/life routine at home. Therefore, JUCE offers 50 families 2 months the opportunity to install the device  and document their journey towards better digital habits. Interested, contact Founder Julien Yee.

Due to COVID-19 measures also urologists are forced to cancel consultations, resulting in ever growing waiting lists. To alleviate this problem, Minze decided to increase the availability of Minze Homeflow at Homecare chain ‘GOED’ shops and to make electronic questionnaires such as IPSS, IIEF and MSHQ available through their clinician portal. This way, urologists can consult and monitor their patients remotely, help those with urgent needs and eventually reduce the waiting lists of patients after the crisis.

Using artificial intelligence and linked data, the platform of Ontoforce allows the life sciences industry to extract, integrate and analyze their data. To support the industry in the challenges they face now, Ontoforce made the platform freely available for 3 months.
Spott software  is free for schools, musea and other organisations impacted by the COVID-19 virus.  They will help set up educational videos, shoppable content or other interactive videos and images.

COVID-19 put a temporary end to physical job interviews, and increased the search of recruiters for online alternatives. To meet these needs, Sympl – an online recruiting company – offers free online space to communicate with candidates, and also wrote a blog on how to recruit remotely.
The AI-driven platform of maps the skills of all employees in a company, thereby creating  a good overview of all knowledge and skills present on the work floor. argues that knowledge should be able to flow freely, especially in these remote times. That is why they are making their product free until the end of June. 


The above initiatives are the ones that reached us. 
Are you aware of other initiatives in the imec.istart community that deserve attention? Please let us know!