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!

More thoughts on growing podcasts

We’ve aggregated many of the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this Growth Report.

This is how you stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Our community consists of startup founders and heads of growth. You can participate by joining Demand Curve’s marketing training program or its Slack group.

Without further ado, on to our community’s advice.

More thoughts on growing podcasts

Insights from Harry Morton of Lower Street.

Podcast growth is all about relationships. To increase your listenership, consider partnering with:

  1. Other podcasters. Do an episode swap where you play an episode of your show on theirs, and vice versa. Make sure the two podcasts share similarly minded audiences.
  2. Curators. Every podcast aggregator has someone responsible for curating their featured content. Look them up on LinkedIn. Reach out via email. Be their friend. Send them only your best stuff.
  3. Subscribers. You rise in Apple’s podcast charts (which account for 60% of podcast listenership) by having a subscriber growth spurt in a concentrated period of time (24-48 hours). So, when you release an episode, immediately run your audience promotions aggressively and all at once.

Increasing referral incentives might not increase referrals

Startups – TechCrunch

How Much More Only Legitimate Work From A Home Office

Work-at-home moms have to prioritize themselves, household and their career above anything other than you. Kids desire to always be with their mothers and don’t care when the laundry completed or genuinely. It is thus important collection priorities advertise children imagine that they are loved. For example, in cases where a child is either a school play, an auto can together with him or her while her husband cooks dining. The husband and kids can also help in preparing meals likewise this shall function as family bonding activity. In case the mother gives her full attention to her family, they would depart her alone when it’s once again time for her to achieve their purpose.

Treat your home-based business business, like a real business: This is amongst the biggest problem facing the bulk of the “work from home” herd. They get very complacent working in the convenience of their home that they forget actually suppose always be working to their business. If you do not treat your home based business as an accurate business with all the current same disciplines than you take the probability of having a spot based spare time pursuit. The best way to beat this disabling hobby as contrasted with. business pitfall is to all the way down your goals and have a short term and long haul goal as their objective.

If you’re passionate in regards to weight loss product, power tool, guitar tuner, shoe model, anything, you should promote it because You’re interested and to produce you like about it, and genuine don’t like about it. People love honest reads, and they’re going to be very likely to buy from your affiliate links.

The connected with social interaction, sedentary lifestyle, lack of structure, and level of comfort can all pose tremendous disadvantages living away from the corporate environment. After years of learning tough way, I’ve managed find out some approaches to beat the work at home blues.

Promote a home business business in a box. These are opportunities where you can promote a home business that features a website deploy for you with some text newsletter. Given it makes it very easier for your prospects to start these are fantastic to get involved with.

Express to both your friends and family how important it happens because understand simply because you at home, does not mean that the importance of one’s job is any much. It is important that you place up a work schedule that you have posted for that family to keep yourself informed of present this same schedule to get a friends to ensure that they know when the available do that available.

Check out local laws governing the operations of small businesses in place. Neighbors may complain if noise levels are high. In case you use chemicals for your business, review that just too. Keep a low profile and you should fly your radar without the pain . law. Sometimes this brings into reality limits of signals and noise limitations. Stay invisible.

Why did this Crypto-related domain name sell for so much more than the last 100?

 MorganLinton.com: Last week I was pretty surprised to see that an auction I was following on Go Daddy Auctions, CryptoCustody(.)com sold for a whopping $ 23,250. I learned about the sale price thanks to this tweet from NameBio. Before I go any further let me just say that I’m a fan of domain names with the word […]

YC-backed Artifact looks to make podcasts more personal

Historically, podcasts have been focused on appealing to as many listeners as possible. But Artifact, a new YC-backed company launching today, has a different idea.

It all started when co-founder and CEO Ross Chanin lost his grandfather. He found himself wishing he’d spent more time asking him about his life. At the same time, he was mulling the audio revolution underway in the tech world after having co-founded Reputation.com and serving as COO at Euclid (acquired by WeWork).

Over a beer with his friend George Quraishi, a journalist, they decided to try out the idea of a more personal podcast for a specific, smaller audience, starting with Chanin’s Aunt Cindy. They did audio interviews with three of Aunt Cindy’s closest friends, who shared intimate details about their friendships with Cindy, from how they met to their favorite memories to what they love most about her.

“When Chanin’s cousin got out his phone and played the mp3 for Cindy on her birthday, she started crying,” wrote Quraishi. “And laughing. Later, she said, ‘You know, you just go through life, you don’t really think about somebody recalling what’s important to them about you, or what you mean to them.’ ”

This was the glimmer in the eye of Chanin and Quraishi to build out Artifact. They teamed up with Moncef Biaz (CTO) to handle the technical back-end infrastructure.

Using professionally contracted interviewers, Artifact conducts short interviews with a person’s closest friends or family and turns them into a personal podcast. Some of these interviewers are journalists like Quraishi, and others are simply great listeners, such as a bartender, a few actors and even a comedian.

Interviewees either call a phone number for their interview, or the more tech-savvy among them can dial in via their computer for a higher-fidelity audio quality.

After the interview, Artifact handles the editing and polish to offer a higher-quality final product that is delivered to the recipient via the web.

“On the one hand you have your purely user-generated content, and then you have this high-production content,” said Chanin. “Our general sense is that there is a pretty large missing middle. We’re getting to 80 or 90% of what a studio-produced podcast would sound like. And no one cares about that extra 10 or 20%.”

One of the things that is most special about Artifact also happens to be a big challenge for the product: It can be used in almost any way. This can make it difficult to define and leave the ball in the court of the user to dream up what they want their Artifact to be.

The Portrait, which focuses on stories from friends and family about a single person, is an obvious use case. But Artifact is also used by couples for their wedding, with annual podcasts for each year of their marriage. Folks can use the service to reflect on huge milestones in their lives, or to catalog the growth of their child from the kid’s point of view. Businesses are even starting to use Artifact in this COVID-19 world to get to know their colleagues better during remote work.

“Our customers are not the product,” said Chanin. “They are buying a product. We think that Artifact loses a lot if the default assumption is that millions of people are going to hear this. Certainly, Artifacts can be used in that way, but the primary sharing is to close friends and family.”

Chanin added that the average Artifact episode is listened to by about 30 people.

Artifact generates revenue by charging users per episode, with each episode allowing up to two interviewees. One episode costs $ 175, two episodes costs $ 325 and four episodes costs $ 625.

The team is comprised of four full-time workers, with 12 interviewers contracted on the project. The full-time team is 100% male and 50% of employees are people of color. Fifty-five percent of contractors are people of color and 35% are women.

The company has raised a total of $ 500,000, which includes $ 150,000 from Y Combinator, as well as funding from David Lieb (founder of Bump and director, Google Photos), Sander Daniels (co-founder of Thumbtack), Eric Kinariwala (founder and CEO of Capsule) and Sean Bratches (former managing director, Formula 1; former EVP, ESPN).

Startups – TechCrunch

Vilnius-based adtech RedTrack raises €425K to make advertising more efficient 

Today Lithuanian startup RedTrack.io, a SaaS ad tracking and conversion attribution company, has announced receiving around €425K in seed funding from Genesis Investments and Iron Wolf Capital. The funds will be used to build new machine learning functionality and improve onboarding in RedTrack.

Founded in 2018, RedTrack offers media buyers and ad agencies a sophisticated tool for analyzing their advertising investments and enabling them to improve performance with data-driven decisions. RedTrack reduces the inconveniences involved in recognizing the return on investment of multichannel advertising spend by consolidating the data across all the campaigns in one easy to use UI.

The solution is based on non-privacy intrusion techniques making it a smart choice in the wake of changes implemented by web-browsers that will lead to the demise of 3rd party cookies by 2021.

RedTrack serves the needs of media-buyers across multiple verticals, with the product currently giving the biggest leverage to ad agencies, e-com, and affiliate marketers – customers who need accurate performance data across multiple channels and conversion events real-time.

The funding will help RedTrack to advance product offering, accelerate its commitment to automate media buying experience and use machine learning to ease  data-related challenges faced by the media buyers.

“I have been in digital marketing since 2000 and every trend of the past years has left an imprint on my experience. Tools and techniques change but one thing remains common though all those changes – conversion attribution analytics. We created RedTrack.io to be a digital channel-agnostic tool helping media-buyers consolidate their activities and data. As we grow we now aim at applying machine learning to augment human intelligence in the insights discovery process”, says Vlad Zhovtenko, RedTrack’s CEO.

The startup successfully combines fast feature development and responsive customer service to gain the trust of its customers now counting in hundreds. In just one year RedTrack has been awarded for excellent support 3 times in a row.

“This investment underscores several important trends. The digital advertising market is booming. Under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, online advertising market’s growth rate is still positive. While companies are planning to decrease ad spend in 2020, we will still see a +7% growth compared to 2019. Marketing budgets will get smaller but marketers will more closely monitor the effectiveness of every advertising dollar. In the face of such a strong focus on efficiency, the need for an accurate and affordable ad control tool becomes urgent and immediate. This is why we were so excited to back RedTrack, commented Vitaliy Laptenok, General Partner at Genesis Investments commented.


Startups Weekly: Qualtrics IPO to be even more exciting this time around

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here.

German software giant SAP bought experience management platform Qualtrics for $ 8 billion days before the unicorn’s IPO, back in November of 2018. But last weekend it decided to spin out the experience management provider to finally go public on its own. The analysts Ron Miller talked to speculated about strategic issues on the SAP side, and concluded this was more of an internal reset combined with the financial gain from a promising offering.

Qualtrics, meanwhile, already put the Utah startup scene on the map for people around the world. Having grown strongly post-acquisition, it is now set up to be the largest IPO in state history. Here’s Alex Wilhelm with more analysis in Extra Crunch:

According to metrics from the Bessemer Cloud Index, cloud companies with growth rates of 35.5% and gross margins of 71.3% are worth around 17.3x in enterprise value compared to their annualized revenue.

Given how close Qualtrics is to that averaged set of metrics (slightly slower growth, slightly better gross margins), the 17.3x number is probably not far from what the company can achieve when it does go public. Doing the sums, $ 800 million times 17.3 is $ 13.8 billion, far more than what SAP paid for Qualtrics. (For you wonks out there, it’s doubtful that Qualtrics has much debt, though it will have lots of cash post-IPO; expect the company’s enterprise value to be a little under its future market cap.)

So, the markets are valuing cloud companies so highly today that even after SAP had to pay a huge premium to buy Qualtrics ahead of its public offering, the company is still sharply more valuable today after just two years of growth.

Back to the era of nation-states

The tech industry is getting broken down and reformed by national governments in ways that many of its leaders do not seem to have planned for as part of scaling to the world, whether you consider TikTok’s ever-shrinking global footprint or leading tech CEOs getting called out by Congress. When you skim through the numerous headlines on these topics this week, you’ll see a very clear message in the subtext: Every startup has to think more carefully about its place in the world these days, as a matter of survival.

Big tech crushes Q2 earnings expectations

Lawmakers argue that big tech stands to benefit from the pandemic and must be regulated

Secret documents from US antitrust probe reveal big tech’s plot to control or crush the competition

Apple’s App Store commission structure called into question in antitrust hearing

Zuckerberg unconvincingly feigns ignorance of data-sucking VPN scandal

In antitrust hearing, Zuckerberg admits Facebook has copied its competition

Before buying Instagram, Zuckerberg warned employees of ‘battle’ to ‘dislodge’ competitor

Apple CEO Tim Cook questioned over App Store’s removal of rival screen time apps in antitrust hearing

Google’s Sundar Pichai grilled over ‘destroying anonymity on the internet’

Bezos ‘can’t guarantee’ no anti-competitive activity as Congress catches him flat-footed

Amazon’s hardware business doesn’t escape Congressional scrutiny

Time for TikTok:

India bans 47 apps cloning restricted Chinese services

After India and US, Japan looks to ban TikTok and other Chinese apps

Report: Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok’s US business from China’s ByteDance

The leading arguments for a Microsoft-TikTok tie-up 😉

And last but not least ominously, for large platforms…

Australia now has a template for forcing Facebook and Google to pay for news

The team at remote-first enterprise startup Seeq put together this montage of some of its remote offices.

Remote work still getting big investment

This loosely defined subsector of SaaS went from being a somewhat mainstream idea within the startup world last year to being fully mainstream with the wider world due to the pandemic this year. But publicly traded companies have been some of the biggest beneficiaries (see previous item), and the action around earlier-stage startups has been less clear. Lucas Matney and Alex caught up with six investors who have been focused on various parts of the space to get the latest for Extra Crunch. Here’s a pithy description of fundraising trends that companies are experiencing, from Elliott Robinson, a growth-stage investor at Bessemer:

How competitive are remote-work tooling venture rounds now?

Incredibly competitive. I think one dynamic I’ve seen play out is that the basket of remote-work companies that are really high-performing right now are setting lofty price expectations well ahead of the raise. Many of these companies didn’t plan on raising in Q2/Q3, but with COVID tailwinds, they are choosing to raise at some often sight-unseen-level valuation multiples.

Are prices out of control?

I think it depends on your definition of out of control. The reality is that many of these companies are raising money off cycle from their natural fundraising date for two reasons: One, they are seeing once in a lifetime digital transformation and adoption of remote-work tooling solutions. And, two, so many investors have raised sizable funds during the last nine months that they are leaning into investing in these companies — one of the few segments that will likely continue to see tailwinds as COVID cases continue to rise again in the U.S. Other traditional software value props may face significant headwinds in a uncertain COVID world. Thus, growth equity investors are paying high multiples to get a shot at the category-defining RW app companies.

Haptics in a pandemic-stricken world

Haptics are a great sort of gee-whiz technology, but the practical future of touch-based communication is all over the place — VR devices are suddenly more interesting, touchpads less so. Devon Powers and David Parisi are academics and authors who focus on the space, and they wrote a big guest post for TechCrunch this week that sketched out some of the ups and downs of the decades-old concept. Here’s a key excerpt:

Getting haptics right remains challenging despite more than 30 years’ worth of dedicated research in the field. There is no evidence that COVID is accelerating the development of projects already in the pipeline. The fantasy of virtual touch remains seductive, but striking the golden mean between fidelity, ergonomics and cost will continue to be a challenge that can only be met through a protracted process of marketplace trial-and-error. And while haptics retains immense potential, it isn’t a magic bullet for mending the psychological effects of physical distancing.

Curiously, one promising exception is in the replacement of touchscreens using a combination of hand-tracking and midair haptic holograms, which function as button replacements. This product from Bristol-based company Ultraleap uses an array of speakers to project tangible soundwaves into the air, which provide resistance when pressed on, effectively replicating the feeling of clicking a button.

Ultraleap recently announced that it would partner with the cinema advertising company CEN to equip lobby advertising displays found in movie theaters around the U.S. with touchless haptics aimed at allowing interaction with the screen without the risks of touching one. These displays, according to Ultraleap, “will limit the spread of germs and provide safe and natural interaction with content.”

A recent study carried out by the company found that more than 80% of respondents expressed concerns over touchscreen hygiene, prompting Ultraleap to speculate that we are reaching “the end of the [public] touchscreen era.” Rather than initiate a technological change, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to push ahead on the deployment of existing technology. Touchscreens are no longer sites of naturalistic, creative interaction, but are now spaces of contagion to be avoided. Ultraleap’s version of the future would have us touching air instead of contaminated glass.

Finding the best investors for you: The TC List and Europe surveys

Speaking of investors, TechCrunch has been busy with a few other projects to you find the right ones faster.

First, Danny Crichton has pushed a third update to The TechCrunch List, due to the ongoing flood of recommendations. In his words: “Now using more than 2,600 founder recommendations — more than double our original dataset — we have underscored a number of the existing investors on our list as well as added 116 new investors who have been endorsed by founders as investors willing to cut against the grain and write those critical first checks and lead venture rounds.”

Check it out and filter by location, category and stage to narrow down your pitch list. If you are a founder and haven’t submitted your recommendation yet, please fill out our very brief survey. If you have questions, we put together a Frequently Asked Questions page that describes the qualifications and logistics, some of the logic behind the List and how to get in touch with us.

Second, our editor-at-large Mike Butcher is embarking on a virtual investor survey of European countries, to help Extra Crunch provide a clearer view about what’s happening in the Continent’s startup hubs in the middle of the world going crazy:

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe. Over the next few weeks, we will be “zeroing-in” on Europe’s major cities, from A-Z, Amsterdam to Zurich — and many points in-between. It’s part of a broader series of surveys we’re doing to help founders find the right investors. For example, here is the recent survey of London.

Our survey will capture how each European startup hub is faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. We’d like to know how your city’s startup scene is evolving, how the tech sector is being impacted by COVID-19 and, generally, how your thinking will evolve from here. Our survey will only be about investors, and only the contributions of VC investors will be included. The shortlist of questions will require only brief responses, but the more you want to add, the better.

The deadline for entries is the end of next week, August 7th and you can fill it out here.

He also wanted me to let you know that he’ll resume his in-person trips as soon as allowed. (I actually made that up, but he has said as much.)

Around TechCrunch

Submit your pitch deck to Disrupt 2020’s Pitch Deck Teardown

Announcing the Disrupt 2020 agenda

Talking virtual events and Disrupt with Hopin founder Johnny Boufarhat

The TechCrunch Exchange: What’s an IPO to a SPAC?— In case you haven’t checked out Alex’s new weekly email newsletter yet.

Across the week


Connected audio was a bad choice

Stanford students are short-circuiting VC firms by investing in their peers

Bitcoin bulls are running, as prices spike above $ 11K

Recruiting for diversity in VC

Build products that improve the lives of inmates

Extra Crunch

Six things venture capitalists are looking for in your pitch

VCs and startups consider HaaS model for consumer devices

Teespring’s comeback story

Cannabis VC Karan Wadhera on why the industry, which took a hit last year, is now quietly blazing

Jesus, SaaS and digital tithing


From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We had the full team this week: MyselfDanny and Natasha on the mics, with Chris running skipper as always.

Sadly this week we had to kick off with a correction as I am 1) dumb, and, 2) see point one. But after we got past SPAC nuances (shout-out to David Ethridge), we had a full show of good stuff, including:

And that’s Equity for this week. We are back Monday morning early, so make sure you are keeping tabs on our socials. Hugs, talk soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

Pshiiit.com and Psst.com : Which one is more valuable?

 DomainGang.com: “Pshiiit” is a verbal call for attention, and the matching domain Pshiiit.com sold for $ 1,300 dollars on DropCatch yesterday. The auction involved a dropped domain that used to be a nail polish brand. Somehow, the domain remained unused for the past four years and no more videos were shared on the matching YouTube channel…

Cannabis Apparel Locations in .COM and More

 DropGRABS.com: Keyword Rich Bailbonds Apparel Cannabis Locations and more… Some .COM Reg Fee Opps — Enjoy the List BailbondsSolutionsBasketsFullOFHopeBlackUnityApparel BoyfriendReportCardBackcountryCamperBackpackingWorldTourBac kyardsAndBungalows BeastModeCannabisBeautifulBraidsAndMoreBeautifulHartford BeholdTheWildflowersBeHungryAndHum…

Ways to provide more casual voice and video chat to replicate off the cuff office chats?

I want a less formal and more casual form of voice or video chat so team members can quickly see who's around to chat for more off the cuff conversations to replicate chatting with people in a break room.

I think the best way to do that would be to have a persistent meeting room that shows how many people are currently in it to encourage pop ins. Our company is going fully remote as a result of covid lasting a long time and we really want to get some more team camaraderie going on so we can see each other more and have live conversations that aren't part of a planned meeting with an agenda. Are there any services that do that or something similar to encourage more casual chats instead of stuffy meetings?

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