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Global Call for Tech-Enabled Startups to Solve COVID-19 Challenges

500 Startups, World Economic Forum and World Health Organization have partnered up for the Uplink COVID-19 Sprint. Applications are currently closed.

Origins of the UpLink COVID-19 Sprint

Following our inaugural ImpactAim Indonesia Demo Day last November with the UNDP, the World Economic Forum shared with us an ambitious new project at the WEF called UpLink. Its goal: to crowdsource innovations in order to accelerate the delivery of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Those range from providing affordable clean energy to climate action and gender equality.

Fast forward to March, when the entire world crossed the threshold of a disastrous pandemic. UpLink took on more urgency and a new focus. A third partner at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19, the World Health Organization, agreed to join, and the UpLink COVID-19 Sprint was born. Applications are currently closed.

Here are the impacts the COVID-19 Sprint is looking to amplify:

Check out Uplink's full explanation of Prepare, Prevent and Detect.

Some of the items covered include: 

Scenario forecasting and risk analysis; Social capital and community trust platforms; Early warning, emergency response and resilience tools; Supply chain management/ logistics; Adherence tracking; Digital biomarkers; eTriage; Personal symptoms/ health tracking; Contact-tracing; Heatmaps.

Check out Uplink's full explanation of Respond and Deliver.

Some of the items covered include: 

Laboratory/diagnostics imaging management; Remote prescription and medication management; Remote care, telemedicine, physician connectivity; R&D treatment and testing options; Urgent/ emergency care (non-COVID19-related); Digital imaging support.

Check out Uplink's full explanation of Recover and Rebuild.

Some of the items covered include: 

Urban landscape development (mobility solutions, infrastructure development, IoT solutions); Global supply chain innovation (blockchain solutions, manufacturing and production localization); Protecting nature conservation and ensuring environmental sustainability against future crises; Small business financing and long-term investment strategies; Digital support for re-opening of the economy; Resilience building (digital coaching/ therapy/ mental health support for people most affected by COVID-19); Job creation and reskilling


What do you get by applying?

Official UpLink endorsement, access to funding sources, access to potential partnerships to test your tech and scale, access to a curated program by the World Economic Forum, and and exposure to some of the world’s leading decision-makers in the private, public and academic worlds.

In September, during the Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, UpLink will have the final selection panel to select the first UpLink Innovators Cohort.

What's the selection process?


  • If selected by 500 Startups, your application will be shared with WEF and WHO for consideration for the final shortlist, and asked to create your profile on the UpLink platform by filling out the full application questionnaire.
  • In August, the program partners will run a selection process with a group of select experts from across the health, impact investing, and public-private sectors to ensure we identify the solutions with the most potential for impact. Each expert will assess up to 10 solutions and has the opportunity to connect with other experts and innovators on UpLink.
  • In September, during the Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, UpLink will have the final selection panel, comprising a group of high-level experts and leaders, to select the first UpLink Innovators Cohort.

Applications are currently closed. 


Disclaimer: This is a non-investment program, and participation in the program does not include or guarantee an investment from 500 Startups or its affiliates. However, participation in the program does not preclude 500 Startups and its affiliates from considering future investments in a participating company.