Chicago Startup Rheaply Proves Innovation is Possible During a Pandemic


Rheaply Partners with the City of Chicago and WBC to Create Chicago PPE Market


When the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Chicago, many businesses, large and small were affected. And as the City of Chicago shut down to protect its residents, many entrepreneurs and business owners found themselves having to adapt and adjust their business model, product, and way of doing business.

One Chicago startup, Rheaply stepped up to the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Using their Asset Exchange Manager (AxM) – Rheaply’s flagship technology – they provided small businesses, community organizations and not-for-profits with a streamlined way to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) from verified local sources.

Launched in 2016 by Garry Cooper, Rheaply is circular resource management technology for professionals to share parts, materials & resources with colleagues, or across a network of nearby organizations. The Rheaply shared economy connects research institutions, Fortune 500 companies, startups, school systems, nonprofits, and other organizations.

At the end of May, with plans to reopen the City on the horizon, Rheaply saw a need to streamline the way PPE was acquired to ensure small business owners would have access. Shortly after, Rheaply partnered with the City of Chicago and World Business Chicago using their Asset Exchange Manager to create a more seamless way for businesses and nonprofits to source and buy PPE as part of the City’s reopening plan.

Since the launch, the reaction to Rheaply’s involvement in the Chicago PPE Market has been very positive and they continue to see an increase in the participation of both Chicago businesses and suppliers. As of mid-July, over 2,400 businesses and 50 suppliers were part of the market, and Rheaply was experiencing over 17,000 unique registrations.

Looking ahead, Rheaply has their sights on creating a network for local-to-local sharing in Chicago, with a goal to track resource needs and underutilized resources among the small business community.  For more information on Rheaply, visit their website here.

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