Author: Sarah Buhr

Albertsons snaps up meal kit startup Plated

TECHCRUNCH In a first for national grocery chains, Albertsons is buying the healthy meal kit delivery startup Plated for an undisclosed amount brokered by Credit Suisse Group AG. According to the Wall Street Journal, Plated will become a subsidiary of Albertsons and customers will soon be able to purchase a rotating selection of meals from the startup for delivery or pickup from the nearest location of the grocery store chain. Why might Albertsons be interested in this tiny meal delivery startup? The $2.2 billion meal kit market has grown exponentially in the past few years. Meanwhile, grocery store chains...

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Olfaguard is an electronic nose for smelling pathogens in food factories

TECHCRUNCH A recent deadly outbreak of salmonella has so far sickened more than 200 people throughout the Eastern and Southern United States. The culprit? Madrol papayas coming from three different distribution companies, all originating from four close by farms in Mexico. Now these distributers, the FDA and the CDC are scrambling to contain the outbreak from going further. Meanwhile, several law firms have stepped in to take those responsible to court. Mitigating risk of food-borne illnesses can be a costly and time-consuming business for food manufacturers — but one that is necessary to avoid the type of scenario illustrated above. Olfaguard is a new Toronto-based startup working to reduce the time it takes food manufacturers to discover food-borne pathogens like Salmonella and E. Coli in the food we buy with what it calls an electronic “sniffer.” olfaguard3 olfaguard1 olfaguard This machine works by picking up on possible pathogens, running it through the system and then coming out with results, which Salameh says have so far yielded results with a 94 percent accuracy in the lab. The traditional method for detecting pathogens in food involve two methods: One, taking a culture and developing it in a petri dish in 36 to 48 hours; or two, using a much more expensive method using a PCR microchip to get those results in 8-14 hours. Either of those choices require lots of time...

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A bunch of Amazon customers were told about a purchase on their non-existent baby registries

TECHCRUNCH Something weird is going on over at Amazon. It seems the online retail giant is randomly telling some customers about purchases on their baby registry. The problem is these customers say they don’t have a baby registry — and some don’t even have a baby. Retailers regularly keep tabs on our purchases so they can retarget us with ads and notifications based on that data in hopes we come back and buy again. You might remember the story about Target’s ability to predict a teenage girl was pregnant back in 2012 using her purchase data. But, in this instance...

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AR helmet startup Skully may have risen from the dead

TECHCRUNCH It seems Skully, the AR helmet company that crashed and burned in July of 2016 after the former CEO Marcus Weller refused to sign a confidentiality deal with investors is trying to make a comeback. A letter sent to those who had previously subscribed to the Skully email list, and obtained by TechCrunch, says new company SKULLY Technologies is bringing back the helmet. Interestingly, cousins and new cofounders of the company Ivan Contreras and Rafael Contreras say in the letter they have purchased the company and relocated it to Atlanta, Georgia in an attempt to fulfill SKULLY’s “destiny.”...

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Cofactor Genomics pulls in $18 million with the aim to save lives through RNA research

TECHCRUNCH Cofactor Genomics has announced an $18 million Series A financing round led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from DCVC, Ascension Ventures, iSelect, Y Combinator, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Stanford. The startup, formulated by a team of past Human Genome Project scientists, came out of Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 batch to focus on drug discovery through RNA research. RNA takes genomics therapy a step further by focusing on the proteins made from the DNA to determine which drugs will work well in the human body. “DNA is pre-symptomatic. But with RNA, we think we’ll be able to see...

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Doctor Hazel uses AI to try to determine if you have skin cancer

TECHCRUNCH Doctor Hazel spent the last 24 hours at TechCrunch Disrupt’s SF 2017 hackathon working on an interesting idea to use artificial intelligence to detect cancerous moles. Software engineer Mike Borozdin proposed the idea of using artificial intelligence to determine if a mole was cancerous or not to his friend and fellow of Intel Software Innovators Peter Ma a few days ago. The team soon bought a high-powered endoscope camera on Amazon for $30, set up a website and got to work. Doctor Hazel works by first going onto the website, uploading your concerning mole and then getting your...

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Dharma hopes to solve health data collection for NGO’s of the world

TECHCRUNCH Data scientist Michael Roytman and his statistician friend Jesse Berns were working on a non-government organization project together in Iraq that required a lot of the data to be in a central place and analyzed on the fly. But like a lot of countries in the developing world, WiFi was spotty and they didn’t have a lot of the tech available to make that possible. Many of these operations rely on something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet and a hodgepodge of tools thrown together, making the data messy and the process complicated. So the two went about...

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Fertility startup Carrot raises $3.6 million to make IVF and egg-freezing more affordable

TECHCRUNCH Two years ago, at the age of 34, Tammy Sun decided to freeze her eggs. Though larger tech companies like Apple and Facebook had started offering this service as a perk to retain female talent, it was not something Evernote, whom Sun worked for at the time, provided. So several shots, doctors visits and $30,000 out of her own pocket later she got the idea to make the process easier and more affordable through tech employers not currently offering fertility coverage. Thus began Carrot, a startup out of Y Combinator working with employers to offer fertility care like...

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