Business During Corona Lockdown

In current Corona lockdown all startups experience disruptions to their day to day operations. We talked to two startups and a law firm, to discuss how they adapted.

Risks startups face in current situation can be related to many different areas of their operations, ranging from government-imposed temporary industry shutdowns (such as for example in tourism), to day to day decisions concerning employees and their wellbeing.

Nejc Novak from Novak Law, a Slovenian legal firm with rich experience with startups and corporate law in general, told us how in light of recent events they acted fast to redesign their “risk map” and predict possible consequences of the Corona Virus lockdown.

With the help of this map a startup identifies potential risks and lawyers can in turn provide a detailed agenda of possible interventions. Nejc shared their risk map pointing out that it can be useful to anyone even before looking for actual legal advice. Check out the map in Slovene here.

Startup Feedback

And how is it in practice? The two CEOs we talked to about the Corona lockdown are Žan Menart from Smart Optometry and Primož Erjavec from Deltahub.

Smart Optometry provides software for vision therapy for children. Along with app purchase, their customers also receive a package with special therapy glasses. They already closed several fundraising rounds in the past couple of years.

Deltahub’s product Carpio is hardware only - an ergonomic wrist rest. Deltahub is an early stage startup incorporated last year. They only just set out to seek their first angel investor to develop complementary software, however the cancelation of our Demo Day planned for March 25th disrupted their fundraising plans.

Both startups rely on smooth logistics & shipping and as we write this article, they experience different situations. Whereas Smart Optometry’s primary markets are the USA and Canada, where the delivery services they use still run smoothly; Deltahub is on the other hand experiencing shipping restrictions to Canada. Their customers from Canada will thus receive ordered Carpios with a delay.

Žan and Primož both report that sales continue. If you visit their webpages and social media sites you will notice they have adapted communication accordingly. Both startups keep close contact to their existing customers. “We are prepared to make specific adjustments to our business model based on customer feedback, both on B2C and B2B”, says Žan from Smart Optometry.

Whereas neither Žan, nor Primož reported issues on adapting to work from home, Žan told us Smart Optometry had a series of meetings planned in Canada end of March, which had to be postponed or moved to online channels.

Smart Optometry’s case is interesting from industry specific viewpoint as well. They offer a medical solution not covered by the insurance. “In many countries digital medicine is still viewed with scepticism but since doctors had to temporary close down their practices, many are looking for ways to keep treating their patients remotely. We can help eye doctors with that,” says Žan. Schools for example would never agree to a 100 % remote-learning pilot in normal situation, but in crisis situation they are forced to try it. This means even traditionally rigid industries are adapting faster.  

Žan joked that eye therapy is (unfortunately) a purchase less important than toilet paper. If many people lose their jobs there will be less available income for products such as Smart Optometry eye therapy. If we manage to keep the Corona crisis as short as possible, many businesses will have it much easier.