Brazil’s HealthTech App MedPass Gains Strong Investor Backing

$8M Seed Funding, $6M Additional Capital Secured; Unveils Enhanced Quality of Life Platform

With strong growth projected for the global HealthTech apps market, Brazilian created MedPass is firmly on the leading edge of this wave as it gains significant traction with investors and clients alike.

MedPass – which currently targets corporate employees – today unveiled a substantially enhanced version of its HealthTech platform, 4.0, as it reports additional strong investor backing: After earlier securing $8 million in seed funding since 2016, it now has commitments from investors for another funding round of $6 million to finance the company’s continuing growth.

In Brazil’s highly fragmented healthcare startup market, with over 500 registered companies listed on Crunchbase, just 30 firms have received more than $1 million in seed funding, and a mere 10 have been funded above $5 million – and MedPass is one of them.

Introduction to MedPass HealthTech Platform

Unique features of the MedPass version 4.0 include a virtual assistant “Ben,” equipped with over 120 medical algorithms applied individually to the risk profile and medical records of the user, allowing specific screening and meaningful medical help.

Employees of MedPass clients begin their journey using MedPass by filling out digital assessments, within the MedPass application itself, of their health conditions, habits and behaviors. The results obtained generate managerial dashboards updated through integrated digital medical records, with assessments of quality of life and health, which guide population management policies of the clients. Messaging resources have also been created to allow clients’ HR staffs to transmit important communications with specific employees or companywide.

MedPass focuses on engaging its users by guiding and monitoring them through the app and through its own “Health Center,” where physicians and nurses engage through chat/video, seven days a week allowing, if advisable, to schedule consultations with specialized physicians.

Why Is The Market So Strong And Economy So Weak?

The continuing strength of the stock market, even as the coronavirus pandemic batters the U.S. economy, has baffled many investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell some 35% in 20 trading days the first three weeks of March as COVID-19 began spreading rapidly globally, but it has since gained nearly 60% to levels above 28,650. At the same time, the Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy shrank 31.7% in the April-June quarter. Part of our job at Equitas is to research many areas of the market and the economy, analyze the current environment, and to search for the investment opportunities. While there are numerous views and theories, in this KnowRisk Report we explore and expand on why the stock market is so strong, while the economy is so weak. We start with Wharton finance professor Itay Goldstein who has boiled it down into two reasons: the long-term prospective of the stock market, and the unprecedented cash infusion of the Federal Reserve. 

The First Reason

Goldstein says at all points in time “the stock market is meant to be forward-looking,” Indeed stocks have risen during seven of the past 12 recessions going back to World War II. “In general, the stock market is a bit different from the economy, in the sense that what you see right now in the economy is what is going on right now” such as production, employment and so forth, he noted. Even in “normal times,” stock prices and economic output would not move in tandem, according to Goldstein. In fact, we may have situations “where the stock prices may predict something that is going to be different from what we see right now.” The S&P 500, for instance, is driven more by manufacturing, while U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services

Air Street Capital: AI industry remains strong despite academic brain drain, tech nationalization

London-based venture capital firm Air Street Capital today published the State of AI Report 2020, its third annual survey canvassing research, talent, industrial, and political trends in the field of AI. Coauthored by University College London visiting professor Ian Hogarth and AI investor Nathan Benaich, the report aims to highlight technological breakthroughs and areas of commercial application for AI as well as the regulation of AI, its economic implications, and emerging geopolitical issues.

Among other findings, this year’s report implies AI remains mostly closed source, harming accountability and reproducibility, while corporate-driven academic “brain drain” appears to be impacting entrepreneurship. Self-driving cars are in the Precambrian stages. And political leaders are beginning to question whether acquisitions of AI startups should be scrutinized or outright blocked.

AI research

According to Air Street Capital’s report, only 15% of AI research papers publish their code, and there’s been little improvement on the metric since mid-2016. Based on data from the website Papers With Code, which highlights trending research and the code to implement it, code availability has actually decreased from above 20% in December 2019. “For the biggest tech companies, their code is usually intertwined with proprietary scaling infrastructure that can’t be released,” the coauthors of the report concluded. “This points to the centralization of AI talent and compute as a huge problem.”

This development perhaps isn’t surprising, given that professors are departing universities for corporations at an accelerating rate. The report points out that Google, DeepMind, Amazon, and Microsoft hired 52 tenured and tenure-track professors from U.S. colleges between 2004 and 2018 and that Carnegie Mellon, the University of Washington, and Berkeley lost 38 professors during the same period. To put that in perspective, no AI professor left in 2004, whereas in 2018, 41 AI professors resigned.

The report’s coauthors believe this has

STMicro says strong third quarter will help it beat 2020 expectations

A logo is pictured on the factory of STMicroelectronics in Plan-les-Oautes near Geneva, Switzerland, December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) – STMicroelectronics’ saw a sharp rise in automotive and microcontrollers demand in the third quarter, setting it on course to top its 2020 guidance, the semiconductor maker said on Thursday.

The firm, which makes a range of sensors and chips used in the telecoms, now expects sales of more than $9.65 billion versus the range of $9.25-$9.65 billion it forecast previously.

Its third-quarter net revenue rose 27.8% to $2.67 billion, beating the $2.45 billion it had expected, preliminary results showed.

“This is the confirmation that end demand in automotive, microcontrollers and specific programs with Apple are strong enough to more than compensate for the Huawei headwind,” said Stephane Houri, head of equity sector research at Oddo BHF.

“This is very positive for STM, but probably also a very good signal for the rest of the sector,” he said.

The French-Italian chipmaker is set to report its final third-quarter earnings and fourth-quarter guidance on October 22.

Reporting by Piotr Lipinski and Sarah Morland in Gdansk; editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jason Neely

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