At Future Africa, we’re a remote-first organisation. All members of our team have worked and collaborated remotely since we launched in March 2019. When the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced the presence of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria, we immediately began scaling back the physical aspects of our operations – moving our meetings with partners remote and cancelling our quarterly company retreat.
We have since encouraged portfolio companies to take similar measures to protect their teams and other assets. Here are the measures they’ve taken to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus:
Identity verification company Smile Identity has made all its services free for healthcare providers and other organisations directly engaged in combating COVID-19. The list of organisations includes telemedicine providers, research institutions and other organisations. Please read more to see if your organisation qualifies to use Smile Identity’s free service.
Bio-diagnostics company 54Gene has raised a $500,000 fund to ramp up testing for COVID-19. It hopes to use this fund to increase testing to 1,000 tests a day, with a goal of 5,000 tests daily. It’s partnered with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) to help conduct more tests.
Diagnostic company MDaaS has created a site with resources to help African governments and health organisations setup mass testing centres. The site contains in-depth information on preparation, setup and operations of these centres. The company is also directly helping NGOs, governments and affiliated organisations build these centres.
Andela provides remote software engineering expertise to organisations globally. Much of its teams are already adept at working remotely. Naturally, the company has been a champion of remote work.
In response to the novel Corona Virus, Andela has instituted mandatory remote work in some of its offices as it continues to monitor situations across its campuses in Africa and offices in the US.
Flutterwave allows small, medium and large businesses get paid online. It has responded to the novel coronavirus by incorporating remote work for non-essential staff and flexible work schedules for some of its technical team members. Self-isolation and quarantine policies Africa-wide have led to a surge in online payments – Flutterwave’s policy ensures businesses on its platform get paid in these times.
Rise helps Nigerians invest in assets in the US, protecting them from currency instabilities and the lack of viable investment options in Nigeria. The company was one of the first in our portfolio to respond to Covid-19 announcements by the NCDC. It immediately suspended its monthly community meetups for its users and encouraged its team to work from home. Rise officially closed offices last week and will continue to host its community meetups online.
Bamboo also allows Nigerians to invest in US assets via stock exchanges. The company suspended its open house event set for the 28th of March. It also shut its offices and has mandated remote work for all its team members.
Due to the recent Coronavirus developments,the Bamboo open house has been postponed. A later date will be communicated to everyone.
Also, our team will be working from home indefinitely. Our customer support team will be available to answer any questions you may have. 👍🏾 pic.twitter.com/GuqOa3a6Y8
— Bamboo (@investbamboo) March 19, 2020
Eden connects homeowners with excellent service providers who supply meals, laundry and house cleaning services. Since February, the company had beefed up operations as the first case of the coronavirus was announced in Nigeria.
We started taking precautions since the first case of the virus was reported in Nigeria.
We will get through this. pic.twitter.com/N9LZ1VshLi
— Eve from Eden (@ouredenlife) March 18, 2020
Eden will continue to provide services to its customers while adhering to strict sanitary standards. The company has also partnered with organisations whose staff have to work from home by delivering lunch daily.
We beefed up our health checks for Gardeners in February in anticipation of this event, and will continue to provide safe support to customers in these times.
Thank you, Timi. https://t.co/QsHHc6l29v
— Eve from Eden (@ouredenlife) March 18, 2020
Chaka allows Nigerians to access Nigerian and global stocks via its apps. The service currently lists stocks for Nigerian, the United States and Chinese stock exchanges.
Chaka has responded to the Covid-19 crises by closing its offices and mandating full remote work policy for all team members. It also began hosting daily webinars for its users – updating them on the impact of the virus on the economy and communicating verified information on the virus
Big Cabal Media
Big Cabal Media is the publisher of TechCabal and Zikoko – two of Nigeria’s leading media brands. As a response to the spread of the virus in Nigeria, Big Cabal Media has closed its offices and asked all team members to work remotely.
The company has also teamed up with the NCDC to cover the crisis and distribute accurate information concerning the virus by launching coronafacts.com.
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 24, 2020
STEMCafe teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics to kids across Africa. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company implemented strict sanitary procedures in its cafes. It has since shut down all its cafes as COVID-19 became more pandemic in Africa.
STEMCafe has moved all of its classes online, modifying its science experiments to use available materials in the home or delivering items to students when necessary.
Logistics company Max was one of the first companies in Nigeria to begin sensitisation on the coronavirus. Max champions(its bike riders) have multiple contact points daily while on the job.
Asides from sensitising staff on the virus and the importance of hygiene, Max has built features into its software to remind its riders to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser. It is also able to track riders mileage and recall them when hygiene materials are depleted.
In the last week, Max has increased its fleet to provide delivery services as state governments encourage people to stay indoors. It has also helped businesses on its platform to accept cashless payments.
Read more about Max’s response to the epidemic here.
Future Africa will continue to work hand-in-hand with portfolio companies to help protect their businesses and assets in these turbulent times. We’re calling on all companies to implement partial remote policies for the essential staff or full remote work policies for non-essential staff. The novel coronavirus is unlike anything humans have experienced before and is greatly defeated by reducing human contact.
If you find yourself displaying symptoms of the virus in Nigeria, please self-isolate immediately and call the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control on this hotline 0800 9700 0010. You can also call your state ministry of health for further advice.
For healthcare innovators who want to help curb the spread of the virus, accelerate testing and wipe it out completely, Co-creation Hub and Ventures Platform have announced funding and other support for teams like yours. Please click here to learn how to apply and access much-needed support.