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Startups join the COVID effort with funds for employees

Several Indian startups are now coming forward to help their employees and families during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the country, keeping aside a dedicated fund to cover the COVID-related medical expenses of their workforce.

Some large-scaled startups such as Byju’s, Unacademy, Oyo and Paytm have created COVID funds for employees and their families, looking to provide the much needed financial support as the nation grapples with the deadly spread. 

Byju’s has set up a Rs 20 crore CEO’s fund to cover COVID-19 related medical expenses for employees and their families. According to Entrackr’s sources, Unacademy has also dedicated over $1 million worth internal funds for employees. 

“The company would announce this fund officially later this week,” said one of the senior executives of the Bengaluru-based entity requesting anonymity. 

On similar lines, Oyo has also carved out a separate fund for its workforce and is offering home care quarantine in COVID positive cases through the company’s insurance policy upto Rs 25,000 per family. 

“Our policy also includes reimbursement for RT-PCR test, pulse-oximeter and thermal scanner, oxygen charges among others,” said Oyo’s spokesperson to Entrackr.

Several companies including Paytm and CRED have also been providing advance salaries to their employees to support them during this extraordinary time. A Paytm spokesperson said that they were providing advance salary on request to their employees.

“All team members including interns and contractors can avail physical and mental health support, insurance cover, salary advances, vaccines for themselves and families,” mentioned a tweet by CRED on Monday.

India’s startup ecosystem has also stepped up amidst the crisis to provide relief, even coming together to secure life-saving elements like hospital beds and oxygen cylinders.

Paytm recently announced an initiative to raise Rs 10 crore to acquire 3,000 oxygen concentrators. CRED announced that users could swap their CRED coins for donating oxygen concentrators. 

Apartment security company MyGate is looking for healthcare partners to set up vaccination camps across 18,000 communities whereas Delhivery is importing oxygen concentrators in bulk from China.

Venture capital firms and many startup founders have also come forward to raise funds to fill the shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and testing materials. Act Grant, a not-for-profit initiative of VC firms and startup founders, is raising Rs 75 crore to fight the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, many are also donating to Hemkunt Foundation, campaign on Ketto and other crowdfunding platforms in individual capacities.

The steps taken by these startups during this grave humanitarian crisis will help the cause, and will lift the morale of their workforce during such challenging times. 

Every effort counts during this time and especially when companies take care of their employees, and come together to help any which way at such a critical time. 

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