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Digital health startup Engage Technologies Group raises $15M for patient education tools

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Boise, Id.-based Engage Technologies Group closed a $15 million Series A funding round for its mobile patient platform targeted for the cosmetic, optometry, dental, and orthopedic industries.

Founded in 2016, Engage Technologies’ platform allows patients to access educational video content about routine procedures and care. The healthcare startup was founded by CEO Michael Boerner. Total funding to date is $20 million.

The company will use the funds to enter new markets and develop more video content. The funding comes from individual healthcare professionals, the majority of whom are customers.

Along with the new funding, Engage Technologies added new members to its board of directors including:

  • USC Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery W. Grant Stevens
  • Novus Clinic co-founder and President Jerry Sude
  • Former American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery President Robert J. Cionni
  • McRae Dental Founder and President Lon McRae

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/digital-health-startup-engage-technologies-group-raises-15m-patient-education-tools/

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“The mission is to improve the quality of urban life through predictive urban tree maintenance”: Interview with greeHill’s CEO and Co-Founder, Gabor Goertz

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According to the United Nations, by 2050 nearly 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. With more extreme temperatures, stronger winds, and greater pollution, urban citizens and ecosystems are facing increasing challenges to their health and safety. 

One of the assets cities have to support human health and wellbeing is trees. Trees are vital components of urban metabolism and human health; they improve air quality, enhance CO2 sequestration, and stabilize microclimate. However, obtaining accurate data on a city’s living and non-living infrastructure creates a severe bottleneck for the maintenance and enhancement of public spaces. 

I had the chance to interview Gabor Goertz, a serial entrepreneur about his startup greeHill, which is already an industry leader in predictive urban tree maintenance. Combining remote sensing with machine learning, the company enables cities to manage greenery for increased citizen safety and climate resilience. Their unique solution enables cities to make better management decisions for the health and safety of their citizens and ecosystems.

Gabor, can you tell us about your personal story? Where are you coming from?

I am an internationally experienced serial entrepreneur, who has established and successfully exited multiple market-leading companies in the fields of engineering and technology. I am driven by performance and always strive for my companies to be the best at what they do. I live by the idea that through our imagination and passion we can change the rules and shape the future.

Why did you start greeHill? Where did the idea come from? What is the mission?

The mission of greeHill is to create healthier and safer cities and improve the quality of urban life through predictive urban tree maintenance. 

My business partner, Gyula Fekete, and I started greeHill as the result of a research project with a consortium in Singapore in 2017. We realized the potential of the combination of LiDAR and Machine Learning to both improve urban greenery management and create healthier and safer cities for millions of people worldwide. Since we both have a background in technology and are dedicated to using our skills to improve the world around us, founding greeHill was a logical step. 

You operate in different continents, why have you decided to have Budapest as your operational HQ?

We had two main motivations to set up our operational HQ in Budapest. Firstly, Gyula and I are deeply rooted with our families in Budapest. Gyula was born here, and on my side my wife and I moved to this wonderful city 18 years ago, where our children were born. This is the emotional part. Secondly, from the business perspective, Budapest offers a huge pool of very talented, motivated, and dedicated young tech-and non-tech specialists, and a great ecosystem for tech startups. Even though salaries have been increasing a lot in the last years, we believe in the future of Budapest as a place for great technological development.

What were the most important steps of the journey so far?

I would consider three steps as most important: 1) Signing a large contract with the state of Singapore to create the next generation tree inventory for 3 million trees; 2) Deciding to work exclusively with full-time employees instead of external developers; and 3) Finding the right investors who believe in our project as much as we do. This progression has enabled us to rapidly grow our international presence, and rise to the top of an emerging market.

What is your business model?

We provide a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform for cities and greenery agencies to digitize their greenery management and to create healthier and safer cities. This platform dramatically improves day-to-day operations and, at the same time, provides tools for strategic city planning to improve the microclimate. Our goal is to provide our solution for cities worldwide.

How has COVID been affecting your business and your everyday life?

Regarding our ongoing partnership with Singapore, COVID has not impacted our project too dramatically. The main limitation has been only holding remote meetings, although we highly value having personal meetings periodically. Within Europe, even though everybody speaks about the importance of the environment, digitization, and machine learning (greeHill covers all three aspects), we clearly see that the budgets of municipalities have been cut. As a result, even though interest in our tools and services is very high, closing business is more challenging than before COVID.

What milestones have you had in fundraising and where are you now?

In the first years, our company was mainly self-financed through our research project and our contract with the State of Singapore and NParks (the national greenery agency of Singapore). In order to speed up our go-to-market, we held a small investment round last year with a group of international investors. Their investment strategy is to invest at an early stage in tech startups with the potential to become unicorns and to stay involved from the first day until the IPO. For example, they were the first investors in Trax (an Israeli / Singaporean) company which is valued at 3.5 billion SGD today. In the second part of this year, we plan to hold a larger investment round with the same group of investors.

Are there any competitors out there with your solution? If so, how are you different from them?

As the saying goes, “If there is a market, there is competition.” As new technologies create new opportunities, we are not the only company in the world tapping into the potential of urban trees. That being said, as far as we know we are the only company providing a proven integrated platform, which offers a “turnkey solution” for greenery agencies and cities. This means that we cover the full range of required components and tasks, from data acquisition services to automated feature extraction to an elaborate software toolbox for management.

Where are you today? And what is your long-term vision?

We are currently in the early phase of our go-to-market. We are about to complete the contract in Singapore and are now focusing on building up new clients, primarily in Europe. In the second part of 2021, we will extend our business development activities to Asia and the Americas. Our long-term vision is to become the leading platform for greenery management worldwide.

How do you see the market of sustainability solutions in the coming decades?

Our perception is that each decade has its buzz words and favourite topics. At the beginning of the millennium “.com” was the door-opener. Many companies tried to surf the wave, and only a few, with truly “sustainable” business models that created real added value, survived. We see a similar development for “sustainability solutions.” A few businesses, which create real value, will remain, and grow and “make the world a better place.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/05/the-mission-is-to-improve-the-quality-of-urban-life-through-predictive-urban-tree-maintenance-interview-with-greehills-ceo-and-co-founder-gabor-goertz/

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“The mission is to improve the quality of urban life through predictive urban tree maintenance”: Interview with greeHill’s CEO and Co-Founder, Gabor Goertz

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According to the United Nations, by 2050 nearly 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. With more extreme temperatures, stronger winds, and greater pollution, urban citizens and ecosystems are facing increasing challenges to their health and safety. 

One of the assets cities have to support human health and wellbeing is trees. Trees are vital components of urban metabolism and human health; they improve air quality, enhance CO2 sequestration, and stabilize microclimate. However, obtaining accurate data on a city’s living and non-living infrastructure creates a severe bottleneck for the maintenance and enhancement of public spaces. 

I had the chance to interview Gabor Goertz, a serial entrepreneur about his startup greeHill, which is already an industry leader in predictive urban tree maintenance. Combining remote sensing with machine learning, the company enables cities to manage greenery for increased citizen safety and climate resilience. Their unique solution enables cities to make better management decisions for the health and safety of their citizens and ecosystems.

Gabor, can you tell us about your personal story? Where are you coming from?

I am an internationally experienced serial entrepreneur, who has established and successfully exited multiple market-leading companies in the fields of engineering and technology. I am driven by performance and always strive for my companies to be the best at what they do. I live by the idea that through our imagination and passion we can change the rules and shape the future.

Why did you start greeHill? Where did the idea come from? What is the mission?

The mission of greeHill is to create healthier and safer cities and improve the quality of urban life through predictive urban tree maintenance. 

My business partner, Gyula Fekete, and I started greeHill as the result of a research project with a consortium in Singapore in 2017. We realized the potential of the combination of LiDAR and Machine Learning to both improve urban greenery management and create healthier and safer cities for millions of people worldwide. Since we both have a background in technology and are dedicated to using our skills to improve the world around us, founding greeHill was a logical step. 

You operate in different continents, why have you decided to have Budapest as your operational HQ?

We had two main motivations to set up our operational HQ in Budapest. Firstly, Gyula and I are deeply rooted with our families in Budapest. Gyula was born here, and on my side my wife and I moved to this wonderful city 18 years ago, where our children were born. This is the emotional part. Secondly, from the business perspective, Budapest offers a huge pool of very talented, motivated, and dedicated young tech-and non-tech specialists, and a great ecosystem for tech startups. Even though salaries have been increasing a lot in the last years, we believe in the future of Budapest as a place for great technological development.

What were the most important steps of the journey so far?

I would consider three steps as most important: 1) Signing a large contract with the state of Singapore to create the next generation tree inventory for 3 million trees; 2) Deciding to work exclusively with full-time employees instead of external developers; and 3) Finding the right investors who believe in our project as much as we do. This progression has enabled us to rapidly grow our international presence, and rise to the top of an emerging market.

What is your business model?

We provide a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform for cities and greenery agencies to digitize their greenery management and to create healthier and safer cities. This platform dramatically improves day-to-day operations and, at the same time, provides tools for strategic city planning to improve the microclimate. Our goal is to provide our solution for cities worldwide.

How has COVID been affecting your business and your everyday life?

Regarding our ongoing partnership with Singapore, COVID has not impacted our project too dramatically. The main limitation has been only holding remote meetings, although we highly value having personal meetings periodically. Within Europe, even though everybody speaks about the importance of the environment, digitization, and machine learning (greeHill covers all three aspects), we clearly see that the budgets of municipalities have been cut. As a result, even though interest in our tools and services is very high, closing business is more challenging than before COVID.

What milestones have you had in fundraising and where are you now?

In the first years, our company was mainly self-financed through our research project and our contract with the State of Singapore and NParks (the national greenery agency of Singapore). In order to speed up our go-to-market, we held a small investment round last year with a group of international investors. Their investment strategy is to invest at an early stage in tech startups with the potential to become unicorns and to stay involved from the first day until the IPO. For example, they were the first investors in Trax (an Israeli / Singaporean) company which is valued at 3.5 billion SGD today. In the second part of this year, we plan to hold a larger investment round with the same group of investors.

Are there any competitors out there with your solution? If so, how are you different from them?

As the saying goes, “If there is a market, there is competition.” As new technologies create new opportunities, we are not the only company in the world tapping into the potential of urban trees. That being said, as far as we know we are the only company providing a proven integrated platform, which offers a “turnkey solution” for greenery agencies and cities. This means that we cover the full range of required components and tasks, from data acquisition services to automated feature extraction to an elaborate software toolbox for management.

Where are you today? And what is your long-term vision?

We are currently in the early phase of our go-to-market. We are about to complete the contract in Singapore and are now focusing on building up new clients, primarily in Europe. In the second part of 2021, we will extend our business development activities to Asia and the Americas. Our long-term vision is to become the leading platform for greenery management worldwide.

How do you see the market of sustainability solutions in the coming decades?

Our perception is that each decade has its buzz words and favourite topics. At the beginning of the millennium “.com” was the door-opener. Many companies tried to surf the wave, and only a few, with truly “sustainable” business models that created real added value, survived. We see a similar development for “sustainability solutions.” A few businesses, which create real value, will remain, and grow and “make the world a better place.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/05/the-mission-is-to-improve-the-quality-of-urban-life-through-predictive-urban-tree-maintenance-interview-with-greehills-ceo-and-co-founder-gabor-goertz/

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Koo app – India’s answer to Twitter – Unveils new Logo

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India’s home grown social networking platform, Koo app, unveiled a brand new logo. Although the new logo has kept in-tact the picture of yellow bird, it bears a more fresh look. In the new logo, the yellow bird looks much bigger in size.

While the platform is barely one year old, it has created quite a splutter in India with its USP being that it is available in regional Indian languages. Twitter is devoid of this USP as it is only available in English language and therefore only English speaking crowd can participate in it.

Commenting about the unveiling of new Logo, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-founder, Koo, said “We are very excited to unveil our new identity. It’s a fresh new look and an indication of our little yellow bird growing up from being a toddler to an adolescent.”

“The bird is full of positivity and will inspire people to talk about various aspects of life in the most positive manner. This little bird is ready to fly. We are grateful to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for inaugurating Koo’s new logo on the auspicious day of his 65th birthday.”

The Koo app has managed to create quite a buzz in the investment community, with the startup counting several high profile investors among its investors. This includes Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and 3one4 Capital.

The barely one year old company also counts former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, Bookmyshow’s co-founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan Co-founder Sujeet Kumar and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamath among its many high profile investors. These investors collectively bought 9% stake owned by Chinese investor Shunwei Capital.

According to CrunchBase, Koo has till now raised $4 Mn  primarily via seed funding and series A round. As per Google play sore, Koo app’s download numbers have crossed 5 crore.

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Source: https://www.techpluto.com/koo-app-indias-answer-to-twitter-unveils-new-logo/

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5 signs your startup should be outsourcing

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Running a startup takes time, resources and people. When a startup is founded, time is insufficient, resources are limited and many times it’s a one or two people job. This “I do it all” mindset can work for some time but there will come a time at which you will need help. Outsourcing work will not only take work off of your shoulders but will also open the startup to a new set of eyes and experience.

These days, hiring outside help to do work can save companies time and money, for a variety of reasons — especially when it comes to doing routine tasks like payroll and bookkeeping. What should you consider as criteria for deciding whether or not to outsource? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 5 careful signs that it might be time for your startup to begin thinking about outsourcing some of the work.

There aren’t enough hours in the day

If you start to feel like days should have 48 hours and not 24, you’re not meeting your deadlines and you feel completely exhausted it’s time to ask for help and outsource some tasks. We’re not superheroes, it’s completely understandable and normal to not be able to do everything. As a matter of fact, this mentality can lead to burnout

The skill you’re looking for is very specific

Startups are known for having hybrid and small teams with versatile profiles. That doesn’t mean that one person alone can run a marketing or sales department; again, we’re not superheroes. Outsourcing gives you and your team a helping hand in specific and recurrent tasks that are out of your reach like, for example, financial services, web creation, graphic design, and content creation. Unless the organization specializes in these services, it is best to delegate these responsibilities to professionals. 

You need to save some money

When you outsource some tasks and projects you can benefit from quite some cost savings. When you hire an agency, for example, you gain access to the resources of a whole company while incurring even less overhead expenses than if you hired a full-time employee. The same applies for freelancers; some have very specific qualities and skills that can come in handy in recurrent projects, while others can help on project-based tasks at a quite fair price. 

You are struggling with work-life balance

Running your own startup is demanding and it comes with some sacrifices. You might get home late some days, work past midnight or need to put some hours on the weekend. That’s alright to a certain point. 

When your life becomes 100% work and 0% fun it can affect your performance, your startup’s future and your own mental and physical health. Delegating work will allow your business to keep growing by letting in external insights and allow you to focus on executive and managing tasks. This offload will allow you to take a breath, disconnect and get your work-life balance back on track. Sometimes all we have to do is take a step back to get things running smoothly again. 

Your startup needs new and out-of-the-box ideas

Any startup team hits a stage where the well of new ideas runs dry and not even a weekly brainstorming session is able to turn the tables. Hiring freelancers is a perfect way to get new ideas into the market from a fresh and outside viewpoint. As an outsider, freelancers can distance themselves from the company (and its product or service) to provide valuable insights and ideas that you and your team might have passed on. 

It’s time to put old convictions behind and see the positive aspects of outsourcing. It doesn’t make you look weak, quite the contrary actually. Outsourcing certain activities can alleviate some of the day-to-day pressures that many company owners experience and end up helping your company prosper in the long run. 

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/05/5-signs-your-startup-should-be-outsourcing/

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