Min Chen, CEO of Silicon Valley data analytics startup Wisy, was born in China but grew up in Panama, where she lived through the turmoil of the 1989 US invasion. She and her co-founders are “wartime survivors” who endured the violence and the disruption of that period.

“That experience, somehow, has prepared us for this crisis,” she told Business Insider. “We come from places where there was nothing, even in times of prosperity.”

Like other startups, Wisy’s biggest challenge right now is cash flow, but Chen and her cofounders hope keep their team together. While other startups have begun shedding jobs, they’re taking a different approach. “Instead of laying people off, we decided to all take pay cuts,” she said.

That adaptation feels critical: “Companies that die are those that couldn’t adapt,” she said. 

In Wisy’s case, new opportunities have come up because of the crisis. An international organization that wants to use Wisy’s technology for tracing infections and anticipating outbreaks has invited it to apply for grants.

“Even if we don’t have the grant, we would help,” she said.

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