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Zimmer and Apple launch clinical study covering up to 10K patients who get knee and hip replacements

Apple has made health — and helping people keep tabs on theirs — a cornerstone of how it is presenting the benefits of its newest Apple Watch, and today comes news of another way that this is taking shape. Zimmer Biomet , a world leader in developing the components and systems for joint replacements, says that it is working with Apple on a new clinical study focused on people who get knee and hip replacements. The trial will come in three stages, and within two years, Zimmer projects that there to be up to 10,000 people involved, Ted Spooner, Zimmer’s vice president of connected health, said in an interview. It will cover three aspects of patient care, he said: monitoring patients before and after operations using sensors on the Apple Watch and iPhone; providing education and information to patients to help improve their pre- and post-operation care; and providing a communications channel between doctors, caregivers and patients to ask questions, give answer and more, using Zimmer’s mymobility app. Institutions that will be participating include University of Utah Health; Rush University Medical Center; University of Pennsylvania Health System; Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital/Emory Healthcare; Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Southern California; Newton-Wellesley Hospital, member of Partners HealthCare founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Centura Health, Porter Hospital – Colorado Joint Replacement (CJR); ROC Orthopedics, affiliated with Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center; OrthoBethesda; OrthoArizona; Midwest Center for Joint Replacement; Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement; New Mexico Orthopaedic Associates; The DeClaire LaMacchia Orthopaedic Institute, affiliated with Michigan Institute for Advanced Surgery; Joint Implant Surgeons; Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic; Panorama Orthopedic and Spine Center. The study — which for now will be US-only — comes after two years of Zimmer working with Apple behind the scenes, Spooner said, on not just making sure the parameters of what Zimmer hoped to achieve in a connected app would be possible, but also for Apple to understand what stakeholders in the health industry would want to see out of a health service built around a smartwatch and smartphone. Zimmer was a key target because today it accounts for one in every four knee replacements globally, and it has similarly strong market positions in hip, shoulder, foot, dental and spine products. A measure of where Apple is placing the importantance of this study is who they have commenting on its launch. “We believe one of the best ways to empower consumers is by giving them the ability to use their health and activity information to improve their own care,” said Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Apple, in a statement. “We are proud to enable knee and hip replacement patients to use their own data and share it with their doctors seamlessly, so that they can participate in their care and recovery in a way not previously possible through traditional in-person visits. This solution will connect consumers with their doctors continuously, before and after surgery.” Hip and knee replacements are the most common “replacement” procedures that take place, accounting for one million operations each year in the US, according to Deloitte, a figure that will grow to 3.5 million by 2035 as our population grows, stays alive for longer, and includes more people who were much more active in their earlier years in a wider upswing for fitness. You might assume that it would be an uphill challenge to sell the idea of connected health services to older people — who are the typical recipients of these operations — but Spooner said that the opposite is the case. “It turns out that the fastest adoption group for smartphones is 55-64 right now,” he said, saying that they are currently buying smartphones and other connected devices three times as fast as the next group down. Some of that of course might be because older people have been slower to adopt, but nevertheless, he points out, the stats “are really staggering, considering that other groups are at less than a two percent compound annual growth rate.” Smart watches, he said, have a similarly high growth rate among the elderly.

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Amazon debuts a retail site for ‘Shark Tank’ products

Inventor Jamie Siminoff was rejected by the sharks on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 when trying to make a deal for his video doorbell startup. This year, Amazon bought his company , Ring, for a billion dollars. Now, Amazon is looking for another way to tap into breakout products from the popular TV show – by becoming an official retailer partner for “Shark Tank.” The newly announced deal allows Amazon to showcase past and future “Shark Tank” products on its website, and come with a $15,000 Amazon Web Services (AWS) credit for each eligible “Shark Tank” entrepreneur. The products will be available in a new Shark Tank Collection on Amazon Launchpad, its platform for hardware and physical goods startups, which first arrived in 2015 . The idea is to offer a dedicated place on Amazon where consumers can shop products from up-and-coming companies, like Bluesmart’s luggage, eero’s Home Wi-Fi system, Casper mattresses, and hundreds more. This new collection is not the first time Amazon has featured “Shark Tank” products on its site, however. Also in 2015, Amazon launched a new online store called Amazon Exclusives, which featured a variety of new brands, including products from “Shark Tank,” like Tower Paddle Boards, for example. At the time, the “Shark Tank” merchandise selection was limited, though. With today’s launch, that’s changing. Amazon says the new collection features over 70 products that successfully received funding from “Shark Tank” seasons 1 through 9, and new products from season 10 and beyond will be featured here in the future. The products available today include things like smart changing pad and scale  Hatch Baby , coffee enhancer  Third Wave Water , and storage bags from  Stasher , among others. You can even sort and filter products by those that were funded by two or more sharks, or those with over $250,000 in funding. “For the first time ever, ‘Shark Tank’ has a store on Amazon.com dedicated to helping our entrepreneurs scale their businesses and highlight top products from the show,” said “Shark Tank” investor, Barbara Corcoran, in a statement. “We are excited for the Amazon Launchpad Shark Tank Collection to bring products from our entrepreneurs to retail for customers and fans of the series.” For Amazon, the deal isn’t just a way to redirect “Shark Tank”-related shopping searches to its site, following an airing of the TV show. It also gives Amazon a first-hand way of seeing which products are becoming viable consumer hits – something that could open the door for an acquisition or further deal-making at some later point, perhaps

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Adobe launches new AR and drawing tools 

At its Max conference in Los Angeles, Adobe today announced a number of new products in its Creative Cloud suite. Among those is Project Aero, a new tool that allows for building new AR experiences, and Project Gemini for painting and drawing on the iPad. The ‘Project’ moniker is Adobe’s way of signifying that these are still early-stage products and not quite ready for prime time yet. Over time, though, they typically become fully named parts of the Creative Cloud suite. The fact that Adobe is launching a tool for building AR experience doesn’t come as a major surprise. Adobe isn’t one to stand by as hype builds around a new technology (see: Adobe’s early support for VR). Project Aero, which integrates with both Adobe Dimension and Photoshop for creating importing assets, is now in private beta, with plans for a wider release in 2019. The other new tool is Project Gemini, which takes some of Adobe’s Photoshop technology, including its painting engine, to create a stand-alone drawing app for the iPad. The app also takes some cues from existing drawing tools from Adobe like Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw. Indeed, it gets its time-lapse recording feature and support for Photoshop brushes from these — but in a new package that also includes selection and masking tools, grids, drawing guides and a mix of raster and vector drawing capabilities. One interesting note here is that Kyle T. Webster is behind this new project. Last year, Adobe bought Webster’s Photoshop brush tools almost exactly one year ago .

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Vinli launches mobility data platform, signs partnership with ALD Automotive

Connected car startup Vinli aims to connect vehicles to the cloud and is today announcing a change in its business model as it partners with the largest fleet operator in Europe, ALD Automotive. Vinli launched in 2014 as a direct consumer company that allowed owners to add cloud services to automobiles. It was a clever concept, and when it launched four years ago, it was ahead of the curve. The company went on to raise to $6.5M through four rounds of funding, slowly evolving the product to meet the changing needs of the market. Today, the company is announcing a change in focus and will no longer sell products directly to consumers. The company founder and CEO Mark Haidar tells TechCrunch this is in response to the product’s evolution, which can now offer enterprises a platform for them to launch their own mobility applications directly to their users. Vinli is discontinuing the production of its hardware and will work with partners to offer the same services to consumers. To go along with this new business strategy, Vinli is launching a data platform that Haidar tells me can ingest data from any source and correlate it with machine learning and AI, allowing customers to develop predictive services for their products. Called Era, Vinli believes this will enable its customers to mine trends from data without the need of data scientists. Vinli signed a deal with ALD Automotive to add its connected services to its fleets of 1.6 million vehicles. In a press release, ALD Automotive says Vinli will enrich ALD’s “overall service offering and develop new value-added solutions to improve both driver experience and optimize overall Total Cost of Ownership for efficient fleet management.” “We believe that the automotive industry is evolving to become a service-based and subscription-driven industry,” said Mark Haidar, CEO of Vinli. “Connected cars and data are at the epicenter of this change. Collecting, analyzing, and discovering trends from ALD’s fleets will not only be transformative to the driver but to the industry as a whole” Terms of the partnership were not released. Connecting vehicles to the cloud has significant implications as car makers, insurers and consumers alike can gain deep insights into the habits of the driver and mechanics of the car throughout its life. Vinli seems well positioned to offer a platform to provide this data and today’s moves should help the company into the future

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Adobe is bringing Photoshop CC to the iPad 

It’s no secret that Adobe is currently in the process of modernizing its Creative Cloud apps and bringing them to every major platform. Today, the company is using its Max conference in Los Angeles today to officially announce Photoshop CC for the iPad . Sadly, you won’t be able to try it today, but come 2019, you’ll be able to retouch all of your images right on the iPad. And while it won’t feature ever feature of the desktop from the get-go, the company promises that it’ll add them over time. As with all of Adobe’s releases, Photoshop for iPad will play nicely with all other versions of Photoshop and sync all the changes you make to PSD files across devices. Unsurprisingly, the user experience has been rethought from the ground up and redesigned for touch. It’ll feature most of the standard Photoshop image editing tools and the layers panel. Of course, it’ll also support your digital stylus. Adobe says the iPad version shares the same code base as Photoshop for the desktop, “so there’s no compromises on power and performance or editing results.” For now, though, that’s pretty much all we know about Photoshop CC on the iPad. For more, we’ll have to wait until 2019. In a way though, that’s probably all you need to know. Adobe has long said that it wants to enable its users to do their work wherever they are. Early on, that meant lots of smaller specialized apps that synced with the larger Creative Cloud ecosystem, but now it looks as if the company is moving toward bringing full versions of its larger monoliths like Photoshop to mobile, too.

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Celonis brings intelligent process automation software to cloud

Celonis has been helping companies analyze and improve their internal processes using machine learning. Today the company announced it was providing that same solution as a cloud service with a few nifty improvements you won’t find on prem. The new approach, called Celonis Intelligent Business Cloud, allows customers to analyze a workflow, find inefficiencies and offer improvements very quickly. Companies typically follow a workflow that has developed over time and very rarely think about why it developed the way it did, or how to fix it. If they do, it usually involves bringing in consultants to help. Celonis puts software and machine learning to bear on the problem. Co-founder and CEO Alexander Rinke says that his company deals with massive volumes of data and moving all of that to the cloud makes sense. “With Intelligent Business Cloud, we will unlock that on prem data, bring it to the cloud in a very efficient infrastructure and provide much more value on top of it,” he told TechCrunch. The idea is to speed up the whole ingestion process, allowing a company to see the inefficiencies in their business processes very quickly. Rinke says it starts with ingesting data from sources such as Salesforce or SAP and then creating a visual view of the process flow. There may be hundreds of variants from the main process workflow, but you can see which ones would give you the most value to change, based on the number of times the variation occurs. Screenshot: Celonis By packaging the Celonis tools as a cloud service, they are reducing the complexity of running and managing it. They are also introducing an app store with over 300 pre-packaged options for popular products like Salesforce and ServiceNow and popular process like order to cash.

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Saudi ally calls for Uber boycott over response to Khashoggi’s vanishing

Uber is facing calls for a boycott of its app in the Persian Gulf, a region that has poured billions of dollars of investment into the company’s ride-hailing business in recent years:  Directly via Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund  (PIF) and indirectly because the Saudis are major investors in Softbank’s Vision Fund vehicle , which is  another big Uber investor . The regional calls to boycott Uber were stoked yesterday by Saudi ally, Bahrain, whose foreign minister retweeted hashtags calling for a boycott of the company, according to reports by  Bloomberg and Reuters . An Uber spokesperson declined to comment when reached for a response. No place for you in Saudi Arabia #DeletingUber pic.twitter.com/hYLXXEKFQI — عبدالله الشهراني (@abdullh2223) October 14, 2018 A few boycott calls circulating on Twitter urge app users to switch to Uber ride-hailing rival,  Careem , though it’s unclear whether Uber alternatives are seeing any local uplift as yet. Anger at Uber has been sparked by the reaction of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to the disappearance of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi , a U.S. resident, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 for a pre-arranged appointment to obtain documentation for his forthcoming marriage to a Turkish citizen. Newspaper reports have suggested Khashoggi was killed inside the embassy by a Saudi hit squad that traveled to Turkey for the purpose of carrying out the murder. As a Saudi ex-pat the journalist had written critically of the crown prince’s regime. And while independent CCTV footage shows Khashoggi entering the embassy but there is no proof to show he ever left. Although the Saudis have denied any wrongdoing, and claimed their citizens were just visiting Turkey as tourists. Following growing alarm over Khashoggi’s disappearance, Uber’s CEO was among several business leaders to announce they were pulling out of an investment conference due to take place in the Saudi capital later this month. “I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi. We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh,” said Khosrowshahi in a statement last week. Uber confirmed to TechCrunch today that Khosrowshahi will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference — a conference’ s hosted by Saudi’s crown prince,  Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, aka MBS, who is also chairman of the PIF; a key Uber investor, which has a member sitting on Uber’s board .  Those links underline quite how complicated managing this particular piece of legacy baggage is for Khosrowshahi — who, as Uber’s new broom, has made it his stated mission to chart a new course by ‘ doing the right thing. Period ‘.  Yet when Uber accepted $3.5BN from the Saudi PIF two years ago ‘doing the right thing’ meant just one thing: Growing Uber, with few if any other considerations on the table for then CEO and founder Travis Kalanick

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Truphone, an eSIM mobile carrier that works with Apple, raises another $71M, now valued at $507M

Truphone — a UK startup that provides global mobile voice and data services by way of an eSIM model for phones, tablets and IoT devices — said that it has raised another £18 million ($23.7 million) in funding; additionally securing £36 million ($47 million) more “on a conditional basis” to expand its business after signing “a number of high-value deals.” It doesn’t specify which deals these are, but Truphone was an early partner of Apple’s to provide eSIM-based connectivity to the iPad; and it will also be offering a service for new iPhone XS and XR models , taking advantage of the dual SIM capability. Truphone says that strategic partners of the company include Apple (“which chose Truphone as the only carrier to offer global data, voice and text plans on the iPad and iPhone digital eSIM”); Synopsys, which has integrated Truphone’s eSIM technology into its chipset designs; and Workz Group, a SIM manufacturer, which has a license from Truphone for its GSMA-accredited remote SIM provisioning platform and SIM operating system. The company said that this funding, which was made by way of a rights issue, values Truphone at £386 million ($507 million at today’s rates) post-money. Truphone told TechCrunch that the funding came from Vollin Holdings and Minden Worldwide — two investment firms with ties to Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who also owns the Chelsea football club, among other things — along with unspecified minority shareholders. Collectively, Abramovich-connected entities control more than 80 percent of the company. We have asked the company for more detail on what the conditions are for the additional £36 million in funding to be released and all it is willing to say is that “it’s KPI-driven and related to the speed of growth in the business.” For some context, Truphone most recently raised money almost exactly a year ago, when it picked up £255 million also by way of a rights issue, and also from the same two big investors. The large amount that time was partly being raised to retire debt. That deal was done at a valuation of £370 million ($491 million at the time of the deal). Going just on sterling values, this is a slight down-round. Truphone, however, says that business is strong right now: “The appetite for our technology has been enormous and we are thrilled that our investors have given us the opportunity to accelerate and scale these groundbreaking products to market,” said Ralph Steffens, CEO, Truphone, in a statement. “We recognised early on that the more integrated the supply chain, the smoother the customer experience. That recognition paid off—not just for our customers, but for our business. Because we have this capability, we can move at a speed and proficiency that has never before seen in our industry. This investment is particularly important because it is testament not just to our investors’ confidence in our ambitions, but pride in our accomplishments and enthusiasm to see more of what we can do.” Truphone is one of a handful of providers that is working with Apple to provide plans for the digital eSIM by way of the MyTruphone app. Essentially this will give users an option for international data plans while travelling — Truphone’s network covers 80 countries — without having to swap out the SIMs for their home netw orks

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It’s official: London-based Stride.VC raises £50M seed fund

Stride.VC , the new VC fund from Fred Destin, formerly a partner at Accel, and Harry Stebbings, producer of the “The Twenty Minute VC” podcast and ex-Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atomico, is being officially unveiled today, confirming most of the details of my earlier report . The fund has closed at just over its £50 million target and will be used to do seed investments exclusively in U.K. startups (at least for now). The team has been bolstered, too, with Arj Soysa, ex-Atomico and most recently head of finance for LGT Impact, joining as operating partner. The firm also disclosed its first investment earlier this month, backing healthcare messaging app Forward Health . In a call with Destin last week and followed up over subsequent emails with the pair, I got further details on Stride.VC’s LPs and how Destin and Stebbings plan to approach seed investing. Kicking off, I asked if perhaps there was already enough money in the U.K. (and elsewhere in Europe) chasing seed-stage startups. “We don’t think there is too much seed money at work in Europe,” says Destin. “We think tech startups are impacting more and more industries and sectors so the importance and impact of great founders is growing.

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