Software as a Service During Pandemic

Entrepreneurs Step Up to Assist People, Patients, and Providers

Software as a Service or “SaaS” is a technology industry term describing a company’s business model that aspires for ultra-high margins, massive scalability, and easy deployment. During this pandemic, Vermonters have responded to the “service” aspect in wonderfully unexpected and inspiring ways. As innate problem solvers, these companies are provisioning their services towards COVID-19 relief by supporting the people, patients, and providers impacted. 

Here are a few technology companies that make us all proud to be Vermonters: 

On March 7th, telemedicine firm OhMD launched a free version of its text/video patient-provider communication platform to prepare for a surge in visits at family and group healthcare practices. As a HIPAA compliant and electronic health record integrated solution, OhMD is in operation in all 50 states and is rapidly hiring to meet demand for solutions in this new telemedicine age.

PIE founder, Paul Dandurand, reformatted complex and technical CDC website content into a visualized, process orientated web based platform, making it understandable and actionable. This resource is freely available to employers who are scrambling to sort through daily updates from the CDC, and want to deploy a credible and reliable process to protect their employees. Today, PIE tools are being used to assist supply chain purchasing at two Vermont hospitals.

Unfortunately, this pandemic has brought with it a surge in end of life medical directives, along with estate planning needs. E-Z Probate offers a SaaS solution with free will, estate, and power of attorney templates, in addition to its core product for fast, easy court probate filings. At a time when so many families are dealing with critical illness and loss, this platform simplifies important family decisions and difficult conversations. Founded by two UVM emergency room doctors, ThinkMD offers population health analytics and a set of illness and disease assessment tools for mobile phone users across the developing world. The team published a free COVID-19 specific symptom screening tool for the US and its global partners. Incredibly, ThinkMD’s clinical decision support programs via mobile devices will reach several hundred million people globally this spring for current and future ailments. Impact in action!

With increasing concern about surge capacity and exposure to COVID-19 at doctor’s offices and hospitals, Stowe based Inntopia modified its event booking engine to allow patients and providers to schedule appointments online. Over a long weekend, CEO Trevor Crist and his team created TestLink to allow individuals to schedule testing appointments at provider locations nationwide. Masks stay on, but hats are off to Inntopia, who did this despite their travel booking business all but evaporating globally as a result of the pandemic.

Stress, anxiety, and fear are at all-time highs. Fortunately, Brightmind cofounders Toby Sola and Christian Stiller, both natives of Vermont, removed a $100/year paywall to provide meditation and mindfulness videos and content to VCET members and Vermonters. We asked, and they went all-in immediately, not only for VCET, but for other innovation hubs across the U.S. Namaste.

Indoor hydroponic farm, Ceres Greens, operating from a repurposed downtown Barre granite shed, began offering its leafy greens as a Salad as a Service to area food banks and residents. The all-important connective tissue within and among our communities has been force multiplied by Vermont innovators at Front Porch Forum and MealTrain. These two software platforms enable thousands of people daily to help one another with food for at-risk and sick people across Vermont, and to organize a sustaining schedule of meals for frontline healthcare providers and responders across the country. What’s not to love about this? 

For our part at VCET, we eliminated member fees, donated Female Founders Series event proceeds to the Vermont Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, opened up our Scale Here offerings to more small businesses across Vermont (over $100k in free and reduced costs to operate each business), and ramped up daily strategic, financial, programming, wellness, and coaching supports to entrepreneurs from startup phase to employers with over $50M in sales. 

How amazing (and so Vermont) to see local entrepreneurs finding meaningful ways to help people, support patients, and enable providers to better meet this enormous moment in time. COVID-19 is redefining Software as a Service to be more than just a business model, and Vermont innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses are stepping up to the challenge. 

Together we got this!  #StartHere #ShareHere #StaySafeStayHome

David Bradbury, President

About VCET

Advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) provides expert business mentoring, technology professional networking, two coworking and accelerator facilities in Middlebury and Burlington, innovation programs, and early stage venture capital.  VCET manages the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP, a revolving $5 million venture capital investment fund. In 2013, VCET was named #11 globally and #5 in the U.S. by the UBI Index. Visit, follow @VCET and listen to the #StartHere podcast.