Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto

Anthony Di Iorio, a co-founder of the Ethereum network, says he’s done with the cryptocurrency world, partially because of personal safety concerns.

Di Iorio, 48, has had a security team since 2017, with someone traveling with or meeting him wherever he goes. In coming weeks, he plans to sell Decentral Inc., and refocus on philanthropy and other ventures not related to crypto. The Canadian expects to sever ties in time with other startups he is involved with, and doesn’t plan on funding any more blockchain projects.

“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about,” said Di Iorio, who declined to disclose his cryptocurrency holdings or net worth. “I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.”

Back in 2013, Di Iorio co-founded Ethereum, which has become the home of many of the hottest crypto projects, particularly in decentralized finance — which lets people borrow, lend and trade with each other without intermediaries like banks. Ether, the native token of the network, has a market value of about $225 billion.

He made a splash in 2018 when buying the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money. Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($22 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district.

In recent years, Di Iorio jumped into venture-capital investing and startup advising. He was also for a time chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth was as high as $1 billion. Ether’s price has more than doubled since then.

Decentral is a Toronto-based innovation hub and software development company focused on decentralized technologies, and the maker of Jaxx, a digital asset wallet that garnered about 1 million customers this year.

Di Iorio said he has talked with a couple of potential investors, and believes the startup will be valued at “hundreds of millions.” He expects to sell the company for fiat, or equity in another company — not crypto.

“I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems,” Di Iorio said. He is involved in Project Arrow, run by a high-school friend that’s building a zero-emission vehicle. He is also consulting a senator from Paraguay.

“I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not,” he said. “It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.”

Source: Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Anthony Di Iorio is a Canadian entrepreneur primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and an early investor in Bitcoin. Di Iorio is the founder and CEO of the blockchain company Decentral, and the associated Jaxx wallet. He also served as the first chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $750 million–$1 billion.

Di Iorio grew up with two older siblings in north Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with a degree in marketing from Ryerson University. Di Iorio began developing websites during the early 1990s, and eventually entered the rental housing market as an investor and landlord in Toronto, Ontario. In 2012 he sold his rental properties in order to invest in Bitcoin, and began to organize companies in the field of cryptocurrency.

He first learned about bitcoin from a podcast called Free Talk Live in 2012. According to The Globe and Mail, he “had an anti-authoritarian streak” and  questioned “the fundamentals of mainstream economics.” Di Iorio bought his first bitcoin the same day for $9.73. He created the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group which held its first meeting at a pub in the same year.

It was at this first meeting where he met Vitalik Buterin who went on to be the founder of Bitcoin Magazine and one of the original creators of Ethereum. As the Meetups grew from about eight attendees to hundreds, Di Iorio formed the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada.

References:

How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalizing on Digital Transformation in the Age of the ‘New Normal’

How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalising on Digital Transformation in the Age of the 'New Normal'

The Covid-19 pandemic has carried a significant impact on the rate in which businesses are embracing digital transformation. The health crisis has created an almost overnight need for traditional brick and mortar shopping experiences to regenerate into something altogether more adaptive and remote. While some businesses are finding this transition toward emerging technology a little tricky, it’s proving to be a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs in the age of the “new normal.”

Astoundingly, data suggests that digital transformation has been accelerated by as much as seven years due to the pandemic, with Asia/Pacific businesses driving forward up to a decade in the future when it comes to digital offerings.

With entrepreneurs and new startup founders finding themselves in a strong position to embrace modern digital practices ahead of more traditional companies, we’re likely to see a rise in innovation among post-pandemic businesses. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the ways in which digital transformation are benefiting businesses in the age of the new normal:

Fast, data-driven decisions.

Any digital transformation strategy needs to be driven by data. The emergence of big data as a key analytical tool may make all the difference in ensuring that startups take the right steps at the right time to ensure that they thrive without losing valuable resources chasing the wrong target audience, or promoting an underperforming product.

Enterprises today have the ability to tap into far greater volumes of data than ever before, thanks largely to both big data and Internet of Things technology. With the right set of analytical tools, this data can be transformed into essential insights that can leverage faster, more efficient and accurate decisions. Essentially, the deeper analytical tools are embedded in business operations, the greater the levels of integration and effect that may have.

By incorporating more AI-based technology into business models, it’s possible to gain access to huge volumes of big data that can drive key decisions. The pandemic has helped innovations in terms of data and analytics become more visible in the world of business, and many entrepreneurs are turning to advanced AI capabilities in order to modernise their existing applications while sifting through data at a faster and more efficient rate.

Leveraging multi-channel experiences.

Digital transformation is empowering customers to get what they want, when they want, and however they want it. Today, more than half of all consumers expect to receive a customer service response within 60 minutes. They also want equally swift response times on weekends as they’ve come to expect on weekdays. This emphasis on perpetual engagement has meant that businesses that aren’t switched on 24/7/365 are putting themselves at a disadvantage to rivals that may have more efficient operations in place.

The pandemic has led to business happening in real-time – even more so than in brick and mortar stores. Although customers in high street stores know they’re getting a face to face experience, this doesn’t mean that business representatives can offer a similar personalised and immediately knowledgeable service than that of a chatbot or a live chat operative with a sea of information at their disposal.

Modern consumers are never tied to a single channel. They visit stores, websites, leave feedback through mobile apps and ask questions for support teams on social networking sites. By combining these interactions, it’s possible to create full digital profiles for customers whenever they interact with your business – helping entrepreneurs to provide significantly more immersive experiences.

Fundraising via blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is one of the most exciting emerging technologies today. Its applications are far-reaching in terms of leveraging new payment methods and brokering agreements via smart contracts, and while the use cases for these blockchain applications will certainly grow over the coming years, today the technology is already being widely utilised by entrepreneurs as a form of raising capital through Initial Token Offerings (ITOs), also known as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

As an alternative to the use of traditional banks, venture capital firms, angel investors or crowdfunders, ITO tokens can be made available for exchanges where they can trade freely. These tokens are comparable to equity in a company, or a share of revenue for token holders.

Interested investors can buy into the offering and receive tokens that are created on a blockchain from the company. The tokens could have some practical use within the company where they can be spent on goods or services, or they could purely represent an equity share in a startup or project.

There are currently numerous companies that use blockchain technology to simply and secure its operations. From large corporations like HSBC’s Digital Vault, which is blockchain-based custody platform that allows clients to access details of their private assets to small education startups like ODEM, which aim to democratize education.

Another company that’s pioneering blockchain technology within the world of business is OpenExO, which has developed its own community-driven utility token EXOS, to help build a new transformation economy that helps companies to accelerate, democratise and internationalise their innovation.

Salim Ismail, OpenExO founder, is the former Yahoo technology innovator who developed the industry of Exponential Organizations. He has become a household name in the entrepreneur and innovation landscape, and now he launches the blockchain ecosystem that includes Fortune 500 companies, cities and even countries.

Reaping widespread rewards.

Although digital transformation could begin with a focus on just one facet of a startup, its benefits can be far reaching for employees, consumers and stakeholders alike. It could limit the mundane tasks required of workers, offer greater levels of personalisation for consumers and free up new skills to be developed in other areas of a business.

This, in turn, helps to build more engaged and invested teams that know the value of fresh ideas and perspectives. Although the natural adaptability of entrepreneurs makes the adoption of digital transformation an easier one to make than for established business owners, the benefits can be significant for both new and old endeavours.

The pandemic has accelerated the potential of emerging technologies by over seven years in some cases, the adoption of these new approaches and tools can be an imperative step in ensuring that your business navigates the age of the new normal with the greatest of efficiency.

Dmytro Spilka

By: Dmytro Spilka / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP – CEO and Founder of Solvid and Pridicto

Source: How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalising on Digital Transformation in the Age of the ‘New Normal’

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Critics:

Digital Transformation (DT or DX) or Digitalization is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

One aspect of digital transformation is the concept of ‘going paperless‘ or reaching a ‘digital business maturity’affecting both individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government,mass communications,art,health care, and science.

Digital transformation is not proceeding at the same pace everywhere. According to the McKinsey Global Institute‘s 2016 Industry Digitization Index,Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the United States is operating at 18%. Within Europe, Germany operates at 10% of its digital potential, while the United Kingdom is almost on par with the United States at 17%.

One example of digital transformation is the use of cloud computing. This reduces reliance on user-owned hardware and increases reliance on subscription-based cloud services. Some of these digital solutions enhance capabilities of traditional software products (e.g. Microsoft Office compared to Office 365) while others are entirely cloud based (e.g. Google Docs).

As the companies providing the services are guaranteed of regular (usually monthly) recurring revenue from subscriptions, they are able to finance ongoing development with reduced risk (historically most software companies derived the majority of their revenue from users upgrading, and had to invest upfront in developing sufficient new features and benefits to encourage users to upgrade), and delivering more frequent updates often using forms of agile software development internally.This subscription model also reduces software piracy, which is a major benefit to the vendor.

Digitalization (of industries and organizations)

Unlike digitization, digitalization is the ‘organizational process’ or ‘business process’ of the technologically-induced change within industries, organizations, markets and branches. Digitalization of manufacturing industries has enabled new production processes and much of the phenomena today known as the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, machine to machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine vision.

Digitalization of business and organizations has induced new business models (such as freemium), new eGovernment services, electronic payment, office automation and paperless office processes, using technologies such as smart phones, web applications, cloud services, electronic identification, blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, and also business intelligence using Big Data. Digitalization of education has induced e-learning and Mooc courses.

See also

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

Nothing propels a company more quickly than innovation, and nothing stifles it more quickly than a “that’s how we’ve always done it” attitude. News startup Axios is an excellent example of a company breaking barriers and thinking outside the box. The company is making a big bet that other companies will pay to learn how to write like Axios reporters.

The new communications platform, AxiosHQ, launched in February and enables companies to send Axios-style, just-the-facts internal newsletters. Its cost? At least $10,000 annually. It remains to be seen whether executives will be willing to invest that kind of money, but it’s a fascinating proposition.

Related: Why Your Marketing Team Should Be Journalists

What does it take for organizations to vet, approve and develop similarly innovative ideas? The answer is not simple, and it varies from company to company. Innovation efforts get plenty of lip service, but it’s much harder to perfect a process for selecting and implementing top ideas.

No magic wand for innovation

In the same way that data-driven decisions run many aspects of an organization, leaders need to use data to create a rubric for vetting innovative ideas. This enforces discipline and keeps everyone on the same page.

Without an evaluation process, innovation programs become short-sighted and may fall out of alignment with long-term organizational goals. Having an organized process also removes emotion from decision-making to keep project focus and dollar spend as data-driven as possible.

For innovation to succeed, leaders also have to be aligned around critical factors. This forms a living rubric that can be adapted throughout the organization as business needs shift and evolve. Generally, some sort of innovation leader — a chief innovation officer, a chief strategy officer or a business unit leader — will lead this team to ensure the process runs smoothly and stays on track.

When we developed our rubric at Coplex, we struggled to find a technical solution that was flexible enough while still enabling us to manage our ideas. We ended up building one ourselves. We now use this tool to drive the underlying engine of our entire idea management process, and it works because effective innovation strategy always starts at the top. Bring your entire leadership team together from the beginning of the process to discuss priorities and foster conversations about ideas, outlining your concrete vision along the way.

Related: Did Someone Reject Your Idea? Because of Coronavirus, They Might Reconsider

Here are three ways to evaluate your innovation ideas and create a framework to make them a strategic reality:

1. Create an innovation blueprint

Before you begin to gather ideas from your team, you have to first come up with a blueprint — such as Google’s Eight Pillars of Innovation — that defines the initiative’s overall structure. This helps put up guardrails around the problem spaces the organization is willing to play in and, more importantly, which problem spaces are off-limits.

An innovation blueprint consists of three distinct components: statement, antithesis and thesis. Your statement defines your company’s ambitions and outlines why you believe in what you’re doing, why now is the best time to do it and what makes you the best candidate for the job.

From here, develop an antithesis that defines the problems, business models and core technologies you don’t intend to address. Why? It removes distractions and keeps the focus on priorities. Finally, create a thesis that gives you a clear lens into how you’ll invest in problem spaces, business models and technologies to create the change you want to see.

2. Define innovation themes

Once you’ve developed a solid blueprint, it’s time to identify the themes of problem spaces you intend to solve. This step will define the categories in which your innovation ideas should fall while clearly outlining how your solutions could come into play.

Think of this as similar to how the National Association of Engineers (NAE) outlines the many challenges left to overcome in its field. In its report on the grand challenges of engineering, NAE defines themes (e.g., joy, sustainability, health and security) as areas ripe for innovation and abundant with opportunity.

The core reason for taking this approach? It allows you to consider potential ways to innovate beyond what the organization had imagined before — and to set goals with those parameters in mind.

Related: What Sustainable Innovation Might Look Like in 2021

3. Map measurement criteria back to a rubric

Once you’ve defined your innovation themes, it’s time to develop the criteria you’ll use to measure your success. Global design firm IDEO made it a goal to quantify innovation by looking at its clients’ internal team dynamics as well as other companies focused on innovation.

The firm identified six areas key to innovation and then sent its survey, coined “Creative Difference,” to larger organizations to understand how team members were performing when it came to innovation. Once the survey was complete, IDEO sent results with tangible innovation metrics and recommendations on how to follow and meet them moving forward.

As you define how you measure innovation and create your unique rubric, keep in mind that you aren’t limited to traditional metrics. Feel comfortable being creative and innovative as you decide on those! It’s possible to measure everything from societal impact and economic value to organizational scale and new market discovery.

The process of pursuing innovative ideas requires much more than a quick brainstorming session or selecting an appealing idea from a list. By creating an underlying philosophy and structure governing the prioritization of ideas that flow through an organization, you can retain control over your innovation program’s outcomes instead of leaving anything to chance.

Business ideas that solve problems are fundamental to developing the world and companies such as Curemark are one of many who do this. Curemark is a biotech company founded by Joan Fallon, who noticed that a lot of the children she treated were low on an enzyme for processing protein and since then she has quit her job and has built Curemark to solve this problem. Curemark has now raised $50 million and is on its way to solving a problem that truly exists.

Profitability is a business’s ability to generate earnings compared to its costs over a certain period of time. This is possibly the most important aspect of any business idea in the long term, as this is what makes a business survive in order to keep having the impact that it has. Profitable ideas need a strong revenue stream against its costs and this tends to create the success of the business, however, some companies defy this and make losses to begin with, yet are still exceptional business ideas that are worth billions.

Brenda Schmidt

By: Brenda Schmidt / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

 

Source: How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

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References

Newcomer, Eric (30 June 2015). “Uber bonds term sheet reveals $470 million in operating losses”. bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

Investment Giant Fidelity Will Let Your Teen Trade Stocks—For Free

Fidelity Investments Earns

As interest in the stock market grows and equities continue to soar, investment giant Fidelity said Tuesday that it will launch new investing accounts just for teens.

The offerings for 13- to 17-year-olds—limited to those teenagers whose parents or guardians also invest with Fidelity—will include ways to save and deposit money, a debit card and investing capabilities, all accessible on a mobile app.

Teens will be able to buy and sell U.S. equities, Fidelity’s own mutual funds and ETFs without any fees or commissions.

To open the account, a teen’s parent or guardian must enter into a brokerage agreement with Fidelity, the Wall Street Journal reported, and after that the account—and power to make trades—is transferred to the teen.

Parents will be able to monitor the account’s activity and will retain the ability to close the account at any time, the Journal reported, and teens won’t be able to trade options or borrow money to fund trades.

Crucial Quote

“Fidelity is committed to responsibly supporting young investors,” Jennifer Samalis, senior vice president of acquisition and loyalty at Fidelity Investments, said in a statement. “Importantly, our goal for the Fidelity Youth Account is to encourage young Americans to learn through action and foster meaningful family conversations around financial topics.”

Big Number

$10.3 trillion. That’s how much money Fidelity manages. It’s one of the largest stock brokerage firms in the United States.

Tangent

Old-guard brokerage firms and startups alike are actively pursuing the next generation of investors. Greenlight, a startup that offers debit cards and investing services for kids, was recently valued at $2.3 billion.

Key Background

Fidelity’s new offering was in the works before the memestock trading frenzy that sent stocks soaring and captivated investors earlier this year, the Journal reported.

In January, retail traders from online communities including Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets and the popular brokerage app Robinhood—which is also aimed at making investing simpler for young investors—pitted themselves against Wall Street institutions which had placed bets that a handful of previously unpopular stocks would fall.

That resulted in a short squeeze that sent Gamestock and other stocks soaring and ignited a national debate about regulation, risky trades and the what some viewed as gamified app-based trading.

I’m a breaking news reporter for Forbes focusing on economic policy and capital markets. I completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance.

Further Reading

Fidelity’s Pitch to America’s Teens: No-Fee Brokerage Accounts (Wall Street Journal)

With Debit Cards And Investing For Kids, Fintech Startup Greenlight Doubles Valuation To $2.3 Billion (Forbes)

It’s Not Just Crypto Crashing: Here Are All The Market Bubbles Popping So Far This Year (Forbes)

Goldman Sachs Says Stock Picking Becoming Harder, But Tesla, Twitter And Etsy Have Potential. Here’s Why (Forbes)

Source: Investment Giant Fidelity Will Let Your Teen Trade Stocks—For Free

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With $27 Million In Funding, A Tiny Fintech Takes Aim At Cigna, Aetna And UnitedHealthcare

Level’s early team. From left, software engineer Vikas Unnava, CEO Paul Aaron and strategy lead Ashley Koh.

There’s no reason why paying for a root canal should be more complicated than paying for a steak dinner. That’s how it looked, at least, to Paul Aaron, one the first 20 employees at digital payments giant Square and later a product manager at Oscar Health, the direct-to-consumer health insurance upstart founded in 2012. Connecting the dots between these two jobs inspired him in 2018 to build Level, a New York startup hoping to sell employers on more efficient and affordable insurance benefits for their employees.

“The big insight behind Level was this idea that insurance is just a way to pay for things,” says CEO Aaron, speaking at 6:30 a.m. over a zoom call from Hawaii (he’s keeping East Coast hours). “It’s a product that people really depend on, but it’s actually pretty confusing and sometimes can feel very unfair to us.”

After launching employer-sponsored dental plans in 2019, Level closed a $27 million Series A round at a valuation north of $100 million in late 2020, previously unannounced until today. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures led the round, joined by First Round Capital FCAP 0.0% and Homebrew. The company added vision coverage in January, is hiring more staff and soon plans to expand into other employee benefits—making benefits better than a salary’s cash component is Level’s “north star,” Aaron says.

Employees who have access to Level through their work can use its app to search for providers, compare prices for various services, book appointments and handle co-pays then and there, no insurance card or belated paper bills in sight. Claims are typically processed within 4 hours, compared to 30 days or more with some mainstay providers. And while users can see any dentist or optometrist, more than 100,000 providers have an in-network contract (and access to software that tracks patient visits and billing) with Level.

Current customers include several mid-size tech companies like Intercom and Udemy and Level investor First Round.  Aaron says his startup saves employers money by giving them insights into the benefits that their workforces uses, allowing HR teams to customize plans and ultimately pay only for the services they need. Intercom, a business messaging startup, says it saved 20% from its previous dental provider, while adding more benefits—such as coverage for adult orthodontia—for its approximately 600 workers. First Round claims it saved 47% year-over-year after switching to Level’s dental coverage.

The funding announcement also accompanies the launch of a new insurance product underwritten in-house. Unlike most traditional group insurance arrangements, where companies annually forfeit the cost of benefits not used by workers, Level now allows businesses to pay a fixed amount each month and receive a refund at the end of the year for any unused benefit.

Critically to companies with tight balance sheets, they will never have to pay for costs beyond the monthly fee. The shift allows businesses as small as two people to adopt Level’s self-funded model historically accessible only to large corporations that could absorb the cost of unexpected, expensive procedures like an emergency surgery. (And luckily for Level’s costs, these hefty bills aren’t as common in dental or vision care.)

Insurance is not the sexiest industry, but it is lucrative. In 2019, U.S. healthcare spending reached $3.8 trillion, more than 17% of the gross domestic product that year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and census data indicates that about 55% of the population—more than 180 million people—received employer-sponsored insurance. Venture capitalists have taken note, investing more than $7 billion across 377 “insurtech” deals in 2020—a four-fold dollar-amount increase from 2016, per private markets data provider CB Insights.

Level won’t have an easy path, as it takes on giants with footprints to match. Healthcare insurer Cigna CI -0.7% counts more than 17 million global dental customers, Aetna AET 0.0% has 12.7 million dental members and UnitedHealthcare Dental has enrolled more than 13 million Americans in its employer-sponsored, Medicare and Medicaid plans. Its largest rival, though, might be Delta Dental Plans Association. The organization covers more than 80 million participants across the country. [Update: Level claims it is negotiating partnerships with some big insurers.]

At 10,000 employees covered today, Level is barely a blip competitively—but Jana Messerschmidt, a partner at Lightspeed, has given the startup a vote of confidence twice over, having backed Level both personally and professionally. (She first joined the startup’s seed round as an angel investor in 2018 before Lightspeed hired her later that year.)

“This is one of these companies that has the potential to become Stripe-sized in this new fintech meets insurance tech space,” she says. “There are a lot of things that have to go right for the company for that to happen.”

I’m an assistant editor covering money and markets. Before joining Forbes, I worked at Bloomberg and Pitchbook News reporting on plastic straw bans, pizza robots and everything in between. I studied history and economics at the University of Virginia, where I also worked on the student paper and, more importantly, an underground satire magazine.

Source: With $27 Million In Funding, A Tiny Fintech Takes Aim At Cigna, Aetna And UnitedHealthcare

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Related Links:

Ada Health

Ada Health is a Berlin-based start-up that was founded by Claire Novorol, Martin Hirsch and Daniel Nathrath in 2011. Outside of its two offices in Berlin, the company has bases in Munich, London and New York.

CureApp

CureApp is a digital therapeutics start-up based in Tokyo. In 2015, the start-up launched a nicotine addiction treatment app that was jointly developed with the division of pulmonary medicine at Keio University’s School of Medicine. Outside of its Tokyo headquarters, CureApp also has an office in Sunnyvale, California.

Genetron Health

Genetron Health is a Beijing-based start-up focusing on precision oncology, with a focus on transforming the existing approach to cancer care in China. It aims to make precision health a basic right for diagnosed cancer patients.

Lunit

Lunit was founded in Seoul in 2013, by Anthony Paek, Donggeun Yoo, Jungin Lee, Kyunghyun Paeng, Minhong Jang and Sunggyun Park. The start-up is developing advanced software for medical data analysis and interpretation through deep learning technology, specialising in processing medical imaging data.

Sherlock Biosciences

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sherlock Biosciences is a molecular diagnostics start-up that was founded by David R Walt, Deborah Hung, Feng Zhang, Jim Collins, Jonthan Gootenberg, Omar Abudayyeh, Pardis Sabeti, Rahul Dhanda and Todd Golub.

Verge Genomics

Verge Genomics was founded by Alice Zhang and Jason Chen in 2015. Based in San Francisco, the start-up is using machine learning and human genomics to accelerate drug discovery for diseases with large unmet needs.

Vim

Also headquartered in San Francisco is Vim, a healthcare technology platform founded by Asaf David, Oron Afek and Yael Peled in 2015. Backed by Seqouia and GreatPoint Ventures, Vim curates networks of healthcare providers and connects them with patients.

Latest News

 

Newry’s Machine Eye to start testing AI system for farm safety

This Remote Patient Monitoring Startup Just Landed A $70 Million Series C

Health Recovery Solutions in action

hen Covid-19 cases began to soar around Ann Arbor in April, the University of Michigan Hospital reached 100% capacity. Like most hospitals, University of Michigan Hospital was not ready for the pandemic surge, but they did have a leg up.

That same month they’d coincidentally implemented Health Recovery Solutions’ remote patient monitoring, a patented technology system that records patient vitals via Bluetooth and connects them with their clinicians through video or instant messaging. This enabled the resource-strapped hospital to care for over 400 patients remotely throughout 2020.

Today, HRS announced it closed a $70 million series C led by LLR Partners with participation from existing investor Edison Partners, bringing the Hoboken, New Jersey-based startup’s total funding to $86 million. The news comes on the heels of a year of massive growth, which saw their head count balloon 258% to 155 employees and revenue grow by 188% to $23.5 million.

“People are choosing the proven remote-monitoring solution right now,” says Jarrett Bauer, HRS’ Forbes 30 Under 30 cofounder and CEO. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re doing so well—people are looking for the company that’s best.”

Bauer, now 34, was inspired to start by HRS by his grandma. Battling a heart condition, Bauer’s grandma was admitted to the hospital three times, resulting in over $14,000 of medical bills. While pursuing his M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins in 2012, Bauer began constructing an at-home hospital alternative that would eventually become HRS. “We didn’t know where to start,” Bauer told Forbes in 2019 when the company raised its $10 million series B. “We just knew it was a problem, and the best companies solve problems.”

With Covid-19, telehealth doctor appointments have become just doctor appointments, increasing 154% from March to October of 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rather than cut into HRS’ margins, the telehealth boom has helped HRS soar. The healthcare company has deals with over 220 U.S. healthcare systems—74 of which signed on as clients of HRS during the pandemic—with over 20,000 nurses checking HRS logs every day.

“We consider Health Recovery Solutions the Cadillac model,” says Brandy Knudson, Michigan Medicine’s Telehealth Project Manager. “It fills a huge gap for us because we want to reduce readmissions and reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.”

The company makes money by billing clinical institutions on subscription to integrate their solutions in treatment, coming at no additional cost to patients. HRS recognizes the varying levels of sickness and technological ability of patients, so the company’s products range from a pulse oximeter for the sickest, while near-recovered patients can manually enter symptoms on HRS’ smartphone app.

All of this patient data is stored in a cloud for clinicians, making it easier to recognize prognosis patterns and health trends. By implementing HRS, major healthcare systems like Penn Medicine have reduced 30-day readmission by over 50% for all heart failure patients, while FirstHealth of the Carolinas says the technology has saved patients more than $1.9 million since its implementation in 2016.

“Patients are looking to stay in their homes longer, get care in their homes longer, and there’s an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions,” says Sasank Aleti, a partner at Philadelphia-based private equity firm LLR Partners. “HRS met our criteria of taking costs out of the system, driving better outcomes and a better patient experience.”

For Bauer, the future of HRS lies in universalizing hospital-from-home treatment. With the $70 million round, the company plans to more than double head count in 2021 to 250 employees with the goal of being able to treat over a million patients by adding new healthcare providers and upping their disease module count (they currently treat 90 diseases). “Why aren’t we like Google? Why aren’t we like Apple?” asks Bauer. “We’re playing to win—to be that.”

I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Forbes. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York Observer. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied English and creative writing. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamsternlicht.

Source: This Remote Patient Monitoring Startup Just Landed A $70 Million Series C

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The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals, physicians and the medical community. That’s pushed telemedicine into the hands of providers and patients as the first response for primary care. Telemedicine isn’t new to the medical community, however it hasn’t been embraced due to insurance coverage, mindset and stigma. Here’s how it works and what it means for the future of health care. » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic
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More Contents:
Ro co-founder and Chief Product Officer Saman Rahmanian on VatorNews podcast
vator.tv – Today
[…] and Bambi Francisco interview Saman Rahmanian, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Ro, a telehealth startup that operates digital health clinics for men’s and women’s health, along with smoking cessation […]
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H|T: The Healthtech Times – A Shopify for pharma
betakit.com – Today
[…] bottom of this page to ensure you don’t miss out on the most important healthtech news every week! Telehealth startup Dialogue to go public on Toronto Stock Exchange, targets $100 million IPO (BETAKIT) Telehealth startup Dialogue has officially filed to be public on the TSX amid an increasing trend of Canadian tec […]
0
Doing Business in Osceola County
[…] by News Break1d 177Share Texas Government|Posted by Austin Business Journal1d Birth control-focused telehealth startup expands beyond East Coast to Texas Though the Affordable Care Act, mandating no out-of-pocket fe […]
0
This Mental Health Startup Is Open 24/7 To Refill Your Medications
http://www.forbes.com – March 17
Minded, a telehealth startup that renews and delivers mental health medications, announced its launch today for patients in th […]
2
Canadian startup news of the week (3/14/21)
betakit.com – March 15
[…] Telehealth startup Dialogue to go public on Toronto Stock Exchange, targets $100 million IPO The startup reported it […]
1
TytoCare Is an AI Telehealth Startup Company Making Healthcare More Accessible Amid COVID-19
startupsavant.com – March 13
TytoCare, an AI remote healthcare startup company, wants to make remote healthcare more accessible, and the business has raised over $150 million in funding to help them do it.
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Portland telehealth startup Bright.md hires new CEO from Opal – oregonlive.com
Fast-growing Portland telehealth startup Bright […]
2
HOT JOBS & COOL JOBS: CHIEF ENGINEER CYPRESS CA USA
[…] Los Angeles, CA, USA If you are a Director of Engineering with experience, please read on! We’re a telehealth startup based in LA transforming experience management for some of the biggest names in healthcare […]
0
Telehealth startup Dialogue to go public on Toronto Stock Exchange, targets $100 million IPO
betakit.com – March 9
Telehealth startup Dialogue has officially filed to be public on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) amid the increasin […]
1
Top digital health exec’s advice to startups: Once you think you “know” you’ve lost the game
medcitynews.com – March 9
[…] in the digital health space—after working as a hospitalist, she served as an early advisor to telehealth startup Doctor on Demand, before joining Castlight Health and later, Livongo […]
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HOT JOBS & COOL JOBS: CHIEF ENGINEER ANAHEIM CA USA
[…] Los Angeles, CA, USA If you are a Director of Engineering with experience, please read on! We’re a telehealth startup based in LA transforming experience management for some of the biggest names in healthcare […]
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Erin Lee, Babylon Health, on leveraging AI to break geographic silos | by Jing Chai | The Pulse by Wharton Digital Health | Mar, 2021
medium.com – March 8
[…] Babylon is a London-based telehealth startup leveraging AI to provide quality and affordable primary care around the world […]
1
Rennova cancels deal to create telehealth company
[…] visits UnitedHealthcare’s 2 vital care tools won’t go away after pandemic, CIO says New York taps telehealth startup Ro to launch at-home COVID-19 vaccination program   © Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021 […]
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Looped Raised $7.7M, Axonius Pulled In $100M, and More NYC Tech News
[…] This telehealth startup sends customers medical kits to help them conduct various examinations at home […]
1
Mednow closes $37 million IPO as it’s set to list on TSXV
betakit.com – March 5
[…] Montreal telehealth startup Dialogue reportedly also plans to go public on the TSX later this year […]
2
COVID-19 Telehealth Startup Checklist
http://www.mgma.com – March 5
This tool helps you assess needs for telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency, as well as considerations for choosing a long-term telehealth vendor after the crisis.
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News Briefs Archives
nocamels.com – March 5
[…] ” Read More Israeli Telehealth Startup Tyto Care Raises $50M, Doubles Its Valuation Israeli telehealth firm Tyto Care has raised $5 […]
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Telehealth startup TytoCare raises $50M in oversubscribed Series D round extension
siliconangle.com – March 5
Artificial intelligence-powered telehealth startup TytoCare Ltd […]
1
Telehealth startup TytoCare raises $50M in oversubscribed Series D round
siliconangle.com – March 5
Artificial intelligence-powered telehealth startup TytoCare Ltd […]
0
Telehealth startup TytoCare raises $50 million as COVID pushes doctors online | The Times of Israel
TytoCare, a telehealth startup that has developed an artificial intelligence-based device that enables clinicians to perfor […]
1
Tyto Care Grabs Another $50M to Expand Remote Medical Exam Capabilities
[…] Due to this shift, New York City-based telehealth startup Tyto Care more than doubled the size of its revenue last year, and now, it’s receiving a fres […]
1
Israeli Telehealth Startup Tyto Care Raises $50M, Doubles Its Valuation
nocamels.com – March 4
Israeli telehealth firm Tyto Care has raised $155 million to date.
1
Introducing FTMO Spring Batch of 2021
[…] startups have been chosen for this year’s program: Neurolytic Healthcare An Oxford based precision telehealth startup using genomics and digital biomarkers to remotely personalize treatment for migraine […]
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UnitedHealthcare’s 2 vital care tools won’t go away after pandemic, CIO says
[…] More articles on telehealth:  New York taps telehealth startup Ro to launch at-home COVID-19 vaccination program HHS stresses commitment to telemedicine frau […]
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260+ telehealth companies to know | 2020
[…] Remedy is a telehealth startup that offers a standalone benefit for employers, groups and payroll companies to deliver primar […]
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New York taps telehealth startup Ro to launch at-home COVID-19 vaccination program 
New York taps telehealth startup Ro to launch at-home COVID-19 vaccination program  The New York State Department of Health i […]
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A telehealth startup gained 6x as many clients in the COVID-19 crisis
Spanish startup HumanITCare went from 3 clients to 20 during the coronavirus health crisis and expects to end 2021 with a turnover of $1.2 million.
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Los Angeles Telehealth Startup Expands Remote Patient Monitoring with CDFI Assistance
cdfistory.ofn.org – February 26
Client: Kelly Nguyen, owner of DrKumo Client location: Los Angeles, CA CDFI: PACE CDFI service area: California CDFI services provided: Financing and technical assistance Learn how PACE…
1
Software Customer Experience Team Member at EUC Services Pty Ltd
startup.jobs – February 24
Customer Support for Telehealth Startup! Description Software is changing the face of the skincare industry in Australia […]
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20Fathoms Announces Virtual HealthSpark Digital and Telehealth Startup Accelerator (Deadline) –
cronicle.press – February 23
[…] experience and can network with leaders in their space who know what it is to build a digital or telehealth startup on the ground […]
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Improving Product And Engineering Team Relationships In 2021
http://www.forbes.com – February 23
[…] Co-founder and CTO at telehealth startup MEDvidi […]
1
Pure Tinnitus Offers Remote Group Coaching Sessions
California-based telehealth startup Pure Tinnitus announced that it has developed Pure Tinnitus Group Coaching as a way to provid […]
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3 of the Latest Companies to Go Public Via SPACs
investorplace.com – February 17
[…] com Telehealth startup Hims & Hers Health is connecting subscribers to licensed health care professionals and offer […]
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What I Wish I Knew: One piece of advice for Founders
http://www.linkedin.com – February 13
[…] CEO and co-founder Silvia Pfeiffer of the telehealth startup Coviu helps patients avoid the travel and time required to attend a GP clinic, as well as openin […]
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Optum-Backed Telehealth Startup For Eating Disorder Treatment Raises $13 Million
http://www.forbes.com – February 11
Equip is attracting insurance companies by offering a less-expensive alternative to residential treatment.
3
Astrata, UPMC’s newest spinoff, puts NLP to work for quality improvement
[…] coming year, joins a wide array of other spinoffs incubated at UPMC over recent years, including telehealth startup Abridge, LTPAC-focused Curavi (which merged this past year with two other companies to form Arko […]
1
Transgender-Focused Telehealth Startups : telehealth startup
[…] Nedelcheva — February 4, 2021 — Marketing References: folxhealth & fastcompany Folx Health is a new telehealth startup, built for the transgender community […] The telehealth startup will operate on a subscription basis, with patients paying a fee starting at $59 USD per month […] The telehealth startup is planning to expand into “treatment for erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted infection […]
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Europe’s top 30 young VCs primed to lead the top investment funds
sifted.eu – February 4
[…] She’s a self-proclaimed consumer aficionado, having developed the go-to-market strategy for a telehealth startup […]
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mailchi.mp – February 3
[…] Accolade Accolade, a health benefits platform, is buying telehealth startup 2nd […]
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Australian Telehealth Startup Wins giant US Wellness Health $231.8 million agreement
healthreporter.com.au – February 2
The contract includes the delivery of 8.5 million Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests to support the U.S. Government’s pandemic response The investment will support the establishment of Ellume’s first U.S.manufacturing facility, increasing Ellume’s global production capacity by 500,000+ tests per day once…
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Digital + Telehealth Startup? Apply To Traverse City Accelerator
mynorth.com – February 2
Have a digital and telehealth startup but need that extra push to really take off? 20 Fathoms, a Traverse City-based nonprofit providin […]
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Not Just An Emergency Fix: Telemedicine Is Poised For Growth In The GCC
[…] Related: Dubai-Based Telehealth Startup InstaPract Helps Patients Consult Doctors From A Distance During COVID-19 Pandemic
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http://www.baybrazil.org – February 2
[…] Jan 14 Brazil’s ViBe Saúde, a B2C telehealth startup in Brazil, announced it has raised a US$10 million Series A funding round led by a group of Swedish […]
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Tyto Care telehealth platform adds a pulse oximeter to expand at-home health monitoring
[…] Other companies to recently launch new telehealth capabilities include Hims & Hers, a telehealth startup that went public in a $1 […]
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insider.fitt.co – January 26
[…]   Telehealth startup hims went public in a SPAC deal with Oaktree Acquisition Corp […]
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Female-Founded Telehealth Startup Calibrate Announces $22.5 Million Series A on 27 January
http://www.iweller.com – January 26
Calibrate, a female-founded telehealth startup that aims to provide patients with a metabolic reset, announced Tuesday that it has raised a $22 […] Calibrate When Calibrate—the female-founded telehealth startup trying to disrupt the $70 billion weight loss industry—came out of stealth mode in June, it wa […]
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Female-Founded Telehealth Startup Calibrate Announces $22.5 Million Series A
http://www.forbes.com – January 26
When Calibrate—the female-founded telehealth startup trying to disrupt the $70 billion weight loss industry—came out of stealth mode in June, it wa […]
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Bene Studio –
medium.com – January 26
[…] Schedule: Startup pitches and the Telehealth Startup Award 8:00–9:00 (PDT) / 16:00–17:00 (GMT+1) 4 growth stage health startups pitch their product an […] Who will win the Telehealth Startup Award in September? Panel Discussion: How does Telehealth improve Health Systems? 9:30–10:30 (PDT […]
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[…] GoTelecare Franchise fee: $100,000 (in liquid assets) Initial investment: $60,000 GoTelecare is a telehealth startup that is currently building a franchise business model […]
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When SPACs Attack! A New Force Is Invading Wall Street.
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[…] Telehealth startup Hims & Hers Health Inc […]
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H|T: The Healthtech Times – Blunder drug
betakit.com – January 22
[…] Health benefits platform Accolade is buying telehealth startup 2nd […]
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Hims, The Telehealth Start-up, Saw Its Shares Slide In Its Business Debut – And That’s Great For Its CEO – TechCrunch
Hims & Hers, a San Francisco-based telehealth startup that sells sexual wellness and other health products and services to millennials, began tradin […]
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tech.wmlcloud.com – January 22
Telehealth startup Hims fell in its public trading debut – and that’s fine with its CEO Source : techcrunch.com<br />…
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Forging Trust In AI, Sustaining The Virtual Care Boom And Other CES Takeaways – Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences – United States
http://www.mondaq.com – January 21
[…] of specialization within telehealth that people will really gravitate towards,” Varsha Rao, CEO of telehealth startup Nurx, said Tuesday […]
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StartUp Health –
medium.com – January 19
[…] <source> Calibrate, a New York, NY-based female-founded telehealth startup that aims to provide patients with a metabolic reset, raised $22 […]
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Portland telehealth startup Conversa raises $8M
http://www.geekwire.com – January 19
[…] -based telehealth startup, has raised another $8 million as part of an expanded Series B round […]
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TeeRoy’s 2 Cents Rumor Report 1/19/21 | 100.9 The Beat
wjbt.iheart.com – January 19
[…] already has stake in Wingstop and Checkers recently put a million dollars into the Florida-based Telehealth startup Jetdoc […]
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Forging trust in AI, sustaining the virtual care boom and other CES takeaways
[…] of specialization within telehealth that people will really gravitate towards,” Varsha Rao, CEO of telehealth startup Nurx, said Tuesday […]
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Rick Ross Ensures Health Is Wealth With $1M Investment In JetDoc Startup
hiphopdx.com – January 17
[…] According to Forbes, the 44-year-old Ross is making a seven-figure investment into Florida-based telehealth startup Jetdoc […]

How The New Domain Extensions Can Help Your Business Look More Relevant

Are you looking to add legitimacy and relevance to your business? The first step is to get a website, as most people now go online first when looking for products and services. Before you can launch a website, you must register a domain name, selecting a domain extension that suits your business.

To those who have no idea about what domain extensions are, these happen to be that part of the website domain name that appears on the other side of the dot — like .com, .in, .net, and so on.

There are now hundreds of these to choose from.

Domain extensions are also referred to as TLDs or Top-Level Domains. Let’s take a closer look at how domain extensions can help your business thrive.

The importance of domain extensions

Google search results showing cotton manufacturers in Gujarat

Your web address is very important because it acts as a digital calling card. It is usually the very first thing that people see on Google when they search for a service or product.

How your web name ends makes people take instant calls about what type of website you have.

For instance, a technology firm could use .net as a domain extension, as it is associated with ISPs and other tech providers.

A business located in India might choose the .in domain extension for its web address, as this is known as India’s TLD.

The most well-known of domain extensions — .com — has become the go-to choice for any internet-based business. But as ecommerce grew tremendously over the years, many of the shortest and most valuable .com domain names have already been registered. Hence, it became necessary to have many more domain extensions made available (see complete list).

Why opt for new TLDs rather than .com

There has been a veritable explosion in the number of new domain extensions. For example:

Opting for a new domain extension can change the way your business or organization is perceived by its target audience. There are several other advantages to using one of the new domain extensions for your web address. Let’s take a look at what these may be in some greater detail.

1. A more memorable website domain name

A name that is easy to remember is half the battle won when it comes to getting found on the internet.

It’s time to look beyond .com.

A domain extension name that resonates with your target audience and makes them come to you is something one should be looking at. It will have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

2. Improved branding

Not only is the right kind of domain extension easy to remember and relate to, but it also helps enhance branding across the services one offers. Besides, easy to use names are less likely to be misspelled during the search process.

3. Better defined organization

A suitably chosen domain extension will instantly identify the line of work carried out by a business or an organization. An Indian non-profit would, for instance, be well advised to use a .org.in domain extension to identify its area of expertise and its location. It would help the organization make its presence felt in its specific niche, which can only augur well for its outreach efforts.

4. Establish a business identity

A domain extension should be able to establish a business’s identity like nothing else. An architect’s firm, for example, would do well to use the .archi domain name that would have synergy with its business.

5. Help diversify

If your line of work has expanded and your current domain extension does not seem to adequately represent the changed status of your business, a change in domain extension could help correct that impression. If you are a

n exercise instructor who has also started giving yoga lessons, you might want to adopt the .guru extension to reflect the change.

6. Create a strong solo brand

A lot of people who are strong solopreneur brands by themselves can further accentuate their brands by choosing an appropriate domain extension. This will help one obtain much better results in organic searches of one’s personal brand name. Changing your existing brand name to your legal name lets you leverage your personal clout to help enhance your brand image.

Give the new domain extensions a look

The importance of a domain extension cannot be underestimated, in that it defines the very identity of a business, organization or individual in the online space. These days one can choose from a very large number of domain extensions, whose names are far more reflective of what they represent than plain old .com.

Truly, a domain extension is much more than a mere web address of a business or organization. It is no less than a powerful marketing and branding tool that can help improve a business or organization’s prospects.

With hundreds of domain extensions to choose from, one can quite easily choose something that will represent the best face of a business or organization to its core target audience.

Indeed, those from large corporations and trading organizations to businesses, professionals and nonprofits would benefit immensely from a change of their domain extension.

Vipin Labroo

By: Vipin Labroo

Vipin Labroo is a content creator, author and PR consultant (not in any particular order). A member of the Nonfiction Authors Association, he has years of corporate experience working with an eclectic range of clients. In his line of work he writes press releases, articles, blogs, white papers, research reports, website content, eBooks and so on across segments like technology, business & marketing, internet marketing, healthcare, fashion, real estate, travel and so on. Vipin has earned a solid reputation for the sterling quality of his work across the English-speaking world. Connect with him on Twitter.

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Visa Partners With Ethereum Digital-Dollar Startup That Raised $271 Million

Credit card giant Visa today announced it is connecting its global payments network of 60 million merchants to the U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC) developed by Circle Internet Financial on the ethereum blockchain. The digital currency is now valued at $2.9 billion.

While Visa itself won’t custody the digital currency, effective immediately, the partnership will see Circle working with Visa to help select Visa credit card issuers start integrating the USDC software into their platforms and send and receive USDC payments. Circle itself is also going through the same Fast Track program. In turn, businesses will eventually be able to send international USDC payments to any business supported by Visa, and after those funds are converted to the national currency, spend them anywhere that accepts Visa. 

After Circle itself graduates from Visa’s Fast Track program, likely sometime next year, Visa will issue a credit card that lets businesses send and receive USDC payments directly from any business using the card. “This will be the first corporate card that will allow businesses to be able to spend a balance of USDC,” says Visa head of crypto Cuy Sheffield. “And so we think that this will significantly increase the utility that USDC can have for Circle’s business clients.” 

The partnership, in conjunction with an earlier $40 million investment Visa led in a cryptocurrency startup for holding similar assets issued on a blockchain, a recent blockchain patent application for minting traditional currency on a blockchain, and an increasing amount of work directly with central banks, is the latest evidence that the credit card giant sees the technology first popularized by bitcoin as a crucial part of the future of money.

“We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks,” says Sheffield, a five-year veteran of Visa, who took over as head of crypto last June. “Blockchain networks and stablecoins, like USDC, are just additional networks. So we think that there’s a significant value that Visa can provide to our clients, enabling them to access them and enabling them to spend at our merchants.”

Leading up to the partnership, Visa had already onboarded 25 cryptocurrency wallet providers as part of its Fast Track program—including Fold and Cred— each of which can now pilot the USDC integration. Going forward, other cryptocurrency wallet providers like BlockFi, which yesterday announced it will launch its bitcoin rewards Visa next year, will be able to use USDC in the first quarter of 2021. 

Visa estimates that $120 trillion in payments annually are made using checks and instant wire transfers, costing as much as $50 each, regardless of the size of the transaction. Since USDC settles on the ethereum blockchain, transactions can close in a little a[s] 20 seconds and, importantly, can be done for nearly free, Visa believes its vast array of merchants could choose to use this nearly instant alternative form of payment. “We worked closely with digital currency wallets to issue Visa credentials,” says Sheffield. “And helping them receive USDC payouts can add additional value for them.”

Visa’s entrance into the digital dollars world is the culmination of two years of work at the credit card giant. At the core of Visa’s evolution is a new understanding of itself as a network of networks, according to Sheffield, some of which Visa owns, like Visa Net, and others it doesn’t, such as the Swift interbank payment network, local ACH networks and now USDC.

On the product side, Visa’s cryptocurrency work is largely focused on its Fast Track program for helping companies obtain credentials for issuing Visa credit cards. Most notably, in February 2020, Coinbase became the first cryptocurrency company to be granted principal membership status by Visa, meaning it can in turn issue cards to others. Relatively few of those companies are using crypto-assets like bitcoin, according to Visa’s global head of financial technology, Terry Angelos. While the majority of the crypto-plays consist of “tokenized versions of fiat,” similar to USDC, backed by traditional currency, issued on a blockchain and spendable via the card. 

On the research side, Visa’s work in the area is largely focused on investing in startups and filing patents. Last year, Visa made its first public investment in blockchain by coleading a $40 million Series B in digital currency infrastructure provider Anchorage, which builds technology for storing assets issued on a blockchain. Angelos compares the investment to Visa’s 2015 backing of e-commerce infrastructure provider Stripe, which could go public this year at a $36 billion valuation. While Anchorage is a much earlier-stage startup, founded in 2017, the firm has already developed a number of technological breakthroughs, including privacy-preserving technology called Zether, which JPMorgan used in its own cryptocurrency project.

Especially relevant to today’s news, Sheffield describes Anchorage’s cryptocurrency custody technology as a possibly crucial component for central banks looking to issue digital currencies (CBDCs). While stablecoins like USDC are backed by currency issued by a central bank, a CBDC would be issued directly by the central bank and could lead to a reimagining of traditional finance. While former JPMorgan exec Daniel Masters argues CBDCs could make commercial banks unnecessary, Sheffield says they’ll still have a place in the future of currency issued on blockchains. “We are actively working with commercial banks to help them understand and navigate transitions to digital currency based products.”

On a related note in March 2020, Visa’s research team applied for a patent for technology that could be used by central banks to issue any fiat currency, of which dollars, yen and renminbi are an example. At the time, a spokesperson indicated that the technology was as likely to be used for the creation of a new product, as it was to “protect” its existing businesses. Sheffield further clarified: “We are continuously exploring and filing patents for innovative technologies like digital currency and CBDC.”


Click here to subscribe to Forbes’ Crypto-Asset & Blockchain Advisor.


On their way to today’s announcement, both Visa and Circle have undergone a number of high-profile crypto-pivots. In October 2019, after making a huge bang by being a member of Facebook-founded Libra Association’s consortium of companies building a stablecoin backed by a basket of fiat currencies, Visa left the organization.

That same month, Circle, which has raised $271 million in venture capital, initiated a fire sale on two of its most valuable assets, starting with cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, followed by Circle Invest in February 2020. Another product, Circle Pay, no longer lets customers buy or sell bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency and its once-vaunted OTC desk is closed. 

As all this was happening, the firm, whose full name is, tellingly, Circle Internet Financial, rebranded its home page with a focus exclusively on stablecoins and central bank digital currencies. Circle founder Jeremy Allaire, whose last company, online video site Brightcove, went public in 2012 and is now valued at $659 million, envisioned the company as a payment rail for the internet.

While his focus was initially on bitcoin, then other cryptocurrencies, USDC is built on top of ethereum, meaning tiny amounts of the cryptocurrency ether are used as “gas” to pay for the transactions. While the drastic changes to the business are notable, the underlying mission appears to have remained the same.

USDC was first minted in September 2018. Unlike bitcoin, it is backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars, which are audited by accounting firm Grant Thornton to ensure the actual amount of the asset in circulation is at least equal to the dollars backing the assets. While exchanges and marketplaces that directly accept USDC as payments (without Visa or another card provider) are responsible for their own AML-KYC compliance, reserves are governed by the nonprofit Centre Consortium founded by Visa principal member Coinbase and Circle, with other members forthcoming.

To help manage all this and open up membership to other companies, the consortium yesterday announced its first CEO, David Puth, the former leader of CLS Bank International, a similarly structured foreign exchange settlement consortium owned by 70 financial institutions.

The first use-case for stablecoins was as an on-ramp and off-ramp for bitcoin investors who wanted to enter or exit positions faster than traditional banks could do with dollars. USDC’s market cap, representing the total amount of dollars in circulation, has been rising with the price of bitcoin since March 2020, when bitcoin started an eight-month, 271% ascension to $19,134, according to CoinGecko. Over the same period, USDC has grown 525% to almost $3 billion today. While the first stablecoin, Tether, is still king with a market capitalization of $18 billion, a number of others are now also competing, including DAI at $1 billion and Binance USD at $662 million.

Then, this March, Circle started offering services to let businesses accept USDC as payment, similar to those that run on FedWire, Swift and ACH rails, starting at about $200 a month. But instead of taking up to three days to close, transactions denominated in USDC and other stablecoins close almost instantly. So far about 1,000 businesses including institutional traders, banks, neobanks, on-demand delivery companies and gaming companies have opened accounts. Allaire says he’s in talks with a number of financial institutions exploring USDC as a possible upgrade to their corporate treasuries.

In June 2020 Circle announced it would start issuing USDC on the faster Algorand blockchain, which settles on average in four seconds, as part of what it describes as a “multichain framework.” In rapid-fire succession the firm then announced the Stellar and Solana blockchains would also be used to issue USDC. Algorand and Solana issuances are already live, with Stellar issuances scheduled to be minted in Q1 2021. 

While onboarding to crypto trading markets was the first stablecoin-use case, things are evolving. In March 2020 USDC was approved as a form of collateral for loans issued using the MakerDAO protocol, the industry leader of a new financial category called DeFi, or “decentralized finance,” where services typically offered by banks, like lending, are offered via open-source software that allows individuals to directly connect. Of the $14.5 billion now locked in DeFi platforms according to data tracking site DeFi Pulse, nearly 20% are on Maker, with nearly half of that, or about $403 million worth, now in the form of USDC. 

Long before DeFi was called DeFi, though, it went by a different, more illuminative name: DAO, short for “Distributed Autonomous Organization.” After some early high-profile failures the concept was rebranded with the focus on finance. Even the name MakerDAO hearkens back to this earlier, if occasionally overshadowed vision for the future of organizations. Allaire describes that future as a world where everything from contractual agreements to the payment of taxes are built into plumbing that directly connects individuals and enterprises in a wide range of new kinds of business relationships. 

“Imagine a capital marketplace that is for anyone who needs capital, or anyone who needs to offer capital that has the same efficiency that Amazon has for e-commerce, the same efficiency that YouTube has for content, effectively, capital markets with the efficiency of the internet, which is essentially zero,” says Allaire. “And that will ultimately return trillions of dollars in value back to the economy, it will reduce costs for every business in the world, it will accelerate the way in which individuals can participate in commercial activity and commerce activity, in conducting their labor and interacting with businesses around the world.” Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

Michael del Castillo

 Michael del Castillo

I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies and extends to non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, supply chain management, digital identity and a number of other use cases. Previously, I was a staff reporter at blockchain news site, CoinDesk, where I covered the increasing willingness of enterprises to explore how blockchain could make their work more efficient and in some cases, unnecessary. I have been covering blockchain since 2011, been published in the New Yorker, and been nationally syndicated by American City Business Journals. My work has been published in Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books and I am regularly cited in industry research reports. Since 2009 I’ve run Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to showing Manhattan’s rich literary heritage.

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Bitcoins Wealth Club

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With Toyota’s Help, This Secretive Entrepreneur May Finally Give Us Flying Cars

JoeBen Bevirt first thought about building an airplane that could take off and land like a helicopter in second grade while trudging up the 4.5-mile road to his family’s home in an off-grid hippie settlement among the redwoods in Northern California. “It was a lonnnnng hill,” Bevirt says, laughing. “It made me dream about a better way.” 

Four decades later, Bevirt is closing in on that goal. On a ranch outside Santa Cruz, the surfing mecca near where he grew up, Bevirt has secretively developed an electric airplane with six tilting propellers that he says can carry a pilot and four passengers 150 miles at up to 200 miles per hour, while being quiet enough to disappear among the hum of city life. He envisions the as-yet-unnamed aircraft, which experts speculate could cost $400,000 to $1.5 million to manufacture, as the foundation for a massive rooftop-to-rooftop air-taxi network—one he plans to build and run himself. His aspiration is to free urbanites from snarled roads and save a billion people an hour a day at the same price (he hopes) as an UberX ride, or roughly $2.50 a mile. 

It sounds crazy, but Bevirt, 47, has some powerful believers. Toyota pumped roughly $400 million into his Joby Aviation in January, joining investors including Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective and Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group, the latter of which was also an early Tesla backer. In all, Joby has raised $745 million, most recently at a valuation of $2.6 billion. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda told Bevirt he hopes, through Joby, to realize the flying-car dreams of his grandfather Kiichiro, Toyota Motors’ founder, who developed aircraft before World War II. Toyota engineers are refining components of Joby’s aircraft to make it easier to build on a mass scale more akin to the auto industry than aviation, and helping Bevirt set up a factory in Monterey County where he plans to produce thousands of aircraft a year.

Joby is the best-funded and most valuable of an explosion of startups leveraging advances in batteries and electric motors to try to wean aviation off fossil fuels and create new types of aircraft, including autonomous ones, to serve as air taxis. No one knows how big the industry could get—or if it will get off the ground at all—but Wall Street is spitballing some big numbers. One report from Morgan Stanley estimates the category could generate $674 billion a year in fares worldwide by 2040. 

“If we can fly, we can turn our streets into parks and fundamentally make our cities much nicer places to live in,” Bevirt says. 

Dreamers have been trying (and failing) to build flying cars for 100 years. Skeptics think Joby and its competitors are still at least a decade too early: Today’s best batteries pack 14 times less usable energy by weight than jet fuel. Given how much brute power is needed to propel an aircraft straight up, they say, until batteries improve, electric air taxis will have too little range and carrying capacity to make business sense. Then there’s the tough task of convincing regulators they’ll be safe to fly. 

Bevirt says he can produce a viable, safe aircraft now with top-of-the-line lithium-ion battery cells that currently power electric cars. And Joby is the only startup to commit to Uber’s ambitious timeline of launching an urban air-taxi service in 2023. Bevirt says he’s on track to win safety certification from the Federal Aviation Administration that year, which would likely make Joby the first electric air-taxi maker to clear that daunting hurdle. 

Bevirt was raised in a back-to-the-land community in which he got an early education in engineering, helping fix farm equipment and building homes alongside his father, Ron Bevirt, who was one of the LSD-tripping Merry Pranksters back in the 1960s. (JoeBen is named after a character in Sometimes a Great Notion, written by Pranksters ringleader Ken Kesey, famous for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

As an adult, Bevirt re-created that community with a decidedly capitalistic twist on his secluded 440 acres of woodlands and meadows overlooking the Pacific. The sprawling property, which he purchased with the proceeds from selling earlier businesses—Velocity11, which built liquid-handling robots used for testing potential drugs, and the company behind GorillaPod, a flexible camera tripod—includes a former quarry where Bevirt conducted early test flights. Employees have lived in small cottages on the property and built houses nearby. Before locking in on developing an aircraft, he incubated other startups there, with everyone working together in a cavernous barn. Bevirt started an organic farm to feed them, with chickens and bees yielding eggs and honey. 

The environment bred a tight-knit team – some Joby Aviation staffers start their day surfing together and end it with pizza parties around an outdoor oven. Group meetings are punctuated by choruses of “woots.”

“It’s a high-fiving, hugging culture, and that really flows from JoeBen,” says Jim Adler, managing director at Toyota AI Ventures, who convinced his colleagues to invest in Joby in 2017. “He’s high-energy, and it’s contagious.” 

While Joby is participating in Uber’s aerial ride-sharing plans, a big part of Bevirt’s business model involves running his own ride-sharing network. That helped attract investors. “If it was just a vehicle, I would not have been moved to invest if there wasn’t a service wrapped around it,” Adler says. 

Building the required landing pads, booking software and other infrastructure, though, will require a lot more cash—and patience—from investors. Joby has no plans to sell its aircraft outside of building its own fleet, further delaying the day when investors can recoup the billions that will likely be needed to scale up. 

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

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Santa Cruz Works

JoeBen Bevirt from Joby Aviation at The Second Annual – Titans of Tech on Jan. 25, 2018. http://santacruzworks.orghttp://www.jobyaviation.com Filmed by Bitframe Media – https://www.bitframemedia.com

We Got An Exclusive Look At The Pitch Deck Crossbeam Used To Get $25 Million To Help Companies Collaborate During COVID-19

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Crossbeam, a startup that helps simplify the process of sharing data between companies, recently scored $25 million in Series B funding in a round that included Redpoint Ventures and FirstMark Capital.

Business Insider has obtained an exclusive look at the pitch deck Crossbeam used to convince investors. Crossbeam’s platform takes data from the disparate programs used by companies to track customer information and combines them to create a single, searchable set.

Co-founder Bob Moore said he was inspired to start the company by his past at SaaS companies, where even seemingly simple acts of data-sharing between companies were stymied by mismatched systems.

Business partnerships between companies have always been complicated. Now the physical isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder.

“How can you do an effective job of building a partner ecosystem when you can’t high five, can’t slap people on the backs anymore and shake hands?” Bob Moore, co-founder of partnership platform Crossbeam, told Business Insider.

The pandemic helped accelerated interest in Crossbeam’s simplifying platform to the point where investors started approaching Moore less than a year after the company’s previous round. In early August, Redpoint Ventures led a $25 million Series B round for the company, joined by FirstMark Capital, Okta Ventures, Slack Fund, Uncork Capital and Partnership Leaders. You can check out the redacted pitch deck Crossbeam used to bring investors on board below.

“It’s a little bit of a surprisingly rabid funding market right now,” said FirstMark partner Matt Turck, who joined the round after Moore told him he’d been approached by other investors. “Five months ago everybody thought the market was going to slow down considerably. Then lo and behold, fast forward to today, it’s actually more intense than it’s probably ever been.”

Moore said the extra funds would go to expanding the company’s free version of its services to help pull more customers in.

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“We think that’s the smartest way to go about building a really valuable network where people are active and their use will grow over time,” Moore said. “We’re not rushing into trying to extract dollars from them the first two weeks after they sign.”

When companies partner with each other, they frequently need to figure out what customers they may have in common. But the way companies keep track of their customers varies, making it hard to easily and securely compare data to find any overlap. Crossbeam works with programs commonly used to track customer data, like Stripe and Salesforce, to create a common data set both companies in a partnership can search through.

Moore said he was inspired to found Crossbeam by his past at SaaS companies.

“It was shockingly hard to answer what seemed like really simple questions anytime we were collaborating with another company,” Moore said. “So if we had a partner and we just wanted to know ‘how many customers do we have in common?’ or we wanted to know ‘are my sales reps currently selling to any of the same companies that your sales reps are……..

Read More: Business Insider

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