Aussie startup leaders unite to help tackle COVID-19 crisis in India, raising $400,000 in 24 hours

Upcover

Anish Sinha with Upcover co-founder Skye Theodorou. Source: supplied.

A group of Aussie tech leaders are clubbing together to raise funds and provide logistical support to help tackle the escalating COVID-19 crisis in India.

Tech giants Canva, SafetyCulture and Airtasker, along with leading VC firms AirTree Ventures and Blackbird Ventures, have partnered up with Medical Oxygen for All, an organisation coordinating distribution of medical supplies in India. The organisation is led by Anish Sinha, who is also co-founder of gig-economy insurance startup Upcover.

The group have launched the Aussie Tech for India campaign, in a bid to raise awareness and help provide financial and logistical support on the ground in India, to help tackle the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

As it stands, India is recording an average of more than 380,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.

In its first 24 hours, the campaign saw more than $400,000 pledged towards crisis relief.

As of yesterday, all proceeds from media purchases on Canva are being directly donated to relief efforts in India.

“Tech is a driving force behind any change,” Sinha tells SmartCompany.

In this case, there’s strong will from people in the Aussie community to do whatever they can to help.

This partnership gives Sinha and his team access to all kinds of people from various sectors and industries, and people with different areas of expertise. That gets everything moving more quickly, Sinha explains.

“Time is of the essence,” he says.

“We can’t thank them enough.”

At the same time, however, these are influential people from the tech industry, and big names in Aussie business.

Having the likes of Melanie Perkins, Tim Fung and Daniel Petre back Medical Oxygen for All gives Sinha’s campaign some clout, and serves to instill confidence in it.

In a statement, Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht said he feels “both a social and moral responsibility to do as much as we can to support our community in India”.

Blackbird partner Rick Baker referred to the tech ecosystem as “a global community”.

For Sinha, their participation shows they believe in his ability to secure the supplies he says he can, and deliver them to the people on the ground who desperately need them. And that will encourage more people to donate.

“It’s tipping the flywheel,” he says.

“To see that energy and drive from more experienced entrepreneurs who have built companies … It’s just incredible.”

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