‘Brotopia’ inspired OODA Health to raise its $40.5M round only from firm’s with female partners

It’s never particularly easy to raise a round of venture capital — but I think most experienced founders will tell you its not quite as bad the second or third time around, when you’ve got some experience under your belt and a track record to present to VCs. It helps if you’re male too, at least according to all the data out there on the gender funding gap in VC. The leadership team at OODA Health, a startup developing technology to make the U.S. healthcare payment system more efficient, is both male and experienced. But unlike most companies of that nature, OODA decided to raise money for the business only from VC firms that have at least one female leader, a solution to one of tech’s greatest problems that is oft suggested and rarely executed. “‘Brotopia’ really hit me hard,” OODA Health co-founder and CEO Giovanni Colella told
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Spire Health Tags are now on Apple’s shelves

Spire’s Health Tags, the dark and tiny devices you stick on your clothes to gather all sorts of health data from your steps, heartbeat and stress levels is now available at your local Apple Store. The company started out with a breath tracking device to detect when you are feeling tense and help calm you down. But four years in and its now all about the wearable “tags” you stick on items of clothing like your pants or sports bra. Yes, yes, there are lots of gadgets out there to gather similar information — the Apple Watch will now even detect if you have a fall or something is wrong with your heart — but the Spire health tag is nothing like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, according to the company. For one, there’s zero need to charge the device. One tag’s battery will last a year and a half
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Erectile pharmacy app Roman raises $88M to launch ‘quit smoking’ kit

Roman is a rocket ship, and I’m not talking about how it sells Viagra and Cialis. Less than a year after launching its cloud pharmacy for erectile dysfunction with $3 million in funding and a five-person team, Roman has grown to seventy team members and a revenue run-rate in the 10s of millions — up 720 percent since January. It’s sparked over a million patient-physician visits, phone calls, and text conversations through its telemedicine portal for getting diagnoses and prescriptions. And now Roman is ready to expand beyond men, so it’s dropping the ‘Man. Today, the newly renamed ‘Ro’ unveiled its next product, Zero, a $129 ‘quit smoking’ kit containing a month’s worth of prescription cessation medication bupropion and nicotine gum, plus an app for tracking progress and learning how to stay motivated through hunger, nausea, and cravings. Pre-orders open today. “Erectile dysfunction medication is a knee brace. It helps you to walk
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Not to be overshadowed by the Apple Watch, AliveCor announces a new 6-lead ECG reader

Apple’s announcement last week of a Watch with an FDA-approved ECG reader to track heart health looked to be the undoing of original ECG reader company AliveCor. But, to prove it still has a hearty pulse, AliveCor tells TechCrunch it is coming out with a “never-before-seen” 6-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), pending FDA approval. In a care clinic, a patient typically has 12 leads, or stickers placed across their chest to pick up data from their heart. However, other ECG readers typically have one or two leads. The Apple Watch places a single lead system on the wrist. The 6-lead ECG reader is, in theory, more accurate because there are more sensors picking up more information, which could be critical in saving lives. AliveCor’s and the Apple Watch’s current function is to pick up AFib — or the detection of an irregular heart beat. AliveCor announced earlier this month it had received
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Daily Burn plans a new line of fitness apps, starting with HIIT Workouts

Daily Burn, the online fitness brand owned by IAC, launched a new iPhone app today devoted to the popular workout style known as HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Daily Burn already offers a general training app, but the company says it’s planning a whole series of vertical workout apps, starting with HIIT Workouts. They are “bringing personalized workout training to every member tailored to their interests.” If you’re wondering exactly what HIIT is, the individual exercises may be familiar, but as a Daily Burn article puts it, it’s all combined into “quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.” There’s no shortage of HIIT workout apps, or HIIT workouts in broader fitness apps (for example, I’ve tried out several through my Fitbit Coach subscription). But Daily Burn points to the combination of guided video workouts (so you’re less likely to mess things
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Natural Cycles contraception app told to clarify pregnancy risks

A multi-month investigation by Sweden’s Medical Products Agency into a number of unwanted pregnancies among users of ‘digital contraception’ app Natural Cycles has been closed after the startup agreed to clarify the risk of the product failing. But, on the self-reported data front, the agency said it was satisfied the number of unwanted pregnancies is in line with Natural Cycles’ own clinical evaluations which are included in the certification documentation for the product. In its marketing and on its website Natural Cycles describes the app-based system as “93% effective under typical use” — a finding that’s based on a clinical study it conducted of more than 22,000 of its users. The investigation by Sweden’s MPA began around eight months ago, after a number of users in Natural Cycle’s home market had reported unwanted pregnancies to a local hospital — which then reported the app to the regulator. The Natural Cycles
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Indian patient-doctor platform DocPrime gets $50M for city expansion

Less than three months after it raised $200 million led by SoftBank’s mighty Vision Fund, Indian digital insurance startup PolicyBazaar beefed up its new healthcare business through a $50 million capital injection. DocPrime, which lets visitors book consultations with doctors or schedule a range of medical tests, launched in August. Already, it claims to host 14,000 doctors and 5,000 diagnostic labs on its platform serving Delhi-NCR — the ‘capital region’ that surrounds the city. With this investment — which is provided by PolicyBazaar — DocPrime will begin an expansion next month that is expected to take it into major cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. That’s part of a wider goal to reach 100 cities across India and grow the network to 150,000 doctors and 20,000 labs. DocPrime is up against established competitors, however. Practo has raised $230 million from investors including China’s Tencent and it claims to work with
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Kegel trainer startup Elvie is launching a smaller, smarter, hands-free breast pump

Elvie, a Berlin-based startup known best for its connected Kegel trainer is jumping into the breast pump business with a new $480 hands-free system you can slip into your bra. Even with all the innovation in baby gear, breast pumps have mostly sucked (pun intended) for new moms for the past half a century. My first experience with a pump required me to stay near a wall socket and hunch over for a good twenty to thirty minutes for fear the milk collected might spill all over the place (which it did anyway, frequently). It was awful! Next I tried the Willow Pump, an egg-shaped, connected pump meant to liberate women everywhere with its small and mobile design. It received glowing reviews, though my experience with it was less than stellar. The proprietary bags were hard to fit in the device, filled up with air, cost 50 cents
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Apple’s Watch isn’t the first with an EKG reader but it will matter to more consumers

Apple’s COO Jeff Williams exuberantly proclaimed Apple’s Watch was the first to get FDA clearance as an over-the-counter electrocardiogram (EKG) reader during the special event at Apple headquarters on Wednesday. While Apple loves to be first to things, that statement is false. AliveCor has held the title of first since late last year for its KardiaMobile device, a $100 stick-like metal unit you attach to the back of a smartphone. Ironically, it also received FDA clearance for the Kardiaband, an ECG reader designed to integrate with the Apple Watch and sold at Apple stores and just this week, the FDA gave the go ahead for AliveCor’s technology to screen for blood diseases, sans blood test. However, the Apple Watch could be the first to matter to a wider range of consumers. For one, Apple holds a firm 17 percent of the world’s wearables market, with an estimated shipment volume of
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The clock is ticking for e-cig companies to block underage users

The FDA is giving makers of e-cigarettes sixty days to come up with a more effective, forceful plan to combat underage use of the products. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is yet again moving the goal posts for e-cig companies. He now considers underage use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) an epidemic, forcing the government to make a choice that we all knew was coming: save the smokers or save the kids? “I believe in the power of American ingenuity to solve a lot of problems, including this one,” said Gottlieb in a statement. “I’m deeply disturbed by the trends I’ve seen. I’m disturbed by an epidemic of nicotine use among teenagers. So, we’re at a crossroads today. It’s one where the opportunities from new innovations will be responsibly seized on right now, or perhaps lost forever.” E-cigarettes, like the Juul (which owns more than 70 percent of
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Dealers remain on Instagram as it pushes drug searchers to treatment

You don’t have to search too hard to find Xanax and Fentanyl dealers posting their phone numbers all over Instagram, but at least it’s starting to push people towards addiction recovery resources. Backlash led Instagram to perform a cursory blocking of exact drug name hashtag searches in April did little to solve the problem, as sellers just moved to unblocked hashtags like “#XanaxLife” and “Oxycontins”. Facebook and Instagram could share some of the blame for 2017’s massive spike in synthetic opioid deaths that skyrocketed from 10,000 to 30,000 according to The Center For Disease Control. So last month, Facebook began redirecting users searching to buy drugs towards a  “Can we help?” box explaining that “If you or someone you know struggles with opioid misuse, we would like to help you find ways to get free and confidential treatment referrals, as well as information about substance use, prevention and recovery.
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Google Street View cars will be roaming around the planet to check our air quality with these sensors

Aclima, a San Francisco-based startup building Internet-connected air quality sensors has announced plans to integrate its mobile sensing platform into Google’s global fleet of Street View vehicles. Google uses the Street View cars to map the land for Google Maps. Starting with 50 cars in Houston, Mexico City and Sydney, Aclima will capture air quality data by generating snapshots of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and particulate matter (PM2.5)while the Google cars roam the streets. The idea is to ascertain where there may be too much pollution and other breathing issues on a hyper local level in each metropolitan area. The data will then be made available as a public dataset on Google BigQuery. Aclima has had a close relationship with Google for the past few years and this is not its first ride in Street View cars. The startup
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Alivecor gets a green light from FDA to screen for dangerously high potassium levels in the blood

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted AliveCor the designation of ‘breakthrough device’ for it’s ability to detect a rare but dangerous blood condition called hyperkalemia without taking any blood from the patient. Hyperkalemia is a medical term describing elevated potassium levels in the blood and is usually found in those with kidney disease. The correct amount of potassium is critical for the function of nerve and muscles in the body, including your heart muscle. A blood potassium level higher than than 6.0 mmol/L can be dangerous and usually requires immediate treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. A surprising 31 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic kidney conditions leading to potentially elevated levels of potassium. Nearly 500,000 of those with the condition are on dialysis as their kidneys are no longer able to function. AliveCor is able to detect elevated levels of potassium
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Bay Area city blocks 5G deployments over cancer concerns

The Bay Area may be the center of the global technology industry, but that hasn’t stopped one wealthy enclave from protecting itself from the future. The city council of Mill Valley, a small town located just a few miles north of San Francisco, voted unanimously late last week to effectively block deployments of small-cell 5G wireless towers in the city’s residential areas. Through an urgency ordinance, which allows the city council to immediately enact regulations that affect the health and safety of the community, the restrictions and prohibitions will be put into force immediately for all future applications to site 5G telecommunications equipment in the city. Applications for commercial districts are permitted under the passed ordinance. The ordinance was driven by community concerns over the health effects of 5G wireless antennas. According to the city, it received 145 pieces of correspondence from citizens voicing opposition to the technology, compared
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Interview with Priscilla Chan: Her super-donor origin story

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Priscilla Chan is so much more than Mark Zuckerberg’s wife. A teacher, doctor, and now one of the world’s top philanthropists, she’s a dexterous empath determined to help. We’ve all heard Facebook’s dorm-room origin story, but Chan’s epiphany of impact came on a playground.

In this touching interview this week at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Chan reveals how a child too embarrassed to go to class because of their broken front teeth inspired her to tackle healthcare. “How could I have prevented it? Who hurt her? And has she gotten healthcare, has she gotten the right dental care to prevent infection and treat pain? That moment compelled me, like, ‘I need more skills to fight these problems.'”

That’s led to a $3 billion pledge towards curing all disease from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s $45 billion-plus charitable foundation. Constantly expressing gratitude for being lifted out of the struggle of her

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Nima launches food sensor to detect peanuts

I’m deathly allergic to nuts, so I felt super excited when I heard about the Nima peanut sensor. I’ve ended up in the emergency room numerous times because there were nuts in something I thought did not contain nuts. With Nima, I could’ve tested those specific foods before consumption and probably avoided a trip to the ER. Nima, a TechCrunch Battlefield alum, is gearing up to launch a peanut sensor, its second product, on September 12. The sensor is able to detect even the tiniest trace (10 parts per million) of peanut protein. To use Nima, you insert the food into a disposable test capsule, which goes into the device to figure out if there’s any peanut protein in the food. In under five minutes, the Nima sensor will tell you if your food is peanut-free. The device connects to your phone via Bluetooth to enable the app to show
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Kry expands its telehealth service to France — under new brand, Livi

Swedish telehealth startup Kry, which bagged a $66M Series B in June for market expansion, is executing on that plan — announcing today it will launch into the French market on September 15. This will be the fourth market for the 2014 founded European startup, after its home market of Sweden, along with Norway and Spain. When we spoke to Kry in June it also said it was eyeing a UK launch, and it says now the country is “coming up next” on its launch map. Kry’s boast for its service is it lets patients ‘see’ a healthcare professional within 15 minutes — via a remote video consultation on their smartphone or tablet. It recruits doctors locally, in each market where it operates. The French launch introduces a new brand name for the service, which will be called Livi in the market. Livi will also be Kry’s brand for all markets
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Mira launches a device for more accurate fertility testing in the home

Mira, launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, is a new device that aims to help women who are struggling to conceive. The Mira Fertility system offers personalized cycle prediction by measuring fertility hormone concentrations in urine samples, telling women which days they’re fertile. The system is more advanced and accurate than the existing home test kits, the company claims, which can be hard to read and aren’t personalized to the individual. The company behind Mira, Quanovate, was founded in late 2015 by a group of scientists, engineers, OBGYN doctors, and business execs to solve the problem of the unavailability of advanced home health testing. “I have a lot of friends who, like me, [prioritized] their career advancement and higher education, and they tended to delay their maternal age,” explains Mira co-founder and CEO Sylvia Kang. “But there’s no education for them about when to try for a baby, and they
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Fertility startup Future Family switches to a subscription platform

Future Family, the startup offering more affordable plans for fertility services like IVF and egg freezing, is switching its model from small loans for these services to subscriptions. Fertility treatments are out of reach for most middle-income people in the U.S. The typical costs range from $12,000 to $20,000 for IVF, plus another few thousand for the genetic testing involved to ensure the fetus is chromosomally normal. To help, Future Family started out offering monthly payment plans for these services. However, after hearing from customers, the company has decided to switch to a subscription plan where customers can choose from several offerings and tailor a package that fits their needs. You might be wondering what the difference is: Either you get a loan for the services you want or you sign up to pay a certain amount as a subscription for x many months for the services you
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Livongo Health expands under new offering with Abbott Labs

Livongo Health, a consumer digital health company is focused on the treatment of chronic diseases, is integrating its service with Abbott Labs’ continuous glucose monitoring system. Livongo is about empowering people with chronic conditions live better and healthier lives, CEO Glen Tullman said on stage at Disrupt SF.  Livongo started with a connected blood glucose monitor that captures data and sends it to the cloud, where it can be processed and analyzed. From here, Livongo delivers real-time insights to customers as well as their physician and even family members. Livongo started with a product to manage diabetes. And has since added two other devices and services, one focused on diabetes prevention and another on managing hypertension. The company has raised more than $240 million since its founding in 2014. The deal with Abbott Labs marks a new kind of expansion for Livongo. The collaboration lets Livongo offer Abbott’s glucose
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