Dropbox IPO is off to a healthy start, valuation soars north of $12 billion

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

For a growing company, there’s arguably no day bigger than its initial public offering. After all that work establishing your brand and building up value, it’s finally time for the market to decide what your company is actually worth. Over the years we’ve seen plenty of tech firms take their companies public (with varying degrees of success), and it was just about this time last year when we witnessed Snap start its IPO with a bang—even if today’s price is now below where it started.

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Technology Needs to Make Healthy Food Scalable and Affordable

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Many have been calling the healthy and organic food category the next trillion-dollar industry. With allergen-free foods experiencing 30 percent sales growth in the U.S. and healthy snacks alone estimated to top $ 138 billion by 2020, it’s not surprising that 88 percent of consumers say they’ll pay more for access to healthy foods.

The demand is there, but the problem is scaling health food production to meet it. And many worry about what will happen if healthy food doesn’t become more cost-effective to produce: American adults hit an all-time high in obesity in 2017, with just shy of 40 percent considered obese. Nineteen percent of young people fit in the same category.

Some big corporations have jumped in the fray to produce healthy foods at scale, from Coca-Cola’s Honest Tea to PepsiCo’s KeVita kombucha. But many who purchase natural and organic foods argue that big corporations create synthetic products or dilute the richness of the products offered by smaller manufacturers using traditional methods.

The onus is on technology to make health food production more scalable and cost-effective, as Humm Kombucha’s Eric Plantenberg explains.

Old-School vs. High-Tech

Plantenberg, the chief sales and marketing officer at Humm, remembers watching his mother make kombucha in their family kitchen. His mother, a nurse who grew up on a largely organic farm, made the drink for its health benefits. “We’re full of low-nutrition food these days as a country,” he explains. “Thirty to 40 years ago, the entire food industry changed from producing high-nutrient food to high-caloric because it was less expensive to produce.”

Plantenberg continues, “It was a great ‘feed the world’ mentality, but it completely stripped foods of nutrients. And the bacteria in your stomach drives your tastes and preferences — if you eat an apple a day, you crave an apple because your body wants what it knows. People have been feeling bad — they’re unhappy with their bodies, not just in image, but in microbial discomfort — and it was a setup for the entire movement of natural foods.”

Humm was founded by friends Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek in the middle of the recession in 2009.  They got 15 orders after trying to sell the homemade product to friends. Plantenberg says it had a viral effect immediately — people felt better after consuming the fermented drink, even if they didn’t change their daily Snickers or McDonald’s habits. That momentum often propelled customers to take on other lifestyle changes, including food modifications.

But as the call for kombucha grew, the grassroots brand had to keep up with it, transitioning from making 10 gallons per week in the kitchen to making 250 in the first six months. The company struggled to figure out how to get bigger vessels, transport the large quantities, and manufacture 50,000 gallons each week. “How do you bridge a very small-batch process and scale it to something 20 million people are asking to drink?” Plantenberg asks.

Following a Steep Trajectory

Humm’s team felt the steep growth of the health food market. “We’ve been through a lot to figure out how to make the tech scalable,” Plantenberg says. “The affordability issue of clean, healthy food is very real. Natural products facilities’ processes are very labor- and time-intensive.”

He explains, “Whole Foods gets a bad rap, but the markup on junk food is so much higher than it is on healthy food. The whole supply chain of healthy foods is broken, and demand has far exceeded our capacity to make products. How do we do this and maintain our quality? A warehouse brand approached us to buy massive amounts of our product, but the quality has to remain the same.”

Mackenzie Stabler, the brand’s director of innovation, has been trying to help the brand do just that: “When Jamie and Michelle started out in the kitchen, they had recipe flexibility, but also inconsistencies from batch to batch. These days, we define quality as having consistency, but it has to make sense with our size.”

She said there’s very much been a relationship between technology and the brand’s ability to keep its products accessible. “Four years ago, we didn’t need a full lab and guard columns (GC). We measure consistency through technology: GC, data tracking, flavor profiles layered on top through GC information to see the peaks and valleys from batch to batch.”

Scaling up has been challenging, as what worked even a year ago doesn’t make sense now. The company has adopted data analysis akin to other high-tech business segments. “Everything we do now is through data collection, algorithms, and quality control software — we’re finding where things correlate, extrapolating trends and outcomes, and doing variable testing. It’s been huge in scaling our process development,” Stabler says.

Jumping Hurdles

Tweaking each aspect of the process to scale has created new hurdles to overcome. Stabler says the brand had a flavor in a conventional version that it had to reformulate as organic. It had created a sensory experience with one conventional product, but it couldn’t replicate it with a singular organic product. Instead, the brand put the new version together through all-organic flavor compounds and aromas.

Stabler says tech-fueled tweaks have also lowered the sugar in Humm’s kombucha, making the healthy product even healthier. “The relationship between sugar and acidity allowed us to change the flavors,” she says. “We had the same base product and just adjusted the sweetness or acidity in either direction and used the lab to determine the content of each item.” The brand’s new line extension has only 5 grams of sugar per serving.

But this testing carries a price. Stabler says mass-manufactured kombucha tends to share more similarities with juice from concentrate than 100 percent juice, which is more akin to handmade kombucha. “When a company is using concentrate, the first ingredient will be water; full-strength products will list kombucha first and then the ingredients of kombucha in parentheses,” she explains. “There’s no legal requirement to advertise whether it’s from concentrate or not; from concentrate is cheaper, diluted with water, and it doesn’t require the business to manufacture or grow cultures. They’re essentially a co-packer of a kombucha product.”

Healthy foods, Stabler says, are in the beginning stages of their revolution. “Go back to when beer started — looking at the tech advances, it was very similar to how kombucha has grown,” Stabler says. “But kombucha, until the 1980s, was a pocket thing that still resembled how it had been made in China and Russia. Now, we have mainstream demand to make more, but a consistent, safe product only happens with technology. You can’t do things the old-fashioned way and serve a million people. We want to be sustainable.”

As Humm’s experience proves, the healthy food market may be the next trillion-dollar industry, but it’s already flagged a ripe opportunity for entrepreneurs in the tech arena: healthy food manufacturing. If tech companies shift some of their focus to automating and streamlining the production of healthy food, data-heavy companies like Humm will be able to meet demand — and make people healthier — that much faster.

The post Technology Needs to Make Healthy Food Scalable and Affordable appeared first on ReadWrite.


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Today in Astronaut Fashion: A Unitard to Keep Your Back Healthy

We’re at our tallest when we wake up in the morning after spending the night in a supine position, but over the course of the day our spine is squashed down as much as 1.5 centimeters due to gravity. As unsettling as it may sound, this effect is not bad for our bodies: we are designed to adapt to it.

In space, things are a bit different, because there’s no gravity. And that’s bad news for astronauts, that after coming back from their journey must get used to feeling heavy again. This can be a painful process: astronauts typically come back from long periods of weightlessness a little taller – but the supporting ligaments and muscles around their spine will have grown weaker, not having to resist gravity. That means they will be more prone to back pain and slipped disks.

Scientists from King’s College London and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Medicine Office set out to find a solution to the problem. Their Skinsuit is a spandex-based garment that recreates the squeezing effect that gravity has on the body.

First, the scientists wanted to reproduce the weightlessness astronauts experience in space. Inspired by the way people float on the Dead Sea, the scientists half-filled waterbeds and added magnesium salts to simulate microgravity. Test subjects lying on the beds for long periods of time displayed a stature increase similar to those observed in astronauts in orbit, according to a blog post on the ESA website.

With the right space-like environment, they were ready to test various versions of the suit. An early model provided compression equivalent to 80 percent of the force of gravity present on Earth, but astronauts found it too uncomfortable and could only wear it for a couple of hours. The current version, called Mark VI, simulates the equivalent of 20 percent of gravity loading, which is slightly more than lunar gravity.

Skinsuits have already been tested during ESA missions to the International Space Station. The results of studies on Earth using the waterbeds are yet to be published, but according to the researchers, they show that the garment can mitigate spine elongation, and ultimately reduce those back pains.

The post Today in Astronaut Fashion: A Unitard to Keep Your Back Healthy appeared first on Futurism.


Opinion: Nokia hasn’t been healthy for Withings, Apple should consider HealthKit hardware

Nokia’s ownership of Withings has been incredibly messy. After buying Withings in mid-2016, Nokia sued Apple over unrelated patents which resulted in Withings digital health products being pulled from the Apple Store.

While that dispute has since been resolved, Nokia now says it is reviewing its digital health business altogether. The result could be positive or negative for Withings customers depending on where ownership lands.

As a Withings customer myself, my hope is that Apple buys the digital health product business from Nokia — if only to do the bare minimum to maintain hardware that works with Apple HealthKit.



Apple launches rich ‘Close Your Rings’ webpage to promote healthy living with Apple Watch

Just in time for some weekend motivation, Apple has added a new page to their website promoting Apple Watch’s activity tracking features. The page, titled “Close Your Rings,” details realistic and effective ways that Watch wearers can live a healthier and more active lifestyle by completing one simple goal each day.



stayhealthy’s History of Innovation Paves Way for a Future of Healthy Progress

When it comes to self help resources in the modern digital healthcare space, few tools and technologies truly bestow upon the masses real power and inspiration to take control of their health and leverage mobile and web based platforms for meaningful, sustained self improvement.

stayhealthy, Inc., however, has managed to deliver where few others could.

Founded in 1995 with the goal of making medical-grade health monitoring devices affordable and accessible to average people in their own homes, stayhleathy has spearheaded a litany of industry firsts and pioneering efforts, the impact of which continues to reverberate for the benefit of consumers worldwide.

stayhealthy has been at the forefront of public health for the past 16 years, with public health blood pressure kiosks testing nearly two people every second in the United States in 2017 alone.

Leveraging over two decades of experience in the health sector, stayhealthy famously received FDA approval for the first true innovation in body fat screening since the development of BMI in 1833.

The secret sauce to stayhealthy’s success? A commitment to allowing users to proactively take control of their health.

As times and consumer technologies evolve, however, so must the ways in which stayhealthy strives to achieve its mission for self empowerment.

Most recently, the company recognized the need to create health monitoring tools that people can easily access and engage with their mobile phone and other portable devices. With the number of cellphones in the U.S. now exceeding the U.S. population, stayhealthy’s shift in focus to mobile is designed to put control back in the hands of the public.

Today, mobile is the catalyst helping stayhealthy develop technologies that will not only excite and engage health-conscious consumers, but lead individuals down a path of lasting greater health and wellness.

Supporting The Journey

Let’s face it. A Multitude of mobile health resources come up short on both engaging and inspiring users to take control of their health. After purchasing or downloading the resource in question, many folks simply feel isolated and left

to their own devises — literally and figuratively. Consequently, they quickly fall of the track and fall short of finding better health.

stayhealthy takes a different approach, as the company aims to serve as a living, breathing resource capable of supporting people through their health journey. How do they pull it off? In short, stayhealthy connects users with dynamic cross-channel interactions via the company’s interactive health engagement platform that features a free mobile app network for consumers to use.

Well aware of the fact that the worst thing you can do is tell someone there is a problem, and not provide the solutions or information about what to do next, the stayhealthy process takes a proactive approach to assessing, evaluating, and planning a path toward improved wellness.

The Prognosis for Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Last week, stayhealthy broke the news that its company has partnered technologies, talents and resources with Augmently, Inc. to incorporate patented Augmented Realism™ to the stayhealthy learning experience.

Harnessing the power of augmented reality to improve and embellish mobile-focused health management, stayhealthy will lean on AR’s singular ability to create tools and results with which users can easily engage.

Stayhealthy gives users access to solutions they can administer for themselves with a high degree of success.

Contrary to the broader medical field and other scientific sectors seeking to adopt AR through the required use of a wearable device or headset, stayhealthy is developing extremely compelling content which is accessible to everyone via the technology already at their disposal — mobile phones.

So while stayhealthy’s history makes for an exciting and uplifting read, the past is undoubtedly prologue when looking ahead to the company’s future plans – plans we couldn’t possibly be more excited to follow in the months and years ahead.

To follow along for yourself, or to learn more about the next-level aspirations and technology deployments by stayhealthy, visit their official website here.

The post stayhealthy’s History of Innovation Paves Way for a Future of Healthy Progress appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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Tech Ceviche: Why Peru has all the ingredients for a healthy startup ecosystem

Anyone who has visited Peru will tell you that it’s a country with one foot in the past and one in the future. Lima, the fifth largest urban hub in Latin America, is home to roughly 10 million people — a third of the total population of the country — and has a skyline rippling with skyscrapers, a globally recognized nightlife and restaurant scene, and a growing tech community. However, take a bus or train an hour in any direction and you arrive in a different world, where ancient cultures and customs are cherished. Despite having one of the fastest…

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Op-Ed: Staying Connected To Be Safe, Healthy

The following is a guest contributed post by George Thangadurai, Executive Vice President and President of International Business for Borqs Technologies Inc.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting the world—in a good way. From businesses, to governments, to the everyday consumer, the IoT is transforming how we interact with the world and with each other. It’s estimated that companies will spend nearly $ 5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years, and the proliferation of connected devices will help make the world healthier and safer.


Besides being fitness trackers with heart rate sensors, some smartwatches can now also measure oxygen saturation in blood. While heart rate sensors look at the rhythm of the blood in your veins, oxygen levels can be determined from different light wavelengths, which vary from person to person (skin color, body mass index, etc.). Of course, there will always be a need for blood tests; however, as wearable technology becomes more advanced and accurate, more healthcare measurements can be done via this type of technology, shifting health monitoring from intrusive to non-intrusive forms and increasing its accessibility and usability.

External sensors 

Small wearables—whether smartwatch, ring, patch, etc.—can be low-power, with batteries lasting for few months to few years. Many can communicate raw data via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even cellular connections. While many companies want to provide these services, readmission is a huge problem for healthcare companies and insurance providers. So the solution for this is to have patients wear sensors, so they can monitor from home. Today, wireless sensor-based systems gather medical data that was never before accessible. By combining sensors, microcontrollers, application processors and gateways where sensor data is further analyzed and sent to the cloud and then on to caregivers, a network of IoT devices can connect directly with each other to capture and share vital data, improving the level of care physicians can offer their patients.

Health and safety 

Both wearables and sensors not only allow people to take control of their own healthcare, but also their well-being. For patients who are sick, or for those who are trying to prevent being sick, wearables and general external sensors can provide a certain amount of autonomy while still leaving the doctor in control of the actions that need to be taken. Specifically applicable to the elderly, or those with dementia, wearables also have a GPS that can define safe zones in advance and can notify the proper parties to let them know that the person is in danger.

In the workplace, the IoT is already making some industries safer, particularly construction, mining, utilities and oil and gas. Many construction companies now use data generated by IoT devices to check workers’ vital signs while on the job and use IoT data to make machinery safer for workers to use and maintain. Mining companies can use wearable technology and IoT data to avoid collisions at mines by tracking the movements of workers and machinery at job sites and are able to use remote control to shut down equipment when not in use, which prevents injuries and accidents.

While there are still many challenges to overcome in fully integrating the IoT into the world, it is undoubtedly poised to improve the health and safety of its users and revolutionize the way we view technology.

George Thangadurai – Executive Vice President and President of International Business

George Thangadurai is an accomplished leader in the computer industry with more than 20 years of experience in strategy, product management, business development, marketing and general management. Prior to Borqs Technologies Inc., Thangadurai served as executive vice president of marketing and chief strategy officer at Mobiliya Inc., Mountain View, California. He worked at Intel for more than two decades in various technical and senior management roles, which included serving as general manager of strategy and product planning for the Mobile PC business. He also served as general manager client services. A founding team member of the Center of Development for Telematics (CDOT), Bangalore, India, Thangadurai earned his master’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Rhode Island, with two IEEE published research papers, one industry conference paper and eight patents.

About Borqs Technologies, Inc.

Borqs Technologies (NASDAQ: BRQS) is a global leader in software and products for IoT providing customizable, differentiated and scalable Android-based smart connected devices and cloud service solutions. Borqs has achieved leadership and customer recognition as an innovative end-to-end IoT solutions provider leveraging its strategic chipset partner relationships as well as its broad software and IP portfolio. BORQS designs, develops and provides turnkey solutions across device form factors such as Smartphones, Tablets, Smartwatches, Trackers, Automotive IVI, Vertical application devices (for restaurants, payments et al.).  For more information, please visit the Borqs website (http://www.borqs.com).

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