- GoodSAM has been contracted by the UK government to recruit thousands of volunteers to help tackle COVID-19.
- The firm, which has eight full-time employees, was given the task of designing a new service to find volunteers in just three days.
- More than 650,000 people have registered as volunteers to perform essential tasks such as transporting food and medicine to the most vulnerable.
- There have so far been more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK, with at least 465 deaths linked to it.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
GoodSAM, a volunteer network startup, has been contracted by the UK government to recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 2013 by Professor Mark Wilson, a neurosurgeon at Imperial College London, and former JP Morgan software engineer Ali Ghorbangholi, GoodSAM has connected thousands of volunteers with health services in the US, UK, and Australia.
Since Tuesday, the firm has signed up 650,000 people in the UK willing to deliver food and medicine, check in with elderly residents over the phone, and transport medical equipment.
At the time of writing, there were over 9,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK, with at least 465 deaths linked to it.
GoodSAM has eight full-time employees and has been “working day and night” since being fast-tracked onto a contract with NHS England and NHS Improvement earlier this week.
“Most of us are getting four or five hours of sleep a night,” Ali Ghorbangholi, cofounder and director at GoodSAM, told Business Insider. “We are working very hard to deliver what the country needs right now.”
The NHS has said it is “rallying the troops for the war on coronavirus.” The callout has already exceeded expectations, more than doubling the desired 250,000 volunteers in a matter of days.
GoodSAM has partnered with the NHS and the Royal Voluntary Service, which has 130 full-time employees sifting through applications.
GoodSAM says its systems are secure
Given GoodSAM was relatively unknown before the current crisis, questions have been raised online about the way it handles user data and its security provisions. Those who sign up as volunteers must pass over personal data such as their date of birth, address, and passport or ID information.
Ghorbangholi told Business Insider the firm used “the securest systems available” to protect applicants’ data, sharing it only with the NHS and the Royal Voluntary Service for verification purposes, and does not share the information with other third parties “in any way, shape or form.”
Asked about his company’s ability to scale up to the challenge presented by the coronavirus, Ghorbangholi insisted GoodSAM was ready.
“We already have a quarter of a million people using our service worldwide,” he said.
“I understand people will have questions about why GoodSAM been awarded this contract, but the fact of the matter is: We are very good at what we do.
“When we spoke to the NHS, they said they wanted this scheme in place in three days. No company was in a position to deliver this service as well or as efficiently as us.”
Business Insider approached NHS England for comment.