Sweden’s Engaging Care raises $800,000 for its digital healthcare SaaS

Engaging Care, a Swedish heathtech startup co-founded by Charlotta Tönsgård, who was previously CEO of online doctor app Min Doktor before being asked to step down, has raised $800,000 in “pre-seed” funding to continue building out its digital healthcare SaaS. Backing the burgeoning company are a host of well-established angel investors in the region. They include Hampus Jakobsson (venture partner at BlueYard Capital and co-founder of TAT, which sold to Blackberry for $150 million), Sophia Bendz (EIR at Atomico and the former Global Marketing Director at Spotify), Erik Byrenius (founder of OnlinePizza, an online food ordering company sold to Delivery Hero) and Neil Murray’s The Nordic Web Ventures. With the aim of dragging healthcare into the digital age, but in a more patient-friendly and patient-centred way than tradition electronic medical record systems, Engaging Care is developing a SaaS and accompanying apps to bring together patients, healthcare providers
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Kindly Care scores $5.4 million to vet and place caregivers, then help families pay them correctly

There are roughly 45 million unpaid eldercare providers in the United States, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau. It’s tough on these family caregivers, many of whom are working women who are also raising their own children. There are alternatives. For example, there is no shortage of agencies willing to place a rotating cast of caregivers into the homes of the elderly, though they can be prohibitively expensive for many families. There are also upstarts trying to address the challenge — and opportunity — that an aging American population presents. One startup, Honor, places full-time employees in the homes of seniors with an eye on maintaining a consistent experience for the seniors with whom they work. Another, HomeHero, partners with hospitals to connect home care providers to patients. (It also has a mobile app that helps family members monitor the health of those under HomeHero’s care.
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CRISPR DNA editing may cause serious genetic damage, researchers warn

CRISPR-Cas9, the gene-editing tool that is currently the darling of biotech and many other fields, may not be quite as miraculous as early tests suggested. A new study finds that what scientists thought of as a scalpel may be more like a felling axe, causing damage hundreds of times what was previously observed. Before anyone panics and checks out the window for mutated monstrosities, it should be said right away that this isn’t a nightmare scenario by any means: the tool can still be used in many ways safely, and the clinical repercussions of the damage are unexplored. But this unexpected limitation of a tool so widely applied will almost certainly put a chill on its use. CRISPR, as a quick reminder, is basically a molecule that cleanly and reliably snips bases out of DNA strands paired with a molecule that hunts out a single sequence of bases. Together, they
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Moov gets into mindfulness with launch of ‘Sanity & Self’ app for women

Moov, the wearable maker best known for its line of fitness trackers with their accompanying digital coaches, is today branching off into mindfulness. The company is the latest to join the self-care craze, with the launch of a new app focused on mindfulness and meditation, Sanity & Self. However, unlike most of today’s meditation apps, Sanity & Self is aimed only at women. Explains Moov’s co-founder Meng Li, the idea to build a mindfulness app came to her after becoming a mother herself. “Even with a wonderful and supportive partner, I found it incredibly challenging to find time to take care of myself after I had my first child,” she says. “I saw other women around me struggling as well, and wanted to build an app specifically geared toward helping women and moms find time to recharge themselves.” Women — and especially mothers — often find themselves
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ExceptionAlly helps parents navigate the special needs education labyrinth

The challenges faced by parents of kids with special needs are always unique, but in one way they are surely much alike: making sure the kids are getting what they need from schools is way harder than it ought to be. ExceptionAlly is a new startup that aims to help parents understand, organize and communicate all the info they need to make sure their child is getting the help they require. “There are millions of parents out there trying to navigate special education. And parents with special needs should have access to more information than what one school tells them,” said ExceptionAlly co-founder and CEO Rayford Davis. “Those with the means actually hire special education attorneys, but those are few and far between. We thought, how can we democratize this? So we’re trying to do what TurboTax did for CPAs: deliver a large percentage of the value for a small
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Fuzzy Pet Health launches a $10-per-month telemedicine vet care plan

A new subscription service will now let you chat with a vet from your smartphone for $10 per month. This telemedicine vet care plan is the latest from Fuzzy Pet Health, a subscription vet care service providing in-home vet visits to subscribers in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. But while in-home pet care may take time to properly scale, on-demand vet Q&A is something that can be offered nationwide. Fuzzy Pet Health Connect, as the new telemedicine service is called, works over the Fuzzy Pet Health mobile app, allowing customers to send text, pictures and videos to a vet at any time, then receive real-time medical help. The vets can help with behavioral advice, training tools, new pet questions or other concerns that may have normally required a vet visit to diagnose — like a cat that just vomited, or a dog with runny stool. As Fuzzy
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Peloton acquires music startup Neurotic Media

Peloton, the unicorn spin (and now treadmill) business that lets users work out via livestreamed classes, has today announced its first acquisition. The company acquired Neurotic Media, a B2B music aggregation and streaming service. Atlanta-based Neurotic Media was founded in 2001 by Shachar “Shac” Oren, who will become a VP at Peloton serving under Peloton’s Head of Music Paul DeGooyer. The entire Neurotic Media team and offices will remain in Atlanta, continuing operations as a standalone subsidiary serving third-party clients. Neurotic Media is a white-label distribution and marketing platform, helping brands to influence and engage customers via popular music. Essentially, the company connects a brand with a certain popular song or songs that align with their brand mission. The idea here is that music is integral to working out. Given Peloton’s focus on bringing a high-quality workout to the comfort of a user’s home (or one of
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Facebook tests 30-day keyword snoozing to fight spoilers, triggers

Don’t want to know the ending to a World Cup game or Avengers movie until you’ve watched it, or just need to quiet an exhausting political topic like “Trump”? Facebook is now testing the option to “snooze” specific keywords so you won’t see them for 30 days in News Feed or Groups. The feature is rolling out to a small percentage of users today. It could make people both more comfortable browsing the social network when they’re trying to avoid something, and not feel guilty posting about sensitive topics.

The feature was first spotted in the Facebook’s app’s code by Chris Messina on Sunday, who told TechCrunch he found a string for “snooze keywords for 30 days”. We reached out to Facebook on Monday, which didn’t initially respond, but last night provided details we could publish at 5am this morning ahead of an official announcement later today. The test follows

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FirstVet swipes $6M to expand its pet advice telehealth service

Pet services can be serious startup business. Witness the likes of dog walking startups Rover and Wag, for example. At the same time digital health is a major area of interest for entrepreneurs, thanks to reliable demand meeting tech’s disruptive potential. Well, Sweden’s FirstVet is dabbling in both — offering remote video consultations and advice for pet owners wondering if they should worry about their furry friend’s latest bout of coughing/sneezing/vomiting, or whether that chocolate bar the dog snarfed when you weren’t looking is a cause for real concern. As the name suggests, the niche FirstVet is looking to carve out is a pretty specific one — focused on first layer pet owner concerns which essential boil down to asking a qualified professional whether you really need to take Fido to the vet or not. So it’s main competitor is probably Google search. “We are a supplement to physical
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Autonomous delivery drone startup Matternet raises $16 million round led by Boeing’s venture arm

Because autonomous delivery drones are undoubtedly coming, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the aviation company’s venture arm, led a $16 million round in drone startup Matternet . Other investors include Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital. With this funding, Matternet’s plan is to further expand throughout the U.S. and internationally in urban environments. “Matternet’s technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global autonomous air mobility system a near-term reality,” Boeing HorizonX Ventures Managing Director Brian Schettler said in a statement. “Between the company’s success in Switzerland and being selected by the FAA to test unmanned aerial networks in the U.S., we are excited to work together to reimagine how the world connects and shape the next generation of transportation solutions.” Just last month, the Federal Aviation Administration selected, among others, Matternet for drone logistics operations for U.S. hospitals as part of its
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Aclima sucks in $24M to scale its air quality mapping platform

Aclima, a San Francisco-based company which builds Internet-connected air quality sensors and runs a software platform to analyze the extracted intel, has closed a $24 million Series A to grow the business including by expanding its headcount and securing more fleet partnerships to build out the reach and depth of its pollution maps. The Series A is led by Social Capital which is joining the board. Also participating in the round: The Schmidt Family Foundation, Emerson Collective, Radicle Impact, Rethink Impact, Plum Alley, Kapor Capital and First Philippine Holdings. Three years ago Aclima came out of stealth, detailing a collaboration with Google on mapping air quality in its offices and also outdoors, by putting sensors on StreetView cars. Though it has actually been working on the core problem of environmental sensing and intelligence for about a decade at this point, according to co-founder Davida Herzl. “What we’ve really been
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This smart prosthetic ankle adjusts to rough terrain

Prosthetic limbs are getting better and more personalized, but useful as they are, they’re still a far cry from the real thing. This new prosthetic ankle is a little closer than others, though: it moves on its own, adapting to its user’s gait and the surface on which it lands. Your ankle does a lot of work when you walk: lifting your toe out of the way so you don’t scuff it on the ground, controlling the tilt of your foot to minimize the shock when it lands or as you adjust your weight, all while conforming to bumps and other irregularities it encounters. Few prostheses attempt to replicate these motions, meaning all that work is done in a more basic way, like the bending of a spring or compression of padding. But this prototype ankle from Michael Goldfarb, a mechanical engineering professor at Vanderbilt, goes much further than passive
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AARP commits $60 million to a fund backing new treatments for dementia

Dementia, the syndrome caused by several brain illnesses affecting memory, motor skills, thinking and behavior, affects 47 million people around the world and is projected to afflict 75 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. It’s a syndrome that’s not only debilitating for the people who live with it but also for their families and caregivers. According to statistics from WHO the economic cost of dementia is roughly $818 billion. Yet, it’s also one that’s the most poorly understood by researchers. Now, thanks to a $60 million commitment from the US AARP, a London-based fund has closed with $350 million to invest in new medicines to combat dementia and its underlying illnesses. Initially formed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) alongside a consortium of pharmaceutical companies, including Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka (Astex),
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Implantable 3D-printed organs could be coming sooner than you think

At MBC Biolabs, an incubator for biotech startups in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, a team of scientists and interns working for the small startup Prellis Biologics have just taken a big step on the path toward developing viable 3D-printed organs for humans. The company, which was founded in 2016 by research scientists Melanie Matheu and Noelle Mullin, staked its future (and a small $3 million investment) on a new technology to manufacture capillaries, the one-cell-thick blood vessels that are the pathways which oxygen and nutrients move through to nourish tissues in the body. Without functioning capillary structures, it is impossible to make organs, according to Matheu. They’re the most vital piece of the puzzle in the quest to print viable hearts, livers, kidneys and lungs, she said. “Microvasculature is the fundamental architectural unit that supports advanced multicellular life and it therefore represents a crucial target for bottom-up human tissue
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Meru Health wants to make mental health care more accessible

Getting mental health services can be burdensome. And if you’re already going through a tough time, you’re probably looking for help sooner than later. But based on the current landscape, it can take months to find the right therapist who also takes your insurance. This is where Meru Health hopes to come in. By providing its service as a benefit for employers to offer to their employees, Meru Health can operate as a first line of treatment where people can get help in a matter of weeks, Meru Health co-founder and CEO Kristian Ranta told TechCrunch. Ranta, who lost his brother to suicide a few years ago, said there are “unfortunately lots of people suffering from depression and who are vulnerable to burnout.” It’s true. Worldwide, more than 300 million people suffer from depression and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the World Health Organization. Meru Health
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Facebook prototypes tool to show how many minutes you spend on it

Are you ready for some scary numbers? After months of Mark Zuckerberg talking about how “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” Facebook is preparing to turn that commitment into a Time Well Spent product. Buried in Facebook’s Android app is an unreleased “Your Time on Facebook” feature. It shows the tally of how much time you spent on the Facebook app on your phone on each of the last seven days, and your average time spent per day. It lets you set a daily reminder that alerts you when you’ve reached your self-imposed limit, plus a shortcut to change your Facebook notification settings. Facebook confirmed the feature development to TechCrunch, with a spokesperson telling us, “We’re always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is time well spent.” The feature could help Facebook users stay mindful of how long they’re
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Taste test: Burger robot startup Creator opens first restaurant

Creator’s transparent burger robot doesn’t grind your brisket and chuck steak into a gourmet patty until you order it. That’s just one way this startup, formerly known as Momentum Machines, wants to serve the world’s freshest cheesebuger for just $6. On June 27th, after 8 years in development, Creator opens its first robot restaurant. We got a sneak peek…err…taste. When I ask how a startup launching one eatery at a time could become a $10 billion company, Creator co-founder and CEO Alex Vardakostas looks me dead in the eye and says “the market is much bigger than that.” Here’s how Creator’s burger-cooking bot works at its 680 Folsom St location in San Francisco. Once you order your burger style through a human concierge on a tablet, a compressed air tube pushes a baked-that-day bun into an elevator on the right. It’s sawwed in half by a vibrating knife before being
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Using tech and $100M, Dr Consulta transforms healthcare for the poorest

Healthcare delivery is an incredibly complex topic, but one that has a simple truth: health security is key to living a good life, and, ultimately, for developing a strong economy. Unfortunately, billions worldwide suffer from lack of access to even the most basic of medical diagnostics and treatments, since doctors often aren’t available and the costs when they are can be exorbitant. That’s the world that Thomaz Srougi grew up with in his native Brazil. Brazil has made health security a major priority, offering comprehensive and free medical coverage to every citizen, a right enshrined in its constitution. That simple right though is riven with challenges, from a lack of public funding, to long queues for services, to geographic disparities between urban cores and rural areas. Those with the means use private medical services, but those costs are far outside the reach of the majority of Brazil’s inhabitants.
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‘Gaming disorder’ is officially recognized by the World Health Organization

Honestly, “gaming disorder” sounds like a phrase tossed around by irritated parents and significant others. After much back and forth, however, the term was just granted validity, as the World Health Organization opted to include it in the latest edition of its Internal Classification of Diseases. The volume, out this week, diagnoses the newly minted disorder with three key telltale signs:
  1. Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
  2. Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
  3. Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences
I can hear the collective sound of many of my friends gulping at the sound of eerily familiar symptoms. Of course, the disorder has been criticized from a number of corners, including health professionals who have written it off as being overly broad and subjective. And,
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Bet money on yourself with Proveit, the 1-vs-1 trivia app

Pick a category, wager a few dollars and double your money in 60 seconds if you’re smarter and faster than your opponent. Proveit offers a fresh take on trivia and game show apps by letting you win or lose cash on quick 10-question, multiple choice quizzes. Sick of waiting to battle a million people on HQ for a chance at a fraction of the jackpot? Play one-on-one anytime you want or enter into scheduled tournaments with $1,000 or more in prize money, while Proveit takes around 10 percent to 15 percent of the stakes. “I’d play Jeopardy all the time with my family and wondered ‘why can’t I do this for money?’ ” says co-founder Prem Thomas. Remarkably, it’s all legal. The Proveit team spent two years getting approved as “skill-based gaming” that exempts it from some laws that have hindered fantasy sports betting apps. And for those at
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