19 de Marzo 2020
Startups make the lives of Colombians easier amid the Coronavirus emergency
Entrepreneurship is becoming a vital element of the economy in Bogota and the whole of Colombia, particularly at times like these when the country is currently tackling the arrival of Covid-19. Invest in Bogota would like to highlight five startups that are useful in dealing with the current situation.
The current emergency that Colombia and the rest of the world are facing due to Coronavirus has led to millions of citizens having to alter their habits. Everyday tasks such as making household purchases, going out to do exercise, visiting a restaurant or taking a pet to the vet have now become more complex given the social distancing recommendations, and in some cases the curfews that have been decreed in many cities and departments.
Against this backdrop, startups that provide services or offer access to digital tools are helping citizens to carry out many of their tasks and meet their obligations from home, while also thinking of their wellbeing and that of the people that surround them.
Invest in Bogota, the city’s investment promotion agency and coordinator of its entrepreneurial ecosystem, has explored startups that are helping to make the Coronavirus outbreak more bearable for residents of Bogota and Colombia. These are some examples of young entrepreneurs whose innovations reaffirm the importance of entrepreneurship.
Fitpal is an application that brings together over 700 gyms through a single subscription allowing users to access thousands of physical and wellbeing activities. With the doors of most of the country’s gyms currently closed due to Coronavirus, this startup has developed a platform called Fitpal Home, which provides its users with virtual access to gyms from anywhere in Colombia.
“Users can access these gyms through video calls and online classes that we are uploading to our platform, so that anyone can have access to physical and wellbeing activities”, states Julián Torres, the director and founder of Fitpal.
In the upcoming days, the company will also offer free online classes for the entire Colombian population. “We will be holding meditation, exercise, stretching and nutrition classes, enabling us to bring health and wellbeing to every Colombian household”, he explains.
This Bogota-based startup was created in 2018, and is a technology company that specializes in fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs and directly connects local producers with restaurants. It currently operates in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, where it works with over 200 local producers. Frubana enables restaurants in its cities of operation to source supplies amid the measures adopted to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
“At Frubana we are aware of the current situation, and are continuing to work in order to guarantee products in optimal conditions. Our employees are being monitored on a daily basis through a control point installed in the entrances of all our warehouses, in order to verify the health status of everyone who is part of the company”, underscores Miguel Silva, the head of product and co-founder of Frubana.
This education-focused startup offers online classes in over 320 subjects with certified teachers in Colombia and Mexico. “We’re boosting our online classes; education doesn’t stop, and it’s important for all of us to adopt an attitude of continuing to learn, of continuing to strengthen the knowledge that we need”, explains Camilo Sardi, the founder of Maestrik.
Through the application, users can select the subject in which they want to receive the classes, followed by the teacher that best suits their needs, timetable and budget, and then take the class.
This company specializes in technology and artficial intelligence for managing productivity in remote work. CloudWork has 12 years’ experience in the implementation of working arrangements of this type, and is able to help companies that have not put a remote working contingency plan in place.
“We want companies to sign up and shed their fear of implementing remote working, for them to trust in their teams and, above all, to know that technology exists that enables these working models to be a success”, emphasizes Alexandra Gamarra, the company’s chief sales officer.
Daniela Peñaranda, a veterinarian and co-founder of Vet+O, explains that the application enables anyone to receive veterinary advice 24 hours a day. “With Vet+O, users can clear up any doubts or ask about any physical or behavioral changes they notice in their pets, and most importantly they can do it without leaving the house and from anywhere in Colombia”, she notes.
Bogota, an entrepreneurial and innovative capital
The capital of Colombia stands out as a Latin American hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. In fact, Bogota was the Latin American city where startups raised the second-highest amount of venture capital between 2010 and 2019, with a total of US$1.764bn according to figures from the Crunchbase platform.
In the public and private sectors, Bogota also supports the development of startups that will enable the business fabric of the capital to go from strength to strength.
The Bogota Chamber of Commerce has recently launched its Mujeres TECH: Aceleradora CCB program, which aims to accelerate female entrepreneurship and enhance business, marketing, user experience and technology implementation strategies. Furthermore, the creation of a BIO project accelerator has recently been announced in partnership with the Bogota Secretariat of Economic Development, with the aim of turning Bogota and Cundinamarca into leaders in the development of bioproducts.