Author: Jonathan Shieber

As threats proliferate, so do new tools for protecting medical devices and hospitals

Six months after an episode of “Homeland” showed hackers exploiting security vulnerabilities in the (fictional) Vice President’s pacemaker, Mike Kijewski, the founder of a new startup security company called Medcrypt, was approached by his (then) employers at Varian Medical Systems with a unique problem.  “A hospital came to the company and said we are treating a patient and a nation-state may attempt to assassinate the patient that we’re treating by using a cybersecurity vulnerability in a medical device to do it,” Kijewski recalled. At the time, there were no universal solutions to those types of security threats — so...

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Healthcare by 2028 will be doctor-directed, patient-owned and powered by visual technologies

Evan Nisselson Contributor More posts by this contributor Deep learning with synthetic data will democratize the tech industry Visual assessment is critical to healthcare – whether that is a doctor peering down your throat as you say “ahhh” or an MRI of your brain. Since the X-ray was invented in 1895, medical imaging has evolved into many modalities that empower clinicians to see into and assess the human body.  Recent advances in visual sensors, computer vision and compute power are currently powering a new wave of innovation in legacy visual technologies(like the X-Ray and MRI) and sparking entirely new realms of medical practice, such as genomics. Over the next 10 years, healthcare workflows will become mostly digitized, with wide swaths of personal data captured and computer vision, along with artificial intelligence, automating the analysis of that data for precision care. Much of the digitized data across healthcare will be visual and the technologies that capture and analyze it are visual technologies. These visual technologies traverse a patient’s journey from diagnosis, to treatment, to continuing care and prevention.They capture, analyze, process, filter and manage any visual data from images, videos, thermal, x-ray’s, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, 3D, and more. Computer vision and artificial intelligence are core to the journey. Three powerful trends — including miniaturization of diagnostic imaging devices, next generation imaging to for the earliest stages of disease detection...

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Showing the power of startup women’s health brands, P&G buys This is L

The P&G acquisition of This is L., a startup retailer of period products and prophylactics, shows just how profitable investing in women’s healthcare brands and products can be. A person with knowledge of the investment put the price tag at roughly $100 million — a healthy outcome for investors and company founder Talia Frankel. But just as important as the financial outcome is the deal’s implications for other mission-driven companies. This is L launched from Y Combinator in August 2015 with a service distributing condoms in New York and San Francisco and steadily expanded into feminine hygiene products. Frenkel, a former photojournalist who worked for the United Nations and Red Cross, started the company in 2013 — roughly three years after an assignment in Africa revealed the toll that HIV/AIDs was taking on women and girls on the continent. “I didn’t realize the No. 1 killer of women was completely preventable and I think that really inspired me to action,” Frenkel told TechCrunch at the time of the company’s launch. Now the company has distributed roughly 250 million products to customers around the world. “Our strong growth has enabled us to stand in solidarity with women in more than 20 countries,” said Talia Frenkel, CEO of This Is L., in a statement following the acquisition .“Our support has ranged from partnering with organizations to send period products to Native communities in South...

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Lawsuits no longer lingering, Hippo brings its service for buying discount drugs to market

The long and litigious saga of Hippo Technologies may finally be over now that the company is finally launching its service to sell discounted prescription drugs to members just three months after settling a lawsuit with its chief competitor, Blink Health. Hippo and Blink were locked in a lawsuit for much of last year with Blink accusing the company of stealing pretty much every aspect of its business. For its part, Hippo’s chief executive and co-founder had sued Blink for wrongful termination under whistleblower protection rules after he allegedly uncovered corporate malfeasance at the discount drug membership service. Both...

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Apeel partners with Nature’s Pride to bring spoilage resistant fruits and veggies to Europe

Apeel Sciences, the developer of a new technology that makes fruits and vegetables more resistant to spoilage, and Nature’s Pride, one of the largest vendors of avocados and mangos in Europe, are partnering to bring longer-lived avocados to market. Subject to regulatory approval in the EU, Nature’s Pride said it will integrate Apeel’s plant-based preservation technology into its avocado supply chain — bringing avocados with double the edible shelf life to European homes. Apeel’s technology takes the naturally occurring chemicals found in the skins and peels of plants and applies it to fresh produce, providing what the company calls...

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Women’s networking company Elpha launches out of Y Combinator

Leap, the women’s networking group that was developed by Y Combinator, is spinning out of the company with a new name — Elpha. Co-founded by Cadran Cowansage, Abadesi Osunsade and Kuan Luo, Elpha is designed as a professional network for women offering content and access to a directory to make it easier for women in the technology industry to connect. In a blog post, Cowansage also indicated that the company will provide access to information about companies that prioritize welcoming women.  The idea for Elpha came to Cowansage years ago, but was launched in 2017 with the support of Y Combinator. Initially Leap was a nights and weekends project (as Cowansage puts it), but it now boasts 7,500 active members. Including its co-founders Abadesi and Kuan. Abadesi started as the first community lead for the Leap group, where she joined from Product Hunt, and was also the founder of Hustle Crew — a group focused on inclusion in tech. Kuan, a former New Yorker, is a startup veteran who led the design team at the New York database technology development company Cockroach Labs and the architect of a retreat for women leaders in tech called “For The Women”. While the company is no longer directly affiliated with Y Combinator, it is going through the accelerator’s winter batch and YC has come on as an investor, according to Cowansage — taking the traditional 7%...

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Healthcare wearables level up with new moves from Apple and Alphabet

Announcements that Apple has partnered with Aetna health insurance on a new app leveraging data from its Apple Watch and reports that Verily — one of the health-focused subsidiaries of Google‘s parent company — Alphabet, is developing a shoe that can detect weight and movement, indicate increasing momentum around using data from wearables for clinical health applications and treatments. For venture capital investors, the movea from Apple and Alphabet to show new applications for wearable devices is a step in the right direction — and something that’s been long overdue. “As a healthcare provider, we talk a lot about the important of...

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As rocket companies proliferate, new enabling tech emerges as the next wave in the space race

Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, Relativity Space, Slingshot Aeropsace, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit have raised billions of dollars to create new vehicles to launch payloads into space, but as the private space industry develops in the U.S. investors are beginning to back enabling technologies boost the next wave of innovation. Whether it’s satellite manufacturers, new propulsion systems for satellites, antennae for data transmission or actually building out the networks themselves, the new space race will be building the next generation of services that the increasing access to space provides. Last year, investors put at least $2.3 billion into companies angling for...

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