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F50 Global Capital Summit 2020 calls global investors to support healthtech innovation for COVID19

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The 5th F50 Global Capital Summit® (GCS) Spring 2020 on June 16-17, with the theme Elevating HealthTech Innovation opens for speaker nomination. The event is co-hosted by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, UCSF Entrepreneur Center, and SVE (Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs). This special summit is calling investors, entrepreneurs, and physicians to support the innovations which are fighting with COVID-19. 

The spread of the coronavirus has highlighted the imperative for new technologies and solutions in the health and medical area. 20+ leaders including leading physicians, investors, and infinluciers had joined the Global Committee which is the volunteering advising board and curation of the content for the summit.  Innovators, leaders and influencers in the startup ecosystem, like you, are vital to accelerating progress worldwide. A public presentation including committee members, content tracks is included here.  The content will be featured on the F50 Global Insights Youtube channel.

The summit is one of Bay Area’s most sought after events for investors and industry leaders, connecting the next generation of world-changing innovators with strategic partners to power their long-term impact. 

Building on F50’s focus on healthtech innovation over the past year, the Summit is an outstanding opportunity to bring together healthtech experts, entrepreneurs, and the global investor community to elevate health innovation at this critical time.

Global Capital Summit – Confirmed Speakers

  • Bill Reichert,Garage Venture,Managing Director
  • Braj Agrawal, MD, Physician (Neurologist), Investor, Author, Chair IGS2020 at UCSF, Asst Prof Stanford
  • Brian Modoff, EVP, Qualcomm
  • Canice Wu, Vlocity, Head of Insurance Practice
  • Che Voigt,North Bay Angels,Board Chair
  • Daniel Kraft, Chair of Medicine, Singularity Exponential
  • David Cao, Partner, F50 | Hunnwell Lake Ventures
  • Dr. Daniel Teo, Founding Partner, Hunniwell Lake Ventures
  • Dr. Guoliang Yu,Crown Biosicence,Executive Chairman
  • Dr. Heldley Rees,Poole Hospital (NHS)
  • Dr. Mang Yu,Stanford University
  • Dr. Minesh Khashu M.B.B.S, MD, FRCPCH, FRSA, Q Fellow (Health Foundation & NHSI), Consultant Neonatologist, Poole Hospital NHS
  • Dr. Oana Marcu, Scientist, SETI(NASA)
  • Dr. Ossama Hassanein, Chairman, Rising Tide Fund
  • Dr. Patrick Carroll, CMO, HIMS/HERS; Former Chief Medical Officer at Walgreens
  • Dr. Sean Randolph, Sr. Director, Bay Area Council Institute
  • Dr. Shafi Ahmed,”Professor, Associate Dean”,Barts Medical School
  • Dr. Shiyi Chen, Fudan University
  • Dr. Uli K. Chettipally, MD., MPH., Founder & President InnoMD
  • Dr. Xiang Qian, Medical Director, International Medical Services,Stanford Health Care
  • Gary Goldman MD, DDS, Sutter Enterprise Physician Informatics Lead
  • Haiping Hu, Chairman, Global Mentor Board,
  • Henry Xue,Stanford Angels,
  • James Sowers, Angel investor, PopUp Ventures, Forbes top 50 Angel Investor
  • Jinbo Liu, President, Netease USA
  • Jordan Wahbeh,Bay Angels,Managing Partner
  • Keith Teare, Angel Investor
  • Lu Zhang, Founding Partner, Fusion Capital
  • Nikolai Oreshkin,Elysium Venture Capital,Managing Partner
  • Orrin Ailloni-Charas, MD, MBA, Managing Partner at Global Health Impact Fund
  • Paul Singh, Angel Investor, Board Member, Tie
  • Pavan Kumar, Partner, F50 Elevate
  • Philipe Kahn, Inventor, Founder of FullPower, LightSurf, Starfish,Borland Soft
  • Randy Williams,Keiretsu Forum,CEO/Founder
  • Richard Fang,Hunniwell Lake Ventures,Founding Partner
  • Roger Royse, Partner,Hayne Boone
  • Roger Sanford Cofounder, Healthgrid
  • Sean Randolph, Senior Director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Stephaine Marrus, Managing Director, UCSF Entrepreneur Center
  • Steve Lau, Founding Partner, Eagle Fund
  • Thomas C. Südhof, Nobel Laureate, 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • Wei Zhou,Centrillion,CEO

The Summit is known for the exceptional quality of its speaking program as well as its select audience.  It will include around 60 speaking sessions, panel discussions, and invitational roundtable discussions for the industry leaders. This event is free to professional investors and medical professionals.  We hope to attract 100,000 attendees from around the world. Attendees from leading corporations, VCs, angel investors, founders and thought leaders will participate online.

More information

Register today for Comp ticket registration

https://forms.gle/k3Kn8wfhxvcENEJU9

Nominate a Speaker

This is our formal speaker invitation letter:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19elevating-healthtech-innovation-f50-global-capital-david-cao/

Here is the speaker registration / nomination form.

Volunteering

As a past volunteer leader myself for Startup Weekend, SVE ToastMasters,  SV Android, I would like to invite more experienced volunteers join the event as volunteers:

Donate services: summit@f50.io

Features  of the online  summit:

  • Keynote and thought leader presentation & insightful panels
  • Global Insights Investor Report
  • F50 Global Impact Awards
  • Executive (Speaker & VIP ) Roundtable discussions
  • Breakout sessions from India, Euroope, China, Latin America, Europe, etc.
  • F50 Elevate Connect Lounge

About F50:

F50 identifies the most promising early-stage technology companies in North America by leveraging the collective intelligence of its deep roots of Silicon Valley-based developer and startup communities, the large reach of corporate partners and investor network, and industry experts. We support the growth of these companies with corporate partnerships, market development, and venture financing; together with our global network.

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About the Global Capital Summit 2020

The Global Capital Summit®  is organized by F50, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs. The Summit finds and connects the next generation of world-changing tech innovations with partnerships to power their long-term impact. The summit will feature 60+ extraordinary sessions, and over 1000 attendees from world-leading corporations and the global investment ecosystem. The attendees are corporate executives, Angel investors, VCs, and a group of high-potential local founders. We dont expect to general any profit from this event. But if we do, we will donate the profit to the entrepreneur organizations who are helping the fight with COVID-19

Pumpkin Organics won SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice 2020 – Good taste is learnable

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Pumpkin Organics, winner of SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice Award in SVE Demo Global 2020, is redefining baby food based on the nutritional science of the First 1,000 Days.

They are on a mission to change the way we feed our kids, and to contribute to a healthy, happy and high-performing next generation around the world.

Pumpkin Organics, helping to train tiny taste buds for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Midwives and doctors agree: ‘What babies eat early in life will influence their food preferences later in life‘​. Thus, the ‘first thousand days‘​ have a major impact on the future eating habits, health and quality of life of babies, as they can learn taste and food cravings. Science calls this phenomenon ‘metabolic imprinting‘​.

Therefore, would it not be smart to teach babies healthy eating habits from an early age, i.e. more vegetables and less sugar?

Good taste is not a coincidence, it is learnable.

We are parents who want to help other parents to support the development of their babies. So, we created Smart Food for Super Babies. All babies are super:) And our smart food – our recipes veggies-centric, 100% organic and with nothing extra – no added sugars, salt, preservatives or additives.

Discover more delicious food for babies at www.pumpkin-organics.com.

Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

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Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released.

There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists of genetic material called mRNA encased in tiny particles that shuttle it into our cells. From there, it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. A similar strategy is employed in other leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. If mRNA vaccines can protect against COVID-19 and, presumably, other infectious diseases, it will be a momentous piece of news.

“This is a truly historic first,” said Dr. Michael Watson, the former president of Valera, a subsidiary of Moderna, which is currently running advanced trials of its own mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. “We now have a whole new class of vaccines in our hands.”

But historically, important scientific announcements about vaccines are made through peer-reviewed medical research papers that have undergone extensive scrutiny about study design, results and assumptions, not through company press releases.

So did Pfizer’s stock deserve its double-digit percentage bump? The answers to the following five questions will help us know.

1. How long will the vaccine protect patients?

Pfizer says that, as of last week, 94 people out of about 40,000 in the trial had gotten ill with COVID-19. While it didn’t say exactly how many of the sick had been vaccinated, the 90% efficacy figure suggests it was a very small number. The Pfizer announcement covers people who got two shots between July and October. But it doesn’t indicate how long protection will last or how often people might need boosters.

“It’s a reasonable bet, but still a gamble that protection for two or three months is similar to six months or a year,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration panel that is likely to review the vaccine for approval in December. Normally, vaccines aren’t licensed until they show they can protect for a year or two.

The company did not release any safety information. To date, no serious side effects have been revealed, and most tend to occur within six weeks of vaccination. But scientists will have to keep an eye out for rare effects such as immune enhancement, a severe illness brought on by a virus’s interaction with immune particles in some vaccinated persons, said Dr. Walt Orenstein, a professor of medicine at Emory University and former director of the immunization program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Will it protect the most vulnerable?

Pfizer did not disclose what percentage of its trial volunteers are in the groups most likely to be hospitalized or to die of COVID-19 — including people 65 and older and those with diabetes or obesity. This is a key point because many vaccines, particularly for influenza, may fail to protect the elderly though they protect younger people. “How representative are those 94 people of the overall population, especially those most at risk?” asked Orenstein.

Both the National Academy of Medicine and the CDC have urged that older people be among the first groups to receive vaccines. It’s possible that vaccines under development by Novavax and Sanofi, which are likely to begin late-phase clinical trials later this year, may be better for the elderly, Offit noted. Those vaccines contain immune-stimulating particles like the ones contained in the Shingrix vaccine, which is highly effective in protecting older people against shingles disease.

3. Can it be rolled out effectively?

The Pfizer vaccine, unlike others in late-stage testing, must be kept supercooled, on dry ice around 100 degrees below zero, from the time it is produced until a few days before it is injected. The mRNA quickly self-destructs at higher temperatures. Pfizer has devised an elaborate system to transport the vaccine by truck and specially designed cases to vaccination sites. Public health workers are being trained to handle the vaccine as we speak, but we don’t know for sure how well it will do if containers are left out in the Arizona sun too long. Mishandling the vaccine along the way from factory to patient would render it ineffective, so people who received it could think they were protected when they were not, Offit said.

4. Could a premature announcement hurt future vaccines?

There’s presently no way to know whether the Pfizer vaccine will be the best overall or for specific age groups. But if the FDA approves it quickly, that could make it harder for manufacturers of other vaccines to carry out their studies. If people are aware that an effective vaccine exists, they may decline to enter clinical trials, partly out of concern they could get a placebo and remain unprotected. Indeed, it may be unethical to use a placebo in such trials. Many vaccines will be needed in order to meet global demand for protection against COVID-19, so it’s crucial to continue additional studies.

5. Could the Pfizer study expedite future vaccines?

Scientists are vitally interested in whether the small number who received the real vaccine but still got sick produced lower levels of antibodies than the vaccinated individuals who remained well. Blood studies of those people would help scientists learn whether there is a “correlate of protection” for COVID-19 — a level of antibodies that can predict whether someone is protected from the disease. If they had that knowledge, public health officials could determine whether other vaccines under production were effective without necessarily having to test them on tens of thousands of people.

But it’s difficult to build such road maps. Scientists have never established correlates of immunity for pertussis, for example, although vaccines have been used against those bacteria for nearly a century.

Still, this is good news, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former FDA deputy commissioner. He said: “I hope this makes people realize that we’re not stuck in this situation forever. There’s hope coming, whether it’s this vaccine or another.”


This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Time to Discuss Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects of COVID Shots? Scientists Say Yes.

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Drugmaker Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic, but also sets up a tight time frame for making sure consumers understand what it will mean to actually get the shots.


This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free.

This vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90% effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.

Left out so far in the push to develop vaccines with unprecedented speed has been a large-scale plan to communicate effectively about those issues in advance, said Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

“You need to be ready,” he said. “You can’t look for your communication materials the day after the vaccine is authorized.”

Omer, who declined to comment on reports he’s being considered for a post in the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, called for the rollout of a robust messaging campaign based on the best scientific evidence about vaccine hesitancy and acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a strategy called “Vaccinate with Confidence,” but it lacks the necessary resources, Omer said.

“We need to communicate, and we need to communicate effectively, and we need to start planning for this now,” he said.

Such broad-based outreach will be necessary in a country where, as of mid-October, only half of Americans said they’d be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Initial doses of any vaccine would be limited at first, but experts predict they may be widely available by the middle of next year. Discussing potential side effects early could counter misinformation that overstates or distorts the risk.

“The biggest tragedy would be if we have a safe and effective vaccine that people are hesitant to get,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer and a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Pfizer and its partner, the German firm BioNTech, on Monday said their vaccine appears to protect 9 in 10 people from getting COVID-19, although they didn’t release underlying data. It’s the first of four COVID-19 vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests in the U.S. to post results.

Data from early trials of several COVID-19 vaccines suggests that consumers will need to be prepared for side effects that, while technically mild, could disrupt daily life. A senior Pfizer executive told the news outlet Stat that side effects from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine appear to be comparable to standard adult vaccines but worse than the company’s pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar, or typical flu shots.

The two-dose Shingrix vaccine, for instance, which protects older adults against the virus that causes painful shingles, results in sore arms in 78% of recipients and muscle pain and fatigue in more than 40% of those who take it. Prevnar and common flu shots can cause injection-site pain, aches and fever.

“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”

Persuading people who experience these symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose — and a second round of flu-like symptoms — could be a tough sell, Schaffner said.

How public health experts explain such effects is important, Omer said. “There’s evidence that suggests that if you frame pain as a proxy of effectiveness, it’s helpful,” he said. “If it’s hurting a little, it’s working.”

At the same time, good communication will help consumers plan for such effects. A COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be distributed first to health care staffers and other essential workers, who may not be able to work if they feel sick, said Dr. Eli Perencevich, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Health Care.

“A lot of folks don’t have sick leave. A lot of our essential workers don’t have health insurance,” he said, suggesting that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they’re vaccinated. “These are the things a well-functioning government should provide for to get our economy going again.”

Making sure consumers know that a COVID-19 vaccine likely will require two doses — and that it could take a month for full effectiveness to kick in — is also crucial. The Pfizer phase 3 trial, which has enrolled nearly 44,000 people, started in late July. Participants received a second dose 21 days after the first. The reported 90% efficacy was measured seven days after the second dose.

Communicating effectively will be vital to ensuring that consumers follow through with the shots and — assuming several vaccines are approved — that their first and second doses are from the same maker. Until full protection kicks in, Omer said, people should continue to take measures to protect themselves: wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing. It’s important to let people know that taking appropriate action now will pay off later.

“If we just show them the tunnel, not the light, then that results in this mass denial,” he said. “We need to say, ‘You’ll have to continue to do this in the medium term, but the long term looks good.”

The best communication can occur once full data from the Pfizer trial and others are presented, noted Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who sits on the federal Food and Drug Administration’s advisory board considering COVID-19 vaccines.

“When you look at those data, you can more accurately define what groups of people are most likely to have side effects, what the efficacy is, what we know about how long the efficacy lasts, what we know about how long the safety data have been tested,” he said. “I think you have to get ready to communicate that. You can start getting ready now.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Smart concrete could pave the way for high-tech, cost-effective roads

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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco averages more than 100,000 vehicles daily. Photo by Saketh Garuda for Unsplash

Every day, Americans travel on roads, bridges and highways without considering the safety or reliability of these structures. Yet much of the transportation infrastructure in the U.S. is outdated, deteriorating and badly in need of repair.

Of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S., for example, 39% are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10% are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

The cost to repair and improve nationwide transportation infrastructure ranges from nearly US$190 billion to almost $1 trillion. Repairing U.S. infrastructure costs individual households, on average, about $3,400 every year. Traffic congestion alone is estimated to cost the average driver $1,400 in fuel and time spent commuting, a nationwide tally of more than $160 billion per year.

The Purdue engineering lab has installed smart technology in three Indiana interstate highways.

I am a professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the director of the Center for Intelligent Infrastructures at Purdue University. My co-author, Vishal Saravade, is part of my team at the Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technology (SMART) Lab. The SMART Lab researches and develops new technologies to make American infrastructure “intelligent,” safer and more cost-effective. These new systems self-monitor the condition of roads and bridges quickly and accurately and can, sometimes, even repair themselves.

Smart, self-healing concrete

Infrastructure – bridges, highways, pavement – deteriorates over time with continuous use. The life of structures could be extended, however, if damages were monitored in real time and fixed early on. In the northern U.S., for example, freeze-thaw cycles in winter cause water to seep into the pavement where it freezes, expands and enlarges cracks, which can cause significant damage. If left unrepaired, this damage may propagate and break down pavements and bridges.

Self-healing concrete embedded with super polymers.
Self-healing concrete test study with cracked concrete (left) and self-healed concrete after 28 days (right).
SMART Lab/Purdue University, CC BY-ND

Such damage can be identified and repaired autonomously. At an early stage of a crack, for example, self-healing pavement would activate super absorbent polymers to absorb water and produce concrete-like material that fills in the crack. Cracks as small as a few microns could be healed to prevent significant damage by preventing or delaying the later stages of the freeze-thaw cycle.

The astonishing properties of absorbent polymers.

Roadway technology

Many researchers in the world are working on improving construction infrastructure. Technologies recently being explored include solar and energy-harvesting roads, charging lanes for electric vehicles, smart streetlights and reducing carbon-related emissions from construction materials.

At the Purdue SMART Lab, our team is also testing novel sensors that monitor transportation infrastructure by embedding them in several Indiana interstate highways. We plan to expand to other state highway systems in the next few years with a goal to better accommodate increased traffic and provide accurate estimates of road conditions during construction and its life.

Sensors installed on Indiana interstate I-74.
Erin Easterling/Purdue University, CC BY-ND

Sensors embedded in concrete pavement acquire information about the infrastructure’s health condition in real time and communicate the data to computers. Electrical signals are applied through the sensors. Concrete’s vibrations are converted into electrical signals that are read and analyzed by lab-built customized software. This enables transportation engineers to make effective and data-driven decisions from opening roads to traffic and to proactively identifying issues that cause damage or deterioration.

After concrete is poured for highway pavement, for example, it takes hours to cure and become strong enough to open for traffic. The timing of when to open a highway depends on when the concrete mix is cured. If a roadway opens too early and the concrete is undercured, it can reduce the life expectancy of the pavement and increase maintenance costs. Waiting too long to open a road can result in traffic delays, congestion and increased safety risks for construction workers and commuters. Curing concrete for massive highway projects requires close attention by engineers in conjunction with the weather specific to that region.

Sensors embedded in concrete can signal the health of roadways. Video by Erin Easterling/Purdue University.

Smart sensors embedded in concrete enable engineers to monitor the infrastructure and make data-driven decisions about when a road can open while retaining maximum life expectancy. Sensors can also help monitor the quality of concrete and whether it is robust enough to withstand traffic flow and corrosion after a roadway is opened. Smart, efficient infrastructure can significantly reduce structural failures, both catastrophic and through normal wear, as well as lead to reduced costs and provide new ways for structural engineers to assess real-time information about the pavement.

[Get our best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Saving time and money

Congress recognizes the need to invest in American transportation systems. A $494 billion legislation package, the INVEST In America Act, was recently introduced to address America’s deteriorating highways and bridges while diminishing carbon pollution.

Smart sensors and intelligent infrastructure system can enable significant savings of time and money with improved construction safety. Sensors can provide engineers with real-time data of the quality of our infrastructure to make the best decisions for building and maintaining roads, bridges and pavements while improving safety for drivers and construction workers. The addition of self-repairing properties can help build sustainable and long-lasting infrastructure to reduce maintenance and costs.

The Conversation

Luna Lu receives funding from Indiana Department of Transportation.

Vishal Saravade receives funding from Indiana Department of Transportation.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

7EDU Jun Liu: bring best teachers online to support personalized learning for global students

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7EDU is a global educational tech company (K-12 Focus) with advanced technological integration & adaptive teaching methods. 7Edu Provide personalized and best quality online education to students all over the world through highly specialized teachers using technology platform.

7Edu caters to students by having live group classes with personalized services through our platform. 7Edu not only helps students with their school work but also provide courses that are not offered in school curriculums. 7Edu is gradually using AI to replace repetitive manual labor tasks to support our world class teachers and to offer students instant support worldwide and high quality services.

7EDU Jun Liu Presentation at F50 Global Capital Summit Summit 2020

Founded in 2014, 7EDU’s mission is to maximize each students’ intellectual potential through a personalized and engaging education system. 7EDU provides students with academic enrichment and brings a positive alternative to online education.

7Edu is a portfolio company of F50 Elevate accelerator.

Related videos:

7Edu Roundtable

Dokat A.I Air Purifiers Launched Indiegogo Campaign to kill indoor germs during Pandemic

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Chicago, IL, Nov. 2, 2020, Dokat, a Chicago based technology startup, launched Indiegogo Campaign for its A.I powered Air Purifiers. Dokat recently won the second place at SVE Demo Global 2020, at global Startup Pitching Competition, organized by SVE, Silicon Valley’s largest startup community. Dokat is a portfolio of Silicon Valley Accelerator F50 Elevate.

Official Indeigogo Campaign

“We make A.I. based Air Purifiers. We have 300 of them deployed in Hospitals around the world. Our vision is to make indoor environments healthier and germ-free. We are a biotech-robotics company based out of Chicago. “, said Ram Chella, CEO of DOKAT,

People think outdoor air is more infectious than indoor air. Actually it’s the other way around. The indoor air can be 15 times more infectious than outdoor air. People acquire airborne infections more in indoors environments than outdoors.

Some airborne pathogens can survive in the air up to 72 hours. Airborne transmission of diseases occur when people inhale the infected air and they get sick. The common airborne diseases in the United States include flu, common cold, Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps, Whooping cough, etc. Not to mention the pathogen that caused today’s pandemic could be airborne.

Existing filter based air purification systems, A/C, HVACs filter pollutants from air but NOT bacteria, virus and other airborne pathogens. 

Dokat.A.I Technology:

Our invention is an A.I. based Air purification systems. Existing UV based air purifiers use a single wavelength to treat air. Different wavelengths of UVC have different germicidal properties. Our A.I. devices treat air with an A.I. wide-spectrum UVC, giving maximum germicidal efficiency. This is a novel invention and is proven to be 30% better in its germ killing efficiency. These are not just claims but are results from accredited and independent laboratories. You can find the results and reports attached to this article. 

Dokat’s current products: 

We already have two devices in the market. One named ‘Dokat Air’ that covers 400 sq ft and the other one called Dokat Pro that covers 1000 sq ft. We are currently researching a few variations of Air purifiers including one with G.I. technology, the next generation of A.I. UV technology and Roomba like Air purification devices. 

Full and detail information on Inedigogo:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dokat-a-i-air-purifiers#/

Dokat winner presentation at SVE Demo Global:

How to be a good digital citizen during the election – and its aftermath

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You are a key player in efforts to curb misinformation online. John Fedele/The Image Bank via Getty Images

The runup to the U.S. presidential election has sbeen an unprecedented amount of misinformation about the voting process and mail-in ballots. It’s almost certain that misinformation and disinformation will increase, including, importantly, in the aftermath of the election. Misinformation is incorrect or misleading information, and disinformation is misinformation that is knowingly and deliberately propagated.

While every presidential election is critical, the stakes feel particularly high given the challenges of 2020.

I study misinformation online, and I can caution you about the kind of misinformation you may see on Tuesday and the days after, and I can offer you advice about what you can do to help prevent its spread. A fast-moving 24/7 news cycle and social media make it incredibly easy to share content. Here are steps you can take to be a good digital citizen and avoid inadvertently contributing to the problem.

Election misinformation

Recent reports by disinformation researchers highlight the potential for an enormous amount of misleading information and disinformation to spread rapidly on Election Day and the days following. People spreading disinformation may be trying to sway the election one way or the other or simply undermine confidence in the election and American democracy in general.

the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral reflected in rain water puddles in Red Square in Moscow, Russia
U.S. intelligence services have reported that the Russian government is orchestrating disinformation campaigns aimed at the U.S. elections and pandemic response.
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

This report by the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) details narratives meant to delegitimize the election and show how uncertainty creates opportunities for misinformation to flourish.

In particular, you may end up seeing misleading information shared about voting in person, mail-in ballots, the day-of voting experience and the results of the election. You may see stories online circulating about coronavirus outbreaks or infections at polling locations, violence or threats of intimidation at polling locations, misinformation about when, where and how to vote, and stories of voting suppression through long lines at polling stations and people being turned away.

We likely won’t know the results on Election Day, and this delay is both anticipated and legitimate. There may be misinformation about the winner of the presidential election and the final counting of ballots, especially with the increase in mail-in ballots in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be important to know that not every state finalizes their official ballot count on Nov. 3, and there may be narratives that threaten the legitimacy of the election results, like people claiming their vote did not get counted or saying they found discarded completed ballots.

What if the source of misinformation is … you?

There is a lot you can do to help reduce the spread of election misinformation online. This can happen both accidentally and intentionally, and there are both foreign and domestic actors who create disinformation campaigns. But ultimately, you have the power to not share content.

Sharing mis/disinformation gives it power. Regardless of your demographic, you can be susceptible to misinformation, and sometimes specifically targeted by disinformation. One of the biggest steps you can take to be a good digital citizen this election season is not to contribute to the sharing of misinformation. This can be surprisingly difficult, even with the best of intentions.

One type of misinformation that has been popular leading up to the election – and is likely to remain popular – is “friend of a friend” claims. These claims are often unverified stories without attribution that are quickly spread by people copy and pasting the same story across their networks.

You may see these claims as social media statuses like a Facebook post or an Instagram Story, or even as a bit of text forwarded to you in a group chat. They are often text-based, with no name attached to the story, but instead forwarded along by a “friend of a friend.”

This type of misinformation is popular to share because the stories can center around the good intentions of wanting to inform others, and they often provide a social context, for example my friend’s doctor or my brother’s co-worker, that can make the stories seem legitimate. However, these often provide no actual evidence or proof of the claim and should not be shared, even if you believe the information is useful. It could be misleading.

How to avoid spreading misinformation

Many useful resources are available about how to identify misinformation, which can guide you on what to share and not to share. You can improve your ability to spot misinformation and learn to avoid being duped by disinformation campaigns.

Tips for spotting misinformation online.

A key approach is the Stop, Investigate, Find and Trace (SIFT) technique, a fact-checking process developed by digital literacy expert Mike Caulfield of Washington State University Vancouver.

Following this technique, when you encounter something you want to share online, you can stop and check to see if you know the website or source of the information. Then investigate the source and find out where the story is coming from. Then find trusted coverage to see if there is a consensus among media sources about the claim. Finally, trace claims, quotes and media back to their original contexts to see if things were taken out of context or manipulated.

Finally, you may want to share your own experience with voting this year on social media. Following the recommendation of Election Integrity Project, it is a good idea to share positive experiences about voting. Go ahead and share your “I voted” sticker selfie. Sharing stories about how people socially distanced and wore masks at polling locations can highlight the positive experiences of voting in-person.

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However, EIP cautions about posting about negative experiences. While negative experiences warrant attention, a heavy focus on them can stoke feelings of disenfranchisement, which could suppress voter turnout. Further, once you post something on social media, it can be taken out of context and used to advanced narratives that you may not support.

Most people care about the upcoming election and informing people in their networks. It is only natural to want to share important and critical information about the election. However, I urge you to practice caution in these next few weeks when sharing information online. While it’s probably not possible to stop all disinformation at its source, we the people can do our part to stop its spread.

The Conversation

Kolina Koltai’s funding comes from the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, the Knight Foundation, and The University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

Studies link COVID-19 deaths to air pollution, raising questions about EPA’s ‘acceptable risk’

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By the end of October, more than 228,000 Americans who got COVID-19 had died. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The pandemic is putting America’s air pollution standards to the test as the COVID-19 death toll rises.

The U.S. government sets limits on hazardous air pollutants to try to protect public health, but it can be difficult to determine where to draw the line for what is considered “acceptable risk.” Power plants, factories and other pollution sources release hundreds of million pounds of hazardous pollutants into the air every year.

As the coronavirus spreads, the pattern of deaths suggests there are serious weaknesses in the current public safeguards.

Several studies have explored connections between air pollution and severe cases of the respiratory illnesses. The latest, published on Oct. 26, estimates that about 15% of people who died from COVID-19 worldwide had had long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution.

My research as an environmental health scientist looks closer at individual hazardous air pollutants and shows how higher rates of COVID-19 deaths across the U.S. – particularly in the South – have been associated with higher levels of pollutants, particularly diesel exhaust and acetaldehyde, a compound widely used in industry.

Many of these chemicals are all around us

The delivery boxes piled up in my living room offer a snapshot of how pervasive hazardous air pollutants can be. Toxic gases like acetaldehyde are exhaled by the paper mill that manufactured the boxes in Louisiana, the diesel trucks that delivered them, and even the gas furnace that keeps me warm as I open them. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates acetaldehyde, in part because in 1986 Dutch scientists found that it damages the respiratory system of rodents.

Acetaldehyde is quite common. In addition to being used in industry, it’s found in decaying vegetation, alcohol and cigarette smoke.

A couple plays with their dogs at a Louisiana home with a refinery in the background.
Petroleum refineries and chemical plants are sources of hazardous air pollutants.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

I generally don’t think about the toxic emissions resulting from my consumer behavior, but I can’t help but think about health risks now, and how to reduce them.

In the early days of the pandemic, I isolated myself. I dusted off my bicycle. I identified the contaminants in my water system and installed a reverse osmosis filter. To put it bluntly, I was afraid. Overweight men were not faring well against the virus, according to an early study, so I tried to modify my risk.

But what can I do about the air I breathe? I cannot stop the trucks from driving past my house, or the steel mill down the street from releasing emissions from its smokestack.

Studies reveal the health risks

Harvard University and Emory University have investigated the role of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen oxides in COVID-19 deaths by comparing county death rates to pollution levels and other potential factors. Similar studies have been done in Italy, England and China.

All of these studies found an association between higher death rates from COVID-19 and long-term pollution exposure.

While the causal factors are still unclear, the association may be related to air pollution exposure weakening the respiratory, immune and cardiovascular systems. Exposed populations have greater vulnerability and less resistance to the virus.

My colleagues and I investigated specific hazardous air pollutants, including acetaldehyde, that are elevated in Southern rural areas that have been hit hard by the virus.

In states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, high COVID-19 death rates have been attributed in part to an older population that’s more likely to have chronic illnesses and live in poverty. We controlled for these factors, as well as population health and preventive behaviors, and found that long-term hazardous air pollutant exposure is putting pressure on COVID-19 patients in these areas.

While federal standards suggest that the pollution levels in these areas aren’t harmful, our findings suggest officials need to reevaluate some of those standards.

The problem with thresholds

In 1991, the EPA extrapolated from rodents to humans to set the safety limit for acetaldehyde at 9 micrograms per cubic meter of air – similar in volume to a cup of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool. This standard assumes contaminated air below this level will not lead to any harm, excluding cancer.

But even acceptable exposures to these chemicals may be contributing to COVID-19 mortality rates. There is still a lot that scientists don’t know about the impact of hazardous air pollutants on humans.

There are some reasons we might observe effects below the threshold. First, animal reactions to toxins do not always predict human reactions. Second, hazardous air pollutants do not act alone, and exposure to multiple toxins can have cascading impacts. Third, methods of monitoring and estimating exposures to air toxins are not adequate for characterizing risks to human health, especially for vulnerable populations.

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The Toxics Substance Control Act is responsible for addressing risks from chemicals and limiting use of such substances as PCBs and asbestos. A 2016 amendment increased the government’s authority to review risks for communities living near high-emissions sources. But these risks have yet to take a major role in the assessment process. The government in recent years has also cut funding for the Integrated Risk Information Service, which identifies health hazards.

What to do about it

More research is needed into effective pollution limits to address multiple chemical exposures and their effect on vulnerable populations.

Limits, along with funding for pollution prevention and control technology, could provide incentives for cleaner production practices and cleaner vehicles. These can be important strategies for strengthening the nation’s defenses against this and future respiratory disease pandemics.

The Conversation

Michael Petroni receives funding from State University of New York Discovery Challenge Fund.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

P&G Ventures Entrepreneurial Pitch Channel Invitation

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ENTREPRENEURIAL PITCH CHALLENGE P&G Ventures is inviting all entrepreneurs and startups to submit a product pitch for its CES Innovation Challenge
Three finalists will receive a chance to pitch their products on the P&G Life Lab Stage at CES 2021 in front of Leigh Radford, Head of P&G Ventures, Julie Setser, Senior Vice President of R&D at P&G Ventures, Kristina Rogers, Global Consumer Industries Leader at EY, and Courtney Reum, Co-Founder of M13, for a chance to win:

  • A $10,000 prize
  • An opportunity to pitch to the M13 investment team, coupled with mentoring sessions
  • A complimentary invitation to the EY Strategic Growth Forum®
  • A chance to partner with P&G Ventures to continue developing their innovation 

Submissions are being accepted at ventureschallenge.com now through Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more details and to learn more, go here

Agribody, Dokat, AvirTech, Pumpkin Organics Won SVE Demo Global 2020 @ F50 Global Capital Summit 2020

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SVE Demo Global 2020 announced the winners today:

  • SVE Startup of Year 2020 Winner: Agribody
  • SVE Startup of Year 2020 Runner Up: Dokat, AvirTech
  • SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice 2020: Pumpkin Organics

More demo sessions and judge feedback on SVE Youtube Channel

Judge Review:

Most Active Angel Networks in America 2020 (Pandemic) Released by F50 Global Insights

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F50 Global Insights released the 2020 (Pandemic) version of the Most active Angel Network in America. The original report is included in: http://f50.io/report/angel-groups-2020/ Youtube Channel for F50 Global Insights

NameWebsiteCityDescription
A&E Investmentswww.aeinvestments.comSan Francisco, CAA&E Investments is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the machine learning and software sectors.
Alliance of Angelswww.allianceofangels.comSeattle, WAAlliance of Angels is an active angel group that invests in the Pacific Northwest group. The firm has invested more than $100 million and its network of active angel investors is further augmented by a $6.6 million seed fund.
Angeles Investorswww.angelesinvestors.comChicago, ILAngeles Investors is a national angel investor group with a mission to find, fund, and grow the most promising Hispanic & Latinx ventures.
ARC Angel Fundwww.arcangelfund.comNew York, NYARC Angel Fund is an Angel Fund which invests in seed and early-stage companies based in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area. It seeks to invest in the sectors like software, information technology, internet, tech-enabled services, business services, digital media, mobile and healthcare information technology. The firm was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in New York, New York.
Astiawww.astia.orgSan Francisco, CAAstia Angels is a not-for-profit organization which invests in companies through a program called Astia Angels. The firm syndicates globally with private equity firms, venture capital firms, family offices and high net worth individuals. It prefers to invest in companies with at least one woman in a position of leadership, holding equity and significant influence.
Atlanta Technology Angelswww.angelatlanta.comAtlanta, GAFounded in 1998, Atlanta Technology Angels is a group of high net worth individuals based in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm provides a platform for evaluating and selecting companies to fund. The firm seeks to invest in the mobile, hardware, software and analytic sectors.
Baltimore Angelswww.baltimoreangels.comBaltimore, MDBaltimore Angels is an angel investor group that prefers to invest in companies operating in the business products and services, computers and peripherals, consumer Goods/consumer products, education, food and beverage, internet/web services, IT services, lifestyle, marketing/advertising, media and entertainment, mobile, retailing/distribution, software and telecommunications sectors. The firm was established in 2009 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.
Band of Angelswww.bandangels.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 1994, Band of Angels is an angel investment group based in San Francisco, California. The firm specializes in start-up, seed, series A and early stage investments. The firm prefers to invest in the internet, web service, medical devices, software, fintech, energy and hardware sectors.
Berkeley Angel Networkwww.berkeleyangelnetwork.comBerkeley, CAFounded in 2011, Berkeley Angel Network is a group of angel investors based in Berkeley, California. The mission of the Berkeley Angel Network is to build an angel investor community among the alumni and faculty of UC Berkeley.
Biovergewww.bioverge.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2016, Bioverge is a venture capital firm and investment platform based in San Francisco, California. The firm invests in early-stage healthcare companies, with a focus on companies operaring at the intersection of biology and technology.
BlueTree Allied Angelswww.bluetreealliedangels.comWexford, PABlueTree Allied Angels is an investment firm that makes investments in early-stage, pre-institutional ventures in Western Pennsylvania and other high-tech regions where we co-invest with colleagues and other leading venture firms. The firm was founded in 2003 and is based in Wexford, Pennsylvania.
Boston Harbor Angelswww.bostonharborangels.comBoston, MAFounded in 2004, Boston Harbor Angels is a group of business leaders interested in investing a portion of there assets in high-growth, early-stage companies. The firm focuses on early-stage companies.
Breakthrough Energy Ventureswww.breakthroughenergy.orgKirkland, WAFounded in 2016, Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Kirkland, Washington. The firm seeks to make minority investments in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm seeks to invest in environmental services and cleantech sectors.
Carnrite Ventureswww.carnriteventures.comHouston, TXFounded in 2015, Carnrite Ventures is the venture capital arm of Carnrite Group and is based in Houston, Texas. The firm seeks to make early-stage investments.
Carolina Angel Networkwww.carolinaangelnetwork.comChapel Hill, NC
Cascade Seed Fundwww.cascadeseedfund.comBend, ORCascade Seed Fund is a regional early-stage investment fund that brings angel and institutional investors together to back great entrepreneurs and strengthen the regional economy. The investor is based in Bend, Oregon with an Oregon-first investment focus with an interest in opportunities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Typical investments are planned to be made in launch stage technology and consumer products companies. Initial investments are anticipated to average approximately $250,000. Funded companies can be from anywhere in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. As of January 2020, the firm has made 34 investments.
CAV Angelswww.cavangels.comCharlottesville, VACAV Angels is an angel group dedicated to University of Virginia alumnus that aims to find and fund angel investment opportunities and entrepreneurs. The firm was founded in 2015 and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. It seeks to invest in the technology and healthcare industries.
Cervin Ventureswww.cervinventures.comPalo Alto, CAFounded in 2008, Cervin Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California. The firm seeks to invest in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm prefers to invest in software, Software-as-a-Service, infrastructure, and Big Data sectors in the United States.
Charlottesville Angel Networkwww.cvilleangelnetwork.netCharlottesville, VACharlottesville Angel Network is an angel group based in Charlottesville, Virginia. CAN invests in seed, angel, friends and family rounds in promising startups. The firm prefers to invest in Virginia based companies operating in the SAAS, digital healthcare, biotech, consumer products, clean energy and edtech sectors.
Cobro Ventureswww.cobroventures.comArlington, VACobro Ventures is an angel investment firm based in McLean, Virginia. The firm’s portfolio companies range from new start-ups to enterprises that have become public and been acquired.
Delaware Crossing Investor Groupwww.delawarecrossing.orgWarrington, PADelaware Crossing Investor Group is a network of former and current executives and entrepreneurs who provide counsel and capital to early-stage and growing companies. The firm is a membership organization of investors who manage the investment process and serve as the board of directors of portfolio companies. The firm is based in Warrington, Pennsylvania, and was founded in 2005.
Designer Fundwww.designerfund.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2012, Designer Fund is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the information technology and healthcare sectors.
Dipalo Ventureswww.dipaloventures.comChicago, ILFounded in 2016, Dipalo Ventures is a early-stage advisory and investment firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm focuses on design-centered product & service startups. The firm invests in early seed to Series A rounds in both the USA and Bangladesh.
Duke Angel Networkwww.dukeangelnetwork.duke.eduDurham, NCFounded in 2015, Duke Angel Network is an angel network based in Durham, North Carolina. The firm provides support to the global Duke entrepreneurial community with an angel investing platform and co-investment fund called Duke Innovation Fund.
E8www.e8angels.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2006, Element 8 is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the energy, cleantech, and nanotechnology sectors.
Evergy Ventureswww.evergyventures.comKansas City, MOFounded in 2015, Evergy Ventures is a venture capital arm of Evergy and is based in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm prefers to invest in companies operating in the digital utility, connected mobility, distributed energy resources, and intelligent connected buildings sectors.
Expert DOJOwww.expertdojo.comSanta Monica, CAFounded in 2014, Expert DOJO is an accelerator firm based in Santa Monica, California. The firm seeks to invest in the energy, healthcare, and financial services sectors.
Florida Funderswww.floridafunders.comTampa, FLFounded in 2013, Florida Funders is a hybrid of a venture capital fund and an accredited investor syndicate which is based in Tampa, Florida. The firm invests in early-stage technology companies.
Forefront Venture Partnerswww.forefrontvp.comBoca Raton, FLFounded in 2014, Forefront Venture Partners is a venture capital firm and is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The firm seeks to invest in consumer products and services, business products and services, and software sectors.
Golden Seedswww.goldenseeds.comNew York, NYFounded in 2005, Golden Seeds is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm focuses on women-led companies operating in the B2B and B2C technology, healthcare, services and consumer products sectors.
GOOSE Capitalwww.goose.capitalHouston, TXFounded in 2005, GOOSE Capital is an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage breakthrough technologies. The firm’s unique model helps the portfolio companies direct access to the Fortune 500 execs or successful entrepreneurs.
Gopher Angelswww.gopherangels.comMinneapolis, MNGopher Angels is an angel group that invests in early stage Minnesota businesses. The firm was founded in 2012 and seeks to invest in the information technology and healthcare sector.
Gotham Gal Ventureswww.gothamgal.comNew York, NYGotham Gal Ventures is a venture capital fund based in New York, New York
Grand Angelswww.grandangels.orgGrand Rapids, MIFounded in 2004, Grand Angels is an angel group based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The firm specializes in investments in early stage companies. The firm has a venture fund and invests in businesses with a focus on the Michigan region. It focuses on investment in companies operating in the B2B technology, advanced manufacturing, advanced agriculture technology and life science sectors.
HBS Alumni Angels New Yorkhbsangelsny.comNew York, NYHarvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY is an angel group that prefers to invest in seed and early stage companies based in the New York. The firm seeks to invest in the biotechnology, business product, clean technology, computer, peripheral, electronic, financial services, healthcare services, industrial, energy, internet, information technology service, marketing, advertising, media, entertainment, medical device, equipment, mobile, nanotechnology, networking, equipment, semiconductors, software, telecommunication, consumer product, education, fashion, real estate and legal sectors. Ii also provides mentorship service.
Hyde Park Angelswww.hydeparkangels.comChicago, ILHyde Park Angels is an angel group based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm has invested in over 50 portfolio companies since its inception. It is mainly focused on the companies based in the Midwest region. The firm was founded in 2007.
Hyde Park Venture Partnerswww.hydeparkvp.comChicago, ILFounded in 2011, Hyde Park Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm focuses on high-growth, mid-continent technology startups seeking investments in the first or second round of institutional capital. The firm seeks to invest in the mobile, B2B SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), consumer marketplace business models, and information technology sectors.
i2Ewww.i2e.orgOklahoma City, OKFounded in 1998, i2E is a not-for-profit venture capital firm based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The firm focuses on seed and early-stage firms operating in the software, healthcare, and information technology sectors.
J-Ventureswww.j-angels.comPalo Alto, CAJ-Angels is an angel group based in Palo Alto, California with an additional office in San Francisco, California. The firm prefers to invest in enterprise software, consumer, mobile, automotive, cleantech, food tech, fintech, edtech, life sciences, hardware, artificial intelligence, computer vision, robotics and security sectors.
K8 Ventureswww.k8ventures.comChicago, ILFounded in 2016, K8 Ventures was a family office based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm sought to invest in the Artificial Intelligence, big data, and the internet of things sectors.
Keiretsu Capitalwww.keiretsucapital.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2013, Keiretsu Capital is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the healthcare, software, and information technology sectors.
Keiretsu Forumwww.keiretsuforum.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2000, Keiretsu Forum is a Venture Capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the software and consumer durables sectors.
Keshif VenturesSan Diego, CAKeshif Ventures is an angel investing firm based in San Diego, California. The firm was founded in 2012 and seeks to invest in companies operating in the information technology sector.
Launchpad Venture Groupwww.launchpadventuregroup.comBoston, MALaunchpad Venture Group is a Boston, Massachusetts based angel investment group and venture capital firm which provides funding to early-stage technology and life science companies. The firm primarily focuses on the software, information technology, web, e-commerce, media and social media, mobile and wireless, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT, networking and telecom, clean-tech, renewable energy and green-tech sectors located in the United States.
Lehigh Valley Angel Investorswww.lehighvalleyangelinvestors.comBethlehem, PALehigh Valley Angel Investors was founded by a group of entrepreneurs in the Lehigh Valley, which includes Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and surrounding areas. The firm invests at the startup stage once the initial enterprise has completed the discovery, proof-of-concept, and prototype. The purpose of the organization is to provide education, resources and a community of entrepreneurs to connect with. The members are accredited and experienced investors who are interested in providing seed, or growth, capital investments to startup companies.
Life Science Angelswww.lifescienceangels.comSunnyvale, CAFounded in 2004, Life Science Angels is a not-for-profit angel investment group based in Sunnyvale, California. The firm focuses on companies in the pharmaceuticals, life science, diagnostic agents, and cell technology sectors.
Maine Technology Institutewww.mainetechnology.orgBrunswick, MEFounded in 1999, Maine Technology Institute is an investment firm based in Brunswick, Maine. The firm seeks to provide debt, grants, and minority investments through seed investments. The firm prefers to invest in the environmental services, biotechnology, information technology, agriculture, forestry, advanced manufacturing, and CleanTech sectors in Maine, United States.
Matchstick Ventureswww.matchstickventures.comMinneapolis, MNMatchstick Ventures is an early stage venture firm based in is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that prefers to invests $50,000 to $150,000 in early-stage tech startups.
MGV Capital Groupwww.mgvcapitalgroup.comSan Antonio, TXFounded in 2020, MGV Capital Group is an investment that specializes in the early-stage venture capital investments and also makes on angel investments. The firm is based in San Antonio, Texas and prefers to invest in the information technology and software sectors across the U.S. and in Mexico.
Miami Angelswww.miamiangels.vcMiami, FLFounded in 2014, Miami Angels is an active investor collective (with accredited angels and VC firms) with a mission to grow Miami into a top-tier and diverse venture ecosystem through investments in early-stage software startups. Beyond providing capital, the firm collaborates with founders to ensure they have access to best-in-class resources, advisers, and follow-on funding. The firm prefers investments in companies with significant operations in the Southeastern United States and Latin America. The firm is based in Miami, Florida.
Michigan Angel Fundwww.miangelfund.comAnn Arbor, MIFounded in 2011, Michigan Angel Fund is a for-profit pooled professionally managed angel fund based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The firm focuses on providing funding to capital-efficient early-stage companies located in Michigan.
Michigan Capital Networkwww.michigancapitalnetwork.comGrand Rapids, MIMichigan Capital Network is a venture capital firm and angel network based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The firm seeks to make minority investments in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm prefers to invest in software, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing sectors in Michigan and the Midwest region of the United States.
Muse Capitalwww.musecapital.vcBeverly Hills, CAFounded in 2016, Muse Capital is a venture capital based in Beverly Hills, California. The firm prefers to invest in the technology, entertainment, hospitality, and sports industries.
New York Angelswww.newyorkangels.comNew York, NYNew York Angels is a network of profession angel investors. The organization does not invest as a group and all investment decisions are made individually.
New York Venture Partnerswww.nyvp.comNew York, NYFounded in 2014, New York Venture Partners is a Angel investment group based in New York, New York. The firm provides financing, mentorship, and strategic marketing consulting services.
Newlinwww.newlin.vcChicago, ILFounded in 2019, Newlin is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm seeks to invest in the Food Tech sector, broadly from “Land to Label” at Pre-Seed through Series A across North and South America. The firm seeks to participate, and lead deals in Food Tech, IoT, Internet Of Food (“IoF”), Insurtech, and Consumer (B2C / B2B2C) at early stages at check sizes varying in size, depending on the opportunity.
NO/LA Angel Networkwww.nolaangelnetwork.orgNew Orleans, LANO/LA Angel Network is a group of accredited investors from New Orleans and throughout Louisiana that work together to evaluate, fund and nurture early-stage companies. The firm focuses on investing in companies operating in the energy, analytics and big data, biotechnology, digital media, education and educational technology, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, internet, SaaS, cloud solutions, logistics, materials, water management and advanced manufacturing sectors. It was founded in 2014 and is based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Northern Michigan Angelswww.northernmichiganangels.comTraverse City, MINorthern Michigan Angels is an organization of local volunteer members focused on private sector economic development. The group’s primary interest is in working with scalable entrepreneurial companies whose potential success will have an impact on the quality of life in Michigan, especially in northwestern lower Michigan. It was founded in 2012 and is based in Traverse City, Michigan.
Oregon Sports Angelsoregonsportsangels.orgOROregon Sports Angels (OSA) is an Oregon based Angel Network investing in anything an athlete, team, or fan can use or wear. The firm is a non-profit, member-based organization made up of a diverse team of experienced sports industry and business professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, and do-gooders. The firm’s mission is to find and help grow the next great sports & fitness product and service companies. The firm focus on investments on high-potential, early-stage, sports product, experience, service, and technology companies. In addition to investing, the members also mentor, coach and connect entrepreneurs to resources needed for early-stage business development.
Robin Hood Ventureswww.robinhoodventures.comPhiladelphia, PAFounded in 1999, Robin Hood Ventures is a group of angel investors focused based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The firm focuses on early-stage and high-growth companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. The firm seeks to invest in the IT services and software, life sciences and financial technology sectors.
Rockies Venture Clubwww.rockiesventureclub.orgDenver, CORockies Venture Club is an angel group that is dedicated to accelerating economic development by educating and connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors, venture capitalists, service professionals, corporate partners, and other business and funding resources. The firm was founded in 1985 and is based in Denver, Colorado.
Sand Hill Angelswww.sandhillangels.comMountain View, CAFounded in 2000, Sand Hill Angels is an angel investment group based in Mountain View, California. The firm comprises of entrepreneurs, accredited investors and senior business executives based in Silicon Valley. The firm participates in early/seed to series A, B, C investments, as well as later-stage bridge rounds.
SeaChange Fundwww.seachange.fundSeattle, WAFounded in 2015, SeaChange Fund is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on investments in Pacific Northwest growth-oriented start-up companies.
Seattle Angel Conferenceseattleangelconference.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2012, Seattle Angel Conference is a training program for new Angel Investors which teaches Angel Investing by doing an Angel Investment. The program is run twice a year. It includes 10 weeks of engagement with the investors and a public final event.
SmartHub boutiquewww.smarthub.vcKaliningrad, RussiaFounded in 2015, SmartHub is a venture capital firm headquartered in Kaliningrad, Russia. The firm seeks to invest in seed, early-stage and later-stage companies.
Southwest Angel Networkwww.swanimpact.orgAustin, TXSouthwest Angel Network is an angel group with investments focused towards social impact companies. Social-impact includes improving education and healthcare outcomes, increasing financial empowerment, protecting the environment, and working to improve the lives of groups of people who face unique challenges. The firm was founded in 2016.
Space Angelswww.spaceangels.comNew York, NYSpace Angels is a global network for angel investors, offering access to the emerging private space industry and investment opportunities across diverse market segments, with expertise and network connections. It is based in New York, New York.
Supply Chain Ventureswww.supplychainventure.comBoston, MAFounded in 2003, Supply Chain Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm seeks to invest in software and hardware technology in the supply chain space.
SV Angelwww.svangel.comSan Francisco, CASV Angel is an angel investment firm that specializes in early-stage investments. The firm prefers to invest in information technology and internet sectors. It was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco, California.
Swan Venture Fundwww.swanventurefund.comKirkland, WAFounded in 2015, Swan Venture Fund is a venture and angel fund headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the Business to Business software, internet of things, scalable hardware, capital-efficient hard-science, diagnostic and health information technology sectors.
Tamiami Angel Fundswww.tamiamiangels.comNaples, FLTamiami Angel Funds is an angel group based in Naples, Florida. It allows high net worth individuals and family offices an opportunity for active involvement in a diversified capital investment process with the goal to build a portfolio of high potential, emerging growth companies.
Tech Coast Angelswww.techcoastangels.comLos Angeles, CAFounded in 1997, Tech Coast Angels is an angel investor group based in Los Angeles, California. The firm has been fueling the growth of innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Southern California. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies operating in the software, internet, green tech, consumer products, biotech, and medical devices sectors.
Texas Halo Fundwww.texashalofund.comHouston, TXTexas Halo Fund is an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. The firm specializes in investing in the early-stage firm. The firm seeks to invest in firms operating in the information technology and healthcare sectors.
The JumpFundwww.thejumpfund.comChattanooga, TNFounded in 2013, The JumpFund is a venture capital firm based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The firm seeks to invest in the energy and information technology sectors. The firm primarily invests in Chattanooga and the Southeast region of the United States.
TIA Ventureswww.tiaventures.comNew York, NYFounded in 2014, TIA Ventures is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies.
Tracxn Labswww.tracxnlabs.comPalo Alto, CATracxn Labs is an accelerator that prefers to invest in the enterprise, consumer, internet, mobile, health-tech, ed-tech and other sectors. The firm is based in Palo Alto, California and was founded in 2013.
University of Colorado Deming Center Venture Fundwww.colorado.edu/dcvfBoulder, COFounded in 1999, Deming Center Venture Fund (DCVF) is a venture capital fund operating out of the University of Colorado, Boulder. The fund focuses on early-stage capital investment in the Colorado communities. The Fund is managed by the University of Colorado MBA, Law, and graduate engineering students.
Variant Fundvariant.fundBrooklyn, NYVariant is an early-stage venture firm investing in crypto networks & platforms building the ownership economy.
VegInvestwww.veginvesttrust.comNew York, NYFounded in 2015, VegInvest is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm provides early-stage capital and guidance to companies striving to replace the use of animals.
VentureSouthwww.venturesouth.vcGreenville, SCFounded in 2014, VentureSouth is an investment angel group based in Greenville, South Carolina. The firm seeks to invest in the Southeastern United States.
VisionTech Partnerswww.visiontech-partners.comIndianapolis, INVisionTech Partners is a venture capital firm that seeks to invest in early stage and early growth technology-based companies operating in the health care, information technology, agriculture and manufacturing sectors located in Indiana and the Midwest. It also operates through “VisionTech Angels” which is a angel investment group.
Walden Venture Capitalwww.waldenvc.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 1974, Walden Venture Capital is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the software, healthcare, and media sectors.
Wisconsin Investment Partnerswww.wisinvpartners.comMadison, WIFounded in 2000, Wisconsin Investment Partners is a venture capital firm that is based in Madison, Wisconsin. The firm seeks to invest in technology and life science sectors.
WorldQuant Ventureswww.worldquantventures.comOld Greenwich, CTFounded in 2014, WorldQuant Ventures is an investment firm based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. The firm seeks to invest in financial technology in capital markets, big data, business intelligence and technology services sectors.
757 Angelswww.757angelsgroup.comVirginia Beach, VA757 Angels is an angel group that has a select network of business leaders in the Hampton Roads region, who provide investment capital, strategic advice and mentoring to selected startup and early stage companies to help them achieve market leadership. The firm was founded in 2015 and is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

More reports: f50.io/report

6 SVE Demo Winners compete for SVE Startup of Year 2020

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Investor RSVP for Zoom Participation
SVE Global Demo Finale 20206 SVE Demo Winners select from the SVE Demo from July to oct 13 will compete for the  “SVE Startup of the Year 2020” title
Judge Panel:
Bill Reichert, Managing Director, Garage Technology Ventures 
Canice WU, Product Innovator and Investor; Former Vice President at RocketSpace/ President at Plug and Play Tech Center; Founder & CEO at Insights OnDemand; VP & GM at Siebel Systems 
David Cao, Partner, F50 Elevate | F50 Ventures
 Keith Teare Managing Partner Accelerated Digital Ventures 
Paul Singh , Successful Entrepreneur, Educator & CMO – Founder/CEO of 5 startups with one IPO and 3 M&AOkera 
Pavan Kumar Partner @ F50 Elevate, ex-founder, investor & mentor @ Alchemist, MassChallenge & Faster Capital
Scott Armanini Disruptive Innovation @USC Iovine & Young Academy;
SVE Demo Winners (Finalist)
Agribody Technologies, Inc. (ATI’s) novel target-validated genome editing platform technology significantly increases crop yield, stress tolerance, and shelf life of agricultural products – reducing food waste.  We make a true triple bottom line contribution for impact-oriented investors:  People, Planet & Profit.  Briefly, our technology and business model will significantly contribute to increased food security and increased Agricultural Resilience / Sustainability.  Licensing (potato, corn, soy, banana, camelina, rose) and co-development (tomato, canola, rice) projects are underway with multiple seed companies.
Avirtech: Avirtech provides crop intelligence including plantation control systems for monitoring site conditions through aerial and ground sensors, such as topography, crop health, soil quality, rainfall and farm operations activity and other processes important for production cycles. 
Botzee increases efficiencies and eliminates workplace injuries within hospitals by handling physically demanding and repetitive tasks. We do this through autonomous mobile robots, which can move the existing FDA approved carts within hospitals, and even disinfect patient rooms with UV light due to a modular design.
Dokat, Inc is a Biotech-Robotics Research and Manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago, USA. Company’s objective is to make novel augmented purifier products using A.I. Current product line includes DOKAT Deep UV Air sterilizer, Air sterilizer robots and A.I. Guaranteed Irradiation devices.
Epilert’s bracelet is a smart epilepsy monitoring device using 5 biosensors along with machine learning to offer the finest technology to detect and predict epilepsy seizures, and immediately alert caregivers.
UMEHEAL provides the leading healthcare technology, products and services to help people stay healthier and stronger.
Come to out YouTube channel and watch the entire Demo Event!

17 Startups compete for Entrepreneur’s Choice Award at SVE Demo Global 2020

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SVE invite community members to vote for SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice 2020

17 Startups from Silicon Valley, India, Germany, Singapore, Australia participated in the SVE Demo Global

Vote now by “like” the video on SVE youtube. 11 AM will be the winner.

Detail: SVE.io/Demo

List of startups 

SVE Demo Global 2020 Agtech Track

InSight Labs

InSight combines spectroscopy, chemo metrics and AI to power real-time food quality analysis applications for the food processing industry.

Omni Bev

Omni is the world’s first authentic Ready to drink Vietnamese cold brew coffee made with real Vietnamese beans.

 Pumpkin Organics 

Pumpkin Organics is redefining baby food based on the nutritional science of the First 1,000 Days.  They are on a mission to change the way we feed our kids, and to contribute to a healthy, happy and high-performing next generation around the world. 

Akorn Technology

Smart multi-functional food coatings that double the shelf life and enhance safety, quality, nutrition and taste of fresh produce.

Agribody Technologies

Agribody Technologies Inc. (ATI) Expands Global Food Security by Significantly Increasing Crop Yields and Extending Shelf Life Using Patented Gene Technology.

Automated Fruit Scouting

AFS’s proprietary Fruit Recognition System starts with a deep learning classifier trained on young fruit, then automatically trains itself as the fruit grow throughout the season. AFS’s solution applies to any fruit, vegetable, nut, or berry.

Avirtech Technologies

Avirtech provides crop intelligence including plantation control systems for monitoring site conditions through aerial and ground information. 

SVE Demo Global 2020 General Track

Epilert 

Epilert’s bracelet is a smart epilepsy monitoring device using 5 biosensors along with machine learning to offer the finest technology to detect and predict epilepsy seizures, and immediately alert caregivers.

Rubens

Rubens is the big data-driven quality and provenance intelligence system for the fresh food supply chain.

Hidrent

Hidrent helps firefighters supplement their incomes during their 20 off-duty days each month by connecting them with people and businesses looking for safe, trustworthy and reliable handyman-type services.

SVE Demo Global 2020 India track

Inmovidu

To become the pioneer in the field of non-academic & creative learning by being the leader in, range, quality of coaches and state of the art technology.

Kaze Living

Kaze Living is an NCR-based Farm-to-Fork venture that brings clean, pesticide-free, locally produced food to consumers’ doorsteps.

 Fyllo 

They help farmers protect crops, reduce input cost and increase crop quality and quantity. It’s next gen agriculture right on their mobile.


VnayaVnaya.com is owned by E Online Tutors Inc, a company incorporated in the state of Georgia, USA.SVE Demo Global 2020 Oct 6th
BotzeeBotzee increases efficiencies and eliminates workplace injuries within hospitals by handling physically demanding and repetitive tasks.
  Athena Music & Wellness Therapy,Athena Music & Wellness Therapy is a mental wellness solutions provider, harnessing the power of music to help individuals with a myriad of challenges from autism to Alzheimer’s, and from addiction to depression. We specialize in clinical music therapy treatment, therapist education, mental wellness, and content licensing.
WatchRxWatchRx offers a smartwatch solution for seniors that provides visual medication reminders with name, dosage, and image with voice instructions, text messaging, phone calls, and collects vitalsLike your favorite Startups Now!

See you at SVE Demo Global 2020 Finale on Oct 27th
On Oct 27th. One Startup will be selected as “Startup of the Year” by the panel. The winner will be promoted through our social network and have access to lots of our events.
Past Winners from SVE Demo Global will attend and present!Past Winners: Umeheal Ltd and Dokat Inc. View their great pitching videos down below.

https://www.umeheal.com/ UMEHEAL Ltd, with a team of experienced medical professionals and engineers and in compliance with the FDA development process, has continuously brought the world with the disruptive innovations in medical products and digital healthcare.Dokat.inc, the Unique Broad-spectrum UV-C Germicide. Kills Bacteria, Viruses & Molds like SARS, MERS, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 & Influenza virus.

Like Your Favorite Startups Now

Keith Teare: Syndicate Investing – the past and future

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Keith Teare

Topics: AngeLlist Syndicate Jason Calacanis The Syndicate in the earlier days

Keith Teare is a Founder and Executive Chairman at Accelerated Digital Ventures Ltd – A UK based global investment company focused on startups at all stages. He was previously founder at the Palo Alto incubator, Archimedes Labs. Archimedes was the original incubator for TechCrunch and since 2011 has invested, accelerated or incubated many Silicon valley startups including Quixey; M.dot (sold to GoDaddy); chat.center; Loop Surveys; DownTown and Sunshine. Teare has a track record as a serial entrepreneur with big ideas and has achieved significant returns for investors.

History (a) Founding shareholder of Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch (acquired by AOL in Sept 2010) (b) RealNames Corporation, founded in Palo Alto in 1998. Teare was founder and CEO. The company created a multi-lingual naming system, with distinct national namespaces, sitting on top of the DNS. It used natural language keywords, mapped to URIs to allow native language navigation. Teare raised more than $130 million in venture funding and filed for an IPO (led by Morgan Stanley, with Mary Meeker as lead analyst) in 1999. After negotiating a world-wide agreement to include RealNames in the Microsoft browser in early 2000, the company had an implied valuation of more than $1.5 billion. By 2002, it was responsible for over 1 billion keyword navigations per quarter. It had agreements in Japan, China and Korea, and was responsible for supporting the nascent multi-lingual DNS system run by Verisign. (c)The EasyNet Group: Founded in 1994 as one of the first ISP’s in Europe, Teare was CTO and co-founder. It went public on the AIM exchange in London in 1996 and was trading at a valuation of more than $1 billion by 1999. In 2007, it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s B Sky B, where Teare’s co-founder, David Rowe is still CEO of the division. In 2010, via management buyout, it is once again an independent company. (d) Co-founder of edgeio corporation in 2005 (acquired by Looksmart in 2007) (e)Seed funder of NetNames (Acquired by NetBenefit in 2001), (f)Founder of Clerkswell (formerly cScape), a leading UK systems integrator (acquired by NetB2B2 in 2001). (g) Co-founder of CYBERIA, the world’s first Internet Cafe (h) Founding board member of fotopedia, a company founded by Jean-Marie Hullot, former CTO of Apple’s applications division. Teare studied for his BA and unfinished PhD at the University of Kent in the UK. He is on the university’s US alumni board. He is also a Smithsonian-Computerworld Laureate for his contribution of RealNames. RealNames remains part of the Smithsonian permanent collection. Teare is the author of “The Easy Net Book”, published by International Tompson in 1996; and “Under Siege”, published by Penguin in 1988. He writes regularly for TechCrunch.

Keith Teare: The “good” investment in the new normal (Pandemic)

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The “good” investment In the new normal (Pandemic)

Keith Teare is a Founder and Executive Chairman at Accelerated Digital Ventures Ltd – A UK based global investment company focused on startups at all stages. He was previously founder at the Palo Alto incubator, Archimedes Labs. Archimedes was the original incubator for TechCrunch and since 2011 has invested, accelerated or incubated many Silicon valley startups including Quixey; M.dot (sold to GoDaddy); chat.center; Loop Surveys; DownTown and Sunshine. Teare has a track record as a serial entrepreneur with big ideas and has achieved significant returns for investors.

History

(a) Founding shareholder of Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch (acquired by AOL in Sept 2010) (b) RealNames Corporation, founded in Palo Alto in 1998. Teare was founder and CEO. The company created a multi-lingual naming system, with distinct national namespaces, sitting on top of the DNS. It used natural language keywords, mapped to URIs to allow native language navigation. Teare raised more than $130 million in venture funding and filed for an IPO (led by Morgan Stanley, with Mary Meeker as lead analyst) in 1999. After negotiating a world-wide agreement to include RealNames in the Microsoft browser in early 2000, the company had an implied valuation of more than $1.5 billion. By 2002, it was responsible for over 1 billion keyword navigations per quarter. It had agreements in Japan, China and Korea, and was responsible for supporting the nascent multi-lingual DNS system run by Verisign.

(c)The EasyNet Group: Founded in 1994 as one of the first ISP’s in Europe, Teare was CTO and co-founder. It went public on the AIM exchange in London in 1996 and was trading at a valuation of more than $1 billion by 1999. In 2007, it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s B Sky B, where Teare’s co-founder, David Rowe is still CEO of the division. In 2010, via management buyout, it is once again an independent company.

(d) Co-founder of edgeio corporation in 2005 (acquired by Looksmart in 2007) (e)Seed funder of NetNames (Acquired by NetBenefit in 2001),

(f)Founder of Clerkswell (formerly cScape), a leading UK systems integrator (acquired by NetB2B2 in 2001). (g) Co-founder of CYBERIA, the world’s first Internet Cafe

(h) Founding board member of fotopedia, a company founded by Jean-Marie Hullot, former CTO of Apple’s applications division. Teare studied for his BA and unfinished PhD at the University of Kent in the UK. He is on the university’s US alumni board. He is also a Smithsonian-Computerworld Laureate for his contribution of RealNames. RealNames remains part of the Smithsonian permanent collection. Teare is the author of “The Easy Net Book”, published by International Tompson in 1996; and “Under Siege”, published by Penguin in 1988. He writes regularly for TechCrunch.

Don’t Panic: Keeping Employees of Start-Up Companies Safe and Healthy During Pandemics and Other Occurrences

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Life and business go on during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s just perhaps slowed down somewhat, or adjustments are being made to ensure safety.

Along the way, it’s become a priority for people to keep safe from exposure to the coronavirus, but it’s also become a priority for businesses to keep their employees (and customers, by extension) COVID free.

Know the Symptoms

Being able to determine if you may have COVID-19 is helpful, as is knowing what to do if you fear you may be ill. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Congestion or runny nose

If you have or think you may have COVID-19, it’s best to stay home. The majority of people with COVID experience mild symptoms and can recover at home without medical care. If a person has trouble breathing or experiences chest pain or pressure, however, it’s time to seek emergency medical help.

No matter how mild the case, it’s best to self-isolate to avoid spreading it to others.

If Someone Is Sick

If an employee contracts Covid, a quick response is key to ensure the safety of others. Isolate the person who is ill by sending them home right away. Clean surfaces in their workstation as quickly as possible. Anyone who the ill person had contact with in recent days should be notified. 

Encourage others to self-monitor. A policy in place for workers to self-report if they are ill is a good idea.

Anyone potentially infectious should be quickly isolated, to a separate room or office if they cannot immediately leave the premises.

Prevention

While there’s no vaccine or quick test for Covid (yet), the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies. A few measures to improve the safety of workers is no guarantee of staying Covid-free, but it can dramatically reduce the risk. Consider the following to prevent spread:

  • Promote hygiene: Push a policy of frequent and thorough hand-washing, as well as providing means for workers to scrub up. Making hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol available is a good idea, too. Especially in high-traffic areas or areas away from easy access to sinks and soaps.
  • Provide personal protective equipment: Provide face masks, shields, or gloves, or install plastic barriers where necessary. 
  • Contain it: If an employee is ill, encourage them to stay home. Have an attendance policy in place that does not punish sick days so they’re less likely to come in while they’re contagious.
  • Courtesy: Encourage people to cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough. Provide tissues and trash receptacles to quickly dispose of potentially contaminated items.
  • Flex it: Options such as telecommuting and flexible work hours can stagger the number of people in a given space at any one time, cutting the risk of exposure.
  • Discourage sharing of equipment when possible. Otherwise be sure to disinfect stations and surfaces between uses.
  • Keep house: Maintain regular cleaning of surfaces and equipment, and be sure to use Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants.
  • Restrict traffic where necessary: In stores, for example, encourage one-way traffic, or limit the number of customers or clients in small spaces. Be sure to follow state or community guidelines. Offer options like drive-thru, curbside pickup, or contactless delivery. 
  • Improve ventilation and air flow, and add air filtration systems or equipment where possible.

How It Can Affect the Workplace

If Covid arrives at the workplace it can affect operations in a number of ways, including:

  • Absenteeism: Workers could be caring for themselves or for sick or at-risk loved ones, or tending to children due to daycare centers and schools being shuttered.
  • Commerce: High-demand items like hand sanitizers, masks, respirators, and cleaning supplies may cause shortages. 
  • Supply and delivery: There may be delays due to supply or staff shortages, which could disrupt normal, pre-Covid patterns.

Assess the Risks

There are no guarantees to avoiding Corona, but taking time to note potential issues is a smart start. Covid can spread from person to person, particularly between people in close contact. When people cough or sneeze, respiratory droplets from an infected person can land on a bystander. Without proper protection, distance (of at least six feet, ideally), hygiene, and other preventive measures (like not touching one’s face), it puts people at higher risk of getting the virus. People who have a fever or cough, they are more contagious as well.

Knowing the dangers makes it easier to design a plan to prevent spread.

Make a Plan

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) issued workplace advice to prepare for Covid. One suggestion was to develop a preparedness and response plan, using federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial regulations to shape procedures.

Risk levels and job duties should be considered, including:

  • Where and how workers may be exposed to Covid. (Do they deal with the general public? Is it coworker to coworker? Is it a healthcare setting where the infected may spread it to others at the facility?)
  • What risks exist outside the workplace? (Home, community, travel)
  • Employees themselves: Age, pre-existing conditions like diabetes or respiratory disease, or pregnancy put an individual at greater risk.

If Covid were to affect the workplace, employers should anticipate and plan for issues such as:

  • Potential absenteeism
  • The need for modifying the workplace. This could include staggering work shifts so less people are on site at the same time, downsizing operations, or creating more space between employees. Other exposure-limiting measures like curbside pickup or contactless delivery may be considered.
  • Work-from-home options
  • Delays due to supply chain disruptions, and alerting the customers (where applicable) of such issues

Policies

If you haven’t already, revamp your emergency preparedness plan. (This includes what you’re doing to avert disaster, and what you’ll do if disaster hits.)

Train managers and staff how to respond in emergency situations. Have communication plans in place, and educate on risk factors and prevention. 

If workers must use PPE, be sure they know how to properly put it on and remove it. Ensure everything is properly fitted, too. For medical equipment like respirators, proper disposal, disinfection, and maintenance are essential.

To prevent spread, encourage the sick to stay home. During the pandemic it’s best not to punish people for taking sick time, either. Because doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals may be overwhelmed, don’t insist workers get a signed slip when they take sick time.

Keep policies flexible for the time being, too. That allows workers to tend to sick family members or care for young children or aging parents. 

Federal Advice

Insurance companies, health agencies, and government entities can provide information on how to keep the work force safe and on the job.The Centers for Disease Control has tips for safety practices in various industries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also has information on workplace resources, coping with stress, crisis strategies, and more.

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills

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Izzy Benasso was playing a casual game of tennis with her father on a summer Saturday when she felt her knee pop. She had torn a meniscus, one of the friction-reducing pads in the knee, locking it in place at a 45-degree angle.

Although she suspected she had torn something, the 21-year-old senior at the University of Colorado in Boulder had to endure an anxious weekend in July 2019 until she could get an MRI that Monday.

“It was kind of emotional for her,” said her father, Steve Benasso. “Just sitting there thinking about all the things she wasn’t going to be able to do.”

At the UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic Denver, the MRI confirmed the tear, and she was scheduled for surgery on Thursday. Her father, who works in human resources, told her exactly what to ask the clinic regarding her insurance coverage.

Steve had double-checked that the hospital; the surgeon, Dr. James Genuario; and Genuario’s clinic were in her Cigna health plan’s network.

“We were pretty conscious going into it,” he said.

Isabel met with Genuario’s physician assistant on Wednesday, and the following day underwent a successful meniscus repair operation.

“I had already gotten a ski pass at that point,” she said. “So that was depressing.” But she was heartened to hear that with time and rehab she would get back to her active lifestyle.

Then the letter arrived, portending of bills to come.

The Patient: Izzy Benasso, a 21-year-old college student covered by her mother’s Cigna health plan.

College student Izzy Benasso tore a meniscus in her knee while playing tennis with her father a year ago. The charges for her subsequent outpatient knee surgery totaled $96,377.(Rachel Woolf for KHN)

The Total Bill: $96,377 for the surgery was billed by the hospital, Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, part of HealthONE, a division of the for-profit hospital chain HCA. It accepted a $3,216.60 payment from the insurance company, as well as $357.40 from the Benassos, as payment in full. The surgical assistant billed separately for $1,167.

Service Provider: Eric Griffith, a surgical assistant who works as an independent contractor.

Medical Service: Outpatient arthroscopic meniscus repair surgery.

[embedded content]

What Gives: The Benassos had stumbled into a growing trend in health care: third-party surgical assistants who aren’t part of a hospital staff or a surgeon’s practice. They tend to stay out-of-network with health plans, either accepting what a health plan will pay them or billing the patient directly. That, in turn, is leading to many surprise bills.

Even before any other medical bills showed up, Izzy received a notice from someone whose name she didn’t recognize.

“I’m writing this letter as a courtesy to remind you of my presence during your surgery,” the letter read.

It came from Eric Griffith, a Denver-based surgical assistant. He went on to write that he had submitted a claim to her health plan requesting payment for his services, but that it was too early to know whether the plan would cover his fee. It didn’t talk dollars and cents.

Steve Benasso said he was perplexed by the letter’s meaning, adding: “We had never read or heard of anything like that before.”

Surgical assistants serve as an extra set of hands for surgeons, allowing them to concentrate on the technical aspects of the surgery. Oftentimes other surgeons or physician assistants — or, in teaching hospitals, medical residents or surgical fellows — fill that role at no extra charge. But some doctors rely on certified surgical assistants, who generally have an undergraduate science degree, complete a 12- to 24-month training program, and then pass a certification exam.

Surgeons generally decide when they need surgical assistants, although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services maintains lists of procedures for which a surgical assistant can and cannot bill. Meniscus repair is on the list of allowed procedures.

A Sky Ridge spokesperson said that it is the responsibility of the surgeon to preauthorize the use and payment of a surgical assistant during outpatient surgery, and that HealthOne hospitals do not hire surgical assistants. Neither the assistant nor the surgeon works directly for the hospital. UC School of Medicine, the surgeon’s employer, declined requests for comment from Genuario.

Steve Benasso says he was perplexed after receiving a letter from the surgical assistant who was in the operating room during daughter Izzy Benasso’s knee surgery. The letter, from Eric Griffith, a Denver-based surgical assistant, stated it was “a courtesy to remind you of my presence” during Izzy’s surgery. “We had never read or heard of anything like that before,” Steve says.(Rachel Woolf for KHN)

Karen Ludwig, executive director of the Association of Surgical Assistants, estimates that 75% of certified surgical assistants are employed by hospitals, while the rest are independent contractors or work for surgical assistant groups.

“We’re seeing more of the third parties,” said Dr. Karan Chhabra, a surgeon and health policy researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School. “This is an emerging area of business.”

And it can be lucrative: Some of the larger surgical assistant companies are backed by private equity investment. Private equity firms often target segments of the health care system where patients have little choice in who provides their care. Indeed, under anesthesia for surgery, patients are often unaware the assistants are in the operating room. The private equity business models include keeping such helpers out-of-network so they can bill patients for larger amounts than they could negotiate from insurance companies.

Surgical assistants counter that many insurance plans are unwilling to contract with them.

“They’re not interested,” said Luis Aragon, a Chicago-area surgical assistant and managing director of American Surgical Professionals, a private equity-backed group in Houston.

Chhabra and his colleagues at the University of Michigan recently found that 1 in 5 privately insured patients undergoing surgery by in-network doctors at in-network facilities still receive a surprise out-of-network bill. Of those, 37% are from surgical assistants, tied with anesthesiologists as the most frequent offenders. The researchers found 13% of arthroscopic meniscal repairs resulted in surprise bills, at an average of $1,591 per bill.

Colorado has surprise billing protections for consumers like the Benassos who have state-regulated health plans. But state protections don’t apply to the 61% of American workers who have self-funded employer plans. Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, which helps consumers dispute surprise bills, has seen a lot of cases involving surgical assistants, said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement.

Izzy Benasso shows her scar from the surgery she had to repair a torn meniscus.(Rachel Woolf for KHN)

Resolution: Initially, the Benassos ignored the missive. Izzy didn’t recall meeting Griffith or being told a surgical assistant would be involved in her case.

But a month and a half later, when Steve logged on to check his daughter’s explanation of benefits, he saw that Griffith had billed the plan for $1,167. Cigna had not paid any of it.

Realizing then that the assistant was likely out-of-network, Steve sent him a letter saying “we had no intention of paying.”

Griffith declined to comment on the specifics of the Benasso case but said he sends letters to every patient so no one is surprised when he submits a claim.

“With all the different people talking to you in pre-op, and the stress of surgery, even if we do meet, they may forget who I was or that I was even there,” he said. “So the intention of the letter is just to say, ‘Hey, I was part of your surgery.'”

After KHN inquired, Cigna officials reviewed the case and Genuario’s operative report, determined that the services of an assistant surgeon were appropriate for the procedure and approved Griffith’s claim. Because Griffith was an out-of-network provider, Cigna applied his fee to Benasso’s $2,000 outpatient deductible. The Benassos have not received a bill for that fee.

Griffith says insurers often require more information before determining whether to pay for a surgical assistant’s services. If the plan pays anything, he accepts that as payment in full. If the plan pays nothing, Griffith usually bills the patient.

The Takeaway: As hospitals across the country restart elective surgeries, patients should be aware of this common pitfall.

Chhabra said he’s hearing more anecdotal reports about insurance plans simply not paying for surgical assistants, which leaves the patient stuck with the bill.

Chhabra said patients should ask their surgeons before surgery whether an assistant will be involved and whether that assistant is in-network.

“There are definitely situations where you need another set of hands to make sure the patient gets the best care possible,” he said. But “having a third party that is intentionally out-of-network or having a colleague who’s a surgeon who’s out-of-network, those are the situations that don’t really make a lot of financial or ethical sense.”

Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by KHN and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. Do you have an interesting medical bill you want to share with us? Tell us about it!

Related Topics

Cost and Quality Health Industry States

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

Scientists Want to Know More About Using UV Light to Fight COVID-19 Spread

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High up near the ceiling, in the dining room of his Seattle-area restaurant, Musa Firat recently installed a “killing zone” — a place where swaths of invisible electromagnetic energy penetrate the air, ready to disarm the coronavirus and other dangerous pathogens that drift upward in tiny, airborne particles.

Firat’s new system draws on a century-old technology for fending off infectious diseases: Energetic waves of ultraviolet light — known as germicidal UV, or GUV — are delivered in the right dose to wipe out viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Research already shows that germicidal UV can effectively inactivate airborne microbes that transmit measles, tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-1, a close relative of the novel coronavirus. Now, with concern mounting that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may be easily transmitted through microscopic floating particles known as aerosols, some researchers and physicians hope the technology can be recruited yet again to help disinfect high-risk indoor settings.

“I thought it was a great idea, and I want my customers to be safe,” said Firat whose casual eatery, Marlaina’s Mediterranean Kitchen, is 20 minutes south of downtown Seattle.

As the U.S. grapples with how to interrupt the spread of the highly infectious virus, UV is being used to decontaminate surfaces on public transit and in hospitals where infectious droplets may have landed, as well as to disinfect N95 masks for reuse. But so far using this technology to provide continuous air disinfection has remained outside of most mainstream, policy-setting conversations about the coronavirus.

Experts attribute this to a combination of factors: misconceptions about UV’s safety, a lack of public awareness and technical know-how, concerns about the costs of installing the technology, and a general reluctance to consider the role of aerosols in the spread of the coronavirus.

Aerosols are microdroplets expelled when someone exhales, speaks or coughs. Unlike the larger and heavier respiratory droplets that fall quickly to the ground, aerosols can linger in the air a long time and travel through indoor spaces. When someone catches a virus this way, the process is called “airborne transmission.”

It’s already recognized that the coronavirus can spread by means of aerosols during medical procedures, which is why health care workers are advised to wear respirators, such as N95 masks, that filter out these tiny particles. Yet there is still considerable debate over how likely the virus is to spread in other settings via aerosols.

Recently, the question of airborne transmission gained new urgency when a group of 239 scientists called on the World Health Organization to take the threat of infectious aerosols more seriously, arguing that the “lack of clear recommendations on the control measures against the airborne virus will have significant consequences.”

WHO officials conceded that more research is needed but maintained that most infections do not happen this way.

As the science continues to evolve, UV could emerge as an attractive safeguard against airborne transmission — one with a track record against pathogens — that can be deployed to reduce the risk of infectious aerosols accumulating in indoor settings such as schools and businesses.

Inside Marlaina’s Mediterranean Kitchen, a Seattle-area eatery, which is battling the coronavirus using UV light. (Will Stone for KHN)

Ultraviolet fixtures mounted above the restaurant’s ceiling panels glow faint blue and create a “killing zone” that can wipe out viral aerosols building up in the air. Some experts are calling for wider adoption of UV light to help disinfect the air in indoor settings.(Will Stone for KHN)

Welcome to the ‘Killing Zone’

At Marlaina’s restaurant, there are just two visible clues of the new UV disinfection system — a subtle glow of blue light above the black grates of the drop ceiling, and a hand-chalked sign at the door, proudly announcing to diners: “Coronavirus Disinfected Here!”

The system was installed while the restaurant was closed during Washington state’s lockdown. The setup is known as “upper-room germicidal UV” because the UV fixtures are mounted high and angled away from humans below.

Ceiling fans circulate the air, eventually pushing any suspended viral particles that have accumulated in the dining space through the grated drop ceiling, to the area where UV lights, positioned horizontally, blast them with radiant energy.

The inspiration and technical assistance for Marlaina’s owner came from customer Bruce Davidson, a pulmonary physician who was Philadelphia’s “tuberculosis czar” in the mid-’90s. Back then, the U.S. was grappling with a new outbreak of TB that included strains resistant to existing drugs.

“Preventing transmission was the most important part, because we had no drugs, no vaccine,” recalled Davidson, who now lives outside Seattle. UV light proved to be a key strategy back then, and Davidson thinks it can help again: “It really ought to be in most indoor public spaces now.”

To demonstrate the concept, Davidson lit a cigar inside Marlaina’s and showed how the smoke danced upward, collecting in the ceiling space with the UV fixtures.

“If somebody has undetected coronavirus and doesn’t eat with a mask and is talking and so on, the vast majority of their particles are going to get pulled up there into the killing zone and circulate and bounce around,” Davidson said. “Statistically, the risk to other people is going to be very low.”

Research shows close to 90% of airborne particles from a previous coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) can be inactivated in about 16 seconds when exposed to the same strength of UV as in the restaurant’s ceiling. Other viruses, such as the adenovirus, are more resistant and require a higher dose of UV.

“Although it’s not perfect, it probably offers the best solution for direct air disinfection” in the current pandemic, said David Sliney, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and longtime researcher on germicidal UV.

When used with proper ventilation, upper-room GUV is about 80% effective against the spread of airborne tuberculosis, according to several studies. This is equivalent to replacing the air in a room up to 24 times an hour.

But widespread adoption of UV systems could be an uphill battle, Sliney said, because in the U.S., interest in using UV for air disinfection has waned in recent decades as scientists focused their attention on powerful vaccines and drugs to deal with infectious diseases.

Understanding Aerosols and Airborne Transmission

UV can be a powerful weapon against an airborne virus, but it can go only so far toward preventing infection. People can still get sick from the larger, heavier droplets ejected via coughs and sneezes. They can directly inhale those droplets or touch a surface contaminated with them, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

UV also does not prevent someone from being exposed to infectious aerosols that have just emerged from an infected person — and are lingering quite near his or her body — what researcher Richard Corsi called the “near field.”

“In that scenario, you’re inhaling a very concentrated cloud of these tiny particles that you can’t see,” said Corsi, dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. “You’re getting a pretty significant dose in your respiratory system.”

So, even if there is upper-room UV in a building, Corsi said, face masks and social distancing are still necessary to block larger respiratory droplets and remove some of the aerosols in the near field. But Corsi said there’s now enough evidence to show that coronavirus aerosols can hang in the air and spread throughout a room (“the far field”), and it’s time to take that airborne spread seriously.

One example of far-field transmission is documented in a study of a restaurant in China at which some diners seated at neighboring tables contracted the COVID-19 virus despite never coming into close contact with the “index case-patient.” Another piece of evidence came from a March 10 choir practice in Mount Vernon, Washington, after which the majority of singers contracted the coronavirus, even though members of the group took precautions to use hand sanitizer and avoid hugs and handshakes.

In their letter to WHO, scientists note that the coronavirus that causes MERS can spread through aerosols, and “there is every reason to expect that [the COVID virus] behaves similarly.”

Understanding the Technology and Safety

Germicidal UV harnesses a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that contains short waves of radiant energy, called UV-C. This wavelength is further away from the visible spectrum than other forms of UV light.

Think of it as giving the virus a lethal sunburn.

“We have very little practical experience to show how effective it can be [in a pandemic] since it’s been out of use in this country and in Western Europe,” said Sliney of Johns Hopkins, who chairs a committee with the Illuminating Engineering Society, which recently released new guidance on GUV.

Sliney recommends installing UV in big-box stores, restaurants and grocery stores, which typically have high ceilings. “There needs to be vertical air exchange,” he said, as with ceiling fans, so “it’s not just sterilizing the air in the upper space of the room.”

“No one doubts the efficacy of germicidal UV in killing small microorganisms and pathogens. I think the bigger controversy, if there is any, is misperceptions around safety,” said Dr. Edward Nardell, a professor at Harvard Medical School who researches GUV.

Low-dose germicidal UV can damage the eyes and skin, but Nardell said those risks can be avoided by following the appropriate guidelines. While international guidelines warn against directly exposing humans to UV-C, the risks of skin cancer are considered negligible, especially compared with longer wavelengths of UV that can penetrate more deeply.

Could UV Make a Comeback?

With interest in UV climbing, there is concern about shoddy products on the market and exaggerated claims about their effectiveness against the virus, said Jim Malley, a professor at the University of New Hampshire who studies public health and disinfection.

Consumers should be wary of marketing claims about “UV wands” that can be waved quickly over surfaces or special “portals” that people walk through, he said, because those are probably not correctly calibrated to inactivate the virus and could be dangerous.

Malley said he does not think there’s much of a viable market for upper-room GUV outside health care settings, but he supports installing the technology in the most high-risk settings, such as meatpacking plants and nursing facilities.

“My gut feeling is we should do anything we can in those places, because we have a horrendous fatality record” with the coronavirus, he said.

At Marlaina’s restaurant, the installation was relatively straightforward.

The owner, Firat, purchased four UV fixtures (at $165 each), hired an electrician to install the fans and bought black gridded plastic panels to enclose the ceiling space where the UV is mounted.

Firat still encourages his customers to wear masks and maintain social distance. But he said the UV has become part of the ambiance.

“It’s more modern and clean, and the response is great, absolutely great,” he said.

This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

Pandemic-Inspired Food Labeling Raises Alarms for Those With Food Allergies

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As the mother of a child with food allergies, Heather Sapp was well versed in reading labels and calling manufacturers to verify ingredients. For years, she kept her daughter’s diet free of the peanuts and tree nuts that could kill her.

But when a bite of lemon-ginger hummus three years ago sent Sapp herself into life-threatening anaphylactic shock, her dependence on labeling accuracy became more complicated. Testing determined that Sapp, now 43, had developed adult-onset anaphylactic allergies to chickpeas, sesame and cilantro. More recently, Sapp, who lives in Phoenix, had an anaphylactic reaction to parsley.

None of Sapp’s allergens are among those the Food and Drug Administration requires to be individually listed on food labels. Parsley and cilantro regularly are included under “spices” or “natural flavors.” Like many Americans with food allergies, Sapp reads ingredient labels closely, often following up with a phone call to verify ingredients, and had developed a list of manufacturers and products she considered safe.

However, Sapp was stunned when in late May the FDA released, with no warning, new temporary guidelines allowing manufacturers facing supply chain shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic to make ingredient substitutions without changing food labels.

“How can we trust that anything is going to be safe at this point?” Sapp asked. “Even if you don’t have an allergy, people want to know what’s in their food.”

While FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell declined to address specific concerns from consumers with food allergies, he said the new guidelines were developed in conjunction with other federal agencies as one of several temporary measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers are required to make ingredient substitutions public.

“It’s a temporary guidance in order to make sure that the supply chains throughout the country are able to provide safe and ample food for America,” Cassell said.

Because the guidelines were issued as an emergency measure, no public comment period preceded them. The FDA is now accepting comments on the new guidelines, which will remain in place until the end of the declared public health emergency, Cassell said. At that point, the FDA will decide if it should continue the policy based on public comments and industry needs.

Under the emergency measure, manufacturers are not allowed to substitute ingredients that may have an “adverse health effect, including food allergens, gluten, sulfites or other ingredients known to cause sensitivities.” The top eight recognized food allergens in the U.S. — milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy — as well as other priority allergens, including sesame, celery, lupin (a legume), buckwheat, molluscan shellfish and mustards, cannot be substituted under the new guidelines. The FDA still requires them to be listed on package labels.

But other minor ingredients can be temporarily substituted. With 170 known food allergens in the United States, and with concerns about cross-contact among ingredients, people with allergies are concerned about these unannounced substitutions.

For example, if a company hits a snag in the supply chain for a peppercorn it has been using, it can substitute another type of peppercorn. Some peppercorns are related to cashews and can trigger anaphylaxis in people allergic to cashews and other tree nuts. Or, while the FDA considers highly refined oils safe for people with food allergies, many consumers do not. The new guidelines allow manufacturers to substitute sunflower oil for canola oil, for example, because they share similar fatty acid profiles.

The FDA guidelines do not require new ingredient labels but recommend companies put an informational sticker on products with substituted ingredients or make that information available on their websites. The temporary guidelines went into effect on their May 22 release.

Mary Vargas, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and food allergy advocate, said she believes some of the language in the temporary guidelines makes it unclear how strict the FDA will be in its oversight of labeling and substitutions, as well as how long the guidelines might be in place.

Heather Sapp and daughter Amber check ingredient labels at the grocery store. Amber is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, while her mother has developed adult-onset food allergies in the past couple of years. (Courtesy of Heather Sapp)

“I just have a lot of confusion about what this even means,” said Vargas. “It muddies the waters rather than clarifies them.”

Molly Rittberg’s 8-year-old son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sunflower and sesame. Sunflower seeds or oil are often included under “spices” or “natural flavors,” which required phone calls and additional research before the new guidelines. But now Rittberg, who lives in Milwaukee, said she can’t assume manufacturers she had considered safe for ingredients or cross-contact will continue to be OK under the new labeling rules.

“We are label readers,” said Rittberg. “Even when we call and verify a product, every time I purchase a new bag or box of something, I always check the label to make sure the recipe hasn’t changed. With this temporary label change, it is going to make it even harder for us because we already have this area of not knowing what’s in the food we are consuming. Now that things can be changed or substituted without notification, it’s like we are back to square one.”

Families who are dependent on government food assistance, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, are especially vulnerable because the selection of allergy-safe food allowed under those programs is already limited, said Emily Brown, founder of the Food Equality Initiative in Kansas City, Missouri, which works to increase access to allergy-safe and gluten-free foods for economically disadvantaged families.

“You only have access to specific brands with specific quantities. So, if brands change their formula and it’s not clear, then really the most vulnerable of the vulnerable will not have access to what they need,” said Brown, whose daughters have food allergies.

Sharon Wong, a food allergy advocate and recipe blogger in California whose two sons have 30 food allergies between them, echoed Brown’s concerns. She said that while many Americans, like her, have the option to cook from scratch, the same isn’t true for everyone, and contacting manufacturers requires resources and time.

“If it’s not on the label, it’s an equity issue,” she said. “Not everybody has access to the internet. Not everyone can call during business hours. Some people have language issues.”

The new guidelines compound existing shortfalls in labeling requirements for the estimated 32 million in the U.S. with food allergies or other sensitivities, said Jen Jobrack, food allergy advocate and founding principal of Food Allergy Pros, a consulting firm that works with companies and other organizations to improve safety for people with food allergies.

The top cause of food recalls is typically undeclared allergens, according to Food Safety Magazine and Stericycle Expert Solutions, which both review food recall data. Because many Americans have more than one food allergy, Jobrack said, reliable labeling is imperative.

She added that the new guidelines also affect the hospitality industry, schools and day care centers, which will only exacerbate the problem as the country continues to reopen from the pandemic closures. She and others fear the guidance won’t be rescinded even if the pandemic supply chain issues are resolved.

“The concern really all boils down to what ingredients and what information will manufacturers be required to let consumers know,” said Jobrack.

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Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More