If we're ever going to see the inside of our offices again, contact tracing apps will have something to do with it.
A contact tracing app tracks where you've been and who you've interacted with, with the goal of identifying whether you've been exposed to someone who was infected with COVID.
The success of contact tracing apps are critical to getting people back to offices, as employers want to protect the safety of their workplace overall. But the launch of these apps face a few major problems, especially in the US.
Network effects, for one— everyone has to have a contact tracing app installed or it won't work. And, of course, privacy. The apps deal with sensitive data, like who was infected or exposed. In an era where many are wary of the government and other citizens having access to their health data, users are rightfully cautious to install.
Startups are trying to find a way out of this catch-22.
Hytch does contact-tracing through self-reporting. The app, used by employers, pays employees to self-screen before they commute to work, incentivizing lower risk commuting activities like walking or biking.
Iterate Labs does contact tracing using a wearable called a "beacon." The device is worn by industrial workers and ensures employees stay a reasonable distance away from each other in a facility.
Kinexon, a Germany-based sports analytics startup that uses sensors to track athlete performance, applied its technology to contact tracing. The solution is currently in use at the NBA, alerting players when they get too close to one another off of the court.
We're hoping these contact tracing apps can figure out the privacy and distribution problems, because if they do, we might just be able to get back to our lives as they were.
Misfits Market, the e-commerce platform that sells "ugly" produce, has announced the close of an $85 million Series B. The company started as a subscription box for ugly or misshapen produce at a discount, as the produce would have been thrown out before landing on a grocery store shelf. The company has hired 400 people in the last three months
Chorus.ai, a startup that uses AI to analyze sales calls, has raised $45 million. Chorus uses NLP to summarize and highlight content from recorded calls. The platform acts as a sort of autonomous secretary, joining sales phone and video calls and recording and transcribing content in real time.
Off the heels of the acquisition of Mirror, home fitness startup Tempo has closed a $60 million Series B. Tempo's weight training system, which costs $1995 up-front with a $39 monthly subscription, counts reps and calories burned. It also offers real-time technique corrections and weight lifting suggestions
Cooks Venture has raised $10 million in Series A funding to continue work on its proprietary breed of chicken. As part of the fundraising and new partnership with FoodID, a food testing startup, Cooks Ventures will be the first company in America to test for synthetic inputs and the only company that can independently validate that it never uses antibiotics in its chicken feed.
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