7 startups helping Egyptians weather the COVID-19 storm
CAIRO | Moustafa Daly
Listed by Forbes among Egypt’s top 20 startups in 2016, Taskty has built a reputation as one of the most trusted home maintenance and cleaning services in the country. As COVID-19 took over in March, Taskty quickly sprung into action and launched a sanitisation package designed to physically eradicate COVID-19 from its customers’ homes, strictly following the World Health Organization’s sanitisation guidelines. At the relatively affordable price of EGP 600 ($39), the startup helps people deal with COVID-19 paranoia with a simple and straightforward booking process.
With schedules no longer packed, many people began advocating for the use of all that free time on home workouts, arguing that healthier bodies will help defeat COVID-19. El Coach, one of the most popular fitness startups in Egypt and the region, quickly rose to the challenge by offering its users a whole month of free, personalised workout sessions complete with nutrition plans and everything people might need to stay fit. Additionally, the platform keeps providing free-for-all workout tips and routines that can be accessed through its app and Instagram page.
Long the go-to medical app for Egyptians looking to book appointments with trusted healthcare professionals across all specialties, Vezeeta has become particularly valuable during the pandemic. Among its features is booking a telehealth call with one of Vezeeta’s doctors to discuss symptoms one might be exhibiting. The company has also introduced a ‘Call for Corona Inquiries’ feature for those fearing they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Furthermore, Vezeeta recently added a medicines delivery service for Eastern Cairo residents to help combat shortages in certain medications, with plans to soon expand the coverage to the entire city.
Many have cited mental health struggles as the most prominent by-product of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns. Radical changes in daily routines and the inability to socialise are predicted to have a profound impact on people’s mental well-being. As COVID-19 hit Egypt, local psychotherapy startup Shezlong tackled the issue head-on by offering free virtual sessions to its users. In addition, many of its services address mental health problems that have been associated with the rise of COVID-19, for example, paranoia.
Social distancing and the prolonged lockdown have made even the simplest of daily tasks a worrisome activity. Take grocery shopping – this once routine action has become a high-risk endeavour in the era of COVID-19. However, people cannot merely quit grocery shopping, which is where Breadfast comes in. The popular app offers delivery of a range of products, including fruit, vegetables, fresh bakery products, and new essentials such as gloves and face masks. Breadfast also waived its delivery fees throughout March to support its users during the initial phase of the lockdown.
On top of worrying about their mental and physical well-being during the pandemic, some people also have to deal with deep anxiety about the survival of their business. In the wake of the economic slowdown attributable to COVID-19, many companies have had to rethink their business strategies and quickly solidify their digital transformation tactics, which is where Brainy Squad enters the picture. The Egyptian creative and digital agency offers free online consultations to business owners and entrepreneurs, doing its part in equipping Egypt’s startups with all the digital tools they need to stay ahead of the game.
It is well-known that obtaining official documents in Egypt can be a lengthy process, sometimes requiring several visits to multiple government agencies. Since the onset of COVID-19, people have been forced to think twice before walking into a crowded public service office to get what they need. Luckily, established startup Baseta has lifted that burden off of Egyptians with its quick and efficient delivery services. Anything can be done via Baseta with a simple phone call, from work permits for foreigners and car licence renewals to finalising marriage and divorce certificates.