By Nancy Dahlberg

This is part of a series of news roundups about startups and organizations in the South Florida tech community navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. Send items for consideration to ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com and please stay healthy and keep your families safe.

HELPING: How local tech startup Speedetab is helping restaurants navigate this crisis

We’ve all heard by now about COVID-19’s assault on the local restaurant business. And who wants to see their favorite eatery go under?

Those that are still open are doing everything they can to survive, including selling groceries, and some are finding ways to partner with other small businesses. GoFundMe campaigns are surging. What’s more, restaurants that have pivoted to takeout and delivery are sounding the alarm about the high fees – as much as 30% of the order – that delivery services like UberEats, DoorDash and Postmates charge. In good days, they could digest that expense as marketing, as they make up for it in the dining room. Not now.

A Fort Lauderdale-based startup is stepping up to help, and it has never been busier.

SpeedETab has powered apps and online ordering for restaurants for years. Locally, SpeedETab services brands like Pubbelly, Tap42, Tap42, Lung Yai Thai, KYU, Alter and others.

In the past 10 days, SpeedETab has turned on ordering for more than 200 restaurants across the U.S. and is hiring help on the sales and support side. “We’re working with local restaurants to provide our service for free, get many up and running in 24 hours, and provide a lifeline to their business,” said Adam Garfield, founder and CEO.

For at least a month, SpeedETab is not taking setup or subscription fees to get restaurants set up quickly for online ordering through their own websites and usually linking directly with their existing POS system. The restaurants keep their data and can interact directly with customers. “It’s crisis mode and our team has been working around the clock to get these businesses up and running in 24 hours,” said Garfields about his team of 15.

In addition to takeout, SpeedETab offers curbside functionality now, and is seeing a trend in restaurants handling their own delivery. Pubbelly, for instance, is fulfilling its delivery orders though its own staff and offers free delivery to customers that order directly.

SpeedETab, which launched in 2015, services mom and pops to large companies in 48 states. It is also helping national brands. Since the pandemic started, SpeedETab has rolled out curbside pickup for app ordering at all Barnes & Noble café locations nationwide, helping this legacy bookseller still drive sales through this pandemic. 

LEARNING: Now a good time to sharpen your skills

It seems like everyone has a free webinar out right now, and it is a great time to sharpen your knowledge and skills in a variety of areas. We will mention a few here, but new offerings are being added all the time by universities, organizations, industry groups, co-working spaces and more, so check with your tribe.

  • All the local coding bootcamps are moving their courses online and offering free webinars to the community right now. In addition, 4Geeks Academy is offering free online coding classes through at least April. “I know it might sound like a marketing trick, but the only thing that we know is coding. It’s our way to work, to help, to grow,” said CEO and co-founder Marcelo Ricigliano,  Find out more here.
  • BizHack, which offers digital marketing courses and training, is offering free online talks and discussions about how businesses can be adapting their digital marketing in these times. In yesterday’s webinar, nearly 100 people zoomed in. Next week’s will feature branding guru Bruce Turkel. Register here.
  • As a global community, Endeavor  created an open-source library with curated, vetted crisis management resources, including articles, expert advice, and webinar recordings, designed to serve the entrepreneurship community. Access the library here.
HITTING HOME: Making the best of a darkening picture

Explorest, a travel photography app helping people find the world’s most beautiful places to take pictures, is offering a $500 cash prize for the best quarantine views shared on social media because “even though we can’t physically travel right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t find beauty outside our bedroom window.” The app was co-founded in Miami and recently accepted into TheVentureCity’s Growth Acceleration program. Full contest details found here.

 “It’s definitely a tough time, and I personally am feeling the effects of having projects canceled. But we’re a resilient community, and creativity is in our nature. We’re seeing our network of photographers creating tutorials to educate budding photographers, teaming up with musicians to bring the arts to people, sharing images of past travels to get people excited about travel again and more,” said Explorest co-founder and photographer Michael Lax. He shared his photo from his quarantine “office” in San Francisco, below. 

How is #MiamiTech surviving and thriving through this pandemic? Tell us. Email me at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com. We’ll publish occasional roundups throughout this pandemic.

READ MORE: How DeliverLean, GenoSur and 1909 are navigating the ‘new normal’

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Nancy Dahlberg
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