Biotech startup Gero grabs €1.9M to hack ageing and COVID-19

Based out of Singapore, Gero develops new drugs for ageing and other complicated disorders using its proprietary developed artificial intelligence (AI) platform. Recently, the company has secured $ 2.2 million (€1.9 million) in Series A funding, bringing the total capital raised since Gero’s founding to over $ 7.5 million (€6.4 million).

Gero’s founder Peter Fedichev, said, “We are happy with the recognition and support from these strategic investors who themselves are acknowledged leaders in the fields of AI and biotechnology. This will help us attain the necessary knowledge at the junction of biological sciences and AI/ML technologies that is necessary for the radical acceleration of drug discovery battling the toughest medical challenges of the 21st century. We hope that the technology will soon lead to a meaningful healthspan extension and quality of life improvements ”

Yury Melnichek joins Gero

The round was led by Bulba Ventures with participation from previous investors and serial entrepreneurs in the fields of pharmaceuticals, IT, and AI. Notably, the co-founder of Bulba Ventures Yury Melnichek joined Gero’s Board of Directors. 

“Gero’s insights and know-how when it comes to using big data and machine learning in biology is creating new opportunities in the search for cures of diseases that were previously considered incurable, primarily for ageing,” says Yury Melnichek, co-founder of Bulba Ventures, a successful venture capital investor in the field of machine learning and AI.

The company intends to use the investment to further develop its AI-based platform for analysing clinical and genetic data to identify treatments for some of the most complicated diseases, such as chronic aging-related diseases, mental disorders, and others.

First anti-aging test in 2017

Back in 2017, Gero did its first anti-ageing test on mice in VibioSphen (France) demonstrating its ability in finding solutions for complicated conditions.

How does Gero’s technology work?

The company uses large datasets of medical and genetic information from hundreds of thousands of people acquired via the UK’s BioBanks and created a proprietary database of blood samples collected throughout the last 15 years of the patients’ lives. 

Using this data, the platform determined the protein that circulates in people’s blood whose removal or blockage should lead to rejuvenation. Subsequent experiments at the National University of Singapore involved aged animals and demonstrated mortality delay (life-extension) and functional improvements after a single experimental treatment. 

In the future, this new drug could enable patients to recover after a stroke and could help cancer patients in their fight against accelerated ageing resulting from chemotherapy. Right now, Gero’s platform is also being used to develop drugs in other areas of potential therapies for COVID-19

“Gero collects large datasets of biomedical data (including clinical histories and genomics) of animals and humans and applies advanced machine learning methods and AI to discover the underlying reasons for human ageing. The project’s team works with key experts in the field of biology of ageing and clinical medicine, and this provides answers to the most important practical questions and translates the received knowledge into medical technologies to combat ageing”, says Dr. Nir Barzilai, Director and leading aging researcher of the Einstein-Institute for Aging Research; Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Collaborated with Yuri Aulchenko

Founded in 2012 by Maxim Kholin and Peter Fedichev, Gero has published a paper with Yuri Aulchenko, PhD CSO and Founder of PolyOmica, Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh and used genomics in AI drug discovery as well. 

It’s worth mentioning that Gero collaborates with researchers from the leading global institutions such as the Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Edinburgh, National University of Singapore, and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to develop new therapies.

Main image credits: Gero

The post Biotech startup Gero grabs €1.9M to hack ageing and COVID-19 appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

COVID-19 effect: to layoff 4,000 employees

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major economic downturn all over the world. The major hit industries are travel and hospitality as the countries have sealed their borders. Recently, Expedia reported that Q2 2020 is likely the worst quarter for the travel industry. Apparently, several travel companies have been hit and Booking Holdings is one of them. Already, TripAdvisor and Airbnb have slashed their workforce by 25%.

Proposes massive layoff

Now, Booking Holdings has announced that it will layoff about 25% of its global workforce on account of the ongoing pandemic crisis. Going by the same, at least 4,000 of its 17,500 jobs will disappear. The proposed layoff will debut in September after the company is done with consulting with employee representatives, works councils, and other relevant organisations.

Notably, the conglomerate owns a slew of websites specialising in the travel industry such as, Kayak, Priceline and OpenTable.

What holds for Dutch staff?

As of now, there is no clarity if the proposed layoff announced by Booking Holdings will affect the 6,000 staff working for in Amsterdam. The American accommodation booking site is one of the companies with the highest number of employees in Amsterdam. It has around 6,000 staff working at the head office and ten other offices located in the Dutch capital. And, there is no clear mention regarding how the layoff could affect these employees.

Before taking a plunge into this decision to layoff 25% of its global workforce, used the NOW regulation implemented by the government. With this move, it secured €64.5 million subsidy to continue to pay its staff working in the Netherlands. Without this regulation, it is clear that the number of employees to be fired by this company could be higher.

Stock photo from theskaman306/Shutterstock

The post COVID-19 effect: to layoff 4,000 employees appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

I have created and scaled a successful mobile COVID-19 testing operation, but I feel like there’s low-hanging fruit / opportunities we’re leaving on the table to get more people tested. What are some applications for this that I may be missing?

We are an ops + medical team that wants to see as many people tested as possible. In a pretty short time we've built some very solid technology and lab relationships that let us conduct large numbers of COVID-19 tests, identify the best lab for a fast turnaround, and get results in 2-3 days every time (even when hospitals are waiting 7 days).

Restaurants, police departments, real estate firms, etc. hire us to build a temporary testing suite in their offices. Our teams can each test up to 1,000 patients/day. Usually, we bill patient insurance, and uninsured patients have their tests covered by their employer. All results are delivered to the patient and the employer.

Our typical sale is to businesses who rely heavily on having people present and want to minimize the chances of an outbreak. They hire us to come and test their asymptomatic workforce, sometimes as often as every 1-2 weeks for each employee. This is important because many of these are front-line workers and at high risk of coming into contact with COVID-19, and we very regularly identify these people who are infected but have not yet started to exhibit symptoms.

Workplace testing is great, but I suspect there's a lot we're missing because we are so caught up in that world. What we're trying to figure out is what other use cases we may not be thinking of where a rapidly deployable testing capability could be valuable. Workplace testing volume ebbs and flows and we want our teams out there testing as many people possible even if it's not employer contracts.

What are some things we could do with this?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

The Covid-19 Surge

Domain registrars experienced a surge in new domain registrations in April due to the pandemic.

The words "Domain surge" in Fast font with yellow background

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers April 2020.

April was a strong month for domain name registrars as companies rushed to go digital because businesses were shut down due to Covid-19.

The numbers reflect that, and they’re even more startling when you consider that March was also an up month due to the pandemic.

Consider Wix. Its registrations for February, April, and March were 75,407, 86,353, and 110,573.

Google’s registrations were 132,513, 144,355, and 170,306.

Tucows: 189,784, 201,660, 270,196.

You get the idea.

The trend is most notable for registrars that cater to end users rather than domain investors.

Here’s how registrars did in terms of new .com registrations in April:

1.* (NYSE: GDDY) 1,011,313 (990,805 in March) (March number excludes Uniregistry)
2. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 270,196 (201,660)
3. Namecheap Inc. 244,079 (220,563)
4. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 203,981 (167,966)
5. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 170,306 (144,355)
6. Alibaba (HiChina) 146,314 (168,265)
7. Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) 110,573 (86,353)
8. United Internet^ 84,925 (71,767)
9. West263 67,757
10. NameSilo 65,429

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations under management as of the end of April 2020.

1. GoDaddy* 53,544,247 (52,559,293 in March) (March number excludes Uniregistry, appx. 900,000 domains)
2. Tucows** 12,815,824 (12,781,969)
3. 7,064,131 (7,119,532)
4. Endurance+ 6,948,816 (6,888,632)
5. Alibaba 5,859,831 (5,787,345)
6. Namecheap 5,690,180 (5,551,106)
7. United Internet^ 5,532,444 (5,521,784)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 3,647,376 (3,746,993)
9. Google 3,474,697 (3,367,072)
10. GMO 2,310,668 (2,313,794)

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below.

* Includes GoDaddy, Wild West Domains, Uniregistry and 123 Reg
** Includes Tucows, Enom, Ascio and EPAG
+ Includes PDR,, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but these are the biggest.
++ Includes Network Solutions,, and Crazy Domains/Dreamscape
^ Includes 1&1, PSI, Cronon, United-Domains, Arsys and world4you

Post link: The Covid-19 Surge

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Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News

[DailyPay in PR Newswire] The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Motivated A Majority Of Americans To Save Money For The Future

Despite economic challenges, more Americans are likely to save for the future after the global health crisis passes, according to a new survey from DailyPay and Funding Our Future

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in PR Newswire] The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Motivated A Majority Of Americans To Save Money For The Future appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Hannah Steller and #Covid19 : eNom upgrades “backpack girl” for 2020 Domain registrar, eNom, has upgraded its landing pages with a new version of its iconic “backpack girl,” Hannah Steller. The friendly lady present on millions of parked domain names is now donning a face mask. “We wanted to deliver a message of responsibility in the era of Covid-19,” said Markus Johnson, home-…

Mammoth Biosciences’s CRISPR-based COVID-19 test receives NIH funding through RADx program

CRISPR tech startup Mammoth Biosciences is among the companies that revealed backing from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program on Friday. Mammoth received a contract to scale up its CRISPR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test in order to help address the testing shortages across the U.S.

Mammoth’s CRISPR-based approach could potentially offer a significant solution to current testing bottlenecks, because it’s a very different kind of test when compared to existing methods based on PCR technology. The startup has also enlisted the help of pharma giant GSK to develop and produce a new COVID-19 testing solution, which will be a handheld, disposable test that can offer results in as little as 20 minutes, on site.

While that test is still in development, the RADx funding received through this funding will be used to scale manufacturing of the company’s DETECTR platform for distribution and use in commercial laboratory settings. This will still offer a “multi-fold increase in testing capacity,” the company says, even though it’s a lab-based solution instead of a point-of-care test like the one it’s seeking to create with GSK.

Already, UCSF has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA to use the DETECTR reagent set to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, and the startup hopes to be able to extend similar testing capacity to other labs across the U.S.

Startups – TechCrunch

Why Entrepreneurs Must Position Their New Businesses to Succeed During and After COVID-19

The prospect of starting a business has never seemed so daunting. The global economy went into freefall following the COVID-19 outbreak, and recovery projections (even on the positive side) set us up for a long road ahead. Social distancing remains common practice, countries have closed borders and introduced harsh quarantines, and nobody can be certain when this will all end, or if we’ll experience the dreaded “second wave.”

For many, this would seem like the absolute worst time to start a business — an economic slump during unstable times. But such is the cruel but giving way fate works, that one person’s loss is often another’s gain.

StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

COVID-19 isn’t just a loser’s game

Businesses have gone bust and bankruptcies declared, but in the midst of COVID-19, fortunes have also been made. The online video hosting platform Zoom saw the company’s founder, Eric Yuan, increase his net worth by 77 percent to nearly $ 8 billion. And Yuan is far from the only person benefiting commercially from the cultural and economic transformations seen as a result of COVID-19. British online grocery delivery company, Ocado, plans to raise £1 billion in capital to expand its operations after a record-breaking few months for the company.

Businesses around the world have seen explosive growth as they’ve been called upon to solve problems unleashed by the coronavirus.

What startups can learn from COVID-19: Successes and failures

As in any market, success in 2020 is dictated by supply and demand. Those that have won out during this crisis are those that profited off supplies that became essential, such as gym equipment for the home. On the other hand, those that lost did so because their offer became unfavorable or even unusable, such as an actual gym facility.

When we look at the market growth during COVID-19, we see some obvious patterns. Food delivery, social distancing software, online streaming services; these are all niches thriving under COVID-19.

The balance has shifted toward problem solving during a time of strife. The businesses that can provide support during COVID-19 through their products or services are the ones succeeding. But, how does this knowledge develop the catalyst for starting a business during such turbulent times?

Related: 15 Business Leaders Share Their Experiences and Insights on Getting Through COVID-19

But… can you start a business now?

The world is preparing for long-term repercussions of COVID-19, and we’re also prepared for current lifestyle changes, with new products and services introduced as a result of the pandemic likely to carry on post-pandemic. For example, it is anticipated that businesses will maintain their newfound flexible work structures after being forced to develop remote working practices to stay afloat.

So, demand will likely remain shifted toward the way we’ve been living under lockdown and social distancing, but haven’t other businesses already moved in and capitalized on this?

Well, yes and no.

Why was Zoom so popular? It’s not because it was the optimum solution. Zoom is plagued by massive security issues, and it was at the center of controversy for data breaches and acts of “Zoombombing,” in which video calls were hijacked.

It’s not the ultimate tool for what’s in demand right now, but it is a tool that can be incredibly useful. Since there were such limitations on the softwares people were looking for, Zoom demand swiftly gained momentum. While many platforms offer video conferencing, they often require logins or memberships and are built for highly commercial needs. Zoom was accessible to private individuals and small businesses, which helped it thrive.

This is the advantage new startups have on established businesses: they can be built from the ground up to problem solve for the new world we live in.

A lot of the solutions people are using right now are not designed to operate under the new normal but have been adapted to solve a particular problem. Some have done so better than others, but many more have had major issues and struggled to make the adjustment. They’ve only done so well financially because there were no other choices available.

Startups of 2020 have an opportunity to fit into the COVID landscape by being the solution that people need, rather than being their only option during a time of crisis. From tech companies to service providers, there are plenty of gaps left by the coronavirus. Start by evaluating your preferred industries for the common problems that target audience is experiencing, and then solve them.

The added caveat here is that your startup should not just be a solution to a COVID-related problem if you want to succeed long term. Plenty of organizations have started to supply PPE, but demand for this product will not be sustained. Your idea needs to be a COVID-proof business that is viable in its own right.

For example, following COVID-19, dating became difficult for many individuals. Apps and websites attempted to pivot to long-distance systems, but they weren’t really built for this concept. Startups have an opportunity to create a new platform that fits perfectly into the current socially-distanced dating scene, but that app needs to offer enough to be an attractive prospect once social distancing is no longer required.

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Key takeaways

There is no denying that COVID-19 is a global tragedy, but there is plenty of opportunity for entrepreneurs to bring creative solutions to market. Entrepreneurs, thought leaders and innovators have an opportunity to capture new opportunities that wouldn’t have been considered viable even as recently as January of this year.

In such times of strife, the following quote by American business success story, Seth Godin, rings true:

“You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make a choice.”

The post Why Entrepreneurs Must Position Their New Businesses to Succeed During and After COVID-19 appeared first on StartupNation.


MMX Shows Resilience to Covid-19 Pandemic MMX, a company that operates a number of new gTLD domain extensions like .Work, .Law, .Fit, among others, published a Trading Update and AGM Notice for the first half of 2020. According to the update, it would appear that the business has not really been hampered by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic: MMX Trading Update and […] … Q2 2020 report: less domain transactions because of COVID-19 released its Domain Investment Index for Q2 2020. The report provides insight into the domain name market for the second quarter of 2020, compared to previous quarters. The latest data from shows that in Q2 2020, domain sales were heavily impacted by the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. In April of 2020 …