July 14, 2020

SurveyMonkey announced its integration with MicrosoftTeams with a purposely-designed app.  The integration keeps all survey related tasks and updates within the Microsoft Teams. It also provides visualization features.  Link

 

Why this is important :  SurveyMonkey is a leader in its space.  This collaboration is a huge signal to the symbiotic opportunities on both sides of the divide.  With the WFH idea gaining traction on a daily basis and Teams frighting off a nimble competition in Zoom,  this is a good partnership for Microsoft.  Again with this,  other work tools are seeing a bright green light to probably step forward with an offer to MicrosoftTeams.

Apple and Google have announced the launch of a tracing system using Bluetooth devices on Android and iPhones. Infected persons are expected to upload their information when they test positive to the Covid-19 virus.  The two tech giants have pledged protection of users’  personal data and location.  According to them,  persons who test positive would have anonymized data to fellow users and and the tech giant. Link

 

Why this is Important: We’re literally in a data race.  The more we inevitably accept artificial intelligence,  the more we need data to train machines with. Health products like fitness trackers and smart treadmills are hot at the moment and it throws up the question of  data abuse.

Going by the launch timeline,  it also seems the authorities envisage Covid-19 to be with us towards the end of the year.

There’s the concern about widening the use case for this initiative  There’s also the problem of stigmatization and abuse which could lead to reluctance to provide or upload this information and/or usage of second non-registered phone to avoid the exercise.

We mustn’t also lose sight of possibility of employers abusing the status of this data for employment,  promotion and other work benefits when this pandemic blows over.

 

Norton Motorcycles,  one of British’s legacy brands, has been acquired by India’s TVS Motors for £16m. The deal gives the Indian manufacturer a footprint into the British market with its disposable income.  Norton has had its time in the sun.  Its product has been used in the Bond movie Spectre and  helped troops with logistics during the Second World War.

Brexit, a shrinking market size and huge tax/pension backlog may have contributed to its demise as it fell into bankruptcy just last week. Link

 

Why this is important :We may be witnessing the exit of more manufacturing jobs out of Britain in the early days of Brexit when fully implemented after Covid-19.  It is also a signal to the ascendancy of Indian manufacturing if we could recall the last acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover by Tata Motors.

The genome testing startup 54gene.com announced its $15m Series A fund raise last week led by Adjuvant Capital. The funding round is planned to strengthen  its partner hospitals and prepare its expansion beyond Nigeria.  According to Adjuvant Capital, ‘proceeds will scale operations and accelerate discovery capabilities, including expansion to include the study of infectious disease and sexual and reproductive health conditions endemic in Africa.’ Link

 

Why this is important :By setting out to become a Pan-African bio bank,  the company may be shortening the response time between understanding diseases and the right responses using vaccines;  especially communicable ones in Africa.

This funding also confirms health and biotechnology as an investment frontier for VCs  looking for opportunities in Nigeria and Africa. Adjuvant Capital as a health-focused funding entity is a good signal for 54gene.

For the microbiologists, lab scientists and others in related fields,  this growth is aspirational as it raised $500,000 in its Covid-19 Testing Support Fund.  We would likely witness new startups playing in different verticals in the space in few years time.

 

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