Coronavirus: LA startup helps small businesses offer online services during COVID-19 crisis

The L.A. startup Finli is helping local small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis by virtually connecting them with other companies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
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A startup based in L.A. helps small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis by connecting them with other companies.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles startup Finli is changing its business model to help small businesses stay afloat during the novel coronavirus crisis.

One of the businesses it is helping is Wushu Unlimited in Monrovia, which was once an after-school Tai Chi and tutoring business.

"Once the pandemic happened you can't really pick up kids from school if they're not going to school," said Wushu Unlimited founder Jennifer Wang. "We had to just put a stop to it entirely. We closed our doors."

Wang and her husband employ themselves and another coach.

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Thanks to Finli, they're able to navigate the tumultuous times.

Finli started as a payment management company for family-centric businesses.

Now they're bringing all of their clients online by helping them teach classes on the web and then connecting them with corporations who are buying classes for their employees.

"We're really targeting corporate, more enterprise opportunities," Finli founder Lori Shao said.

These new revenue streams have kept food on the table for the businesses Finli serves. Many of them have unsuccessfully tried to get a piece of the government bailout for small businesses, but haven't qualified or haven't gotten enough to keep them afloat.

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"I genuinely believe that there's going to be a new normal in how they do their business and how they view operating their business," Shao said.

As Finli pivots, so does Wushu Unlimited and every person who now learns Tai Chi online.

"So, now we've been able to really reach out to these new corporations that we haven't had before and we're able to teach them Tai Chi," Jennifer Wang said. "Also, were able to continue with our regular classes. I think this is something we can move forward with in the future."

Visit Finli's website for more information on the classes they offer.