Are you looking for new contacts and joint projects? A new digital platform is bringing startups from all over the world together with companies from the Ruhr industrial region. Matchmaker.Ruhr is a new digital platform that is bringing startups together with established companies from the Ruhr region. This matchmaking platform lets startups know about companies that…
Medisafe, a leading digital therapeutics companion platform, today announced the immediate deployment of its new Medisafe Maestro platform. This advanced technology seamlessly orchestrates medication adherence journeys with precision and speed, creating personalized patient support resources delivered through a digital drug companion. Medisafe supports the pharmaceutical ecosystem with digital patient support resources through its personalized digital drug companion and integrated Care Connector which activates real-time patient engagement.
Read more here.
We all know times are incredibly tough, and everyone’s working overtime on steroids to keep their startup dreams alive. Disrupt events have a reputation for serving up a tasty helping of fun along with the main dish: opportunity. We refuse to host virtual conference without providing time for levity, swag and kick-ass entertainment.
TechCrunch Trivia on Trivia Royale
It’s time to get your trivia on, startup fans. Download the Trivia Royale app (Google Play) (App Store) and start playing TechCrunch Trivia. It’s live right now and runs throughout Disrupt 2020. What’s a trivia battle without a prize? Boring, that’s what. Whoever ranks number one on the leaderboard at 1 p.m. (PT) on September 18 receives a TC Swag Bag mailed to their location. Nobody swags like TechCrunch.
Wave XR Concert with Lindsey Stirling
Did someone say kick-ass entertainment? Why, yes — yes, we did. Get ready for a live, virtual concert on Wednesday, September 16 at 1:30-2:30 p.m. (PT).
We’re tapping Wave technology to present Lindsey Stirling, an American violinist, songwriter and dancer. She’s racked up tens of millions of followers worldwide and more than 3 billion total views on YouTube. Stirling is a performing powerhouse who’s latest album “Artemis” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums Chart.
Wave specializes in creating live, immersive virtual concerts. The company combines “cutting-edge gaming and broadcast technology with an interactive concert experience to help fans and artists more deeply connect with each other and express themselves in innovative ways.”
Wave has clearly tapped into something big, as indicated by Lindsey Stirling most recent concert. More than 400,000 people, across YouTube, Twitch and Lindsey’s own Facebook page, tuned in to her performance.
Don’t miss your chance to have some fun while you increase your startup skills, learn the latest tech trends, expand your network, meet with investors and drive your business forward. Buy your pass today and get ready for five days of Disruption.
Founded in 2005 by three students at the Technical University of Munich – Markus Ortmann, Benjamin Schüdzig, and Manfred Tropper, mantro develops sustainable, digital business models together with established companies.
Sidequest – Create inboxes for support tickets & personal tasks
In the latest development, the Munich-based company released its app Sidequest for Slack post successful beta phase. The app enables teams to create helpdesks and personal task inboxes directly, bridging the gap between traditional ticketing systems and modern task managers.
Manfred Tropper, CEO of Sidequest and mantro, looks forward to the launch of Sidequest: “When it comes to helpdesks and request tracking tools, we all seem to share the same love-hate: For many teams, they are the only way to process a large volume of requests efficiently and reliably, but at the same time, they can feel incredibly impersonal, old-fashioned and inaccessible. With Sidequest, we combine the reliability of traditional ticketing systems and the ease of use of modern task managers inside Slack, so teams can finally love their helpdesk again.”
Who should use Sidequest?
The app developed by the German company is ideally suited for a team that already uses Slack and wants to make their support processes user-friendly and easily accessible in areas like IT support, facility management, and HR.
Well, if you are in an agile team, this app adds significant value when it comes to organising tasks autonomously, spontaneously, and transparently in the context of remote work. Sidequest allows workspace members to create tasks in public or private support channels, as well as for each other in personal task inboxes.
What’s the subscription fee?
Several international startups including a large French publishing house are already using the app to power their IT helpdesks. In fact, the US-American city council already used Sidequest’s beta version for their campaigns. Sidequest is now available here, and you can add it to Slack with just three clicks.
The monthly subscription fee is $ 1.50 (approx €1.2) per user, which is significantly lower than the cost of comparable helpdesk solutions, claims the company. Also, there is a 30 days trial and is payable or cancelable monthly thereafter. Alternative pricing models are available for enterprise customers, start-ups, and non-profit organizations.
Company’s note to IT admins
Since Sidequest leverages official Slack APIs for authentication and authorisation, there is no need to create separate user accounts or to install new software. Sidequest is made in Germany, all users are fully protected by GDPR – one of the world’s strictest data protection laws.
Main image credits: Sidequest
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InVision, the design firm that’s raised more than $ 350 million from investors FirstMark, Spark, Battery and Tiger Global Management, has today announced the appointment of Eleanor Morgan as chief product officer. The company is also introducing a brand new Design System Manager, giving teams much more flexibility and control in both creating and maintaining their design system.
New features include the ability to import reusable design elements in bulk, as well as the ability to upload native Sketch libraries directly to the InVision DSM, allowing design system owners to create and manage their libraries in Sketch and seamlessly move them into InVision. The new DSM also allows for one-click updating of all libraries when a company is going through a rebrand, allowing for the entire design system to get updated at once rather than a process where each individual design asset has to be deleted and replaced with a new one.
InVision is also launching a new, more flexible documentation site for richer web editing and brand customization, with the purpose of ensuring there is a single, trusted system of record across the entire organization.
The Design System Manager flies a bit under the radar among InVision’s portfolio of products, which includes its cloud tools (such as Prototype, Inspect and Freehand) and Studio (its design tool). But the Design System Manager is critical for InVision’s broader goal of enabling collaborative design across any type of company, from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 firms.
As the design industry itself matures, with more and more companies focusing on digital experiences and more functions within the organization involving themselves in the design process, a solid experience around design systems is the unsexy backbone of the entire workflow.
“At the most essential level, it’s an accelerator of digital product development,” said Morgan. “I think the second thing is, it helps ensure quality and consistency in a customer experience by creating a shared set of components that teams can leverage at scale. Those two things are fundamental to our platform going forward.”
Prior to joining InVision, Morgan was a product designer at Volkswagen, a project lead and location director for IDEO, and most recently the chief experience officer at Casper.
Morgan says that the biggest challenge for InVision is not just capitalizing on the immense shift toward digital experiences that was already underway before the pandemic, and now ballooning further because of it, but to think two or three years ahead of this moment about where collaborative design and product development will be.
InVision faces steep competition in a growing category, with Canva serving the nondesign designers, Figma looking to move further into the consumer space, Sketch raising a fresh $ 20 million and Adobe moving hard into collaborative editing.
Whether the design space is gearing up for a “winner-takes-all scenario” or there’s room for several behemoths at the top is still yet to be determined. But design may very well be the next entrepreneurial gold rush, and InVision, with a valuation of $ 1.9 billion and 7 million users on the platform, is here for the showdown.
In what could be a starting gun for the commercialization of the cell-based meat business, upstart cultivated meat company Higher Steaks said it has managed to produce samples of its first products — bacon strips and pork belly made in a lab from cellular material.
With the revelation, Higher Steaks, a bootstrapped Cambridge, U.K.-based company, leapfrogs into a competitive position with a number of far larger companies that have raised far more capital.
“There’s still a lot of work until it’s commercial,” said Higher Steaks chief executive Benjamina Bollag, “but the revelation of a pork belly product that’s made from 50% cultivated cells and a bacon product which contains 70% meat grown from a cell material in a laboratory is something of a milestone for the industry.”
The remaining ingredients in Higher Steaks bacon and pork belly are a mixture of plant base, proteins, fats and starches to bind the cellular material together. To achieve this first step on its road to commercialization, Higher Steaks tapped the expertise of an undisclosed chef to formulate the meat into an approximation of the pork belly and bacon.
At this stage, the pilot was more to show what Higher Steaks can do rather than what the company will do, said Bollag.
“In the future it will be scaffolding,” said Bollag. “It’s more showing what our meat can do and what we’re working on. In the future it will be with scaffolding.”
A number of companies, including Tantti Laboratories, Matrix Meats and Prellis Biologics, make the kind of biomaterial nano-scale scaffolding that could be used as a frame on which to grow structures equivalent to the fibrous textures of muscle.
The commercial viability of products from companies like Higher Steaks, Memphis Meats, Aleph Farms, Meatable, Integriculture, Mosa Meat and Supermeat depends on more than just companies like Tantti and Matrix, but also on the ability of Thermo Fisher, Future Fields and Merck to bring down the cost of the cell cultures that are required to grow the animal cells.
In all, some 30 cell-based meat startups have launched globally since 2014, and they’re all looking for a slice of the $ 1.4 trillion meat market.
Meanwhile, demand for pork continues to rise even as supplies have been decimated by an outbreak of African Swine Fever that could have killed as much as 40% of China’s population of pigs in 2019.
“Our mission is to provide meat that is healthy and sustainable without the consumer making any sacrifices on taste,” said Bollag in a statement. “The production of the first ever cultivated bacon and pork belly is proof that new techniques can help meet overwhelming demand for pork products globally.”
Given the highly capitalized competitors that Higher Steaks faces off against, the company is looking for industry partners to help commercialize its technology.
To improve its competitive position, Higher Steaks recently hired Dr. James Clark, the former chief technology officer of PredictImmune.
“I was always quite intrigued by cultured meat production, a mix of both science and food production. In 2013 I watched the first cultured meat burger from Mark Post costing £250,000, cooked on the BBC,” said Clark. “I was approached about joining Higher Steaks earlier this year and was attracted to joining primarily by the science along with the ambition and energy of the Higher Steaks founder Benjamina Bollag . I believe Higher Steaks is a company with a technology to be disruptive in the cultured meat area and at my career stage I was looking for a challenge.”
Brought in to scale the cultivated meat process at Higher Steaks, Clark has led the development of biotech and pharma products at early-stage and publicly traded companies.
“The addition of Dr. James Clark to the team gives Higher Steaks a significant advantage,” said Dr. Ruth Helen Faram, head of R&D. “Cultivated pork belly and bacon have never been demonstrated before and Higher Steaks is the first to develop a prototype containing over 70% cultivated pork muscle, without the use of bovine serum.”
Consumers shouldn’t expect to see Higher Steaks’ pork belly on store shelves or in restaurants anytime soon, Bollag cautioned. “We’re still in the thousands of pounds per kilogram.”
The company does expect to have a larger tasting event later this year.
At present, robots and humans work together in various industries towards a better life and more efficient businesses. Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) works wonders where the machine not only complements human capabilities but relieves him/her from dull, repetitive, and laborious tasks.
Believes in humans and robots collaboration
Based out of London, BotsandUs strongly believe in the symbiosis of humans and robots. The UK company develops state of the art robotics and AI products by combining social sciences with human-centred design and cutting edge engineering.
Secured €5.3 million funding
Recently, BotsandUs raised $ 6 million (approx €5.3 million) led by Kindred Capital and Capnamic Ventures, with angel investors from the UK and the US also participating in the round. Furthermore, the company was awarded funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as well as Innovate UK.
Commenting on the event, Andrei Danescu, CEO, says: “We are in a great position to accelerate achieving our mission and liberate businesses from dull, repetitive and now even dangerous work, so their employees can focus on the things that bring the most value. We are thrilled to have such trusted and experienced investors join our cause and support the next stage of our growth. The demand for automation and robotics has seen a significant rise driven by the current global events and we’re in the best position to respond to it.”
The company intends to use this funding to grow the team, accelerate robot deployments, and explore new products and services in response to the significant increase in the demand for automation. Additionally, the robotic company aims to accelerate the deployment of its automation solutions across indoor, dynamic spaces.
Works with Europe’s biggest retailers and airports
BotsAndUs are already collaborating with some of Europe’s biggest retailers and airports to support them across customer service and operations. Right now, the company works with clients including MediaMarktSaturn, Heathrow Airport, British Airways, and dnata, among others.
Robots and AI
Founded by Adrian Negoita and Andrei Danescu in 2015, the company is on a mission to create a fleet of autonomous service robots to work alongside people in dynamic, public spaces. Their goal is to drive efficiency across customer service, operations, and analytics. The company focuses on data capturing and automation through fleets of autonomous robots that work alongside people in dynamic, public spaces.
Talking about the company to Silicon Canals, Andrei Danescu, CEO, says: “Our automation solutions cover two areas: customer service and operations. On the Customer Service aspect, things are quite straightforward: the robots autonomously and proactively identify and approach customers/passengers/guests, say hello to them, and try to understand if they can be of any assistance. This can be either offering information, physically guiding the person to certain locations, take payments or show promotions, etc. In BA/Heathrow, for example, they can also support check-in procedures, flights/gate directions, and duty-free purchasing. In a retail space, they can take customers to products, help them compare items, feed-in the latest promos, and offer and support the full purchase.”
He further adds, “The on-site data collections and analysis is what the Operations robots cover. In a retail scenario, for example, our robots autonomously scan all product shelves to offer real-time product location and stock information. This real-time data is then fed into various teams at the retailers to inform decisions around product allocations per store/ area of the store, compliance (are the products properly displayed and with the correct price tags), stock availability through the website for customers, etc. In the travel sector, the units capture data such as passenger flows, leftover items, changes in layouts of the space, all to help create a seamless journey through the premises.”
The data collected by the robots collect, and tasks they automate, enable clients to make informed business decisions that drive efficiency, reduce costs, and increase revenues.
Main image credits: BotsandUs
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Menten AI has an impressive founding team and a pitch that combines some of the hottest trends in tech to pursue one of the biggest problems in healthcare — new drug discovery. The company is also $ 4 million richer with a seed investment from firms including Uncork Capital and Khosla Ventures to build out its business.
Menten AI’s pitch to investors was the combination of quantum computing and machine learning to discover new drugs that sit between small molecules and large biologics, according to the company’s co-founder Hans Melo.
A graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator, which also participated in the round, Menten AI looks to design proteins from scratch. It’s a heavier lift than some might expect, because, as Melo said in an interview, it takes a lot of work to make an actual drug.
Menten AI is working with peptides, which are strings of amino acid chains similar to proteins that have the potential to slow aging, reduce inflammation and get rid of pathogens in the body.
“As a drug modality [peptides] are quite new,” says Melo. “Until recently it was really hard to design them computationally and people tried to focus on genetically modifying them.”
Peptides have the benefit of getting through membranes and into cells where they can combine with targets that are too large for small molecules, according to Melo.
Most drug targets are not addressable with either small molecules or biologics, according to Melo, which means there’s a huge untapped potential market for peptide therapies.
Menten AI is already working on a COVID-19 therapeutic, although the company’s young chief executive declined to disclose too many details about it. Another area of interest is in neurological disorders, where the founding team members have some expertise.
While Menten AI’s targets are interesting, the approach that the company is taking, using quantum computing to potentially drive down the cost and accelerate the time to market, is equally compelling for investors.
It’s also unproven. Right now, there isn’t a quantum advantage to using the novel computing technology versus traditional computing. Something that Melo freely admits.
“We’re not claiming a quantum advantage, but we’re not claiming a quantum disadvantage,” is the way the young entrepreneur puts it. “We have come up with a different way of solving the problem that may scale better. We haven’t proven an advantage.”
Still, the company is an early indicator of the kinds of services quantum computing could offer, and it’s with that in mind that Menten AI partnered with some of the leading independent quantum computing companies, D-Wave and Rigetti Computing, to work on applications of their technology.
The emphasis on quantum computing also differentiates it from larger publicly traded competitors like Schrödinger and Codexis.
So does the pedigree of its founding team, according to Uncork Capital investor, Jeff Clavier. “It’s really the unique team that they formed,” Clavier said of his decision to invest in the early-stage company. “There’s Hans… the CEO who is more on the quantum side; there’s Tamas [Gorbe] on the bio side and there’s Vikram [Mulligan] who developed the research. It’s kind of a unique fantastic team that came together to work on the opportunity.”
Clavier has also acknowledged the possibility that it might not work.
“Can they really produce anything interesting at the end?” he asked. “It’s still an early-stage company and we may fall flat on our face or they may come up with really new ways to make new peptides.”
It’s probably not a bad idea to take a bet on Melo, who worked with Mulligan, a researcher from the Flatiron Institute focused on computational biology, to produce some of the early research into the creation of new peptides using D-Wave’s quantum computing.
While Melo and Mulligan were the initial researchers working on the technology that would become Menten AI, Gorbe was added to the founding team to get the company some exposure into the world of chemistry and enzymatic applications for its new virtual protein manufacturing technology.
The gamble paid off in the form of pilot projects (also undisclosed) that focus on the development of enzymes for agricultural applications and pharmaceuticals.
“At the end of the day what they’re doing is they’re using advanced computing to figure out what is the optimal placement of those clinical compounds in a way that is less based on those sensitive tests and more bound on those theories,” said Clavier.
Our burn is $ 65k /month (~$ 720k a year). This includes all expenses and payroll (CEO salary is not calculated here).
The CEO (also the founder) has 100% equity. He has a family.
The median salary in my city is $ 42k.
Thoughts? I’m trying to figure out what’s too low and what’s too high.
Contracting has always been difficult, given the many considerations one must weigh when entering any formalized relationship. Codifying a “working together” document takes time and patience, two things that are regularly in short supply.
This is especially true for small and independent business owners, who rely on a whole retinue of different suppliers, contractors, gig employees and other people in order to get through the business day with everything important accomplished.
Bidsy.com provides an automated forum where one can establish effective B2B and B2C relationships for one’s home or business management. Developed in 2020 by Caleb Filson, the site allows users to simply list what they need done, and then to begin immediately receiving bids from local contractors willing to do the work.
The system is designed, from the ground up, for easy usability. Contractors themselves are responsible for setting their bids on all the warm leads they generate simply by being on our platform. Customers don’t have to wade through listings and reviews, they just have to wait until they’ve received enough bids, and then use the linked reviews to make a no-pressure contracting decision.
Because our system is designed with ease-of-use paramount, users don’t have to worry about interacting directly with belligerent bidders trying to “game” the system and rip people off. Bidsy.com is designed equally for small business owners and homeowners, as the best forum for finding the extra hands you need to get you through the hardest days.
As CEO Filson said in a recent interview, “Bidsy.com is the website where people post a project they need completed, so local businesses signed up on Bidsy receive a notification and are able to contact the customer to arrange a quote.”
“This saves customers the hassle of trying to contact several businesses for their project,” Filson continues. “The customer just ‘Bidsys’ it, and then let the businesses come to them. This saves businesses the hassle of trying to understand things like SEO and AdWords; they just sign up on Bidsy and are sent warm sales leads.”
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