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The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the U.S. economy to its core, prompting a recession that (so far) has resulted in tens of thousands of small businesses shutting their doors forever. And tech startups are not immune.
In the fifth episode of Technical.ly On the Record, our new interview series taking you inside the reporter’s virtual notebook to explore local economies in change, this editor chatted with Technical.ly DC reporter Michelai Graham about her recent story on the pivots and, ultimately, end of OurStreets’ for-profit operations. Graham spoke to the Wharf-based startup’s cofounder, Mark Sussman, about what happened and what’s next for its driver safety crowdsourcing app.
Since the company is certainly not alone in its demise, Graham also pulled out this big lesson: Prepare for a possible shutdown as soon as things seem rocky.
“Start to have these conversations early, exhaust all options,” she said. “They were able to secure a PPP loan [and] a D.C. microgrant. The founders stopped taking salaries.” While those didn’t ultimately save the company, they did buy it some time to make a better transition to volunteer advocacy project.
Listen to our conversation below:
And watch it here:
Reminder that in Technical.ly On the Record, you can expect to hear from at least one Technical.ly reporter per week, to get a quick rundown of all our markets’ biggest stories (aka the kicker), and to hear the why, how and what’s next of each featured topic.
In this episode, I also shouted out these big stories published in our other markets over the past week:
- What you need to know about Philly’s plan to get 35K low-income households online for the 2020-21 school year (Philly)
- App-based Millennial Summit 2020 showed virtual events are still valuable when done right (Delaware)
- Coworking while distancing: How Baltimore’s shared workspaces are reopening (Baltimore)
- Great, your company has a diversity committee. Now what? (National)
Angel investing during a pandemic: There’s a fine line between courage and recklessness
US unemployment data fail to capture COVID-19’s full impact. Here’s how to fix it fast
Technical.ly On the Record: The challenge of expanding digital access in a pandemic
In an unfathomably challenging 2020, who deserves to be celebrated in your local tech community?
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