Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroit Startup Integral Shares Perspectives on COVID-19

Detroit Startup Integral Shares Perspectives on COVID-19

April 8, 2020
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By: Devon O’Reilly, Director, Entrepreneurship, PlanetM Landing Zone, Detroit Regional Chamber

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused one of the largest disruptions to the economy in history. To better understand how startup companies are dealing with these uncertain times, I spoke with Ashok Sivanand, founder and CEO of Integral.

Integral is a Detroit-based software consulting startup focused on solving transportation and mobility challenges. Despite the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, Sivanand is optimistic about Integral’s ability to weather this crisis and remain viable. He credits his tight-knit team at Integral, all of whom he plans on retaining, on staying in direct and honest communication throughout recent weeks.

“Being a consulting company, our people are our most valuable asset,” Sivanand said. “These discussions with team members have allowed for a lot of great input on how to minimize our burn, increase our agility, and hopefully set us up for when things start to pick up again.”

In addition to his team at Integral, Ashok has also benefited from Detroit’s close-knit startup ecosystem. For him, the ecosystem, such as the PlanetM Landing Zone, provides the mentorship, information sharing and oftentimes, commiseration that is needed to support each other.

In that spirit, when asked about advice he would give to other business trying to navigate the current situation, Sivanand shared:

“Rely on the data you have rather than the anxious voice in your head. I find security in building models and projections and playing out scenarios by combining instincts and real data. This could mean the difference between taking action and being paralyzed by fear.”

As for what lies ahead, it may be hard to predict but Sivanand sees a coming transformation in how innovation is enabled through lesser efficiencies and more outcomes.

“We optimized our world for predictability and we’re collectively struggling in uncertainty. I believe that optimizing for predictability helps build the product cheaper and faster but optimizing for uncertainty helps build a better product.”

Giving Back

In addition, Integral has begun doing pro-bono software clinics for folks who are overwhelmed with making tech decisions in response to the changes from the pandemic. Interested individuals can sign up for a clinic here: