Vault Unlocked

Virtual Lunch: Innovation & COVID-19

During the first VAULT Unlocked virtual lunch, our Head of Business Development Stefanie Jenkins, was joined by a variety of industry leaders to discuss innovations in the tech and startup space.

We talked through three innovation categories small businesses and start-ups are utilizing amid COVID-19; innovation as a necessity, as a response and as an opportunity.  

In short, this discussion focused on the necessity for startups to shift their ways of thinking and exploring the various opportunities for new business models and opportunities for innovation during a crisis.

Below are some key takeaways from the event. To download and listen to the entire event click here.

  • Innovation as a necessity

Often, during a crisis, businesses are faced with an ultimatum to maintain business operations; shut their doors or innovate. During these times, businesses must be agile and adaptive to meet the evolving needs of their customers, partners, and investors. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen many examples of innovation as a necessity within our community.

In Chicago, IL a local brewery has shifted operations to launch a subscription service for its bread, pizza and beer for weekly pick-up or delivery. This new service was specifically created as a way to keep staff on board, packaging and preparing the boxes.

Springfield, MO restaurants are selling hard to find wholesale items to serve the community in their time of need. This service not only allows businesses to move items that they won’t be able to use while closed but allows members of the community to purchase items they aren’t able to find in stores. 

  • Innovation as a response

Another way for start-ups to innovate during a crisis is by responding to the current needs of their community and customers. Many businesses have an opportunity to change their current processes to meet current needs. 

Examples in our community:

A digital engagement video service, GatherVoices, has shifted its focus from video production for organizations to providing voices from the front. 

Since it is not currently safe for reporters or anyone else to be collecting video stories from those on the frontline, GatherVoices services allow for those on the frontline to share their perspectives to the world. 

General Motors (GM) has launched a campaign to use its production lines and workers to make masks to protect frontline workers across the country. 

  • Innovation as an opportunity

Turbulent times can permanently alter certain industries and the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly change the ways businesses and people function throughout the world and in their communities. These disruptions, although challenging and filled with uncertainty, can allow for new companies to disrupt the market. 

Take a look at startups that started during a recession

Regardless of how you choose to use this time, empathy is required from all. We all being impacts and affected by this crisis and will no doubt come out this changed in some way. So be kind, understanding and innovative!

VAULT wants to help:

Are you struggling to raise money or reach your current and potential customers amidst the COVID-19 crisis? We want to help. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation to have your current pitch deck reviewed and to discuss alternative fundraising opportunities with Justin Harris, VAULT’s Head of Strategy.