IE Business School Alumni Help Fight Covid-19

From free services to 3D printing, IE Business School alumni set example and step up to fight Covid-19.

As the world wrestles with the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of infected cases globally climbs daily, IE Business School community members have stepped up to show leadership and resilience. We applaud the agility, resolve and compassion these alumni have shown in the face of adversity. If you or someone from your class has launched an initiative to address issues, shortages or distress caused by the coronavirus, please let us know.


Abel Matutes, Chief Executive of the Hotel Business for Palladium Hotel Group and IMBA Class of 2006 graduate, was the first to offer health authorities the use of his hotel for additional hospital space for Covid-19 patients. Just meters from the overflowing Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid, the group’s Ayre GH Colon turned into Spain’s first hospitalized hotel, with 361 rooms.



“Very proud of the entire Ayre GH Colon team that is coordinating with [Madrid’s] health department.”


Robin John, founder of Stemlabs and a Master in Management 2017 graduate, jumped in with their 3D printers and expertise as Spain scrambled to respond to the soaring numbers of intensive care patients with needing ventilators to breathe. “When I heard of Italian startups making parts for ventiloators, I thought why not reach out to local hospitals. The need was overwhelming,” said John, who is also the founder of Infrolabs. His printed parts are now available in Hospital Princesa and Hospital de Torrejon.



“Now I supply 10-15 parts a day for free, with eight 3D printers running in my living room.”


Meinrad Spenger, CEO of MasMovil Group and International MBA Class of 2000 graduate, said the desire to help those who are suffering most led the company to donate 2000 smartphones Samsung Galaxy A10, 400 wireless routers to Madrid’s health authorities and 1 million hospital-grade protective masks to Spain’s Health Ministry. “We are very proud to be able to lend our help to keep health professionals and patients in certain centers connected with their family and friends,” Spenger said. As of April 1, the company also announced it will offer new entertainment, educational, health and technology services free to its customers to make the lockdown more agreeable.



The company also announced it will offer new entertainment, educational, health and technology services free.


Marina Gómez Fernández, entrepreneur and a graduate of the Global Executive MBA 2015 class, tapped into logistical, technical and legal support from IE to launch the platform SOS COVID-19 to connect people in need of help with people that can help. “It is an initiative from people that believe that we all have the responsibility to do the upmost to help overcome the crisis that we are living. We were desolate to see how many desperate calls for help from the front line remained unanswered, while many companies and individuals were willing to help, without knowing how,” she explained. In just over a week, a single idea travelled from Italy to a committed team in Spain, and transformed it into reality.



“We all have the responsibility to do the upmost to help overcome the crisis that we are living.”


Madhumita Das, Mathias Vázquez Rodriguez and Robin John, Founders of the Vidhi Fundacion, used 3D printers to produce medical equipment such as Venturi valves and face shields. “It is our duty as citizens to help our communities in the best way we can face the pandemic of COVID-19,” Vazquez explained. “Our way? Staying at home and fabricating parts for ventilators and safety gear for medical professionals with our 3D printing machines.”



“We own these resources and it is our duty to use them for the common good in these critical times.”


But the non-profit Vidhi Fundacion has also launched a GoFundMe campaign with two parts: the Vidhi Support Network pooling resources and donations to continue printing more medical equipment and Vidhi Care Packages to generate funds to directly reinvest in meeting community needs for orphanages, handicapped homes and other such organizations. “What I am learning from this particular journey is that to make something happen, all one needs is the intent, will and a certain amount of stubbornness. The rest will come if actively sought,” Das said.



“To make something happen, all one needs is the intent, will and a certain amount of stubbornness.”


Jeremy Whitty, Director of Development at The Global Health Network and IMBA 2008 graduate, immediately turned part of the online platform designed for several international programs to build sustainable research teams and promote knowledge exchange into ‘pop up’ hub to share information and hold webinars related to Covid19. “This resource will become more permanent in a couple of weeks, but it shows how quickly many people are responding to the challenge,” Whitty said.



“Most of our content is in English but we are quickly sharing knowledge in other languages.”


Bernhard Niesner, CEO and co-founder of Busuu and IMBA Class of 2007, turned worldwide disruption of school because of confinement related to the coronavirus into an opportunity for kids to learn languages. Busuu launched the #KeepKidsLearning initiatve, with free, live-streamed language lessons. “It’s interesting to see the peak of new students came after the quarantine went into effect,” Niesner said. “That suggests that a lot of people are deciding to learn languages during the confinement.”



“The peak of new students came after the quarantine went into effect.”


Daniel Neves, Chief Business Developer at Biosufit and IMBA 2007 graduate, announced the company has launched rapid screening test packages for Covid19. Through spinit® technology and the combination of tests, these packages aim to serve mobile units located in strategic locations, such as large companies in different sectors, with ongoing activities, public and private hospitals, security forces, among others.



The tests allow for early diagnosis, protecting patients at greatest risk.