Paris-based Neobrain snaps up €3 million to support employees during change

French HRtech startup Neobrain, which uses AI to support organisations and people during times of change and crisis, has secured €3 million of investment from French venture capital firm Breega. The startup will use the funds to expand internationally, grow its team and conduct more research on the job market. 

At a time when many organisations are restructuring due to coronavirus, employees may experience changing job roles and team structures. Using artificial intelligence, Neobrain (2014) has developed technology that anticipates and facilitates strategic HR decisions. The startup can respond, effectively and relevantly, to three key needs within organizations: employee engagement and loyalty; simplification and flow of internal mobility; alignment of employee skills with company strategy. Thanks to its new technology and its team’s expertise, Neobrain limits the impact of job transformation on employees.

So far NeoBrain has grown its team to 24 people, and has opened offices in its native Paris and abroad in Lisbon. It’s nabbed nearly 60,000 monthly active users, and since the start of the COVID-19 crisis has increased its monthly growth by 50%. 

With the fresh funds, the startup intends to triple its workforce by recruiting around 40 people by the end of the year, and intends to broaden its activity internationally. The HRtech startup will also widen its analysis of the job market from 50 countries (representing 54 million job offers), to 100 countries, in order to strengthen its predictions on the evolution of jobs and skills.

Paul Courtaud, CEO of Neobrain, commented: “Mobility is a major issue to guarantee the sustainability of jobs and organizations. We see that competence and motivation become the link between employment and training.”


[ in Austin Business World] A DATA DUMP DURING CRISIS

Yoga and mental health Slack channels, talks on Hindu philosophy and how to make a killer beef stroganoff. These are just some of the ways team mebers are boosting their coworkers’ morale during these tough times.

Read more here.

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3 Ways I Shifted My Startup Strategy During the Pandemic

This unprecedented period in our collective history is trying all of us in innumerable ways. Startups certainly haven’t been spared, and as the founder and CEO of one, I’ve dealt with my share of fear.

Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve been confronted by a series of panicked questions regarding my business, Thin Air Energy, such as:

  • Can I still get my designs built?
  • Will anyone want to buy my products in the midst of such large-scale devastation?
  • Is the market for my product even viable anymore?

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Each of these concerns led me to the harsh reality that I needed to pivot my business, and fast.

Here are three ways I’ve shifted my startup strategy during the pandemic:

Examine and pivot overall logistics

As news of the pandemic first spread around the world, I realized that I needed to shift the logistics of my business to ensure I was on the most solid footing possible during global upheaval. This meant focusing on raising a round of equity, seeking alternative sources of capital and lessening my dependence on foreign vendors.

The most important trait for a startup in a time like this — and at any time, frankly — is agility.

I no longer like the term “new normal;” businesses need to approach the future as the “new abnormal.”

The harsh reality is that some businesses will need to make extreme pivots to realign with a different vision of themselves in order to survive. Seeking a future “normal” implies a parallel future that looks consistent over long periods of time, which just might not be realistic.

“New abnormal” recognizes that viability depends on continuous agility.

Related: How Working from Home Will Change for Startups and Entrepreneurs Post-COVID-19

Modify designs to fit the times

My initial product designs were complex. I knew I needed to simplify them if they were going to work for new vendors in the midst of so much change. I changed my designs so that instead of requiring complex, machined parts, they required 3D-printed, on-demand parts. I knew that no matter what happened as the pandemic progressed, a simpler product would be easier to make and have a better shot at success — period.

It is important to adjust as things are unfolding, and it’s essential to realize that nothing is ever set in stone. If you are glued to where you envisioned your company will go, you will fail. If you possess the ability to be flexible and realize that nearly nothing will go as planned, you will be better suited to accept the necessary adjustments.

Consider shifting product development to help our shared society

One of the earliest questions I asked myself when news of COVID-19 hit was, “What other product areas might be more compelling within a pandemic?” I asked myself, “How can I be of use, while also keeping my business afloat?”

I decided to design a series of new products, which would be a viable, long-term business opportunity that represented the most significant pivot in my business thus far. I worked quickly to lay the groundwork, prepare marketing plans and set up a website with first-round products made with a higher percentage of onshore materials and easy-to-produce designs.

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The takeaway for entrepreneurs

The most important thing startups can do in this unprecedented moment is not give up. Your business is going to look different at the end of this. All of our businesses will. But that doesn’t mean it won’t survive, or that it can’t be successful in a new iteration of itself.

As you traverse the uncertain months ahead, seek advice from everyone you can. Seek capital wherever possible. Brace yourself to hear “no” often, and embrace a willingness to change, pivot and reinvent. Seek refuge in nature if you need to hit the “reset” button. And now, as always, remember to be friendly, to be generous, and to give creatively to others.

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Will the impending recession during and post the current pandemic result in a new crop of startups, like the ones post 2008?

It seems that post a recession a new crop of startups displaces the current players, as in the case of 2001, 2008. Would you expect to see a new crop of startups that would dominate the scene in the next 5 years that would start during/post recession due to the pandemic?

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

[Kryon in CIO] Israeli HMO investments in AI pay off during the coronavirus crisis

As cases of coronavirus began spiking in Israel in March and the government still debated tourist restrictions and lockdowns, hundreds of thousands of clients of the country’s largest HMO, Clalit Health Services, received an alert via text message.

Read more here.

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[Tyto Care in CIO] Israeli HMO investments in AI pay off during the coronavirus crisis

Israel’s HMOs are the backbone of the country’s healthcare, and they have been developing AI systems for years. When COVID-19 hit, the technology was crucial in flattening the curve of new cases.

Read more here.

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[ThetaRay in Crowdfund Insider] ThetaRay, Provider of Big Data and AI-enhanced Analytics Tools, Introduces FastStart Platform to Combat Financial Crime During COVID-19

Israel-based ThetaRay, a provider of Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced analytics tools, has launched FastStart, a product that aims to address the requirements of financial institutions during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more here.

The post [ThetaRay in Crowdfund Insider] ThetaRay, Provider of Big Data and AI-enhanced Analytics Tools, Introduces FastStart Platform to Combat Financial Crime During COVID-19 appeared first on OurCrowd.


[Ro in Yahoo Finance] Some wellness products growing ‘over 1,000%’ during pandemic: Ro CEO

“Some of our allergy products are up 30%, all the way to smoking cessation, which is upwards of 100%, to some of our sleep products that are actually over 1,000% month-over-month growth,” Zachariah Reitano, Ro’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview during Yahoo Finance Breakouts. “We’re seeing pretty incredible growth across the board.”

Read more here.

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How Freelancers Can Stay Afloat During the COVID-19 Crisis

Freelancers may have mastered working at home, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy right now. In a crisis like COVID-19, independent contractors are often the first to be cut.

Although most freelancers are eligible for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, the PPP can’t make up for lost work. And those who do receive loans through the program will eventually need to pay them back, raising the bar for future revenue.

By all means, explore the aid programs available to you. But don’t ignore all the other ways you can work on yourself and your business in the meantime.

What can you do if client work is thin? Make the best of a bad economy by:

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Streamlining operations

As a freelancer, you already know that what constitutes “work” is so much more than just the services or products that you provide. Take this time to strengthen your operations.

Whatever your line of work, you have to communicate with clients and vendors. You have to track your time, create and send invoices, keep records and crunch numbers.

Why waste time on tedious tasks? A study by work operating system found that 38 percent of workers could save five or more hours per week by using automation tools, while 16 percent said they could save at least 10 hours per week.

There are automation opportunities everywhere, including:

  • Invoicing and billing: Getting paid for your work shouldn’t take more work. If you use Quickbooks, you can set up recurring invoicing. There’s also an accounts payable automation option that can keep billing off your back.
  • Email follow-ups: Why write dozens of “just checking in” emails yourself when a computer could do it for you? Email automation tools can be configured to send a follow-up message after a number of days without a response.
  • Social media management: You’ll still have to create the content yourself, but software like Hootsuite can help you schedule posts across platforms days in advance. Batching your social media work means it won’t be a daily headache.
  • Appointment scheduling: Sending six emails to schedule a single meeting doesn’t make sense. Gmail, Outlook, and other digital calendars let you schedule appointments with a click. Consider integrations, features, and user interfaces when choosing an online calendar for your freelancing work.

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Highlighting digital services

Some freelancers, like writers and web developers, are already used to working online. But if you’re an independent salesperson, a craftsperson, or a consultant, your clients may not know how you can help them from afar.

Think about how best to showcase your digital skills. Show, don’t tell. Although you could send an email to clients saying, “I can show you how to improve your social media presence,” prove it to them through your work. Add or swap in case studies on your website that demonstrate your online abilities.

If you typically perform your services remotely, treat it as a differentiating factor. Marketing yourself as an experienced remote worker may give you an edge when looking for new clients. Remember, a good portion of the workforce is still getting used to working from home.

Tending to your network

If you’ve been in the freelancing world for a while, you know the importance of growing and maintaining a strong network. Chances are, you get a good portion of your business through personal connections.

You may be stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your connections strong. To get started:

  • Reach out to past and current clients: Ask how they’re coping in this new economy. Be genuine, and help if you can. If they don’t have any work for you at the moment, be understanding.
  • Ask for introductions: One of the hard lessons many freelancers learn in their first year is that all introductions have value, even if that value isn’t immediately obvious. Treat every intro as a chance to get to know someone, not merely a chance to make money.
  • Leverage social media: Use this time to spruce up your social profiles. If you’re an independent distributor or influencer, Facebook or Instagram may be your best bets. Look to LinkedIn first if you provide professional services. Don’t just toot your own horn all the time. Start conversations, give advice and ask for recommendations. Give people a reason to remember you.

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Professional development

If doing business isn’t an option, spend your time learning how to do what you do better. Professional development is the perfect task for a slow afternoon.

Take a broad approach, and consider:

  • Learning a new skill: If you’re a web designer, you probably get requests all the time to tweak code. Why not learn the basics of Java, HTML, or another in-demand programming language?
  • Earning a certification: Certifications show that you’re continuing to grow in your field, and many of them can be earned online. Adding an inbound marketing certification from HubSpot can up your game as a marketer. The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals offers a series of sales certifications that cost less than $ 1,000 each.
  • Reading industry content: Every corner of the market is changing right now. Take an afternoon to check out thought leadership content in your space. If you’re a freelance marketer or writer, Steve Olenski of The CMO Whisperer has written “well over 5,000” articles on advertising and branding best practices.
  • Attending virtual conferences: Although most in-person conferences have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, you can find plenty of them online. In many cases, they feature the same speakers and workshops as they normally would at a fraction of the price. Plus, you won’t have to worry about travel costs.

Freelancing is full of ups and downs. Don’t let the lean times throw you. Rather than fret about lost business, take the opportunity to make yourself more valuable and efficient. That way, when the good times do return, you’ll be all the more able to enjoy them.

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