Google launches $3 mn fund to fight misinformation around Covid vaccine – ETHealthworld.com

Google launches $ 3 mn fund to fight misinformation around Covid vaccine  ETHealthworld.com
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Former Foothill High football star Bobby Okereke ‘steps up’ to fight youth homelessness – OCRegister

Former Foothill High football star Bobby Okereke ‘steps up’ to fight youth homelessness  OCRegister
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Too Good To Go raises $31 million to fight food waste

Too Good To Go, the startup that lets you buy food right before it goes to waste, is raising a $ 31.1 million round. blisce/ is leading the round and investing $ 15.4 million as part of today’s round. Existing investors and employees are also participating. While the company has been around for a while, this is the first time Too Good To Go is raising money from a VC firm.

The startup has been operating across several European countries for a few years now. It runs a marketplace focused on food waste. On one side, restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries and other food businesses contribute surplus food items. On the other side, consumers can snatch food right before it becomes unsellable.

It’s a win for everybody as businesses can generate a bit of revenue from surplus food, customers can buy food at great prices and it reduces unnecessary waste. Of course, it’s also beneficial for Too Good To Go as the company takes a commission on transactions.

The company’s CEO Mette Lykke told TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden that one-third of food produced today is either lost or wasted — so there’s a big market opportunity. While the startup has been growing nicely, the pandemic has had a big impact on revenue — many restaurants shut down and many customers prefer to stay at home.

Back in September, Lykke told TechCrunch that Too Good To Go saw a 62% drop in revenue due to Covid-19. But that’s not going to stop the company.

Overall, Too Good To Go is operating in 15 countries and has saved 50 million meals. 65,000 businesses have sold something on Too Good To Go so far. 30 million people signed up to the service.

Too Good To Go is already working on its biggest expansion — the U.S. Just like in Europe, billions of pounds of food go to waste. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, it represents 30 to 40% of the food supply.

As the startup’s operations are extremely local, Too Good To Go is starting with specific metropolitan areas in the U.S. In September, the company started its operations in the U.S. with New York City and Boston. Too Good To Go has expanded to part of New Jersey since then.

In the U.S. alone, the startup has attracted 150,000 users and is working with 600 businesses. It has sold 50,000 meals. Those numbers are still somewhat small, but it’s been a weird quarter for restaurants and grocery stores in the U.S.

Let’s see how it evolves in the coming months. With today’s new funding round, it should definitely boost usage in the U.S. and make it easier to plan for the long run.

Startups – TechCrunch

How Eindhoven-based AlphaBeats uses tech developed by Philips to fight stress; raises funds from LUMO Labs

AlphaBeats

In the current scenario, everyone is almost constantly stressed about one thing or the other in their lives, making it difficult to relax. Though there are many ways to relax your mind from everyday stresses, music is something almost everyone turns to. This is where Eindhoven-based startup AlphaBeats can help you. 

The company has come up with a new technology that can quantify if you really are relaxed and if not, it can help you wind down. The new technology aims at enabling stress management and is based on neurofeedback.

The funding

In a recent development, the health-tech startup AlphaBeats has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from LUMO Labs, an early-stage investment fund. The startup has exclusive rights to a technology developed by Philips that combines biofeedback technology with music to drastically reduce the effects of stress. 

Use of the raised capital

AlphaBeats will use the funds for market validation and market introduction, which is expected within 18-24 months. In addition to the funding, the startup will be also be included in the two-year LUMO Labs program.

LUMO Labs founding partner Andy Lurling, says, “In addition to seeking a financial return for our investors, we invest in startups that have substantial social impact. It would be great if we can realise this. As stress is considered THE health epidemic of the 21st century, we contribute by investing in AlphaBeats. It fits perfectly in our health and well-being focus.”

Everything about AlphaBeats

Founded in 2019, AlphaBeats enhances the relaxation effect, so you can really relax, even when experiencing high-stress levels. Using technology developed at Philips, the startup combines music augmented with neurofeedback. Simply put, AlphaBeats amplifies the relaxation effect of music. 

As the company claims, using AlphaBeats regularly over a period of time changes your brain’s reactions to the world around you. “Using our patented biofeedback solution, you learn to guide your brainwaves to the desired state – relaxation – by listening to your own favourite music.”

Strategic collaboration with several German parties enables the Dutch AlphaBeats team, among other things, to measure heart rate variability on a cell phone in addition to breathing.

The startup’s ultimate goal is to help people relax easily and quickly in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and come back to themselves, wherever and whenever they want. Businesswise, the company’s aim is to partner up with Spotify and Apple Music and wearables like Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Muse.

The technology

The product measures real-time brain activity with an electroencephalogram (EEG) that analyses brainwave patterns associated with stress. Also, biofeedback through heart rate variability or breath can be used. As you listen and relax, AlphaBeats measures this activity, gently increasing the quality of the music enticing you to relax a little more, and the process continues doing the same. Combining the two enables you to slow down and quickly reach a state of deep relaxation.

The startup claims that this solution has been scientifically validated in four years of PhD research by Marian Dekker at Tilburg University.

Explaining the technology, Dr Jur Vellema, co-founder and surgeon, says, “AlphaBeats uses this solution to analyse your real-time brain activity. The patented algorithm then adjusts your favourite music to bring your brain into a relaxed state – “alpha mode.” This adjustment is done very subtly to prevent users from being annoyed by the changes in their favourite music. And best of all, you don’t necessarily have to invest in a nice wearable one. You can just use your cell phone and headphones. This means we don’t have to develop any hardware ourselves.”

Collaboration with HighTechXL

The startup was part of HighTechXL’s deep-tech venture builder program and is currently located in High Tech Campus Eindhoven. On the other hand, LUMO Labs is located just about 200 meters away, “so they won’t have to hire a moving van,” says LUMO Labs founding partner Andy Lurling.

John Bell, CEO of HighTechXL, says, “Our collaboration with LUMO Labs on AlphaBeats is a great example of connecting the innovation chain for startups in the Brainport region. HighTechXL builds deep-tech ventures that solve societal challenges, whereas LUMO Labs takes over the baton from us and develops AlphaBeats further on its growth curve.”

HighTechXL is an initiative of the Eindhoven Startup Alliance. It scouts advanced technologies developed at research centres such as CERN, European Space Agency, TNO, and Philips, and recruits tech and business talent to build companies focused on tackling grand societal challenges the world faces today.

About LUMO Labs

LUMO Labs, founded in 2016 by Andy Lurling and Sven Bakkes. It creates opportunities for impact-driven software and smart hardware startups. The current LUMO Fund II is a €20M impact-driven multi-stage capital fund (pre-seed up to and including Series A). It includes a two-year venture builder program to support its portfolio companies in gaining financial success as well as social traction and impact.

The company funds startups that align with at least one of the three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 

  1. Sustainable Cities & Communities 
  2. Good Health & Well-Being
  3. Quality Education 

It invests in sectors including Artificial Intelligence/Data, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Robotics and Drones, and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Swiss fintech NetGuardians raises €15.7M to help banks fight fraud; here’s how

fraud

Carding Action 2020 is an operation led by law enforcement agencies from Italy and Hungary and supported by the UK and Europol. It targets fraudsters selling and purchasing compromised card details on websites selling stolen credit card data, known as card shops, and dark web marketplaces. According to a press release issued by the Europol, during the three-month operation, 90 000 pieces of card data were analysed and prevented approximately €40M in losses.

Banking fraud is ever-prevalent and on the rise. The evolving technology is helping both the parties – the victim and the fraud – alike. According to the Global Banking Fraud Survey conducted by KPMG, “Over half of survey respondents globally experienced increases in both external fraud total value and volume. Increasing fraud typologies globally from 2015 to 2018 include identity theft and account takeover, cyber-attack, card not present fraud and authorised push payments scams.”

The report also suggests that “Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and can quickly change and adapt their approaches. Banks need to be agile to respond to new threats and embrace new approaches and technologies to predict and prevent fraud.”

This is exactly what Swiss fintech NetGuardians is known for. The startup is renowned for its smarter AI-based enterprise risk platform for combating banking fraud. In a recent development, the company announced that it has raised CHF 17M (nearly €15.7M) in a new round of funding.

Funds to prevent fraud

According to the company, the new capital is more than double each of the previous rounds. Lead investors include the Pictet Group, a NetGuardians client, as well as private investment group ACE & Company, headquartered in Geneva with offices in London, Cairo, Hong Kong and New York.

The startup claims that the new funds will be deployed to support meeting the rising demand for its fraud-mitigation software. “NetGuardians will do this by strengthening its position in existing markets and further developing its software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription model,” says the company. 

Raffael Maio, NetGuardians’ chief strategy officer, says: “NetGuardians is excited to announce continued investment in the company. Since our first round of funding, we have been able to grow and strengthen our fraud-mitigation platform worldwide, serving institutions in more than 30 countries. This latest round of funding will help us to reach more clients and explore new markets with our Collective AI technology provided as software-as-a-service.”

Modus Operandi

According to the company, although the pandemic-based digital transformation of the banking sector has opened up new avenues for servicing its customers, it has also helped the fraudsters to hit in new ways. The increase in people working from home hasn’t helped either. Both these developments have let to an increase in banking fraud cases. The company refers to a report that suggests that there has been a 66 per cent hike in scams in the first six months of this year, compared with the final half of 2019.

NetGuardians provide fraud-prevention technology for major banking software companies. It claims to enable fast deployment so that banks can protect themselves and their customers from scams, social-engineering fraud, account takeover fraud, cyber fraud, internal fraud, and more. It claims that its AI-based solution prevents fraudulent payments in real-time. 

“NetGuardians’ managed learning technology doesn’t endlessly learn about any given type of fraud. It prevents AI from continually diving down just a few avenues. This avoids overfitting and makes it smarter and more dynamic, able to spot new types of fraud,” claims the company. 

Here’s how the company claims to be different: “We don’t stop fraud by focusing on the fraudsters. We stop it by getting to know the habits and behaviours of banks’ customers and staff so we can spot out-of-character financial transactions. While fraudsters constantly change their behaviour to avoid detection, real customers form habits. By learning these habits and building up customer and staff profiles, we can accurately spot suspicious activity and stop it – before any money has left the bank.”

Headquartered in Switzerland with offices in Singapore, Kenya, and Poland, NetGuardians employs more than 90 staff. It claims that more than 60 banks, including UOB and Pictet & Cie, rely on its solution. 

Startups – Silicon Canals

[Beyond Meat in Fortune] Why Beyond Meat’s CEO chose to fight climate change by going into business

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life when he was in college. But after a conversation with his dad, he realized that the biggest problem facing the world was climate change, and that the contributions made by a musician or doctor in an environmentally unstable world would be weakened.

Read more here.

The post [Beyond Meat in Fortune] Why Beyond Meat’s CEO chose to fight climate change by going into business appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

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