Meet 4 LA Tech Companies on the COVID-19 Front Lines

April 21, 2020

As COVID-19 impacts the global population and economy, businesses across Los Angeles are stepping up to fight the viral disease.

Using their own resources, they are pivoting to give supplies and relief to those in need. At byte, 3D printers reserved for producing teeth aligners are now used to print face masks and ventilators. Postmates’ Small Business Relief program is now accessible to merchants impacted by the virus, and they are also partnering with other support initiatives to keep restaurant businesses afloat. 

At Quantgene, scientists are utilizing DNA genome sequencing for early cancer detection, and are hoping to use that technology to detect the viral genome as well. Public relations manager Rachel Strohmeyer said that COVID-19 has highlighted issues in the healthcare system and showed where they need to push for improvements.

 

Rachel Strohmeyer
PR Manager

What they do: “Quantgene is an advanced medical technology company that has developed a proprietary, preventative care system, utilizing cfDNA deep sequencing and AI. We are targeting our efforts on early-stage, multi-cancer detection, which can be achieved through a simple blood draw,” PR Manager Rachel Strohmeyer said. 

 

How Quantgene is responding to COVID-19: Quantgene focuses itself on aligning with the procedures and recommendations laid out by the CDC and federal, state and local governments. Outside of work, employees donate food and supplies, get groceries for individuals who are considered high risk and donate blood to help alleviate the current massive shortage. 

“In the future, we hope to offer up our technology and services in order to quickly sequence the viral genome. Genomic sequencing of pathogens is absolutely essential in the development of diagnostic tests and potential treatment options. COVID-19 has also served to highlight some greater issues that we are facing within our healthcare system, and we will continue to push for improvements coming out of the pandemic,” Strohmeyer said. 

 

We also see it as our social responsibility to inform the public on the most up-to-date scientific research and recommendations.”

 

How Quantgene is overcoming COVID-19 challenges:  Daily scrums help Strohmeyer’s team stay connected and address issues or concerns as they transition to a remote-working model. 

“We also see it as our social responsibility to inform the public on the most up-to-date scientific research and recommendations. Within the scientific community, it is vital that we dig deep and make sure that the correct information is being disseminated.” 

 

How COVID-19 has impacted business plans: Fundraising efforts are challenging due to COVID-19 and its effect on the global economy. “Despite this hurdle, we have managed to close a $6.4 million convertible note within the past week and are gearing up for an additional round of fundraising.”

From an operations standpoint, working in a small team has been an advantage due to their ability to stay nimble while maximizing current funds. 

 

Bianca Curutan 
Software Engineer

What they do: Postmates is an on-demand delivery app that lets users order almost anything within their city.

 

How Postmates is responding to COVID-19: Postmates announced no-contact deliveries, which allow customers to practice social distancing by choosing whether to pick up deliveries curbside or have them left at their door.

“Postmates also launched the Postmates Fleet Relief Fund to help our fleet cover medical expenses related to COVID-19; active fleet members who receive a positive diagnosis or who are required to self-quarantine may be eligible to access additional funds to offset some lost income during recovery,” Software Engineer Bianca Curutan said.

Curutan added: “For our merchant partners, the Small Business Relief pilot program has been extended to make it easier for them to use our platform. In addition, Postmates has been involved in several initiatives to serve other communities, some highlights of which include FoodFight!, Feed Hero Nurses, Hunger Not Impossible, The United Nations COVID-19 Solidarity Fund and the International Rescue Committee.”

 

How Postmates is overcoming COVID-19 challenges:  The corporate team at Postmates is working from home and continues to react to CDC updates as well as anticipate what safeguards to put in place to help provide protection against the outbreak. 

“Working from home is a sensitive situation in and of itself. We are opening up a new realm of challenges for managing fully remote teams, balancing work life and family life, having effective discussions, being mindful of distractions and interruptions and having limited access to resources. There is no one solution for this, but Postmates puts emphasis on maintaining connection, both through professional and personal interactions, to help maintain mental health and productivity in these difficult, unprecedented times.” 

 

Postmates puts emphasis on maintaining connection, both through professional and personal interactions.”

How COVID-19 has impacted business plans: “Each side of the three-sided marketplace that Postmates operates in is impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Social distancing implies more buyers are in isolation, so they use our delivery services more frequently; merchants are experiencing a decline in foot traffic and therefore benefit from delivery-on-demand to supplement their businesses; and there is now an increased demand for the fleet as the connection between the other two customer bases.”

“We are still actively hiring across the board for engineering, design, operations and growth. The hiring process is currently a fully remote experience with our typically in-person interviews being moved to phone or video discussions. As Postmates is a gig economy company, there are also continuous opportunities to sign up and join the fleet to deliver with Postmates or become a merchant partner.”

 

Rochelle Bailis
VP of Marketing

What they do: LeaseLock replaces security deposits with insurance. “Renters save thousands of dollars at move-in, while properties are better protected, accelerate the leasing process and slash deposit administration costs. LeaseLock is the first and only nationwide lease insurance program, with over $200 million in leases insured,” Vice President of Marketing Rochelle Bailis said. 

 

How LeaseLock is responding to COVID-19: “As soon as the crisis began, we saw our property management clients hustling to support their residents through this difficult time. In order to support the rental housing industry in this uncertain time, LeaseLock decided to dedicate our marketing, data and research teams to provide clarity on rent payment behavior across the country. This helps operators benchmark their performance against their peers to make better decisions around resident relief policies like rent payment plans. We have unique access to nationwide rent payment data through our property management system integrations.”

“LeaseLock is working with the largest multifamily apartment operators to continue to launch Zero Deposit communities to eliminate expensive upfront security deposit requirements to help new residents, especially those financially impacted by COVID-19, with more affordable move-ins.”

 

How LeaseLock is overcoming COVID-19 challenges: Instead of traditional marketing, LeaseLock is focusing on helping the rental industry.

“We deployed our marketing and data science teams to provide real-time rent payment data to our clients and industry to help them make more informed operational decisions,” Bailis said. “We also quickly spun up COVID-19 Rent Loss Alerts via email and text message to help distribute real-time breaking news related to eviction moratoriums and best practices recommended by the National Multifamily Housing Council and deployed by leading apartment operators. It's been challenging to stay on top of a rapidly changing environment and filter through the noise to distill actionable insights for our industry, but we feel we're in the best position to provide this clarity on what’s happening.”

 

The benefit of a startup is that we can remain agile and adapt our operating strategy to meet new circumstances.”

How COVID-19 has impacted business plans: “Demand for LeaseLock has increased significantly in the face of COVID-19, as more apartment operators look to increase their protection against rent loss in an era of uncertainty and make move-in more affordable for renters. We are maintaining the same goals as we did before the pandemic and remain bullish about growth in 2020,” Bailis said. 

“Many of our team roles — including sales, marketing, event management and business intelligence — have been forced to change dramatically over the last few weeks. However, the benefit of a startup environment is that we can remain agile and adapt our operating strategy and skill sets to meet new circumstances.”

 

Amy Carter,
Head of Talent and Culture

What they do: Byte is a direct-to-consumer, at-home invisible aligner company that straightens and whitens teeth for a lower price than traditional orthodontics. 

 

How byte is responding to COVID-19: As a telehealth company, byte is still able to provide at-home services, despite dental and orthodontic offices being closed. Beyond cosmetic dentistry, they’ve opened up their nationwide network of licensed dentists and orthodontists to support anyone in need of dental help.

“A COVID-19 initiative we are very proud of is that we are using our manufacturing labs and 3D printers to produce face shields and ventilator parts to donate to front-line workers nationwide,” Head of Talent and Culture Amy Carter said. 

 

The byte team is working around the clock while also growing our core teeth aligner business at a rapid rate.”

How byte is overcoming COVID-19 challenges: ByteCares, byte’s charitable extension, is manufacturing personal protective equipment through their facilities and donating them to local and nationwide hospitals. 

“This is a great responsibility and challenge to support these facilities that have incredible demand and make sure their front-line doctors and nurses have the equipment they need to protect themselves and others. The byte team has stepped up and is working around the clock while also growing our core teeth aligner business at a rapid rate,” Carter said.

 

How COVID-19 has impacted business plans: “Our hiring plans are continuing to stay aligned with what we’ve planned for the year, and we’re hiring across all business departments to meet growing consumer demands. With positive business growth, we are also continuing to find ways to give back and support the community as we all fight together to protect each other and make it through COVID-19,” Carter said.

 

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