With a vaccine in sight, these startups will help offices reopen

When offices reopen, these startups will help companies transition to the post-COVID world.


November 17, 2020

Last week, the pharma giant Pfizer claimed that its in-development COVID-19 vaccine has been 90%+ effective in early tests.

Tired of hearing everyone say, “If I had to grab a beer with a pharma firm, it would be Pfizer,” Moderna Therapeutics just placed the efficacy of its own vaccine test at 94.5%.

To be sure, both companies still face a number of big challenges, ranging from replicating the results in the real world to the logistics of delivering the vaccines.

Pfizer estimates it can produce 1.3B vaccine doses by the end of 2021

This is all still extremely tentative, of course. But there are organizations already bracing for some semblance of a return to normality.

Pitchbook highlights a number of companies that are expanding their startup offerings into enterprise contact tracing.

“Previously, contact tracing was a manual, time-consuming process that relied on spreadsheets, pen and paper, and telephones,” writes the private market data platform. “COVID-19 exposed the need to digitize tracing.”

While many countries are working on nation-scale contract tracing, there may be opportunities for more narrow use cases.

Workplace-specific contract tracing is on the rise

Among the players:

  • Envoy is an office management platform primarily known for its visitor tracking and conference room booking solutions. The company has rolled out Envoy Protect, a system to track which employees are sick, and manage crowded workspaces.
  • CareValidate creates proximity tracking for senior homes but has expanded its workplace offerings to include daily mobile health screenings, badge tracking, and at-home testing apps.
  • Hipla Technologies is known for its visitor management system, including touchless office access. In response to the pandemic, it rolled out Contatrack, which uses video to monitor offices, schools, and warehouses to track social distancing and mask wearing.

TBH, this all sounds a tad… dystopian.

On the bright side, though, this GIF from Hipla’s website suggests the post-COVID workplace may also be the greatest game of Pac-Man ever:

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