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NIH-Backed Study Finds Moderna, Pfizer Boosters Work Best

NIH-Backed Study Finds Moderna, Pfizer Boosters Work Best After months of dithering about the potential safety risks of mixing and matching various approved COVID vaccines, a long-running NIH-sponsored study has found that patients can safely and effectively receive booster shots from any of the major approved vaccines, even as the FDA's vaccine advisory committee has sounded lukewarm about the prospect of approving booster jabs for all adults over the age of 18. According to Bloomberg, the complicated 9-arm trial involved over 450 people and measured the effects from giving a booster shot of the Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech or J&J vaccines to those who had originally gotten a different vaccine. The data showed that the new jabs increased patients' levels of neutralizing antibodies, sometimes by more than would be expected if they received a third jab of the same vaccine they had received initially. "These data suggest that if a vaccine is approved or authorized as a booster, an immune response will be generated regardless of the primary Covid-19 vaccination regimen," the researchers said in their conclusion. In the abstract from the preprint of the study (which can be found on medrxiv.org) the researchers claimed they were embarking on this research because of the persistent breakthrough infections that continue to occur in some patients. While "homologous" mRNA booster jabs have received approval in some jurisdictions (Israel, and now the EUA, are now allowing some patients to receive a third dose of whatever initial jab they received) In total, 458 individuals were enrolled: 154 received mRNA-1273 (Moderna), 150 received Ad26.CoV2.S (J&J), and 154 received BNT162b2 (Pfizer) booster vaccines. The study was sponsored and primarily funded by the NIH. Participants were divided into nine groups with roughly 50 volunteers in each. Those who initially got the two-dose Moderna vaccine got either another Moderna shot, a Pfizer shot or a J&J shot as a booster four to six months after their primary immunization. People who got the two-dose Pfizer vaccine got either another Pfizer shot or a Moderna or J&J booster. And people who got the one-shot J&J vaccine, either got another J&J shot, or a Moderna or Pfizer booster. Antibody levels were then measured at two weeks and four weeks after the booster dose. Data showed that homologous boosters increased neutralizing antibodies by 4.2-20-fold while heterologous boosters created an increase of 6.2-76-fold. The conclusion: Conclusion: "Homologous and heterologous booster vaccinations were well-tolerated and immunogenic in adults who completed a primary Covid-19 vaccine regimen at least 12 weeks earlier." Notably, the study found that for patients who initially received the J&J jab, switching to an mRNA jab (Pfizer's or Moderna') for the booster dose might afford them better protection. Regardless of the initial jab, Pfizer and Moderna boosters appeared to work best. More detail about the study are expected Friday afternoon during a meeting of an FDA advisory panel, where researchers conducting the trial are scheduled to give a presentation on their early findings. A panel will also meet Thursday to deliberate over Moderna's application for booster-jab approval. Find the full pre-print below: 2021.10.10.21264827v1.full by Joseph Adinolfi Jr. on Scribd Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

NATO"s Plans To Hack Your Brain

NATO's Plans To Hack Your Brain Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com, Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.” NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it. The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.” Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.” A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.” “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.” The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.” In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.” With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities. The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself. Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia. In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.” NATO’s development of novel forms of hybrid warfare come at a time when member states’ military campaigns are targeting domestic populations on an unprecedented level. The Ottawa Citizen reported this September that the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to wage an information war against its own domestic population, testing out propaganda tactics on Canadian civilians. Internal NATO-sponsored reports suggest that this disclosure is just scratching the surface of a wave of new unconventional warfare techniques that Western militaries are employing around the world. Canada hosts ‘NATO Innovation Challenge’ on cognitive warfare Twice each year, NATO holds a “pitch-style event” that it brand as an “Innovation Challenge.” These campaigns – one hosted in the Spring and the other in the Fall, by alternating member states – call on private companies, organizations, and researchers to help develop new tactics and technologies for the military alliance. The shark tank-like challenges reflect the predominant influence of neoliberal ideology within NATO, as participants mobilize the free market, public-private partnerships, and the promise of cash prizes to advance the agenda of the military-industrial complex. NATO’s Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge is hosted by Canada, and is titled “The invisible threat: Tools for countering cognitive warfare.” “Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act,” the Canadian government wrote in its official statement on the challenge. “Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.” Ottawa’s press release continued: “Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.” NATO-backed Canadian military officials discuss cognitive warfare in panel event An advocacy group called the NATO Association of Canada has mobilized to support this Innovation Challenge, working closely with military contractors to attract the private sector to invest in further research on behalf of NATO – and its own bottom line. While the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is technically an independent NGO, its mission is to promote NATO, and the organization boasts on its website, “The NAOC has strong ties with the Government of Canada including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.” As part of its efforts to promote Canada’s NATO Innovation Challenge, the NAOC held a panel discussion on cognitive warfare on October 5. The researcher who wrote the definitive 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare, François du Cluzel, participated in the event, alongside NATO-backed Canadian military officers. The October 5 panel on cognitive warfare, hosted by the NATO Association of Canada The panel was overseen by Robert Baines, president of the NATO Association of Canada. It was moderated by Garrick Ngai, a marketing executive in the weapons industry who serves as an adviser to the Canadian Department of National Defense and vice president and director of the NAOC. Baines opened the event noting that participants would discuss “cognitive warfare and new domain of competition, where state and non-state actors aim to influence what people think and how they act.” The NAOC president also happily noted the lucrative “opportunities for Canadian companies” that this NATO Innovation Challenge promised. NATO researcher describes cognitive warfare as ‘ways of harming the brain’ The October 5 panel kicked off with François du Cluzel, a former French military officer who in 2013 helped to create the NATO Innovation Hub (iHub), which he has since then managed from its base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the iHub insists on its website, for legal reasons, that the “opinions expressed on this platform don’t constitute NATO or any other organization points of view,” the organization is sponsored by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), described as “one of two Strategic Commands at the head of NATO’s military command structure.” The Innovation Hub, therefore, acts as a kind of in-house NATO research center or think tank. Its research is not necessarily official NATO policy, but it is directly supported and overseen by NATO. In 2020, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) tasked du Cluzel, as manager of the iHub, to conduct a six-month study on cognitive warfare. Du Cluzel summarized his research in the panel this October. He initiated his remarks noting that cognitive warfare “right now is one of the hottest topics for NATO,” and “has become a recurring term in military terminology in recent years.” Although French, Du Cluzel emphasized that cognitive warfare strategy “is being currently developed by my command here in Norfolk, USA.” The NATO Innovation Hub manager spoke with a PowerPoint presentation, and opened with a provocative slide that described cognitive warfare as “A Battle for the Brain.” “Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.” Cognitive warfare overlaps with Big Tech corporations and mass surveillance, because “it’s all about leveraging the big data,” du Cluzel explained. “We produce data everywhere we go. Every minute, every second we go, we go online. And this is extremely easy to leverage those data in order to better know you and use that knowledge to change the way you think.” Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign “adversaries” are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics. Du Cluzel defined cognitive warfare as the “art of using technologies to alter the cognition of human targets.” Those technologies, he noted, incorporate the fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. All together, “it makes a kind of very dangerous cocktail that can further manipulate the brain,” he said. Du Cluzel went on to explain that the exotic new method of attack “goes well beyond” information warfare or psychological operations (psyops). “Cognitive warfare is not only a fight against what we think, but it’s rather a fight against the way we think, if we can change the way people think,” he said. “It’s much more powerful and it goes way beyond the information [warfare] and psyops.” De Cluzel continued: “It’s crucial to understand that it’s a game on our cognition, on the way our brain processes information and turns it into knowledge, rather than solely a game on information or on psychological aspects of our brains. It’s not only an action against what we think, but also an action against the way we think, the way we process information and turn it into knowledge.” “In other words, cognitive warfare is not just another word, another name for information warfare. It is a war on our individual processor, our brain.” The NATO researcher stressed that “this is extremely important for us in the military,” because “it has the potential, by developing new weapons and ways of harming the brain, it has the potential to engage neuroscience and technology in many, many different approaches to influence human ecology… because you all know that it’s very easy to turn a civilian technology into a military one.” As for who the targets of cognitive warfare could be, du Cluzel revealed that anyone and everyone is on the table. “Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from starting with the individual to states and multinational organizations,” he said. “Its field of action is global and aim to seize control of the human being, civilian as well as military.” And the private sector has a financial interest in advancing cognitive warfare research, he noted: “The massive worldwide investments made in neurosciences suggests that the cognitive domain will probably one of the battlefields of the future.” The development of cognitive warfare totally transforms military conflict as we know it, du Cluzel said, adding “a third major combat dimension to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimension is now added a cognitive dimension.” This “creates a new space of competition beyond what is called the five domains of operations – or land, sea, air, cyber, and space domains. Warfare in the cognitive arena mobilizes a wider range of battle spaces than solely the physical and information dimensions can do.” In short, humans themselves are the new contested domain in this novel mode of hybrid warfare, alongside land, sea, air, cyber, and outer space. NATO’s cognitive warfare study warns of “embedded fifth column” The study that NATO Innovation Hub manager François du Cluzel conducted, from June to November 2020, was sponsored by the military cartel’s Allied Command Transformation, and published as a 45-page report in January 2021 (PDF). The chilling document shows how contemporary warfare has reached a kind of dystopian stage, once imaginable only in science fiction. “The nature of warfare has changed,” the report emphasized. “The majority of current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the human mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.” For NATO, research on cognitive warfare is not just defensive; it is very much offensive as well. “Developing capabilities to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity,” du Cluzel’s report stated clearly. “In other words, NATO will need to get the ability to safeguard her decision making process and disrupt the adversary’s one.” And anyone could be a target of these cognitive warfare operations: “Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital,” the report ominously added. “As well as the potential execution of a cognitive war to complement to a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the armed forces,” the study went on. “Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.” Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: “This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifications from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The NATO-sponsored study noted that “some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technologies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence enterprises.” It spoke of breakthroughs in “neuroscientific methods and technologies” (neuroS/T), and said “uses of research findings and products to directly facilitate the performance of combatants, the integration of human machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of semi autonomous vehicles (e.g., drones), and development of biological and chemical weapons (i.e., neuroweapons).” The Pentagon is among the primary institutions advancing this novel research, as the report highlighted: “Although a number of nations have pursued, and are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, perhaps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States Department of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).” Military uses of neuroS/T research, the study indicated, include intelligence gathering, training, “optimising performance and resilience in combat and military support personnel,” and of course “direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.” This weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be fatal, the NATO-sponsored study was clear to point out. The research can “be utilised to mitigate aggression and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and ‘neutralise’ potential opponents or incur mortality” – in other words, to maim and kill people. The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare The report quoted US Major General Robert H. Scales, who summarized NATO’s new combat philosophy: “Victory will be defined more in terms of capturing the psycho-cultural rather than the geographical high ground.” And as NATO develops tactics of cognitive warfare to “capture the psycho-cultural,” it is also increasingly weaponizing various scientific fields. The study spoke of “the crucible of data sciences and human sciences,” and stressed that “the combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military analysts to improve the production of intelligence.” “If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy,” it said, “psychology and related behavioural and social sciences stand to fill the void.” “Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of Operations,” the report went on. “It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end state.” All academic disciplines will be implicated in cognitive warfare, not just the hard sciences. “Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military,” the NATO-sponsored study stated. The report nears its conclusion with an eerie quote: “Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” “The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence,” it posited. “Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain.” The NATO-sponsored study then closed with a final paragraph that makes it clear beyond doubt that the Western military alliance’s ultimate goal is not only physical control of the planet, but also control over people’s minds: “Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect. The five first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve the final and full victory.” Canadian Special Operations officer emphasizes importance of cognitive warfare When François du Cluzel, the NATO researcher who conducted the study on cognitive warfare, concluded his remarks in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada panel, he was followed by Andy Bonvie, a commanding officer at the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre. With more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bonvie spoke of how Western militaries are making use of research by du Cluzel and others, and incorporating novel cognitive warfare techniques into their combat activities. “Cognitive warfare is a new type of hybrid warfare for us,” Bonvie said. “And it means that we need to look at the traditional thresholds of conflict and how the things that are being done are really below those thresholds of conflict, cognitive attacks, and non-kinetic forms and non-combative threats to us. We need to understand these attacks better and adjust their actions and our training accordingly to be able to operate in these different environments.” Although he portrayed NATO’s actions as “defensive,” claiming “adversaries” were using cognitive warfare against them, Bonvie was unambiguous about the fact that Western militaries are developing these tecniques themselves, to maintain a “tactical advantage.” “We cannot lose the tactical advantage for our troops that we’re placing forward as it spans not only tactically, but strategically,” he said. “Some of those different capabilities that we have that we enjoy all of a sudden could be pivoted to be used against us. So we have to better understand how quickly our adversaries adapt to things, and then be able to predict where they’re going in the future, to help us be and maintain the tactical advantage for our troops moving forward.” ‘Cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date’ Marie-Pierre Raymond, a retired Canadian lieutenant colonel who currently serves as a “defence scientist and innovation portfolio manager” for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, also joined the October 5 panel. “Long gone are the days when war was fought to acquire more land,” Raymond said. “Now the new objective is to change the adversaries’ ideologies, which makes the brain the center of gravity of the human. And it makes the human the contested domain, and the mind becomes the battlefield.” “When we speak about hybrid threats, cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date,” she added, noting that it aims to influence individuals’ decision-making and “to influence a group of a group of individuals on their behavior, with the aim of gaining a tactical or strategic advantage.” Raymond noted that cognitive warfare also heavily overlaps with artificial intelligence, big data, and social media, and reflects “the rapid evolution of neurosciences as a tool of war.” Raymond is helping to oversee the NATO Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence, which delegated management responsibilities to the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, where she works. In highly technical jargon, Raymond indicated that the cognitive warfare program is not solely defensive, but also offensive: “This challenge is calling for a solution that will support NATO’s nascent human domain and jump-start the development of a cognition ecosystem within the alliance, and that will support the development of new applications, new systems, new tools and concepts leading to concrete action in the cognitive domain.” She emphasized that this “will require sustained cooperation between allies, innovators, and researchers to enable our troops to fight and win in the cognitive domain. This is what we are hoping to emerge from this call to innovators and researchers.” To inspire corporate interest in the NATO Innovation Challenge, Raymond enticed, “Applicants will receive national and international exposure and cash prizes for the best solution.” She then added tantalizingly, “This could also benefit the applicants by potentially providing them access to a market of 30 nations.” Canadian military officer calls on corporations to invest in NATO’s cognitive warfare research The other institution that is managing the Fall 2021 NATO Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defense is the Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). A Canadian military officer who works with CANSOFCOM, Shekhar Gothi, was the final panelist in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada event. Gothi serves as CANSOFCOM’s “innovation officer” for Southern Ontario. He concluded the event appealing for corporate investment in NATO’s cognitive warfare research. The bi-annual Innovation Challenge is “part of the NATO battle rhythm,” Gothi declared enthusiastically. He noted that, in the spring of 2021, Portugal held a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on warfare in outer space. In spring 2020, the Netherlands hosted a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on Covid-19. Gothi reassured corporate investors that NATO will bend over backward to defend their bottom lines: “I can assure everyone that the NATO innovation challenge indicates that all innovators will maintain complete control of their intellectual property. So NATO won’t take control of that. Neither will Canada. Innovators will maintain their control over their IP.” The comment was a fitting conclusion to the panel, affirming that NATO and its allies in the military-industrial complex not only seek to dominate the world and the humans that inhabit it with unsettling cognitive warfare techniques, but to also ensure that corporations and their shareholders continue to profit from these imperial endeavors. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Ripple, Avalanche join independent group to support the development of a digital UK pound

The Digital Pound Foundation will run 'hands-on' exploratory projects aimed to help roll out a digital UK currency. UK officials are looking into possibly launching a digital pound sterling. Thomson Reuters Blockchain-based companies Ripple and Avalanche have joined a group to support the creation of a digital UK pound. The Digital Pound Foundation is an independent group aiming to support the launch of a 'well-designed" digitized currency for Britain. The Bank of England is working on what UK's finance minister has dubbed a potential "Britcoin". Ripple and Avalanche will work on advancing the creation of a digitized UK pound through an independent forum, as UK officials explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency.The Digital Pound Foundation will support the implementation of a "well-designed digital Pound" and digital-money ecosystem, the group said in a statement for its launch Thursday. The independent organization was incorporated in June and proposed a model under which public and private sectors could work together to drive the UK's transition to a digital economy."If the UK is to maintain its globally competitive lead in fintech and financial innovation, it needs to create a digital Pound, and a healthy ecosystem for digital money," the foundation said Thursday. Ripple said it is a founding member of the group and that Susan Friedman, its head of public policy, will join the board. Avalanche was listed as an associate member on the foundation's website. Lee Schneider, general counsel for blockchain software company Ava Labs, which created Avalanche, is listed as an originating member. The Bank of England and the UK Treasury are spearheading discussions about potentially implementing a central bank digital currency or CBDC.Members of the Digital Pound Foundation will conduct research and run 'hands-on' exploratory projects, among other activities, aimed to help roll out a digital pound. The foundation said ​​CBDCs and other digital-money forms can leverage technology to develop features such as programmable money, more inclusive payments services, and a "more robust and resilient" payments infrastructure. The Bank of England and the UK Treasury are spearheading discussions about potentially implementing a central bank digital currency, or CBDC. "Britcoin" is what British finance minister Rishi Sunak earlier this year dubbed a possible cryptocurrency backed by the Bank of England. The foundation, citing a 2020 study by the Bank for International Settlements, said 10% of central banks surveyed representing 20% of the world's population are likely to issue a CBDC for the general public in the next three years or less.​​CBDCs and other digital-money forms can leverage technology to develop features such as programmable money, more inclusive payments services, and a "more robust and resilient" payments infrastructure, the independent group said. "Technology is transforming human interaction and money must adapt to that. The world has become a global laboratory realizing the benefits of a new form of money," said Jeremy Wilson, chairman of the Digital Pound Foundation, in a statement. Wilson also serves as chairman of the Whitechapel Think Tank, a forum focused on disruptive innovation in financial services. Ripple's XRP token during Thursday's trading session rose 5.5% at $1.15, according to CoinGecko, and Avalanche's AVAX token gained 3.6% to $55.60.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

UnitedHealth is setting its sights on hospitals

These are Insider's biggest healthcare stories for October 14. Hello,Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and today in healthcare news:UnitedHealth has a new plan to partner with hospital systems;A highly anticipated boosters trial found that J&J shot recipients got a better immune response with Pfizer and Moderna;Merck could make billions of its COVID-19 pill. If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lrosenbaum@insider.com or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. Let's get to it... Optum CEO Andrew Witty Reuters UnitedHealth has made a fortune from its sprawling network of doctors and clinics. Now it's setting its sights on hospitals.UnitedHealth Group has made a fortune owning medical clinics and keeping patients out of hospitals.But the healthcare giant is increasingly looking at hospitals as a source of revenue.Last week, UnitedHealth struck a deal with health system SSM Health to handle back-office operations. Read our analysis>> A vial of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen's) Covid-19 vaccine. Eduardo Sanz/Europa Press via Getty Images Scientists gave J&J vaccine recipients different booster shots in a highly anticipated trial, and found they got a much better immune response with Moderna and PfizerPeople who got the J&J vaccine may get a better immune response from a Moderna or Pfizer booster, a major new study suggests.J&J recipients generated far more antibodies after a Moderna or Pfizer shot, instead of a second J&J jab.However, higher levels of antibodies do not necessarily mean a person is more protected from the coronavirus.Get the full story>> Molnupiravir is an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that could treat COVID-19 Merck Merck is set to make billions off a COVID-19 pill that could change the pandemic. Here's why some countries will pay more than others.Merck's COVID-19 pill holds tremendous promise in fighting the pandemic. Industry analysts expect Merck to make billions off the not-yet-authorized drug.Some countries will be paying $12 per patient, while the US agreed to pay $712 per treatment course.Learn more>>More stories we're reading:Fully vaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 should be last in line for booster shots, experts say (Insider)This online pharmacy sold millions of dollars of Ivermectin to desperate patients (TIME)A drugmaker backed by the company that owns Marlboro cigarettes plans to launch the world's first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine (Insider)COVID-19 has killed hundreds of police officers, but many still refuse to get vaccinated (The New York Times)-LeahRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Check out 22 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Quantum computing made easy QC Ware CEO Matt Johnson. QC Ware Even though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant models Kirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders. Beacon A fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

The Shorter Work Week Really Worked in Iceland. Here’s How

An experiment showed workers were able to work less and get paid the same, while maintaining productivity and improving personal well-being Even as the Covid-19 pandemic forced companies around the world to reimagine the workplace, researchers in Iceland were already conducting two trials of a shorter work week that involved about 2,500 workers—more than 1% of the country’s working population. They found that the experiment was an “overwhelming success” —workers were able to work less, get paid the same, while maintaining productivity and improving personal well-being. The Iceland research has been one of the few large, formal studies on the subject. So how did participants pull it off and what lessons do they have for the rest of the world? Bloomberg News interviewed four Icelanders, who described some of the initial problems that accompanied changed schedules, yet they were helped by their organizations which took concerted steps like introducing formal training programs on time-management to teach them how to reduce their hours while maintaining productivity. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The trials also worked because both employees and employers were flexible, willing to experiment and make changes when something didn’t work. In some cases, employers had to add a few hours back after cutting them too much. Iceland did the trials partly because people were reporting relatively long working hours, averaging 44.4 hours per week—the third highest of Eurostat countries in 2018. Participants in the Iceland study reduced their hours by three to five hours per week without losing pay. While the shorter work hours have so far largely been adopted in Iceland’s public sector, workers and managers used simple techniques to maintain productivity while cutting back on time in the office. As employees from Silicon Valley to Wall Street look for better ways to balance work and life, here are tips from four Icelanders. Read more: Spain Is Going to Trial a 4-Day Work Week. Could the Idea Go Mainstream Post-Pandemic? As director of capital Reykjavik’s Land and Operation agency, Hjalti Guðmundsson manages a team of about 140 people. Most of them work outdoors, on tasks like road maintenance, cleaning streets and gardening. Before starting the trial in 2016, employees worked long hours, usually from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. or later, though work from 3:30 p.m. onwards was counted as overtime. Since the organization has different work sites, he was able to experiment with two different models simultaneously. At some sites, four of the five work days were shortened by an hour, allowing staff to finish at 4 p.m. At others, staff worked regular hours Monday to Thursday, and a half day on Friday. Salaries were unchanged, with written agreements between employers and employees. And at the end of the trial, staff voted for their preferred model as a permanent arrangement. The result was clear – more than 90% of workers wanted to shorten their work day by one hour four days a week. “It didn’t surprise me that they wanted to do that, because if you work from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the last hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. are not very productive,” explains Guðmundsson. “Contrarily, I think we’ve gained productivity, not only by this hour. But people are more willing to do their jobs in the active work time.” Those who worked in an office had shorter meetings. Those who worked on site spent less time going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy, as fewer sick days were reported. Workers reported having more time to spend with their families and on hobbies. Many appreciated gaining an extra hour of daylight, especially during the winter. Guðmundsson himself has been able to partially enjoy the shortened work week, and says he aims to commit to the new model by the end of the year. As a manager, he wants to lead by example. “Most of the projects can wait until tomorrow morning,” said Guðmundsson. “It’s a mindset, I think. You just have to work your way through this, you know?” Read more: These Are the Most Productive Countries in the World Arna Hrönn Aradóttir, a public-health project manager in Reykjavik’s suburbs, was one of the first to trial shorter hours as her workplace was chosen for the experiment in 2015. As a mother of five children, Aradóttir struggled to balance an 8-hour work day with childcare and housework. At the beginning of the trial, she opted to shorten her work day by an hour every day. Her workplace enrolled her in a time-management course, where she learned to shorten meetings, reduce time spent traveling for meetings and schedule her work more efficiently. “I feel like I’m more focused now,” said Aradóttir. “Before the pandemic, I spent a lot of time going to a meeting by car, but now I can sit in my office and have meetings through my computer. So I have gained four hours in my work day.” She used to have a 40-hour work week, but now works just 36 hours for the same pay taking on regular 8-hour days on Monday to Thursday, and 4 hours on Fridays. This in turn has enabled her to study for a master’s degree, enhancing her position on the job market. When there’s no school, she says she goes cycling or hiking, and has more time for herself. “The benefits for us is that we had more quality of life,” said Aradóttir. “It has helped me to spend more time with my children and experience less stress.” Sólveig Reynisdóttir, Aradóttir’s boss, said Reykjavík Service Centre’s participation was in response to an annual employee survey that revealed that its workers experienced a lot of strain in their jobs. The center experimented with the number of hours they would reduce in the work week, and at one point had to add back some hours after cutting too much. “We have shortened it five hours, then three hours and now four hours a week,” said Reynisdóttir. Some parts of the transition did not go as smoothly as expected. Employees were reluctant to go from a 35-hour to 37-hour work week, even though it was still fewer hours than before the trial. But overall, Reynisdóttir views the trial as more positive than negative. Productivity was maintained while employees reported greater job satisfaction and fewer sick days that involved short illnesses like colds. Like Aradóttir, Reynisdóttir said she was able to maintain productivity by shortening meetings and replacing in-person ones with online sessions, saving on travel time.“Covid has pushed us in that direction,” explains Reynisdóttir. “The waiting lists are not longer. The number of interviews is on par with what was before.” Read more: Stressed at Work? Here’s How to Feel Better In fact, the shortened work week has motivated employees to work harder, she notes. But as a manager, Reynisdóttir has had more difficulty following the shortened work week herself. “Sometimes there is a lot of projects and then we know the workload and strain becomes more but that evens out when you look back a whole year,” she said. “It has made my job easier to have a shorter work week,” said Reynisdóttir. “The employees are more satisfied which is of great importance for me as a manager.” Saga Stephensen just started the shorter work week this January. Collectively, she and her colleagues voted to have a full day off every other Friday and work regular hours the rest of the time. Like Aradóttir, her workplace enrolled her in time-management courses that enabled her to shorten and reduce meetings, replace in-person appointments with online ones, thereby cutting travel time as well. Her workplace also decided to have no meetings on the Fridays they do work, allowing them to wrap up tasks at the end of the week. “That has really helped because we have a lot of meetings and you rethink them,” said Stephensen. “You think about if you really need that meeting and if it is necessary.” It took some time for her and her colleagues to adjust to the new schedule. On weeks that she has Friday off, she sometimes ends up working longer hours other days, she noted. But overall everyone is pleased with the new arrangement. “I think because people think that this is a very positive thing, everyone is trying hard to keep this up,” said Stephensen. “We are also urged by our bosses to take advantage of our day and take the time off.” On her Friday off, she now spends time doing household chores, meeting up with family and friends, and on occasion does a short trip during her extended weekend. Stephensen also finds it easier to return to work after recent holidays, she said. “I did not feel sad for the holiday to be over because I knew there were some breaks to look forward to.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 14th, 2021

NIH-Backed Study Finds Moderna, Pfizer Boosters Work Best

NIH-Backed Study Finds Moderna, Pfizer Boosters Work Best After months of dithering about the potential safety risks of mixing and matching various approved COVID vaccines, a long-running NIH-sponsored study has found that patients can safely and effectively receive booster shots from any of the major approved vaccines, even as the FDA's vaccine advisory committee has sounded lukewarm about the prospect of approving booster jabs for all adults over the age of 18. According to Bloomberg, the complicated 9-arm trial involved over 450 people and measured the effects from giving a booster shot of the Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech or J&J vaccines to those who had originally gotten a different vaccine. The data showed that the new jabs increased patients' levels of neutralizing antibodies, sometimes by more than would be expected if they received a third jab of the same vaccine they had received initially. "These data suggest that if a vaccine is approved or authorized as a booster, an immune response will be generated regardless of the primary Covid-19 vaccination regimen," the researchers said in their conclusion. In the abstract from the preprint of the study (which can be found on medrxiv.org) the researchers claimed they were embarking on this research because of the persistent breakthrough infections that continue to occur in some patients. While "homologous" mRNA booster jabs have received approval in some jurisdictions (Israel, and now the EUA, are now allowing some patients to receive a third dose of whatever initial jab they received) In total, 458 individuals were enrolled: 154 received mRNA-1273 (Moderna), 150 received Ad26.CoV2.S (J&J), and 154 received BNT162b2 (Pfizer) booster vaccines. The study was sponsored and primarily funded by the NIH. Participants were divided into nine groups with roughly 50 volunteers in each. Those who initially got the two-dose Moderna vaccine got either another Moderna shot, a Pfizer shot or a J&J shot as a booster four to six months after their primary immunization. People who got the two-dose Pfizer vaccine got either another Pfizer shot or a Moderna or J&J booster. And people who got the one-shot J&J vaccine, either got another J&J shot, or a Moderna or Pfizer booster. Antibody levels were then measured at two weeks and four weeks after the booster dose. Data showed that homologous boosters increased neutralizing antibodies by 4.2-20-fold while heterologous boosters created an increase of 6.2-76-fold. The conclusion: Conclusion: "Homologous and heterologous booster vaccinations were well-tolerated and immunogenic in adults who completed a primary Covid-19 vaccine regimen at least 12 weeks earlier." Notably, the study found that for patients who initially received the J&J jab, switching to an mRNA jab (Pfizer's or Moderna') for the booster dose might afford them better protection. Regardless of the initial jab, Pfizer and Moderna boosters appeared to work best. More detail about the study are expected Friday afternoon during a meeting of an FDA advisory panel, where researchers conducting the trial are scheduled to give a presentation on their early findings. A panel will also meet Thursday to deliberate over Moderna's application for booster-jab approval. Find the full pre-print below: 2021.10.10.21264827v1.full by Joseph Adinolfi Jr. on Scribd Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Check out 21 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Simplifying quant models Kirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders. Beacon A fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Merck is set to make billions off a COVID-19 pill that could change the pandemic. Here"s why some countries will pay more than others.

Merck's antiviral has not yet been authorized, but the company already has plans to distribute the coronavirus pills globally. Molnupiravir is an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that could treat COVID-19. Merck Merck's COVID-19 pill holds tremendous promise in fighting the pandemic. Industry analysts expect Merck to make billions off the not-yet-authorized drug. Some countries will be paying $12 per pill, while the US agreed to pay $712 per treatment course. Merck is walking a tightrope with its COVID-19 pill, expecting to reap billions in revenue while still making the medicine affordable to the world.The pharmaceutical giant's antiviral program became the first pill to succeed in a late-stage study. The drug, called molnupiravir, halved the risk of hospitalization and death compared to a placebo for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of severe illness.Merck now finds itself in a position to make molnupiravir one of its most profitable drugs, with industry analysts forecasting the company will make about $22 billion in revenue from the drug through 2030. At the same time, to be an effective tool in the pandemic, it'll have to work to make it accessible to the people who need it the most around the world.Global inequity has been a hallmark of the world's COVID-19 response. Moderna, for instance, has faced criticism that it has prioritized rich countries in making supply deals for its coronavirus vaccine. More than 50 countries and territories, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, have vaccinated less than 10% of their population as of the end of September. Merck hopes to make billions while not leaving behind the most vulnerable populations. While the US government is paying $712 per treatment course, Merck is allowing generic manufacturers to make its pill for lower-income markets, where they will likely charge a fraction of that cost. Merck has reached agreements with eight generic drug companies, allowing each of them to sell molnupiravir in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries. These generic companies will compete on price, with one report saying they are expected to charge about $12 to $15 per treatment course.Drug companies have enlisted generic manufacturers before with HIV and hepatitis C medicines, typically after public pressure. For its COVID-19 pill, Merck has set up these partnerships ahead of time, preemptively giving up the monopoly control of the drug that pharma companies so aggressively protect under normal circumstances. "We've been planning to put this strategy in place from the very beginning," Paul Schaper, Merck's executive director of global pharmaceutical public policy, told Insider. Even some drug-pricing advocates applaud Merck's strategy."Merck is among the better actors in the pandemic compared to other companies," said Jamie Love, head of the drug-access advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International. The US is paying $712 per patient for Merck's drug Joe Biden holds up a face mask at The Queen theater on October 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Drew Angerer/Getty Images Merck is expected to reap billions from its new drug, fueled by supply deals with rich countries like the US.In June, the US government agreed to pay $1.2 billion in a supply deal for molnupiravir, if the drug wins an OK from the Food and Drug Administration. Merck declined to provide details on how that price was negotiated; the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to Insider's request for comment on the price.Analysts expect molnupiravir to turn into a top-selling drug for Merck. The Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal projected in an October 6 research note that Merck will make $5.3 billion in 2022 sales for the drug, with about 80% of that coming from the US market. Gal forecasted $22 billion in total molnupiravir revenue for Merck through 2030.Investors appear to see that potential as well: Merck's stock price rose as much as 10% after the company announced the positive study results on October 1.The US is effectively paying about $712 per treatment course from the June deal. That price strikes some experts as too high, particularly given federal grant money that has been invested in the drug. The drug's early development was funded with $35 million in taxpayer grants, Axios reported."Unfortunately, in the US, we allow manufacturers to set whatever price they want, and as a result, we get situations like this," Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor at Harvard Medical School said in an email, adding the government's negotiations factor into the public investment.But patients won't face that bill directly. The US government negotiated a supply deal for 1.7 million treatment courses, which will then be distributed to patients for free.Even at that price, molnupiravir is cheaper than other COVID-19 treatments. A pill is much simpler to produce than other medicines, given as IV infusions. The government is paying $2,100 per infusion of Regeneron's antibody cocktail and $3,200 for a five-day IV course of Gilead Sciences' antiviral remdesivir. The COVID-19 vaccines, on the other hand, are far cheaper, ranging from $10 to $40 per shot in the US.Merck hasn't set a commercial price for molnupiravir yet but said it will use different prices in countries by their income level.Even with access plan, some say Merck should do more Merck is researching molnupiravir as a potential antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Merck Advocates pointed out a few steps Merck could take that would improve access. Dzintars Gotham, an independent researcher and a physician at King's College Hospital, said it would be useful to know how much it costs Merck to produce the pills. That information can help countries negotiate fair prices, he said.Gotham and Melissa Barber, a doctoral candidate in population health sciences at Harvard University, released their own analysis, estimating it costs $17.74 to produce a course of molnupiravir.Merck declined to say how much it costs to make molnupiravir. Schaper said the marginal cost isn't the right question to ask on pricing, saying that doesn't consider the societal benefit of the drug.This lack of transparency is common in the drug industry, Gotham said. "A lot of drug pricing relies on very dramatic pricing asymmetry between the buyer and the seller," Gotham said, "which is a fancy term for the seller knowing a lot of information about what they could or couldn't afford in terms of pricing and the buyer not knowing much in terms of what's possible."Gotham and Love also both said they'd like to see Merck publicly release the contracts with generic suppliers. This would include information on the list of 105 included countries, how long the licenses last, and what royalties Merck receives from those sales."Licenses should be public," Gotham said. "I don't see a logical argument why they wouldn't be."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Promoting your colleagues" ideas over your own could boost your influence at work, a new study finds

The findings showed you don't need to be an "aggressive jerk" to get ahead, one of the study's authors told Insider. A person whose idea gets amplified is also seen as more high status. monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images Championing your colleagues' ideas could help your own career as well as theirs, a study found. People who "amplify" other people's ideas are more admired and seemed more influential, the study found. The findings showed you don't need to be an "aggressive jerk" to get ahead, a researcher said. Promoting your colleagues' ideas over your own could boost your career, according to the authors of a recently published study. People visibly giving credit to their colleagues were viewed as more admired and more influential by their peers, the study of nearly 2,800 people found. The person whose ideas were promoted also benefited, researchers said. In contrast, people who often promoted their own work were disliked, a co-author of the study said.Kristin Bain, assistant professor of management at Rochester Institute of Technology's Saunders College of Business, told Insider the findings showed you don't need to be an "aggressive jerk" to get ahead at work.The results also suggested that promoting the work of other people can raise the profile of groups typically overlooked in organizations, such as women and people of color, she said. For the study, which was published in the Academy of Management Journal, the researchers wanted to understand the effects that amplification - which they defined as a public endorsement of another person's ideas, with credit to the person - could have on how people were perceived at work. They conducted three studies with 2,760 US participants. In one, participants were asked to observe a staged sales meeting in which a person's ideas were initially ignored, before being raised again by a colleague later on.In the second study, a person framed their own ideas using negative language. The idea was then later amplified using more positive language.For the third, the researchers worked with a nonprofit. They asked a director to identify 22 employees who typically had less influence. Many of the employees were junior. They received training and were then asked to amplify each other's ideas over a two-week period. The rest of their colleagues didn't know about the study.An organization-wide survey then measured how they were perceived. In all three studies, both the person amplifying ideas and the person whose ideas they promoted were viewed as being "higher status," which Bain defined as being more respected and admired. This gave them more influence at the company, Bain added. "Status-based influence is separate from power-based influence; You're not listening to me because you have to or I'll fire you," said Bain. "It's because you respect me and think that I have good things to say".If a person was perceived to be too self-interested, and promoted their own ideas too much, they were seen negatively."A lot of our studies sort of included this comparison condition of promoting your own ideas versus promoting somebody else's, and without fail, people did not like the people who promoted their own ideas," Bain said.That doesn't mean promoting your own ideas is always wrong, Bain said - in specific contexts, such as job interviews, it's important.The research also didn't show you're more likely to get promoted just because you endorse your colleagues, Bain said - but at the very least you're not hurting your chances.The quality of the idea you promote matters, she said. If a person promotes an idea they know is bad, it could make them look bad, she said, adding that this needed further investigation. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 13th, 2021

New study blows a hole in Joe Manchin"s argument that the revamped child tax credit discourages people from working

The analysis found "statistically insignificant impacts" of the credit on job seeking and workforce participation - the opposite of Manchin's claim. Sen. Joe Manchin seen at the US Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images A new study challenges Manchin's assertion that the revamped child tax credit keeps people from working. The analysis found "statistically insignificant impacts" of the credit on job seeking and workforce participation. Manchin has pushed to attach a work requirement to the revamped child tax credit, frustrating many Democrats. A new study released Tuesday indicated that the revamped child tax credit hasn't kept people from working, blowing a hole in an argument championed by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia as Democrats grapple with extending the credit as a key part of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda.The analysis from researchers at the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, Barnard College and Bocconi University found "very small, inconsistently signed, and statistically insignificant impacts of the CTC" on employment and participation and the workforce.It relied on data from the monthly Current Population Survey from earlier this year as well as the Census Household Pulse surveys that were collected from April 2021 through August 2021, the second month that the child tax credit checks were sent. Analysis of CTC's impact on employment. Via Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University The child tax credit was overhauled in Biden's stimulus law earlier this year. From July to December, families will get a $300 monthly benefit per child age 5 and under, amounting to $3,600 this year. The one-year measure provides $250 each month per kid age 6 and 17, totaling $3,000. Half of the benefit will come as a tax refund next year.Families with little or no tax burden can also receive the federal cash now, a sharp change from how the credit was originally structured. The latest research challenges Manchin's assertion that federal aid will keep people from seeking work as he argues against the US economy slipping into an "entitlement mentality."Some experts cautioned against drawing definitive conclusions early in the credit's rollout. Scott Winship, a poverty expert at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, wrote in a tweet that "research finds that the labor supply response takes years to fully manifest, not days or months."A strong majority of Congressional Democrats support making the changes permanent in their safety net package, citing research that it could cut child poverty by up to half and particularly among Black and Latino kids. Early research has indicated that it helped feed 2 million kids in its first month and kept 3 million out of poverty.But Democrats are running into resistance from Manchin who wants people to work as a condition to receive the credit.The West Virginia Democrat has been the chief advocate for imposing a work requirement on the expanded child tax credit. He argues the generous federal assistance would keep people from working."There's no work requirements whatsoever," he told CNN on September 12. "There's no education requirements whatsoever for better skill sets. Don't you think, if we're going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?"He doubled down a few days later, telling Insider that "tax credits are based around people that have tax liabilities."Some Senate Democrats shot back, including Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, one of the architects of the expansion. "I think raising children is work," he told HuffPost.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

The needle-free COVID-19 treatments undergoing testing right now

These are Insider's biggest healthcare stories for October 12. Hello,Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and today in healthcare news:Here are the needle-free COVID-19 treatments undergoing testing right now;What you need to know about kids getting the Pfizer vaccine;AstraZenca's new antibody drug is the first that's shown to prevent and treat COVID-19.If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lrosenbaum@insider.com or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. Let's get to it... While prescription weight loss pills can help you lose weight, there is no evidence that OTC diet pills work. Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images The first-ever COVID-19 pill may be just weeks away. A handful of other pills, inhalers, and nasal sprays also show promise.Treating COVID-19 could be simpler soon, thanks to the next generation of treatments.These could come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, or inhalers.On Monday, Merck asked the FDA to authorize its antiviral pill, which would be the first COVID-19 treatment of its kind. Read more now>> Finley Martin, 14, gets a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the First Baptist Church of Pasadena Friday, May 14, 2021, in Pasadena, Calif. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Kids ages 5-11 could start getting Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine next month. Here's what to know and how to get your child a shot.Pfizer has formally asked the FDA to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use among kids ages 5 to 11.A doctor who helped run Pfizer's vaccine trial told Insider he wants his kids to be "first in line."Here are the answers to common questions parents might have about the vaccine.Get the latest info>> Dan Pelletier, a pharmacy technician specialist at Maine Medical Center, demonstrates the process of preparing antibodies used to treat COVID19 patients. Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 drug cuts the risk of severe disease in half. It's the first antibody cocktail shown to both prevent and treat the disease in late-stage trials.AstraZeneca said its antibody drug cut the risk of severe COVID-19 in half in a late-stage study.The drug, called AZD7442, is a combination of two antibodies given as an injection.AstraZeneca said it's the only drug of its kind shown to both prevent and treat COVID-19.Dive in>>More stories we're reading:'Enjoy it': Fauci says it's safe for Americans and their children to trick or treat on Halloween (Insider)A new investigation finds that COVAX's global vaccine program was too ambitious (STAT)Health care workers at Kaiser Permanente vote to authorize strike, rejecting pay cuts for new hires (Insider)Parents are sneaking air quality monitors into school backpacks (New York Times)-LeahRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

The Seven Secrets of Indra Nooyi’s Success

The former PepsiCo CEO shares details from her life and career in her book My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future. Indra Nooyi struggles to be heard over the sounds of outdoor dining, midtown traffic, and a fountain gushing down the wall. That’s clearly rare for the former PepsiCo CEO—so she beckons the restaurant’s owner and asks if he can shut off the water. He obliges, and Nooyi proceeds to regale us, a table of female journalists at the helm of various New York media, with anecdotes from her just-released book, My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future. The whole lunchtime interaction—assess problem, determine what’s in your control, improve outcome, go forth with grace—is signature Nooyi. Her book delves even further into this exacting style punctured by compassion, loyalty, and deep relationships that get results. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] I confess to having studied Nooyi for a long time now. I’ve watched her interviews, live and on YouTube, during my own career trajectory. A manager training I once attended spent hours dissecting Nooyi’s ability to peer around corners and lead a company through change. Then there’s the South Asian connection: a member of our own community ascended to a Fortune 50 company who proudly credits her childhood in Chennai and the role of extended family in making it all possible. For years, my people proudly (and wrongly) asserted that the 65-year-old executive wears a sari in the boardroom. Thankfully, her book debunks the myth: After feeling like a misfit in oversized polyester outfits, she chose the traditional Indian dress for an internship interview, landed the job, and donned the sari for the rest of the summer. Eventually, she transitioned to Western attire, and her sartorial choices gained style and confidence as her career progressed. Read more: A Woman of Color Cannot Save Your Workplace Culture Back stories like that are the hallmark of this part memoir, part clarion. We’ve heard a lot from Nooyi over the last two decades, talks distilled into tweetable headlines and soundbites on work-family balance. As a woman of color, a mother of two girls, an immigrant success story, she describes feeling almost a moral obligation to show up at speeches, panels, awards ceremonies, seminars, and guest lectures during her 12-year tenure as CEO. Life in Full stitches it all together and offers the context sometimes only possible in hindsight. The fast-paced narrative is as much a blueprint to getting ahead at work as an appreciation of the friends and family along for the journey. I found seven themes in particular surfaced repeatedly, together buoying Nooyi’s remarkable life: It’s okay to love work. Perhaps in all the reams written on the juggle, especially for women, the part that often feels shafted is the work itself. Nooyi’s love of the job—from walks on factory floors to battles with activist investors—is so apparent and infectious. Anyone who has fist-pumped after an excellent quarter or convinced a supervisor to implement their strategy will love the gusto with which Nooyi both throws herself into the work and celebrates wins. She also uses wonky but relatable examples to explain how to predict and embrace change in the bigger picture. Nooyi recounts walking into supermarkets and Walmarts to assess Frito-Lay packaging and placement on shelves and watching parents and kids at birthday parties shunning soda as precursors to PepsiCo’s focus on healthier products. She also remembers working long hours and skipping vacation to dive into the guts of a billion-dollar-plus proposal to overhaul enterprise software, and why it is so important for leaders to understand all aspects of what they are approving. Sharing the love of the work with the ones you love feels necessary and important, especially for children to understand why their mom is away: She loves you, but she also loves her work. It’s okay to talk about your family at work. Similarly, Nooyi seemingly effortlessly centers family in the workplace. There are subtle but important examples; for years, she kept a dry-erase board in her office just for the kids. Everyone from her bosses to her assistants helped in times of crisis, such as by offering to do school pickup. There are also the ways Nooyi recognized the families of her staffers. She recounts writing letters to the parents of colleagues to thank them for their role in their child’s stellar performance. These “report cards,” she says, were beloved and drew loyalty from staff and their families. She also thanked the spouses of her direct reports, and notes, “these letters released a lot of emotion.” Hire experts. Over and over, Nooyi finds herself in jobs or situations where she lacks expertise in an industry or product. It’s how she responds, also over and over, that is so brilliant. She doesn’t BS her way through presentations; she turns to experts. Nooyi matter-of-factly mentions that after she went to Motorola, two community college professors came twice a week to her office, one to explain how automobiles work and the other to discuss “solid-state physics and electronics.” You see how this instinct serves her well over time as she moves to PepsiCo. There, she turns to experts in design, science, and technology. Eventually, she hires a chief scientific officer, saying the role can help reduce salt in chips and add whole grains to Cheerio’s. But more importantly, she says, “science could be at the heart of reimagining the global food system.” Men have a role to play. At critical junctures in Nooyi’s career, men have preemptively jumped in and offered their support. When her father was dying, one boss offered six months paid leave. Importantly, the men initiated such support, she says, because “as a young consultant, I had zero leverage in asking for any kind of benefit that would help me through a difficult time.” When she was pregnant and working as a consultant, she recounts: “For my last meeting with Trane, Bill Roth, the CEO, chartered two planes to bring his entire executive team to our offices in Chicago. The meeting would typically have happened in his own boardroom, but I was nine months pregnant and couldn’t travel. Bill wanted me to be part of BCG’s final presentation to his company.” You can sense their immense respect for her at the root of the life-changing gestures. But imagine if such accommodation were the norm and not the exception. Would more women stay in the workforce? Similarly, Nooyi praises her father-in-law and husband for their lack of adherence to Indian tradition around gender roles. After marriage, her father-in-law said to her: “Indra, don’t give up your job. You have all this education, and you should use it. We will support you in any way we can.” Leave the crown in the garage. Nooyi repeatedly says being a mother is one of her most cherished roles. But one night, after being named president of PepsiCo, she comes home and her mother orders her to go get milk. Nooyi is annoyed, feeling like she can’t even revel in this newfound title and success. Her mother responds: “You may be the president or whatever of PepsiCo, but when you come home, you are a wife and a mother and a daughter. Nobody can take your place. So you leave that crown in the garage.” Such humility might not be expected of men, but Nooyi accepts this as a small price to keep peace on the home front. Another subtle point in the anecdote: Nobody will be as honest or hard on you as your mother. Care needs to be prioritized by everybody right now. While the brunt of the book dwells on Nooyi’s journey, she issues a call for action—rooted in deep study of states, companies, and countries with more family-friendly policies— for both prioritizing and training care workers like never before. Both in the book and in her lunch with journalists, Nooyi cites concern about two related crises. Women leaving the workforce and choosing not to have children, she says, will be disastrous for the economy, citing Japan as an example of our potential fate. She writes: “We must expand the future-of-work conversations that dwell on robotics and artificial intelligence to include another critical dimension of our success: how to shift our economies to better integrate work and family and ensure that women get equal pay and share power.” Purpose is everything. I have written reams during the pandemic on how purpose is the single most important motivator for the modern workforce. Nooyi was early to this trend. Her transformation of PepsiCo rested on a concept called “Performance with Purpose.” She writes: “PwP would transform the way PepsiCo made money and tie our business success to these objectives: Nourish. Replenish. Cherish.” Purpose translates, thus, not just to business objectives but life itself. Over the last year, retirement from PepsiCo a distant memory, Nooyi was working endless hours on a Covid task force. Her mother—the same woman who’d once said to leave the crown in the garage—seemed to have a change of heart. The need for home and work to accommodate each other might be more needed than ever. “You are someone who wants to help the world and not many people are like you,” her mother said. “I don’t think you should worry about the house so much. You have to give back as much as you can.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 12th, 2021

Vaccines cut the risk of severe COVID-19 by at least 90% in a huge real-world study of 23 million people

Real-world data from France shows COVID-19 vaccines give strong protection that lasts at least five months in people over 50. A pharmacist administers the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a patient in a pharmacy in Roubaix as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol Vaccines cut the risk of developing severe COVID-19 by at least 90%, a study of 23 million people finds. COVID-19 vaccine protection lasted for at least five months in people aged 50 to 75, it found. It adds to a growing body of real-world evidence that vaccines hold up against severe COVID-19. Vaccines cut the risk of severe COVID-19 by at least 90% in people who are 50 or older, a real-world study of nearly 23 million people has found.The study, conducted by the French government-backed scientific organization Epi-Phare, found that five months after vaccination, people aged over 75 were 94% less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people in the same age group.The reduction in risk for those aged 50 to 74 was even higher, at 97%, the study authors said in a press release published Monday."This means that those who are vaccinated are nine times less at risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 than those who have not been vaccinated," the epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik, who oversaw the research, told Agence France-Presse, per The Guardian.The study, which used data from the French National Health Data System, is one of the largest of its kind, comprising a total of 22.6 million people - 7.2 million over 75 years old and 15.4 million people aged 50 to 74.It adds to a growing body of real-world research from the UK, US, and Israel that vaccines hold up against severe COVID-19 for at least five months.Zureik told Agence France-Presse that avoiding the most serious infections was "the main public health objective.""An epidemic without serious infections is no longer an epidemic," he said.Most people, 85.3%, in the over-75 age group had received Pfizer's COVID-19 shot. A smaller number received Moderna shots and AstraZeneca's shots, at 8.7% and 6.1% respectively.In the younger age group, 53.6% received Pfizer's vaccine, 39.2% AstraZeneca's, and 7.1% Moderna's. The cut off for the study was July 20, which means it only includes a month of data for the highly infectious Delta variant, which became dominant in France in June.Zureik told Agence France-Presse that this was "a very short period to evaluate the real impact of the vaccination on this variant," adding that the research was ongoing.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

Check out 20 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Invoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

"Covert, Corrupt, & Coercive": Report Details Beijing"s Bid To Establish New Global Media Order

"Covert, Corrupt, & Coercive": Report Details Beijing's Bid To Establish New Global Media Order Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times, The Chinese regime has been deploying “covert, corrupt and coercive” means to weaponize Chinese-language and Western media in a campaign to impose its vision of current affairs on the rest of the world, a recent French military think tank report finds. Beijing’s efforts to export its narratives have lasted for decades. The first Chinese Communist Party-controlled English language newspaper, China Daily, started in 1981. But such attempts had been clumsy and yielded slow results, according to Reporters Without Borders. The year 2008 marked a turning point. The Olympic Games in Beijing, an event the regime had hoped to leverage to showcase its economic success, gave rise to protests in nearly a dozen cities around the world that disrupted torch relays. The humiliation Beijing suffered from the resulting negative coverage had stung the authorities. To better control the regime’s global image, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) soon came up with a “10-year plan,” noted the report by the Institute for Strategic Studies of Military Schools (IRSEM), a think tank funded by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. A police officer communicates over his radio standing beside an anti-Chinese banner during a demonstration by pro-Tibet activists and supporters near venue of the Indonesia’s leg of 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay in Jakarta on April 22, 2008. (Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images) The 650-page study, which drew on public information, research reports, and independent interviews, examined how Beijing has been exploiting the openness of the West to amplify its propaganda narratives, forming one component of the regime’s sprawling influence operations globally. The values of tolerance that characterize Western democracies have afforded Beijing “considerable freedom of movement,” allowing it to multiply its foreign offices, recruit foreign journalists to adapt its messages to different audiences, infiltrate local press with gifts and other material benefits, while dispensing billions of advertising dollars on Western media to further expand its reach, the report said. In China, rather than a watchdog meant to keep the government in check, the press under Beijing has become a tool to serve the Party, the report said. Such vision was made plain in a 2016 speech by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, during which he told around 180 state media representatives to align their ideology with that of the top officials, “speak for the Party’s will … and protect the Party’s authority,” according to a Xinhua readout. To some Xinhua reporters, Xi’s coming to power had marked the beginning of a new era, in which the Chinese media “no longer need to be ashamed of being communist media,” a Xinhua reporter told one of the report authors in 2018. Buying Influence Chinese state media are active on all social media networks, with a sizable influence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram—all of which are blocked in China. Chinese state media set up English- and regional-language pages on Facebook in 2013. Eight years on, they have topped world’s media in term of following, with four major outlets—CGTN, China Daily, Xinhua, and People’s Daily—having between 86 million to 116 million followers each at the time of the French report’s publication, or about 2.5 to 3 times larger than that of CNN’s. The logo of CGTN is displayed on a computer monitor in London, England, on Feb. 4, 2021. (Leon Neal/Getty Images) These “spectacular scores” have been the outcome of a deliberate effort to artificially inflate subscriber numbers, the authors said, pointing to the “exceptional growth rate” and the “extremely low interaction rate” these accounts receive. According to the report, around eight major Chinese state media in English have an average growth rate of 37.8 percent from the period Jan. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, or about 5,000 times higher than that of U.S. mainstream media, but their level of engagement is 68 times lower. Tender documents dated 2018 and 2019 reveal that state run outlets have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire followers on Twitter and Facebook in what appeared to be a campaign to establish themselves as authoritative news voices. “When … you see tens of millions of people following, then you feel like this is pretty credible,” Sarah Cook, a China analyst at human rights watchdog Freedom House, told The Epoch Times at the time. She described it as a “new frontier,” that is, “an avenue for accessing the grassroots in society and public in other countries.” Facebook and Twitter logos are seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, on June 4, 2018. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) The proportion of fake accounts among their Twitter followers is hard to ignore: For an average Twitter user, from 5 to 30 percent of the accounts that follow them are bots or spam; but the fake account ratio for the four aforementioned media ranges from 34.3 percent to 38.4 percent. For their French versions, the numbers shoot up to as high as 62.8 percent, the researchers found. CCP-controlled China Daily at the same time is pouring millions of dollars to distribute their content through some of the most influential publications around the world. Between November 2016 and April 2020, China Daily paid nearly 19 million to U.S. newspapers to insert their free supplement called China Watch. The collaboration has a three-fold benefit, the authors said. Not only does it help the Chinese media reach its target audience, it makes them appear more credible, and gives them financial leverage over their partner media. British newspaper The Telegraph, which until April last year had been receiving roughly £750,000 (roughly $1 million) per year to distribute China Watch, also carried at least 20 signed articles by the Chinese ambassador to the U.K. between 2016 and 2018—twice the number published by the Daily Mail, The Guardian, and Financial Times combined, according to a 2019 study published on Royal United Services Institute, a British defense and security think tank. A New Global Media Order The U.S. State Department has designated a total of 15 Chinese state-run outlets’ entities based in the country as foreign missions because they are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by a foreign government, a department spokesperson told The Epoch Times in September. A newspaper consumer reads a copy of China’s Africa edition of its daily newspaper in front of a news stand in the Kenyan capital on Dec. 14, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images) In the case of state-run news agency Xinhua, its local journalists have the “sole mission of translating dispatches previously penned by Chinese staff,” the French report said. A French journalist for Xinhua told a report author in 2018 that their Xinhua dispatches consist of 80 percent translations from English and 20 percent from Chinese. The translations and occasional original article would all be proofread by a Chinese journalist fluent in French and attuned to “Party’s expectations as well as the ‘preferred stories,’” according to the Xinhua reporter. Former staff members from pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao have recounted similar stories to The Epoch Times after the publication registered its five U.S. entities as foreign agents under orders from the Justice Department in August. David, a former senior editor for Sing Tao’s New York office, said that he was briefed on “two principles” on his first day: no reporting of news on Falun Gong, a spiritual group persecuted by Beijing, nor Taiwan independence. Another, who worked for the outlet’s San Francisco office years ago, said she was told not to use the word CCP—the acronym for the Chinese Communist Party—nor “Republic of China,” the official name for the self-ruling island of Taiwan that the regime claims as its own. Instead, she was to use the words “China” and “Taiwan Province of the People’s Republic of China” respectively, she told The Epoch Times. Acquiring foreign media, training journalists, donating gifts and equipment, applying diplomatic pressure, using visa blackmail, leveling threats through phone calls are among some other tactics deployed by Beijing to reshape the media landscape overseas to bend to its will, according to the report. In South Africa, journalist Azad Essa saw his weekly column canceled from Independent Media, the country’s second-largest media group, hours after the publication of his Sept. 2018 story condemning the persecution of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region. The media group is 20 percent owned by two Chinese entities backed or controlled by Beijing. Damaged computers and construction debris on the floor of The Epoch Times Hong Kong edition’s printing press in Hong Kong, China, on April 12, 2021. (Adrian Yu/The Epoch Times) The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times has been subject to a string of vandalism since its establishment, in what critics said bears the hallmarks of the regime’s intimidation tactics to silence independent reporting. Due to fears of reprisal, Chinese-language media groups in Australia have chosen to actively self-censor, according to a September study by Sydney-based Lowy Institute. “Politically sensitive topics or criticisms against the Chinese government would put our staff members or their families at risk. We don’t want them or their families to get detained in China,” one media proprietor told the think tank. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

The 5 best whitening toothpastes of 2021, according to dentists

Whitening toothpaste lifts stains from your teeth while cleaning. Here are our top picks for sensitive teeth, all-natural ingredients, and more. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The best teeth whitening toothpaste helps remove surface stains from your pearly whites. We spoke to 4 dentists on what to look for in a whitening toothpaste that won't hurt your teeth or gums. Our top choice, Colgate Total SF, is effective, ADA-approved, and budget-friendly. Whether you're a coffee addict, ex-smoker, or just want to polish your smile a little brighter, virtually everyone wants whiter teeth. There are all kinds of intensive options available, from whitening strips to in-office dental treatments. But for most of us, the easiest way is to switch up our toothpaste and ask it to do more than just fight plaque and cavities. Whitening toothpaste generally works by using enamel-safe abrasives to physically remove surface stains. Many also contain other active ingredients, like peroxide, to dissolve stains and bleach teeth. But since not every ingredient is equal and some teeth whitening products notoriously cause tooth sensitivity, we spoke to four board-certified dentists to learn which whitening toothpaste really works. They shared the top brands they recommend to patients, as well as some tips for what to look for when shopping, and we personally tested several top brands ourselves.Here are the best whitening toothpaste options:Best whitening toothpaste overall: Colgate Total SF Whitening GelBest natural whitening toothpaste: Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean MintBest whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle WhiteningBest toothpaste for intense whitening: Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling WhiteBest eco-friendly whitening toothpaste: Bite Toothpaste Bits How I tested Ariana DiValentino/Insider In researching this piece, I consulted four dental professionals (see expert sources, below)  as well as several published, peer-reviewed articles testing the efficacy and safety of various whitening toothpaste and active ingredients. I also personally tried several kinds of toothpaste to take note of:Taste: Toothpaste is toothpaste, not candy, so we don't want to oversell the flavor of any of the products as "delicious" — but some pastes have strange, chemical, or overly-powerful flavors and aftertastes. Most of the pastes I tried had a simple, fresh taste that contributes to the overall clean feeling you want after brushing, but a few tasted mildly metallic or just plain unusual due to non-traditional flavoring ingredients.Texture:  Generally, toothpaste is either a gel or a paste and is pretty thick. I paid mind to see if any felt chalky, runny, or gritty, as well as how well they lather and spread around the mouth. Items that didn't make the cut usually felt weird in one of these ways.Packaging/ease of use: It's not terribly common, but some toothpaste tubes are somewhat difficult to use because of poorly designed packaging. For example, one of the kinds of toothpaste I don't recommend, the Plus Ultra, is in a metal tube similar to what artists' paint comes in and was kind of a pain to squeeze. Conversely, all our picks have easy-to-open or -close caps. The best whitening toothpaste overall Amazon Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel is a top pick among our dentists as it's a budget-friendly and effective way to whiten and protect the overall health of your teeth.Pros: Inexpensive, American Dental Association (ADA) approved, provides sensitivity reliefCons: Taste is questionable to someTwo of our expert sources, Ben El Chami, DMD, a NYC-based dentist and co-founder/chief dental officer of dntlbar and Chris Salierno, DDS, dental practitioner and chief dental officer of Tend, independently named Colgate Total Whitening as a top option they'd recommend to patients looking for a daily whitening boost. It also bears the ADA seal of acceptance, meaning the professional organization support that its efficacy and safety claims are sufficiently backed up by clinical research. It's a clear winner in the eyes of the pros because, in addition to whitening power, it has antibacterial properties that help defend against gum disease and tooth decay. These effects come from the active ingredient, stannous fluoride, which also helps offset the increased sensitivity some people experience when using whitening toothpastes. The minty taste is subtle and not-too-strong without any unpleasant aftertaste. And compared to other toothpaste packaging, we love that Colgate Total has a flat flip-cap for easier access and the option to stand the tube up straight on your sink. The best natural whitening toothpaste Amazon From trustworthy natural personal-care-products brand, Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean Mint Toothpaste delivers on its whitening promises without any harsh chemicals.Pros: ADA-approved, no artificial flavorings or colorings, brand prioritizes sustainability and ethicsCons: Some users dislike the taste, some complain that it's less effective than traditional toothpastes in keeping breath fresh, priceTom's of Maine Simply White is one of very few toothpaste brands in the "natural" sector to earn ADA approval with proven whitening effects. If you prefer to steer clear of traditional toothpaste because of their ingredients, production process, or simply personal preference, Tom's Simply White is the best bet for whiter teeth, vouched for by dentists and customers. Like most whitening toothpaste, Tom's Simply White uses abrasives — in this case, naturally-derived silicas — to scrub off surface stains. It's flavored with peppermint oil which delivers a mild, not overpowering fresh flavor. The tube is recyclable, which we love, and it has a smaller cap and opening which, in our experience, makes for less of a mess but also means you can't store it upright on your bathroom counter.Tom's also contains fluoride. There are oft-debated but largely unproven or debunked arguments against the naturally-occurring mineral, but it's an ingredient the ADA and every dentist we spoke with strongly encourage people to look for in their toothpaste thanks to a decades-long body of evidence that makes it the gold standard in cavity prevention. The best whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth Target The best Crest whitening toothpaste, Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, is a science-backed plaque remover and a rare combination of sensitivity relief and whitening power.Pros: ADA-approved, relieves sensitivityCons: Some users dislike taste and texture, not enough relief for extremely sensitive users, whitening effects are subtleThere aren't too many whitening toothpastes on the market that specifically cater to those with sensitive teeth. Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, however, does and it's the only ADA-approved toothpaste that offers both sensitivity relief and whitening effects.The stain removal is provided by hydrated silica, which acts as a gentle abrasive. This isn't as extreme as some other products, both in terms of removing stains and causing sensitivity, so it's a real trade-off. But it's the best-researched option out there for sensitivity sufferers looking for stain removal action. Pro Health is also the best Crest whitening toothpaste from its lineup.The minty-sweet taste is mild but pleasant, and users say that, compared to other leading brands of sensitive toothpaste, it both tastes better and relieves sensitivity better. Like the Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel, we like that this tube has a flat flip cap for easy closure and the ability to stand vertical on a countertop to save space. The best toothpaste for intensive whitening Target Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White is formulated with hydrogen peroxide and abrasives to provide a double-whammy whitening effect.Pros: ADA-approved, extra-strength whitening abilityCons: May leave a filmy mouthfeel after usingColgate Optic White Advanced, like the other products on our list, contains gentle abrasives to scrub stains and polish teeth. But it also uses hydrogen peroxide for its natural lightening properties, giving you a one-two punch of whitening techniques – sort of like washing your white laundry with not just a strong detergent, but bleach too. It's the only bleaching toothpaste (not merely stain-removing) that the ADA has granted approval to, and like all ADA-approved pastes, it includes fluoride for cavity prevention. Despite its powerful whitening ability, Optic White is safe for enamel and many people report less sensitivity and irritation than with other whitening toothpaste.The toothpaste works by creating a sort of film on the surface of your teeth so that the hydrogen peroxide can continue to work for more than just the two minutes you spend brushing. As a result, some people don't like the feeling it leaves after you brush. The best eco-friendly whitening toothpaste Bite If you're looking for a whitening toothpaste that has a clean ingredient list and ditches the plastic tube, Bite's toothpaste bits are what you seek.Pros: Reusable glass jar instead of plastic, four-month supply each time you order, clean ingredients list, helps with teeth sensitivityCons: Takes some getting used to, doesn't get foamy, doesn't always produce the same kind of clean mouth feelBite is a step above your basic "eco-friendly" or "sustainable" toothpaste — its packaging also nixes the plastic in favor of a reusable glass jar. Instead, the brand offers whitening toothpaste in little Altoid-like bites.Like little pellets, the bits are a far cry from the traditional paste most people are used to and actually require you to bite down on them to crush the bit before brushing. When I first tested these out, I was a little skeptical, and it did take a while to get used to.The most notable difference for me when I tested was how much less foam the bits created in my mouth. This would sometimes leave me feeling as though my mouth wasn't as clean as it could be after brushing (even though it was). However, that's due to the active ingredient, sodium cocoyl glutamate, which is activated when mixed with the water on your toothbrush.For some, the minimal foaming may be a positive, but it took me a few times to get used to it. I did like Bite's clean ingredient list, which further adds to its badge of sustainability. The bits come in either a mint, charcoal, or berry flavor, though I'd recommend the mint as it gets the closest to that fresh, post-brush feeling (plus, charcoal toothpaste has its drawbacks). You will pay slightly more for the higher-quality packaging ($48 for a four-month supply), but it's often on sale for at least $10 off (if not more). Plus, there's a trial size of 62 bits (roughly one month) for $12.  What to look for in whitening toothpaste There are two major categories of whitening ingredients in toothpaste: abrasives and bleaching agents. Most whitening toothpaste relies on gentle, enamel-safe abrasives that work to scrub off stains caused by eating and drinking. Technically, they're not changing the color of your teeth, just cleaning off any gunk that might make them appear more yellow, which is why you may still want an at-home whitening kit to see a truly brighter smile.Bleaching agents (like peroxide), though, can actually lift the color in the outermost layers of your enamel. However, they're less common in toothpaste because they need more than two minutes of contact to really work (hence, why whitening strips work – they hold the bleaching agent on your teeth for several minutes). Bleaching agents can also be irritating and cause sensitivity. The only bleaching toothpaste that made our top picks, Colgate Optic White, actually creates a film that sits on your teeth, keeping them in contact with the hydrogen peroxide for longer than the few minutes you spend brushing.According to Drs. El Chami, Hain, and Springs, the number one thing to look for when shopping for new products is the ADA seal of acceptance. Brands can choose to submit its products to the American Dental Association, a non-profit advocating for safe dental practices, for review to obtain its seal which signals that the dental community agrees there is enough research to substantiate that a product is safe and effective. This is especially important when it comes to whitening toothpaste, as they tend to use abrasives like silica (the same stuff that makes up most of sand) to scrub off stains. The ADA review ensures those abrasives aren't doing more harm to your enamel than good. The other thing you need to look for is fluoride, a mineral that strengthens enamel and helps prevent cavities. The naturally occurring mineral has been demonized by phony science, but the ADA, all our experts, and a whole body of research deem it not only safe in your toothpaste but also necessary for preventing cavities. Learn more in our FAQs.The only ingredients dentists recommend avoiding are sugars, which improve the flavor of toothpaste but can cause adverse effects including tooth decay. Fortunately, the majority of toothpastes utilize tooth-safe sugar alternatives like xylitol or stevia. What else we considered Ariana DiValentino/Insider Relatively few products on the market bear the ADA approval seal, which our sources overwhelmingly told us was the best way to know a product's claims have been substantiated by research and thus the ones we can recommend to you most confidently.That said, a product without the seal isn't necessarily ineffectual or bad — it just likely didn't undergo the organization's optional review process (which does cost money, so is difficult for smaller companies to obtain). Here are some other, non-ADA-approved products that came up in our research:What else we recommend:BURST Fluoride ($10): This brand's fluoridated toothpaste also boasts a lack of sodium lauryl sulfate, along with parabens and artificial flavors and colors, but it tastes and feels perfectly normal. Smile Direct Club Premium Fluoride Whitening ($5): The brand you probably know from their subway ads also sells a whitening toothpaste, and it happens to be relatively inexpensive compared to other new-wave brands. It also tastes really good, in this writer's opinion. Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Whitening Teeth ($10): This dentist-designed product contains fluoride for healthy teeth, as well as hydrogen peroxide for a quick kick of whitening. Sensodyne Pronamel Mineral Boost with Gentle Whitening Action ($6): While not currently bearing the ADA seal, this new product could be a helpful whitening option for those with sensitive teeth. It purports to help your teeth better absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphate, thus strengthening your enamel. What we don't recommend:PLUS ULTRA Mint Toothpaste ($10): This toothpaste takes "natural" to another level, starting with its unique leafy green appearance. It doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate, and its plant-derived ingredients are organic — but it also lacks fluoride, so we can't recommend it. Huppy Peppermint Toothpaste Tablets ($12): Frequent travelers may appreciate that this paste comes in the form of tablets, complete with a little storage tin. Fluoride is left out, instead including a substance called nano-hydroxyapatite. But these tablets also contain charcoal, the safety of which is still hotly contested among dentists.Luster Premium White Pearl Paste ($7): This paste doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens, but it does contain fluoride (important) and one other notable ingredient: pearl extracts, which purportedly work as abrasives to buff off surface stains. There's no published clinical research on pearl as a tooth whitening agent, but telling people you brush your teeth with pearls will make you sound very fancy. FAQs Does whitening toothpaste actually work?Yes — just maybe not as well as you might hope. Dr. Salierno explained to Insider that over-the-counter whitening toothpaste is best at removing surface stains, but for a more dramatic whitening effect, professional methods are your best bet. "The true whitening effect that patients are typically after is the result of the removal of intrinsic stain, or stain that is more deeply embedded in the tooth surface," Salierno said. "In order to get a great whitening result, patients would do well to have a professional cleaning first, and then use a prescription-strength whitening agent as directed by their dental team."Bottom line: Whitening toothpaste is safe and can be effective at removing surface stains — just don't expect a dramatic transformation from over-the-counter toothpaste alone.Is charcoal toothpaste safe to whiten teeth?Charcoal is a trendy ingredient right now, making its way into food, cosmetics, and yes, toothpaste. The idea is that charcoal is able to absorb impurities and thus whiten teeth, but the clinical evidence isn't great: Reviews of laboratory studies suggest that charcoal isn't particularly effective as a whitening agent, despite its mildly abrasive properties. What's more, it has the potential to damage your enamel, discolor it permanently, and damage your gums, according to a 2019 study in the British Dental Journal. More recent research supports the safety of charcoal toothpaste but dentists and researchers caution consumers that the charcoal actually runs the risk of scratching enamel or getting stuck in the gums and other crevices. Those with fillings should especially steer clear.Is whitening toothpaste safe for my teeth?For the most part, yes. While many whitening toothpastes use abrasive agents to scrub away stains, dentists and researchers generally find them safe and non-damaging to the enamel of your teeth. There are a few exceptions — see about charcoal, above — but for most people, whitening toothpaste doesn't pose a threat to dental health. Dr. El Chami does caution, however, that those with sensitive teeth may want to avoid whitening toothpaste in favor of something gentler. Paul Springs, DMD, a prosthodontist who practices in Queens, New York, elaborated, adding, "Some brands contain grit particles that are too large, which irreversibly wears down tooth enamel. This is often an issue with charcoal or baking soda toothpaste made by unrecognizable brands, so I strongly recommend patients only use toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval to avoid that issue."Just because a product doesn't bear the ADA seal doesn't mean it's unsafe, but lesser-known brands may use questionable ingredients (or even questionable forms of ingredients that are generally considered tooth-safe) that are too gritty and can wear down your enamel. The ADA seal is your confirmation that everything in the tube is safe for at-home use.What's the big deal about the ADA Seal of Acceptance?As we mentioned earlier, the ADA seal program is an optional review process in which companies may choose to submit a product to the professional organization for independent review to determine if there is sufficient research backing up the safety and efficacy of the product. Because the review process is optional and potentially cost-prohibitive to smaller companies, there are many toothpastes and other dental products on the market that don't bear the ADA seal. This doesn't necessarily mean the products aren't up to snuff — but the dentists we consulted with highly recommend sticking to ADA-approved products to ensure you're getting a product that actually works and is safe. As Dr. Springs put it, "Not having the seal isn't enough to condemn a product, but there is enough that [damage enamel] that I wouldn't risk chancing it."Is fluoride really safe?Fluoride has been demonized by oversimplified health information and conspiracy theories for decades for supposedly causing dental staining and even cancer. While this is technically true of the chemical, it would need to be ingested in very large quantities to have these severe negative effects, far more than fluoridated water and toothpaste are likely to provide. The dental community is at a consensus that not only is fluoridated toothpaste safe, but it's also strongly recommended for the purpose of preventing cavities and strengthening enamel throughout your life. In fact, the ADA will not grant its seal of acceptance to any toothpaste which does not include fluoride. This goes for standard as well as whitening toothpaste — ideally, fluoride is going to be included in any toothpaste you use daily. Expert sources Dr. Ben El Chami, DMD, is a dentist and the co-founder and chief dental officer of dntlbar, a family of Manhattan dental practices. Dr. Chris Salierno, DDS, is a dentist and the chief dental officer of Tend, a family of dental practices with locations in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.Dr. Courtney Hain, DDS, is a dentist who owns and operates her own practice, Smile San Francisco.Dr. Paul Springs, DMD, is a prosthodontist who practices with Dr. Mondshine and Associates, a dental practice in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

Coronavirus links: pandemic preparedness

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is still a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe and find a vaccination site near you.... VaccinationsWhy boosters for the elderly are so important. (nymag.com)Side effects from booster shots are similar to those experienced after a second shot. (statnews.com)The dangers that unvaccinated pregnant women have faced. (scientificamerican.com)How America lost its vaccination lead. (theatlantic.com)Vaccine mandatesCalifornia is the first state to require Covid vaccines for school age children. (cnbc.com)James Surowiecki, "That employer mandates are effective is not, to be honest, all that surprising: given the choice between a safe, effective, and free vaccine and losing your job, one would expect most people to take the first option." (surowiecki.medium.com)In reality, few workers are willing to quit or be fired for not getting vaccinated. (scientificamerican.com)New York state mandates got health care workers to get the shot. (nytimes.com)Company mandatesSome 99% of United Air ($UAL) workers chose to get vaccinated. (npr.org)91% of the employees of Tyson Foods ($TSN) are now fully vaccinated. (nytimes.com)At this point, the NBA is going to have to live with unvaccinated players. (rollingstone.com)AntiviralsMerck's ($MRK) antiviral pill cuts the risk of hospitalization by 50%. (statnews.com)We are months away from a antiviral pill to treat Covid. (pbs.org)Ideally, an antiviral would treat people with Covid and prevent illness in those exposed. (ft.com)Why the U.S. needs to help produce antivirals for the rest of the world. (washingtonpost.com)MaskingJoseph G. Allen, "A lot of things have to line up for someone to be exposed and get covid-19 in a fully vaccinated environment." (washingtonpost.com)Two studies that show the efficacy of masks in school settings. (wsj.com)Surgical masks work and people will wear them if provided for and asked. (nytimes.com)Why aren't more people wearing better masks? (scientificamerican.com)N95 masks make a big difference. (bloomberg.com)TestingWeekly testing is not compatible with good mitigation. (theatlantic.com)An antibody test doesn't really tell you how strong your immunity is. (slate.com)What to do if you test positive with an at-home antigen test. (nytimes.com)TreatmentsMonoclonal antibodies are not a substitute for vaccination. (scientificamerican.com)Repurposed drugs have been the front line treatments for Covid. (statnews.com)ResearchResearchers are investigating the link between Covid and the olfactory bulb. (scientificamerican.com)Researchers have found more bat viruses that are similar to SARS-CoV-2. (nature.com)A new study shows that air filtration and UV disinfection can greatly reduces SARS-CoV-2 in hospital wards. (marginalrevolution.com)Health careDelta cases are waning but ICUs are still full in hard-hit areas. (washingtonpost.com)Covid-19 could very well push young physicians out of medicine. (statnews.com)Health care workers are increasingly under threat from patients and visitors. (arstechnica.com)Public healthPublic health officials have become targets of the Covid-denial crowd. (hcn.org)Why are doctor spread misinformation not be disciplined? (buzzfeednews.com)We can't prepare for the next pandemic without buttressing the public health system. (theatlantic.com)IvermectinPro-Ivermectin groups are flourishing on Facebook ($FB) (nytimes.com)Veterinarians are struggling to find ivermectin for their animal patients. (nytimes.com)StatesEven in Maine where nearly 70% of adults are vaccinated, the state saw a Delta surge. (wsj.com)Covid death rates are becoming more pronounced based on the political divide. (nytimes.com)The death rate in rural areas is twice that of urban areas. (nbcnews.com)Which states are still vulnerable to Covid, i.e. unvaccinated nor infected. (bloomberg.com)GlobalWhy Israel has been on the forefront of Covid vaccines. (wsj.com)Some evidence that social distancing worked in Germany at the outset of the pandemic. (sciencedaily.com)Australia is set to drop some restrictions on international travel. (wapo.st)Q&AsA Q&A with Larry Brilliant on why we need to have children vaccinated. (wired.com)Andy Slavitt talks with Katherine Wu about updating our beliefs about Covid. (omny.fm)A Q&A with former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and author of "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic." (statnews.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: flu season. (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaFront-line worker are still being put at-risk by customers and their employers. (nytimes.com)Covid has kicked off a surge in research into viruses. (wsj.com)Just assume everyone is struggling as they deal with a post-Covid world. (washingtonpost.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsOct 2nd, 2021

Activists and healthcare professionals are trying to stomp out anti-vaxx info online - but social media algorithms are working against them

Algorithms are 'separating audiences' as moderators deal with disinformation, unsafe medical practices, and illegal COVID sales on social media. Bernhard Lang/ Getty Images Social media algorithms aren't adequately moderating platforms for misinformation, an expert says. COVID-19 misinformation communities are taking advantage of engagement-driven algorithms to spread their messages on social media. Cracking down on bad content has become close to an "impossible task" for health advocates and social media moderators. See more stories on Insider's business page. We might not immediately see it, but we are surrounded by COVID-19 lies on social media. Anti-vaxxers sharing ill-informed opinions of vaccines. Dark net vendors trying to sell fake COVID vaccine cards. Fringe doctors telling people to inject themselves with bleach or horse dewormer. But that's because something actively fights against our best health interests.TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are just some platforms that have tried to crack down on COVID falsities - but the companies may be locked in a futile battle with their own algorithms.The opaque mechanisms are making misinformation content less transparent to global health advocates. At the same time, they keep informative content away from their intended audiences, primarily those straggling on the border of COVID-19 understanding and vaccine hesitancy.Members of Team Halo, a UN-backed campaign that helps amplify the voices of credible health professionals on social media platforms, have struggled with tackling misinformation online."The algorithm-driven platforms are very good at separating audiences," Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and member of Team Halo told Insider. "I don't see [misinformation content] as much, but that's good and bad… we know the demand is still there, it's probably just not as public." Wallace, who publishes content correcting coronavirus misinformation videos on TikTok and Instagram, said health experts rely on secondhand reports from other users that point out misinformation because algorithms stop them from seeing it. Without those reports, misinformation is left unchecked to metastasize, even by the social media companies themselves.Wallace and several other Team Halo health professionals, whose identities and medical credentials were verified by Insider, said they have had their own reputable, data-supported content suspended and flagged for review by the platforms. When the content is cleared by platform moderators, it receives less page views and exposure, Wallace said. So while algorithms target reputable COVID-19 content, they also leave some misinformation content alone.Less than 1 in 20 false posts were removed across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, even after users had reported the content, according to a 2020 report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH)."Much debate about misinformation on social media is about automated algorithms and detection," the report says. "Even when companies are handed misinformation on a silver platter, they fail to act."Health professionals warned companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook that anti-vaxxers were "weaponizing" their platforms to spread bad information. One NYU study showed misinformation on Facebook got six times more engagement than factual information. Instagram recommendation algorithms also pushed anti-vaxx posts, per a CCDH report.Some platforms' proposed remedies have been criticized as "band-aid" solutions, reviewing and removing users on a case-by-case basis, while others just can't keep up with the rapid spread of bad content."People like Team Halo are starting to realize countering misinformation in 'hand-to-hand combat' is something that you could spend an infinite amount of time doing and never succeed," Imran Ahmed, the CEO of CCDH and expert on social media, said in an interview with Insider. "It's an impossible task."Wallace says she has been working to address misinformation on the virus for 18 months."It turned out to be a lot more of an arduous task than I had anticipated," she said. Social media giants have been secretive about how their algorithms work, and politicians, scientists, and activists are calling on social media companies to take more action against misinformation.Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok did not respond to a request for comment for this article.Insider has previously reached out to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok about their content moderation processes and how algorithms use keywords to spot possible COVID misinformation, but they did not elaborate about the specific process of detection. These companies do employ a mix of algorithms and human reviewers to moderate their platform for potentially harmful content.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

A Look At Tesla’s Relatively Tiny Numerical Sequential Sales Growth

Stanphyl Capital’s commentary for the month ended September 30, 2021, discussing their short position in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more We remain short the biggest bubble in modern stock market history, Tesla Inc. (TSLA), which currently has a diluted market cap of $868 billion, roughly equal to the $870 […] Stanphyl Capital’s commentary for the month ended September 30, 2021, discussing their short position in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more We remain short the biggest bubble in modern stock market history, Tesla Inc. (TSLA), which currently has a diluted market cap of $868 billion, roughly equal to the $870 billion (non-diluted) combined market caps of Toyota ($253 billion), VW ($141 billion), Daimler ($96 billion), GM ($76 billion), BMW ($65 billion), Stellantis ($60 billion), Ford ($57 billion), Honda ($53 billion), Hyundai ($49 billion) and Nissan ($20 billion), despite annualized sales for Tesla of around 800,000 cars a year to their over 50 million. The core points of our Tesla short thesis are: Tesla has no “moat” of any kind; i.e., nothing meaningfully proprietary in terms of electric car technology, while existing automakers—unlike Tesla­—have a decades-long “experience moat” of knowing how to mass-produce, distribute and service high-quality cars consistently and profitably, as well as the ability to subsidize losses on electric cars with profits from their conventional cars. Excluding sunsetting emission credit sales Tesla is barely profitable. Growth in sequential unit demand for Tesla’s cars has slowed to a crawl. Elon Musk is a pathological liar who under the terms of his SEC settlement cannot deny having committed securities fraud. Tesla's Expected Q3 Sales Growth Latest estimates are that Tesla is expected to report around 29,000 more deliveries for Q3 vs. Q2 (approximately 230,000 vs. Q1’s 201,000), a rounding error for an auto company trading at even one-tenth of Tesla’s valuation. If in any quarter GM or VW or Toyota sold 2.55 million vehicles instead of 2.58 million or 2.525 million, no one would pay the slightest bit of attention to the difference. Well guess what? Seeing as Tesla is being valued at more than eleven GMs, it’s time to start looking at its relatively tiny numerical sequential sales growth, rather than Wall Street’s sell-side hype of “percentage off a small base.” In other words, if you want to be valued at a giant multiple of “the big boys,” it’s time you were treated as a big boy! Meanwhile in July, thanks to an suspiciously high gross margin and very “non-growthy” reduced R&D expense, Tesla reported an improved Q2 2021, claiming to have earned $788 million excluding $354 million of pure-profit emission credit sales (excluded because they’ll almost entirely disappear some time next year when other automakers will have enough EVs of their own). However, that earnings number also includes what I estimate to be around $300 million in unsustainably low warranty provisioning, and after adjusting for that plus the credit sales, I believe Tesla earned a sustainable .43/share, which annualizes to $1.72. An auto industry PE multiple of 10x would thus make TSLA worth around $17/share (admittedly, more than the “$0” I previously expected). A “growth multiple” of 20x would value it at $34, which is more than a 95% discount to September’s closing price of $775. And before you tell me that a 100% premium to the industry’s PE ratio isn’t enough, keep in mind that—as noted earlier—Tesla’s sequential unit growth is an auto industry rounding error. In fact, one could argue that Tesla’s multiple should carry a discount, considering the massive legal and financial liabilities continually generated by its pathologically lying CEO. Meanwhile, on the Q2 earnings call Musk admitted that the so-called “Full Self Driving” he’s been selling for five years (and that Consumer Reports calls outright dangerous) doesn’t work, and he said it again in August following an “AI Day” in which he tried to cover up the Tesla’s autonomy cluelessness with an inert plastic statue of a robot and a man dancing in a unitard. (You had to see it to believe it and then you still wouldn’t believe it!)  In a saner regulatory environment Tesla’s selling of “Full Self Driving” for five years now would be considered “consumer fraud,” and indeed in August two U.S. Senators finally demanded an FTC investigation while the NHTSA opened yet another safety investigation. (For all known Tesla deaths see TeslaDeaths.com.) Will there be major write-downs and refunds given, killing the company’s slight “profitability”? Stay tuned! And remember, the 2021 overview from Guidehouse Insights rates Tesla dead last among autonomous competitors: The Chinese Government's Love Affair With Tesla Is Over Another favorite hype story from Tesla fans has been “the China market.” Sadly, that government’s love affair with Tesla is over and Q2 Tesla sales there were down 10% from Q1 while Q3 looks to be down approximately 10% more. In July Tesla sold just 8621 cars in China (with the balance of that month’s production exported to Europe) and in August only 12,885. This an absolute disaster for Tesla, as massive July price cuts on both the Model Y and the Model 3 meant that in August in China it was supposed to sell around 30,000; instead it had to export all that excess capacity. (It still may sell around 50,000 in China in September, but so what? With insignificantly small sequential growth for three quarters now, Tesla’s Chinese “hypergrowth” story is over.) Remember when Musk claimed Tesla would have so much domestic Chinese demand that it would need multiple factories there to satisfy it? Ah, the good old days! Another favorite Tesla hype story has been built around so-called “proprietary battery technology.” In fact though, Tesla has nothing proprietary there—it doesn’t make them, it buys them from Panasonic, CATL and LG, and it’s the biggest liar in the industry regarding the real-world range of its cars. A recent story has been the supposedly imminent arrival of a new “4680” design that Teslemmings and their sell-side Wall Street shills claim will allow Tesla to “leapfrog” the batteries of its competitors. Sadly for them though, in a June interview with the CEO of Tesla’s primary battery supplier Panasonic, we learned that not only are these cells still in the “production testing” phase (and thus nowhere near ready for commercial production), but that if they *do* work, Panasonic will sell them to anyone.  And then news broke that Tesla extended its current battery supply deal with CATL until the year 2025, and in August it revealed it will even be using those Chinese-made batteries in the U.S. If those great proprietary 4680s were coming any time soon, why would Tesla need to do that? Obviously it wouldn’t, which explains why in the Q2 earnings press release (and on the call) Musk admitted they don’t know how long (if ever) it will take to get those 4680 batteries into production. Oh well… I guess it’s on to the next nonsensical stock pump! Meanwhile, the quality of the Model Y—is awful, and that car faces current (or imminent) competition from the much better built electric Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Mercedes EQA, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach E, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. And Tesla’s Model 3 now has terrific direct “sedan competition” from Volvo’s beautiful Polestar 2 and the premium version of Volkswagen’s ID.3 (in Europe), and later this year from the BMW i4, plus multiple local competitors in China. And in the high-end electric car segment worldwide the Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan outsell the Models S & X (and the newly updated Tesla models with their dated exteriors and idiotic shifters & steering wheels won’t change this), while the spectacular new Mercedes EQS and Audi e-Tron GT make any Tesla look like a Yugo, while the extremely well reviewed new BMW iX does the same to the Tesla Model X. And oh, the joke of a “pickup truck” Tesla previewed in 2019 (and still hasn’t shown in production-ready form) won’t be much of “growth engine” either, as it will enter a dogfight of a market; in fact, in May Ford formally introduced its terrific new all-electric F-150 Lightning which now has over 150,000 reservations and Rivian’s pick-up has gotten fantastic early reviews. Also, the Tesla semi-truck  has been delayed until at least 2022 (and possibly forever, as it depends on the aforementioned “4680” batteries that don’t exist). Meanwhile, Tesla quality ranks 30th among 33 brands in the most recent J.D. Power dependability survey… …and second-to-last in the most recent Consumer Reports reliability survey: …while the most recent What Car? survey shows similar results with Tesla finishing #29 out of 31, and now quality is slipping in China. Flawed Autopilot System Regarding safety, as noted earlier in this letter, Tesla continues to deceptively sell its hugely dangerous so-called “Autopilot” system, which Consumer Reports has completely eviscerated; God only knows how many more people this monstrosity unleashed on public roads will kill, despite the NTSB condemning it. Elsewhere in safety, in 2020 the Chinese government forced the recall of tens of thousands of Teslas for a dangerous suspension defect the company spent years trying to cover up, and now Tesla has been hit by a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. for the same defect. Tesla also knowingly sold cars that it knew were a fire hazard and did the same with solar systems, and after initially refusing to do so voluntarily, it was forced to recall a dangerously defective touchscreen. In other words, when it comes to the safety of customers and innocent bystanders, Tesla is truly one of the most vile companies on Earth. Meanwhile the massive number of lawsuits of all types against the company continues to escalate. So here is Tesla’s competition in cars... (note: these links are regularly updated) Porsche Taycan Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Porsche Macan Electric SUV Officially Coming in 2023 Volkswagen ID.3 Headlines VW's Electrified Future Volkswagen ID.4 Electric SUV Volkswagen ID 6 to arrive with 435-mile range in 2023 Volkswagen Aero B: new electric Passat equivalent spied VW’s Cupra brand counts on performance for Born EV Cupra, VW brand to get entry-level battery-powered cars Audi e-tron Audi e-tron Sportback Audi E-tron GT Audi Q4 e-tron Audi Q6 e-tron confirmed for 2022 launch Audi previews long-range A6 e-tron EV Audi TT set to morph into all-electric crossover Hyundai Ioniq 5 Hyundai Ioniq 6 spotted ahead of 2022 launch Hyundai Kona Electric Genesis reveals their first EV on the E-GMP platform, the electric GV60 crossover Genesis aims to go all-electric from 2025 Kia Niro Electric: 239-mile range & $39,000 before subsidies Kia EV6: Charging towards the future Kia EV4 on course to grow electric SUV range Jaguar’s All-Electric i-Pace Jaguar to become all-electric brand; Land Rover to Get 6 electric models Daimler will invest more than $47B in EVs and be all-electric ready by 2030 Mercedes EQS: the first electric vehicle in the luxury class Mercedes EQS SUV takes shape Mercedes-Benz unveils EQE electric sedan with impressive 400-mile range Mercedes EQC electric SUV available now in Europe & China Mercedes-Benz Launches the EQV, its First Fully-Electric Passenger Van Mercedes-Benz EQB Makes Its European Debut, US Sales Confirmed Mercedes-Benz unveils EQA electric SUV with 265 miles of range and ~$46,000 price Ford Mustang Mach-E Available Now Ford F-150 Lightning electric pick-up available 2022 Ford set to launch ‘mini Mustang Mach-E’ electric SUV in 2023 Ford to offer EV versions of Explorer, Aviator, ‘rugged SUVs' Volvo Polestar 2 Volvo XC40 Recharge Volvo C40 electric sedan to challenge Tesla Model 3, VW ID3 Polestar 3 will be an electric SUV that shares its all-new platform with next Volvo XC90 Chevy updates, expands Bolt EV family as price drops Cadillac All-Electric Lyriq Available Spring 2022 GMC ALL-ELECTRIC SUPERTRUCK HUMMER EV GM to build electric Silverado in Detroit with estimated range of more than 400 miles GMC to launch electric Hummer SUV in 2023 GM will offer 30 all-electric models globally by 2025 GM Launches BrightDrop to Electrify the Delivery of Goods and Services Nissan vows to hop back on EV podium with Ariya Nissan LEAF e+ with 226-mile range is available now BMW leads off EV offensive with iX3 BMW expands EV offerings with iX tech flagship and i4 sedan 2022 BMW iX1 electric SUV spied BMW 3-series EV coming Rivian R1T Is the Most Remarkable Pickup We’ve Ever Driven Renault upgrades Zoe electric car as competition intensifies Renault Dacia Spring Electric SUV Renault to boost low-volume Alpine brand with 3 EVs Renault's electric Megane will debut new digital cockpit Stellantis promises 'heart-of-the-market SUV' from new, 8-vehicle EV platform Alfa Romeo is latest Stellantis brand to get all-electric future Peugeot e-208 PEUGEOT E-2008: THE ELECTRIC AND VERSATILE SUV Peugeot 308 will get full-electric version Citroen compact EV challenges VW ID3 on price Maserati to launch electric sports car Mini Cooper SE Electric Toyota steps up electric vehicle push with plans for 15 new models Opel sees electric Corsa as key EV entry 2021 Vauxhall Mokka revealed as EV with sharp looks, massive changes Skoda Enyaq iV electric SUV offers range of power, battery sizes Electric Skoda Enyaq coupe to muscle-in on Tesla Model 3 Skoda plans small EV, cheaper variants to take on French, Korean rivals Nio to launch in five more European countries after Norway BYD will launch electric SUV in Europe The Lucid Air Achieves an Estimated EPA Range of 517 Miles on a Single Charge Bentley converting to electric-only brand Rolls-Royce is working on EV called 'Silent Shadow' Aston Martin will build electric vehicles in UK from 2025 Meet the Canoo, a Subscription-Only EV Pod Coming in 2021 Two new electric cars from Mahindra in India; Global Tesla rival e-car soon Former Saab factory gets new life building solar-powered Sono Sion electric cars Foxconn aims for 10% of electric car platform market by 2025 And in China… How VW Group plans to dominate China's EV market VW Goes Head-to-Head With Tesla in China With New ID.4 Crozz Electric SUV Volkswagen’s ID.3 EV to be produced by JVs with SAIC, FAW in 2021 2022 VW ID.6 Revealed With Room For Seven And Two Electric Motors China-built Audi e-tron rolls off production line in Changchun Audi Q2L e-tron debuts at Auto Shanghai Audi will build Q4 e-tron in China Audi in cooperation company for local electric car production with FAW FAW Hongqi starts selling electric SUV with 400km range for $32,000 FAW (Hongqi) to roll out 15 electric models by 2025 BYD goes after market left open by Tesla with four cheaper models for budget-conscious buyers BYD said to launch premium NEV brand ‘Dolphin’ in 2022 Top of Form Bottom of Form Daimler & BYD launch DENZA electric vehicle for the Chinese market Geely announces premium EV brand Zeekr Geely, Mercedes-Benz launch $780 million JV to make electric smart-branded cars Mercedes styled Denza X 7-seat electric SUV to hit market Mercedes ‘makes mark’ with China-built EQC BMW, Great Wall to build new China plant for electric cars BAIC Goes Electric, & Establishes Itself as a Force in China’s New Energy Vehicle Future BAIC BJEV, Magna ready to pour RMB2 bln in all-electric PV manufacturing JV Toyota, BYD will jointly develop electric vehicles for China Lexus to launch EV in China taking on VW and Tesla GAC Aion about to start volume production of 1,000-km range AION LX GAC Toyota to ramp up annual capacity by 400,000 NEVs GAC kicks off delivery of HYCAN 007 all-electric SUV Nio – Ready For Tomorrow Nio steps up plans for mass-market brand to compete with VW, Toyota Xpeng Motors sells multiple EV models SAIC-GM to build Ultium EV platform in Wuhan Chevrolet Menlo Electric Vehicle Launched in China Buick Launches VELITE 6 PLUS MAV Electric Vehicle in China Buick Velite 7 EV And Velite 6 PHEV Launch In China Dongfeng launches the all-electric Voyah  PSA to accelerate rollout of electrified vehicles in China SAIC, Alibaba-backed EV brand IM begins presale of first model L7 Hyundai Motor Transforming Chongqing Factory into Electric Vehicle Plant Polestar said to plan China showroom expansion to compete with Tesla Jaguar Land Rover's Chinese arm invests £800m in EV production Renault reveals series urban e-SUV K-ZE for China Renault & Brilliance detail electric van lineup for China Renault forms China electric vehicle venture with JMCG Honda to roll out over 20 electric models in China by 2025 Geely launches new electric car brand 'Geometry' – will launch 10 EVs by 2025 Geely, Foxconn form partnership to build cars for other automakers Fiat Chrysler, Foxconn Team Up for Electric Vehicles Baidu to create an intelligent EV company with automaker Geely Leapmotor starts presale of C11 electric SUV on Jan. 1 2021 Changan forms subsidiary Avatar Technology to develop smart EVs with Huawei, CATL WM Motors/Weltmeister Chery Seres Enovate China's cute Ora R1 electric hatch offers a huge range for less than US$9,000 Singulato JAC Motors releases new product planning, including many NEVs Seat to make purely electric cars with JAC VW in China Iconiq Motors Hozon Aiways Skyworth Auto Youxia CHJ Automotive begins to accept orders of Leading Ideal ONE Infiniti to launch Chinese-built EV in 2022 Human Horizons Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi to launch electric car business with $10 billion investment Lifan Technology to roll out three EV models with swappable batteries in 2021 Here’s Tesla’s Competition In Autonomous Driving... Waymo ranked top & Tesla last in Guidehouse leaderboard on automated driving systems Tesla has a self-driving strategy other companies abandoned years ago Fiat Chrysler, Waymo expand self-driving partnership for passenger, delivery vehicles Waymo and Lyft partner to scale self-driving robotaxi service in Phoenix Volvo, Waymo partner to build self-driving vehicles Jaguar and Waymo announce an electric, fully autonomous car Renault, Nissan partner with Waymo for self-driving vehicles Cruise and GM Team Up with Microsoft to Commercialize Self-Driving Vehicles Cadillac Super Cruise Sets the Standard for Hands-Free Highway Driving Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle Honda launching Level 3 autonomous cars Volkswagen moves ahead with Autonomous Driving R&D for Mobility as a Service Volkswagen teams up with Microsoft to accelerate the development of automated driving VW taps Baidu's Apollo platform to develop self-driving cars in China Ford's electric Mustang will offer hands-free driving technology in 2021 ARGO AI AND FORD TO LAUNCH SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES ON LYFT NETWORK BY END OF 2021 Hyundai and Kia Invest in Aurora Toyota, Denso form robotaxi partnership with Aurora Aptiv and Hyundai Motor Group complete formation of autonomous driving joint venture Amazon’s Zoox unveils electric robotaxi that can travel up to 75 mph Nvidia and Mercedes Team Up to Make Next-Gen Vehicles Daimler's heavy trucks start self-driving some of the way SoftBank, Toyota's self-driving car venture adds Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru Corp, Isuzu Daihatsu  Continental & NVIDIA Partner to Enable Production of Artificial Intelligence Self-Driving Cars Mobileye and Geely to Offer Most Robust Driver Assistance Features Mobileye Starts Testing Self-Driving Vehicles in Germany Mobileye and NIO Partner to Bring Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles to Consumers Lucid Chooses Mobileye as Partner for Autonomous Vehicle Technology AutoX, backed by Alibaba Nissan gives Japan version of Infiniti Q50 hands-free highway driving Hyundai to start autonomous ride-sharing service in Calif. Pony.ai raises $462 million in Toyota-led funding Baidu kicks off trial operation of Apollo robotaxi in Changsha Toyota to join Baidu's open-source self-driving platform Baidu, WM Motor announce strategic partnership for L3, L4 autonomous driving solutions Volvo will provide cars for Didi's self-driving test fleet BMW and Tencent to develop self-driving car technology together BMW, NavInfo bolster partnership in HD map service for autonomous cars in China GM Invests $300 M in Momenta to deliver self-driving technologies in China FAW Hongqi readies electric SUV offering Level 4 autonomous driving Tencent, Changan Auto Announce Autonomous-Vehicle Joint Venture Huawei teams up with BAIC BJEV, Changan, GAC to co-launch self-driving car brands GAC Aion, DiDi Autonomous Driving to co-develop driverless NEV model BYD partners with Huawei for autonomous driving Lyft, Magna in Deal to Develop Hardware, Software for Self-Driving Cars Xpeng releases autonomous features for highway driving Nuro Becomes First Driverless Car Delivery Service in California Deutsche Post to Deploy Test Fleet Of Fully Autonomous Delivery Trucks ZF autonomous EV venture names first customer Magna’s new MAX4 self-driving platform offers autonomy up to Level 4 Groupe PSA’s safe and intuitive autonomous car tested by the general public Mitsubishi Electric to Exhibit Autonomous-driving Technologies in New xAUTO Test Vehicle Apple acquires self-driving startup Drive.ai Motional to begin robotaxi testing with Hyundai Ioniq 5 in Los Angeles JD.com Delivers on Self-Driving Electric Trucks NAVYA Unveils First Fully Autonomous Taxi Fujitsu and HERE to partner on advanced mobility services and autonomous driving Here’s where Tesla’s competition will get its battery cells… Panasonic (making deals with multiple automakers) LG Samsung SK Innovation Toshiba CATL BYD Volkswagen to Build Six Electric-Vehicle Battery Factories in Europe How GM's Ultium Battery Will Help It Commit to an Electric Future Ultium (General Motors & LG joint venture) GM to develop lithium-metal batteries with SolidEnergy Systems Ford, SK Innovation announce EV battery joint venture BMW & Ford Invest in Solid Power to Secure All Solid-State Batteries for Future Electric Vehicles Daimler joins Stellantis as partner in European battery cell venture ACC Renault signs EV battery deals with Envision, Verkor for French plants Nissan to build $1.4bn EV battery plant in UK with Chinese partner UK companies AMTE Power and Britishvolt plan $4.9 billion investment in battery plants Toyota's game-changing solid-state battery en route for 2021 debut Freyr Verkor Farasis Microvast Akasol Cenat Wanxiang Eve Energy Svolt Romeo Power ProLogium Hyundai Motor developing solid-state EV batteries Daimler Morrow Here’s Tesla’s Competition In Charging Networks... Electrify America is spending $2 billion building a high-speed U.S. charging network GM, EVgo partner to expand U.S. charging network Circle K Owner Plans Electric-Car Charging Push in U.S., Canada 191 U.S. Porsche dealers are installing 350kw chargers ChargePoint to equip Daimler dealers with electric car chargers GM and Bechtel plan to build thousands of electric car charging stations across the US Ford introduces 12,000 station charging network, teams with Amazon on home installation Shell Plans To Deploy Around 500,000 Charging Points Globally By 2025 Petro-Canada Introduces Coast-to-Coast Canadian Charging Network Volta is rolling out a free charging network Ionity Europe E.ON and Virta launch one of the largest intelligent EV charging networks in Europe Volkswagen plans 36,000 charging points for electric cars throughout Europe Smatric has over 400 charging points in Austria Allego has hundreds of chargers in Europe PodPoint UK charging stations BP Chargemaster/Polar is building stations across the UK Instavolt is rolling out a UK charging network Fastned building 150kw-350kw chargers in Europe Aral To Install Over 100 Ultra-Fast Chargers In Germany Deutsche Telekom launches installation of charging network for e-cars Total to build 1,000 high-powered charging points at 300 European service-stations NIO teams up with China’s State Grid to build battery charging, swapping stations Volkswagen-based CAMS launches supercharging stations in China Volkswagen, FAW Group, JAC Motors, Star Charge formally announce new EV charging JV BMW to Build 360,000 Charging Points in China to Juice Electric Car Sales BP, Didi Jump on Electric-Vehicle Charging Bandwagon Evie rolls out ultrafast charging network in Australia Evie Networks To Install 42 Ultra-Fast Charging Sites In Australia And here’s Tesla’s competition in storage batteries… Panasonic Samsung LG BYD AES + Siemens (Fluence) GE Bosch Hitachi ABB Toshiba Saft Johnson Contols EnerSys SOLARWATT Schneider Electric Sonnen Kyocera Generac Kokam NantEnergy Eaton Nissan Tesvolt Kreisel Leclanche Lockheed Martin EOS Energy Storage ESS UET electrIQ Power Belectric Stem ENGIE Redflow Renault Primus Power Simpliphi Power redT Energy Storage Murata Bluestorage Adara Blue Planet Tabuchi Electric Aggreko Orison Moixa Powin Energy Nidec Powervault Kore Power Shanghai Electric Schmid 24M Ecoult Innolith LithiumWerks Natron Energy Energy Vault Ambri Voltstorage Cadenza Innovation Morrow Gridtential Villara Elestor Thanks and stay healthy, Mark Spiegel Updated on Oct 1, 2021, 11:05 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 1st, 2021

How a group with right-wing ties duped tens of thousands of Americans into buying COVID-19 drugs that don"t work

Patients may have spent $6.7 million for medical advice and $8.5 million for prescriptions, The Intercept reported. Ivermectin is packaged in a plunger, designed to force the paste into a horse's mouth. Hollis Johnson/INSIDER America's Frontline Doctors, a group with right-wing ties, has been promoting fake COVID-19 treatments. It has referred people to a telemedicine site to procure those treatments for a fee. Its patients may have spent $6.7 million for medical advice and $8.5 million for prescriptions, The Intercept reported. See more stories on Insider's business page. For more than a year, a group called America's Frontline Doctors has been stoking the flames of COVID-19 conspiracy theories.The organization refers to itself as a nonprofit that advocates for physicians and patients. In reality, it has been instrumental in promoting disproven, often dangerous COVID-19 treatments, then referring people to a telemedicine site where they can procure those treatments following a consultation.According to hacked data recently obtained by The Intercept, America's Frontline Doctors referred 255,000 people to the telemedicine site SpeakWithAnMD from July to September. During that period, around 72,000 people paid for $90 phone consultations, plus some additional $60 follow-ups. That math suggests that patients spent more than $6.7 million for medical advice from SpeakWithAnMD alone, The Intercept estimated.After their consults, SpeakWithAnMD's physicians prescribe drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine - falsely labeled as COVID-19 treatments - through a parent company called Encore Telemedicine. Encore sends orders to a digital pharmacy, Ravkoo, which either ships the drugs directly to patients or calls the orders into their local pharmacy.The total cost of those prescriptions has reached at least $8.5 million, according to records of 340,000 prescriptions filled by Ravkoo from November 2020 to September 2021. That breaks down to $4.7 million for ivermectin, $2.4 million for azithromycin, $1.2 million for hydroxychloroquine, $175,000 for zinc, and $52,000 for vitamin C.Ravkoo CEO Alpesh Patel told The Intercept that his company stopped doing business with SpeakWithAnMD and America's Frontline Doctors at the end of August. The hacked data, however, suggests that Ravkoo filled hundreds of prescriptions for America's Frontline Doctors in September."We don't control who sends us business," Patel said. "Let's put it that way. We don't have formal contracts with particular companies."In some cases, patients paid for SpeakWithAnMD consults but never received a phone call from a physician, TIME reported last month. In other cases, TIME found, some people were charged hundreds of dollars for drugs that never arrived. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, recently told CNN that the service is "praying on people who are desperate, trying to sell them junk when they're in dire straits." Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine can have dangerous side effects Hydroxychloroquine tablets at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 27, 2020. Reuters Some of the drugs sold through SpeakWithAnMD can be dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration warns that large doses of ivermectin can cause serious harm, including nausea, vomiting, seizures, coma, and even death. From July to August, the US's 55 poison control centers saw a 245% increase in calls from people who had taken ivermectin.The FDA does not recommend ivermectin to treat COVID-19, since the drug has only been approved as a treatment for certain parasites in humans, and for the prevention of heartworm disease in some animals. A March study found that ivermectin doesn't shorten the duration of COVID-19 symptoms.The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine doesn't reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms either, other studies have found. Nor does it improve outcomes for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine can, however, increase the risk of heart problems, blood and lymphatic disorders, kidney injury, or liver problems, according to the FDA. Other remedies prescribed by SpeakWithAnMD - vitamin C, zinc, and azithromycin (better known as Zithromax) - aren't known to be effective COVID-19 treatments, either.America's Frontline Doctors has ties to several right-wing organizations An anti-mask "Freedom Rally" in New York City on March 20, 2021. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images America's Frontline Doctors formed in July 2020 as part of the Free Speech Foundation, an Arizona nonprofit backed by a pro-Trump group called the Tea Party Patriots.The Tea Party Patriots had previously helped organize and publish an open letter that referred to lockdowns as a "mass casualty" event. More than 600 physicians signed the letter, including Simone Gold, a California physician now known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Over the course of the pandemic, Gold has downplayed the severity of the virus and falsely suggested that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.Gold founded the Free Speech Foundation in June 2020. On the day her group launched America's Frontline Doctors, Gold appeared in front of the Supreme Court building to voice opposition to lockdowns and mask requirements. One of the other doctors at that protest, Stella Immanuel, suggested that a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax would "cure" COVID-19. America's Frontline Doctors started referring people to telehealth services early this year, The Intercept reported. In January, Gold told a crowd of churchgoers in Tampa, Florida that hydroxychloroquine was "available for the entire nation by going to our website." "You can consult with a telemedicine doctor, and whether you have COVID or you don't have COVID, or you're just worried about getting COVID, you can get yourself a prescription and they mail it to you," she added.The group began to tout ivermectin once the Delta variant took holdOver the summer, as the Delta variant began to drive up COVID-19 cases, America's Frontline Doctors started to heavily tout ivermectin, TIME reported.As recently as August, Gold implored people to choose hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin over vaccines. "Don't text me when you've gotten a positive test; I don't want to hear it," Gold told a crowd in Thousand Oaks, California. "I've told you ahead of time to get the medicines."Jim Flinn, a public relations agent working for Encore Telemedicine, told The Intercept that SpeakWithAnMD "is not part of the anti-vax movement, and we do not oppose vaccinations."For the last eight months, Gold has been dealing with legal trouble. She was arrested in January for her participation in the attack on the US Capitol, after being photographed with a bullhorn inside the building. Simone Gold (left) carries a bullhorn the Capitol riot in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images She faces charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building, to which she had pled not guilty.Gold still retains her medical license, according to NPR.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 30th, 2021