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To Combat Disparities, Black Churches In Dallas Offer Coronavirus Testing

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Visitors stand in line during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus in South Dallas, Texas on May 28, 2020. Cooper Neill for NPR hide caption

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Cooper Neill for NPR

Visitors stand in line during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus in South Dallas, Texas on May 28, 2020.

Cooper Neill for NPR

Families stood in line wearing masks. White pop-up tents sheltered health care workers while they drew patients’ blood.

It wasn’t the scene at a medical clinic, but the parking of a black church in South Dallas in late May. Friendship-West Baptist Church was the first of several black churches in the area to host a free weekly coronavirus testing event.

“Knowing what I know, that this disease is hitting us disproportionately and killing us disproportionately, it would be irresponsible and reckless for us not to step up and take this into our own hands,” says Frederick Haynes, senior pastor at Friendship-West, who organized the event as part of the Together We Test initiative.

Neighborhoods in South Dallas, where there are more people of color, have fewer sites offering coronavirus testing than whiter North Dallas, just a few miles away. They also have less health care access more broadly.

These disparities mean the experiences people have when seeking a test can be quite different, depending on where they live, as well as their income or fluency in navigating the health care system.

Frederick Haynes, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in south Dallas, poses for a portrait during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West campus in South Dallas, Texas, on May 28, 2020. Cooper Neill for NPR hide caption

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Cooper Neill for NPR

Frederick Haynes, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in south Dallas, poses for a portrait during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West campus in South Dallas, Texas, on May 28, 2020.

Cooper Neill for NPR

South Dallas churches take on testing

Arthur Gillum attends Friendship-West and had long wanted to get tested for coronavirus. He said when the disease started its spread in the spring, he heard testing had been limited to certain people, like health care workers.

“I was ready to do it as soon as I could,” he said. “And when this opportunity came, we were glad.”

His wife Alice is in her 70s and is the driver in the family. She was happy to avoid driving on the highway to testing sites in North Dallas. “You’ll notice that we are here because it is accessible. And you’ll probably get a lot of people each time they’re doing this test because it’s close by,” she said.

Public health experts say increased access to testing, and not just for the symptomatic, is key to finding and tamping down any emerging clusters of infection before they grow. And since the coronavirus has hit people of color especially hard, it’s vital in their communities.

Arthur Gillum and Alice M. Gillum underwent nasal swab and antibody blood tests at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus, the first of several black churches in the area to host weekly coronavirus testing. Cooper Neill for NPR hide caption

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Cooper Neill for NPR

Arthur Gillum and Alice M. Gillum underwent nasal swab and antibody blood tests at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus, the first of several black churches in the area to host weekly coronavirus testing.

Cooper Neill for NPR

Volunteer Leona Redmon greets visitors who arrived by car. Cooper Neill for NPR hide caption

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Cooper Neill for NPR

Volunteer Leona Redmon greets visitors who arrived by car.

Cooper Neill for NPR

“We’ve got to shift that paradigm to where we are willing to test anybody who presents who wants a test,” says Angela Clendenin, an instructional assistant professor of epidemiology at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. “How can we deliver this all the way down to that neighborhood level?”

She adds that access to testing can mean any number of things beyond location. “Access is about time, the ability to leave work, the ability to take time off,” she says.

In major cities across Texas, there are disparities in access to COVID-19 testing, including fewer testing sites in neighborhoods where more people of color live than there are in whiter neighborhoods. Nationally, black people have suffered an outsized share of deaths from coronavirus compared to their share of the population. Latinos are seeing a higher proportion of case numbers.

In Dallas, these inequities are made worse by the fact that the private health care system places more services in whiter areas.

Haynes says he appreciates what local officials are doing to bring tests to South Dallas, like having two large federally-funded drive-thru sites, one in South Dallas and one downtown, and new temporary testing sites there as well. The City of Dallas also has a mobile service.

But Haynes says many black people don’t necessarily trust official channels, due to past abuses by the medical industry.

“Let’s use our trusted institutions,” Haynes says. “The most trusted institution in the black community is the black church.”

Getting tested in North Dallas

For some in North Dallas, a predominantly white area, not having symptoms of COVID-19 still made it difficult to get a test. The difference there, however, is that money and health care services are often more accessible.

Lindsay Pope, who lives in a neighborhood in North Dallas, needed a coronavirus test prior to her elective surgery. She used a service which came to her house to administer a diagnostic test and two antibody tests for her and her husband. Bret Jaspers/KERA hide caption

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Bret Jaspers/KERA

Lindsay Pope, who lives in a neighborhood in North Dallas, needed a coronavirus test prior to her elective surgery. She used a service which came to her house to administer a diagnostic test and two antibody tests for her and her husband.

Bret Jaspers/KERA

Lindsay Pope lives in the Lakewood neighborhood of North Dallas and had an elective surgery planned in April. As the date approached, her doctor suggested she get tested for COVID-19.

“He didn’t require the test but he recommended it if we could get one,” she says. “And for my own piece of mind, I was like, ‘ok, yeah, I’ll do that.’ But then I couldn’t figure out even where to go.”

Her surgeon didn’t know where to point her, nor did her husband’s primary care doctor who she asked next. Pope found it hard to figure out where a healthy, non-symptomatic person who isn’t an essential worker could get a coronavirus test. (Dallas County recently published a comprehensive list of testing sites).

Then a friend suggested Pope use a service that comes to your home to do the test but charges the patient directly rather than the insurance company.

“They came out within 45 minutes of when I booked my appointment,” she says.

Pope and her husband got three tests in all — the diagnostic test her surgeon had recommended, and two antibody tests, which can indicate if you’ve been infected with the coronavirus in the past. Add in an appointment fee, and the total bill was almost $700 — $200 for the diagnostic test alone — which Pope paid using a flexible savings account set up for health care expenses. She says she might try submitting the bill to her insurance company.

Pope says it’s certainly not attainable for most people, and she wouldn’t have done it without having a surgery scheduled.

“If you don’t have a network that knows the medical industry or anything like that, I think it would be difficult to even know where to begin,” she says.

And that’s even without a language barrier or difficulty getting on the internet to find information. The city is now offering an on-demand service like this for free to people who have symptoms or had recent contact with an infected person.

Visitors stand in line during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus in Dallas, Texas on May 28, 2020. Cooper Neill for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Cooper Neill for NPR

Visitors stand in line during Project Unity’s “Together We Test” coronavirus testing at a Friendship-West Baptist Church campus in Dallas, Texas on May 28, 2020.

Cooper Neill for NPR

State says it will tackle disparities

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced June 8 the state will expand testing in underserved communities. It’s a promise to bring equity to the two sides of Dallas and other cities.

Texas’ case numbers have been increasing in the last two weeks, something the state partially attributes to increased testing in high-risk places like prisons. Still, the state is among the lowest in per capita testing, and its seven-day testing average is still slightly below Abbott’s declared goal of 25,000 tests a day.

Some experts have said Texas needed to be conducting over 27,000 tests a day before reopening, which it started to do on May 1.

This raises the question of whether the state is missing flare-ups. Clendenin says as many people as possible need to be tested in order to know the extent of the outbreak.

Audrey Carlsen contributed to this report.

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/13/874950245/to-combat-disparities-black-churches-in-dallas-offer-coronavirus-testing?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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Coinpedia

GenTech Proudly Secures Deal with TruLife Distribution to Drive Growth in SINFIT Digital Sales

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Denver, CO, October 21, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE – GenTech Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: GTEH) (“GenTech” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in the high-end Premium Coffee (www.secretjavas.com), Hemp Wellness (www.hakunasupply.com) and Functional Foods (www.SINFITnutrition.com) marketplaces, along with its SINFIT Nutrition brand (“SINFIT”), is excited to announce that the Company has signed a new marketing, sales, and distribution agreement (the “Agreement”) with TruLife Distribution (“TruLife”) (TruLifeDist.com), a leader in marketing, distribution, compliance, e-commerce, and advisory services in the Functional Foods marketplace. The main focus of the new Agreement will be to accelerate the growth of e-commerce sales of SINFIT products, particularly over the Amazon.com platform.

TruLife provides direct access to sales on Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, Wish, TopHatter, and other top e-commerce platforms, allowing clients to instantly list, ship, and sell products through any major platform, with an experienced team of experts and a proven track record of success in brand placement and digital sales strategies.

“We have already demonstrated a significant & expansive growth curve since taking control of the SINFIT brand in June,” commented Harold Vaca, VP Domestic Sales of SINFIT. “But the vast majority of that growth has been driven by large purchase orders from major distribution partners, both domestic and international. We are also committed to aggressively pursuing end-market consumer direct purchases through our e-commerce footprint, which will provide additional growth and diversify our cash flow ecosystem, making our overall strategy less dependent upon any one source of demand, while driving further growth in total sales.”

Management notes that e-commerce sales represent a sizeable portion of overall retail sales growth worldwide, with more than $3.5 trillion in online sales accounting for over 14% of total pre-pandemic global retail sales. Since the onset of the global health crisis, that ratio has shifted decisively further in favor of e-commerce sales, which is not likely to entirely revert back upon the advent of a viable and widely accessible vaccine.

Vaca added, “We have seen an epic process of market penetration for e-commerce platforms this year as major online retailers have begun to reach a much wider base of consumers – people who haven’t ever shopped much online, but have been forced to during recent months out of personal health concerns. Many of them will almost certainly continue to make use of e-commerce now that they have tried it out, at least to some extent, making e-commerce an essential sales channel for SINFIT products. TruLife has the network, team, experience, and resources to dramatically augment our e-commerce performance.”

SINFIT branded products registered over $2.2 million in global sales in 2019, and are now approved for sale and available for purchase on the Walmart.com and Amazon.com e-commerce platforms as well as in over 2,500 GNC locations in North America and over 10,000 global physical and e-commerce stores across more than 10 countries around the world.

SINFIT products as well-positioned relative to peers and to the long-term macro tailwind defining the functional foods market, which saw sales top $267 billion in February of this year on a global basis, with sales in the US reaching $63 billion, according to Euromonitor 2020. This trend is part of a larger supportive momentum in the general category, with global sales of organic food and drink topping $105 billion in 2018 (Ecovia 2019). U.S. organic food sales also reached $47.9 billion, up 5.9% in 2018 (OTA 2019). In 2019, 77% of U.S. adults used dietary supplements, an all-time high (CRN 2019). U.S. supplement sales are estimated to have reached $49.3 billion in 2019, up 6.2% (NBJ 2019).

About GenTech Holdings, Inc.:

GenTech Holdings, Inc. is a publicly traded company under the symbol GTEH. The Company launched a high-end Coffee Subscription service in early 2020 called Secret Javas, owns a Functional Food company, SINFIT Nutrition and recently closed its acquisition on Products-Groups’ “Hakuna Supply”.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of GenTech, Inc.’s future expectations, plans and prospects. In particular, when used in the preceding discussion, the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” or “may,” and similar conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any statements made in this news release other than those of historical fact, about an action, event or development, are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the results of GenTech, its subsidiaries and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. Unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on GenTech’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. GenTech cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, GenTech undertakes no obligation to update these statements after the date of this release, except as required by law, and also takes no obligation to update or correct information prepared by third parties that are not paid for by GenTech.

Corporate Contact:
invest@gentech.group

www.gentechholdings.com

Source: https://otcprwire.com/gentech-proudly-secures-deal-with-trulife-distribution-to-drive-growth-in-sinfit-digital-sales/

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