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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

More Atomico promotions sees three new Partners at the European VC firm

Atomico, the European venture capital firm founded by Skype’s Niklas Zennström, sometimes feels like it’s on a perpetual hiring and promotions spree, even if a number of partners have also departed over the years.

Most recently, in November Sophia Bendz, the former Spotify Global Director of Marketing, promoted to Partner. Bendz had already spent two and a half years as an Executive-in-Residence at the London-based VC firm. The same month, Partner Carolina Brochado left to join Softbank’s Vision Fund to help it source more deals in Europe.

Today we can add three more Partner promotions to the list, including Bryce Keane, who for the past two and a half years has been Atomico’s Head of Communications.

Prior to joining Atomico, Australia born Keane (who I promised not to refer to as the Aussie spin doctor — sorry!) founded the PR arm of creative agency Albion and worked with a number of now household names in European tech, such as TransferWise, years before the company was a celebrated fintech unicorn.

He also co-founded 3beards, which among other projects (involving beards, beer and the Unicorn Hunt jobs board), was the custodian of one of London’s most popular tech networking events, leading one BBC journalist to dub Keane “the social secretary for London’s tech community”. With my aversion to both crowds and heaping any resemblance of praise on PRs, I couldn’t possibly comment.

But what I will say, having covered TransferWise from Day One and reporting on Atomico pretty relentlessly over the years, is that Keane is possibly one of the hardest working flacks I know and certainly one of the best briefed, typically making it his business to know the founders and startups he supports at least as well as anyone. Well, almost anyone.

Also being promoted to Partner is Alison Smith, Atomico’s Chief of Staff. She has been with the VC firm for four years and as Partner will continue to lead key projects for Atomico, both internally and externally.

And last but definitely not least is Camilla Richards, who for the past four years has been Head of Investor Relations, overseeing Atomico’s own fundraising and its important relationship with LPs.

In her new role, she’ll continue to manage those relationships, as well as facilitating introductions between founders and LPs where new business opportunities arise or if direct investment makes sense.

“Bryce, Alison and Camilla have the ambition, shared mission and energy we need as we continue to build Atomico. I’m proud to have them as Partners at Atomico and excited to see what they will achieve in the years ahead in their new roles,” says Atomico’s CEO and Founding Partner Niklas Zennström in a blog post.

Meanwhile, in addition to Atomico’s three new Partners, the European VC firm is making a number of promotions within its investment team. Senior Associate Stephen Thorne becomes a Principal, and Associates Hillary Ball, Will Dufton and Adam Lasri are moved up to Senior Associate. Notably, I’m told Lasri will also be relocating permanently to Paris, becoming Atomico’s first full-time investment member on the ground in the French capital city.


Source: TechCrunch

Mercedes Remakes the Minivan as an All-Electric Luxury Ride

The German automaker’s MPV has room for eight, 249 miles of range, and makes the kiddie karter look good.
Source: Wired

Goodyear's newest tire is for flying cars – Roadshow

The Aero concept is a cool wheel, trick propeller and overworked tire.
Source: CNET

Goodyear's Aero tire is for flying self-driving cars video – Roadshow

Here’s how tomorrow’s car may grip the ground and ply the air.
Source: CNET

A second patient appears to be cured of H.I.V., sparking new hope for a novel treatment

Twelve years after a first patient was identified as cured of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, a second patient undergoing similar treatment was diagnosed as in long-term remission, according to a New York Times report citing an article in to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature.

The report means that a cure for the disease is possible, but several obstacles remain before it can be developed and applied broadly, according to scientists quoted by the Times.

The findings are set to be presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, on Tuesday.

The successful treatment involved bone-marrow transplants that were given to patients infected with H.I.V. However, the transplants were meant to treat the patients’ cancer — not the virus.

Because of the risks and side-effects associated with bone marrow transplants, using the treatment broadly as a cure for H.I.V. likely isn’t a possibility, and drugs are available to control the infection.

What scientists find promising is the potential to replace infected cells with  immune cells modified to resist H.I.V.

Speaking to The Times, Dr. Annemarie Wensing, a virologist at the University Medical Center, Utrecht, in the Netherlands said, “This will inspire people that the cure is not a dream.”

Dr. Wensing co-led the team of European scientists that studied stem cell transplants to treat H.I.V. infection.

Backed by the American AIDS research organization, AMFAR, the IciStem organization is the second group of scientists to cure a patient.

Twelve years ago, at the same conference, a German doctor described using bone marrow treatments to cure a patient who was being treated for leukemia. The transplants also cured the patient of H.I.V.

After that initial success several doctors tried to replicate the results, with little to no success. Either patients died of cancer or the virus returned when they stopped taking their anti-retroviral medication.

The crux of the treatment depends on using mutated immune cells that have a variant of the standard CCR5 protein. The mutation blocks H.I.V. from infecting cells by stopping the virus from latching on to host white blood cells.

It’s a treatment that nearly killed the first patient it was used on. However, not all the conditions of that first cure apparently need to be replicated to ensure that a patient remains H.I.V. free following treatment.

The most recent patient was receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and as part of his therapy underwent a bone-marrow transplant from a donor that had the CCR5 mutation to their cells. The patient took a course of immunosuppressive drugs as part of his treatment.

In 2017 the patient stopped taking anti-H.I.V. drugs and has remained disease free ever since.

Despite the success, there’s no guarantee that the new patient will remain disease free. He’s undergone a series of tests to check whether the virus has returned and while all but one diagnostic revealed him to be H.I.V. free, doctors are still monitoring his situation closely.

This isn’t the first time that a scientist has identified the CCR5 protein as holding the potential for an H.I.V. cure.

China’s now-disgraced and imprisoned scientist, He Jiankui, used gene editing to modify the DNA of two children so that they would have the mutated CCR5 — ostensibly making them resistant to the H.I.V. virus.

While Dr. He’s research was premature, and was met with global condemnation, private companies and researchers are pursuing gene therapies to treat the H.I.V. virus.

The Times notes that the CCR5 therapy that’s being developed is only effective on about half of patients who are infected with the virus that causes AIDS. Another half are vulnerable or infected to a form of the virus which uses a different protein to enter cells.

One important caveat to any such approach is that the patient would still be vulnerable to a form of H.I.V. called X4, which employs a different protein, CXCR4, to enter cells.


Source: TechCrunch

Nissan IMQ hybrid crossover concept debuts at Geneva Motor Show – Roadshow

The tech-laden IMQ could tease the look of future Nissan crossovers.
Source: CNET

With Luke Perry gone, our idols are getting old (and so are we) – CNET

Commentary: One minute you’re dreaming of taking Dylan to prom, the next, the world has grown up around you.
Source: CNET

After more than 10 years, Flickr frees its login system from Yahoo

Oh joy, oh rapture, unsubdued, Flickr’s login is no longer tied to Yahoo. The photo-sharing platform announced today that it will roll out a new system to members over the next few weeks that doesn’t require a Yahoo ID. This is welcome news to long-time Flickr users who are still bitter over the requirement, introduced in 2007, two years after Yahoo acquired Flickr, that forced everyone to use Yahoo credentials to sign in. Flickr was acquired by SmugMug in April 2018 and since then, a new login has been “the single most requested feature by our community,” according to a post on the company’s blog.

Flickr may no longer have the same clout as it did in the pre-Instagram era, but many users (like me) have been uploading photos to it for years and still use it as an archive for images taken before smartphones became ubiquitous. The Yahoo login system, however, was a lot more tedious than it needed to be, especially if you did not use Yahoo Mail or its other services and constantly forgot your password. Two enormous data breaches of Yahoo accounts made users even more upset that they were tied into a system that they otherwise never used.

Users still have to use their Yahoo credentials until they get access to the new login process. When that happens, they will be allowed to pick a new login email address and new password. That address will be the only one used by their Flickr account for both authentication and emails from the company.


Source: TechCrunch

A study of 657,461 children shows that vaccines do not cause autism – CNET

Danish researchers followed children born over a ten year period and found no link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Source: CNET

Facebook is introducing a new “Tributes” section for memorialized accounts

Facebook is rolling out a new feature for memorialized accounts that will allow people to leave messages in a Tributes section that is separate from the rest of the profile’s timeline. Depending on a memorialized account’s privacy settings, friends can currently still post on its timeline, including in the comments of posts the person made before they died. If a memorialized account has a Tributes section, however, posts made after the day it was memorialized (which prevents anyone else from logging in) will be placed there.

Some Facebook users who have designated “legacy contacts” to manage their accounts after they die were alerted to the new feature by a notification today that contained the euphemistic phrase “if your account is memorialized.”

A page on Facebook’s Help Center describes the new tributes section “as a space on memorialized profiles where friends and family can post stories, commemorate a birthday, share memories and more.”

“Legacy contacts” will have more leeway over tribute posts than they do over the rest of the account. For example, they have the ability to decide who can see and post tributes and can delete posts. They can also change who can see posts the deceased person is tagged in or remove the tag. If the account had timeline review turned on, the legacy contact will be able to turn it off for tribute posts. Posts made to a profile after it is memorialized will be separated into the tributes section. The feature’s help page says “we do our best to separate tribute posts from timeline posts based on the info we’re given.”

Legacy contacts still can’t log into accounts, read private messages or remove and add friends.


Source: TechCrunch

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