Startups must adapt to new models due to Covid-19 pandemic
Startups will have to adapt to the new demand environment and change its business models as the world learns to live with the Covid-19 pandemic which has disrupted economies globally and caused massive job losses, founders and investors said during a webinar organised by Bennett University.

“We are used to high-touch, highcontact environment. We have to enable contactless interactions as we live in the new environment. It has to be voice and biometric interactions in retail, hospitality. We see voice internet growing in the days to come,” said Vinish Kathuria, managing partner at SenseAI, an AI venture fund that helps founders turn their ideas and technology into successful businesses.

Kathuria said as people avoid traveling long distances to avoid containment zones, startups will also have to be hyperlocal. India will have to be “Atmanirbhar” and build its own unique business models, and not copy the US and China models.

The theme of the global webinar, organised by the Department of Computer Science Engineering of BU on Monday, was ‘AI Solutions for Covid’. “This is war. They bring uncertainty around future,” said Jaydeep Singh, CEO and founder, Empass Learning Private Limited.

He said education technology companies will have to use gamification and emotion to keep the audience engaged through bite-sized content. “Gone are the days when we can make them sit in front of a screen for 8 hours,” he said.

Adarsh Natarajan, CEO & founder at AIndra Systems, said governments can use AI for Covid-19 testing, drug discovery and repurposing, and also predict future outbreaks.

“At the moment, the focus is on RT-PCR tests for detecting Covid-19. We can also use CT scans and chest X-ray for early diagnoses and AI can be helpful there,” Natarajan said. “In the medium term until a vaccine is found, AI can be used to drug discovery and repurposing.”

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