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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

5G’s Potential Health Hazard, Zuck’s Deleted Posts, and More News

Catch up on the most important news today in 2 minutes or less.
Source: Wired

Jordan Peele isn't stopping after Twilight Zone and Us – CNET

Peele’s co-conspirator Win Rosenfeld tells us what they’ve learned as they plan a reboot of classic horror movie Candyman.
Source: CNET

A startup trying to detect endometriosis through ‘smart tampons’ just landed $9 million in Series A funding

There’s no shortage of so-called femtech startups raising money right now, and it’s little wonder why.

Aside from the growing market opportunity — the global fertility services market is expected to reach $31 billion by 2023, says the consultancy Allied Market Research, nearly double where it stood in 2016 — more women are clamoring for information about their reproductive health, and 15-minute doctor visits aren’t doing the trick.

The newest recipient of venture dollars: NextGen Jane, a 4.5-year-old, Oakland, Calif.-based company that’s hoping to use blood wrung from tampons to find early markers of endometriosis and, later, if all goes well, cervical cancer and other disorders.

The company disclosed just today that it has secured $9 million in Series A funding led by Material Impact, a new fund focused on materials technology that we reported on last November. Other participants in the round include Access Industries, Viking Global Investors, Liminal Ventures and numerous notable angels, including PhDs from Harvard Medical School and Stanford University.

Its approach is far more palatable than the option women have long suffered, which is to have a small camera inserted into their pelvic cavity in search of endometrial cells. (Note: Women typically wind up in this position only after enduring bewildering pain that drives them to see their doctors.) The idea with NextGen Jane instead is for a custom-made tampon to be worn for roughly two hours, placed inside a test tube as part of a home kit and sent to a lab for further analysis.

Of course, it needs to work first, and the technology hasn’t been approved by the FDA. In fact, it hasn’t been proven at all.

The funding could, potentially, make the difference. In an interview with Technology Review last month, NextGen CEO and co-founder Ridhi Tariyal said that a clinical trial is designed and ready to go, but that NextGen Jane needed capital to run a trial on roughly 800 women in order to establish the diagnostic efficacy of menstrual blood. With funding, she’d said, it would take the company about two years to collect a meaningful amount of data.

NextGen Jane had previously raised $2.3 million in funding.

TechCrunch has been reporting extensively on the recent and dramatic uptick in femtech investing. You can find a much deeper dive regarding who has raised what lately and why right here.


Source: TechCrunch

Original Content podcast: ‘The Inventor’ offers a compelling overview of the Theranos saga

The story of how blood testing company Theranos rose to prominence, then collapsed following accusations of fraud, is getting told and retold in many forms: There’s reporter John Carreyrou’s book “Bad Blood,” plus an upcoming feature film adaptation starring Jennifer Lawrence, plus a podcast from Nightline called “The Dropout” — and “The Inventor,” a new HBO documentary directed by Alex Gibney.

Our colleague Josh Constine already reviewed the film after seeing it at Sundance, but we had thoughts of our own, which we hashed out with guest host Anna Escher on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast.

Gibney previously spoke to TechCrunch about his Steve Jobs documentary “The Man in the Machine,” arguing that a documentary has more to offer than just “a list of facts.”

Similarly, viewers who’ve read “Bad Blood” or followed the Theranos story closely may not discover many new facts in “The Inventor.” But even so, the film is worth watching for its clear distillation of what happened, and for its copious behind-the-scenes footage of Holmes (who ends up feeling like a major presence even though she wasn’t interviewed).

There are also some parallels to “Fyre,” the recent Netflix documentary about the Fyre Festival — particularly the focus on employees who get caught up in an entrepreneur’s grand vision, even when they knew their bosses were playing fast-and-loose with the facts.

And we also share our thoughts on the third season of “Queer Eye,” both its political message and our favorite cast member (Bobby forever!).

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)


Source: TechCrunch

Early-stage investment firm Defy updates the venture partner model

Defy, the early-stage venture investment firm founded by Neil Sequeira and Trae Vassallo, is putting a new twist on the venture partner model as it brings Brian Lee and Sujal Patel on board to help out with investing and guiding companies in the firm’s portfolio.

Just don’t call them venture partners.

Vassallo and Sequeira prefer the term “sage” to describe the folks they’re looking to bring in to help mentor their companies.

Here’s how the two describe it in a blog post about the new program:

Venture partner, operating partner, entrepreneur in residence, advisor etc, so many names and so many different implementations, so we decided to simply give our unique relationship it’s own name- a Sage.  

A “sage” is someone wise through reflection and experience and we thought that perfectly encapsulates what these active operating executives bring to Defy. As talented multi-time operators, seed investors and current CEOs, Defy Sages bring their operating experience, domain knowledge, and networks to help our portfolio.

Both Lee, a Los Angeles-based serial entrepreneur who founded or co-founded Honest Co., Shoedazzle and LegalZoom; and Patel, whose deep background in enterprise software comes from years spent as a co-founder and executive of Isilon Systems and later at EMC, are “longtime friends of the firm” according to an interview with both Sequeira and Vassallo.

Through its twist on the venture partner model, which Defy is calling a “sage” program, the advisors get a bigger piece in the upside at a fund and individual deal level. “There is carry across the fund and on any individual company they’re involved in,” Sequeira said in an interview. 

For Lee, who’s running the Los Angeles-based early-stage consumer investment practice BAM Ventures, the agreement with Defy is a chance to see early-stage executives outside of his network and get exposure for some of the companies in his portfolio. “It’s almost a backstop for BAM Ventures,” said Lee.

Defy’s strategy hasn’t changed. The company will still be investing in traditional Series A deals — the $3 million to $10 million rounds that many firms now consider to be seed stage.

Our goal is to create a right-sized firm, that means we can’t bring on lots of people or we end up in the same slope of everyone else where more people equals bigger fund which ultimately leads to larger checks,” Defy’s two founders wrote in a blog post announcing the Sage program. 

Already the program has borne fruit, with Lee investing beside Defy in the cannabinoid product developer Prima, launched by Honest Co. co-founder Christopher Gavigan, and Shujinko receiving support from Patel as part of its initial $2.8 million round.

And Defy hopes to bring other partners on board to provide even more sage advice for the firm’s growing portfolio.


Source: TechCrunch

Nanopartículas eléctricas + ultrasonidos = nuevo enfoque anticáncer

Ya se sabía que la corriente alterna de baja intensidad destruye las células cancerígenas, pero su aplicación también afectaba a las células sanas. Esta investigación ha logrado atacar selectivamente a las células tumorales gracias al uso de sus anticuerpos específicos
Source: MIT

Esta catapulta gravitacional podría hacer realidad el viaje interestelar

El enfoque consiste en capturar la energía de un agujero negro y utilizarla para impulsar las velas solares de pequeñas naves del tamaño de un chip hasta alcanzar la velocidad relativista. Aunque la humanidad aún está lejos de lograrlo, una civilización más avanzara ya podría hacerlo hecho
Source: MIT

Un insólito estudio confirma que la IA puede mejorar la atención médica

Una larga colaboración entre especialistas de inteligencia artificial y personal sanitario revela que la visión artificial puede mejorar la monitorización de los pacientes de UCI. Su extensa duración y su enfoque social sin aplicación comercial inmediata la convierten en una investigación sin precedentes
Source: MIT

Facebook Had a Busy Weekend, From News Feed to Livestream Changes

Here’s all the news you may have missed, including a major News Feed change and Mark Zuckerberg calling for government regulation.
Source: Wired

Bragi sells off hardware business, will focus on licenses and software

Bragi was a promising early contender in the Bluetooth earbud space. The company came to prominence in 2014 with a massively successful $3.3 million Kickstarter. And to its credit, it actually brought to market products like the Dash and Dash Pro, offering a compelling “smart” alternative to other devices.

Last month, however, the German company gave up the ghost, selling off its hardware business to an unnamed party. Wareable notes that early this year Bragi’s online store went out of stock, and while it told the press it had plans to refresh, that day never came. Instead, an outside party has purchased its product business.

Bragi confirmed the move in a statement from CEO Nikolaj Hviid. The executive was quick to add, however, that its conscious uncoupling from products like the Dash should not be viewed as the end for the company.

“Bragi’s technology suite is applied beyond our own products to partners and headphone brands,” Hviid said. “The Dash Pro featured groundbreaking ultra efficient AI and software that could be updated with new features such as Amazon Alexa, language translation and personalized hearing. With the sale of our product business, Bragi has completed its transformation into a software, AI and IP licensing company.”

Of course, the AirPods came along in 2016, and did the thing that Apple does to markets — it’s a story we’ve seen played out time and time again with companies like Pebble. New numbers out last week put Apple’s product at around 60 percent of the so-called “hearables” market. Other giants like Samsung, Bose and Jabra also make up a sizable chunk.

Ultimately, it seems, the market Bragi helped pioneer was quickly ceded to existing giants. As such, maintaining its innovative work on the software and AI, while licensing IP, certainly makes the most sense going forward. We noted the seemingly inevitability of the move at last year’s Mobile World Congress, when one of its EVP’s told us, “At some point we may not be a hardware company anymore. That was the plan from the beginning. That was not really a secret.”

We’ve reached out to Bragi for additional comment.


Source: TechCrunch

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