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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider
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    bii top 5 startups to watch in digital health

    The healthcare industry is facing disruption due to accelerating technological innovation and growing demand for improved delivery of healthcare and lower costs. Tech startups are leading the way by seizing opportunities in the areas of the industry that are most vulnerable to disruption, including genomics, pharmaceuticals, administration, clinical operations, and insurance.

    Venture funds and businesses are taking notice of these startups' potential. In the US, digital health funding reached $1.6 billion in Q1 2018, according to Rock Health — the largest first quarter on record, surpassing the $1.4 billion in venture funding seen in Q1 2016. These high-potential startups provide a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrate how we’ll get there.

    In this report, a compilation of various notes, Business Insider Intelligence will look at the top startups disrupting US healthcare in four key areas: artificial intelligence (AI), digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics. Startups in this report were selected based on the funding they've received over the past year, notable investors, the products they offer, and leadership in their functional area.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech startups are entering the market by applying the “Silicon Valley” approach. They're targeting shortcomings and legacy systems that are no longer efficient.
    • AI is being applied across five areas of healthcare to improve clinical operation workflows, cut costs, and foster preventative medicine. These areas include administration, big data analysis, clinical decision support, remote patient monitoring, and care provision.
    • Health tech startups, insurers, and drug makers are rapidly exploring new ways to apply digital therapeutics to the broader healthcare market that replace or complement the existing treatment of a disease.
    • Health insurance startups are taking advantage of the consumerization of healthcare to threaten the status quo of legacy players. 
    • Genomics is becoming an increasingly common tool within the healthcare system as health organizations better understand how to extract the value from patients’ genetic data. 

     In full, the report:

    • Details the areas of the US health industry that show the greatest potential for disruption.
    • Forecasts the industry adoption of bleeding edge technology and how it will transform how healthcare organizations operate.
    • Unveils the top five startups in AI, digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics, and how they're positioned to solve big issues that key players in healthcare face. 
    • Explores what's next for the leading startups, providing a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrating how we’ll get there.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Billie Razor

    • Billie, a shaving subscription service, has created a razor designed specifically for women. It handles the curves and angles of legs and ankles, softens the skin, and prevents clogged razorheads.
    • The subscription service eliminates the "pink tax," the term used to describe the price increases typically applied to women's products, and offers a monthly supply of razors for just $9 with free shipping.
    • Billie is the first women's grooming brand to depict body hair in their ads and images. Their goal is to normalize women's body hair and empower their customers to decide for themselves whether they want to shave it, or let it grow.

    As an Italian-American woman with the thick, dark hair to prove it, shaving has always been a pain point for me. Actually, it's been more than just a pain point — it's been a source of shame for almost as long as I can remember.

    I was in fourth or fifth grade when I developed the frantic desire to shave my legs. The knobby knees and hairy shins peeking out from beneath the hemline of my uniform skirt and above my standard-issue high socks were not like the other girls': They looked more like boys legs, and I had the distinct feeling that if I didn't do something about this fast, I'd be bullied. "Once you start, you can never stop," my mother warned, trying to convince me to put off the inevitable act of daily hair removal for a little longer. But I was stubborn (and tearful) and she relented.

    Shaving was not like it seemed in commercials. On TV, women lathered up their already-hairless legs with luxuriously thick shaving cream and languidly ran a razor from ankle to thigh in one sexy stroke. Then, they put on mini skirts and heels and danced with their also-hairless lady friends, as men stared on in awe.

    In reality, shaving my legs was anything but glamorous.

    The razorhead got clogged before I made it up to my knee, and the blades left little bleeding nicks along the way. It took forever to remove every hair on both legs; and it didn't stop at my legs, either. I shamefully shaved my toes, too. I thought I must be the only girl in the world with hairy feet (after all, none of the razor blade commercials showed a sexy foot shave in progress).

    And damn, shaving was expensive. In college, I routinely shaved my legs with dull, past-their-prime blades because I couldn't afford to drop $25 on a new pack.

    My Billie Starter Kit

    At one point, I joined the Dollar Shave Club— a razor subscription service for men that eventually began marketing their affordable blades to women, too — because they offered a fresh pack of razor cartridges for just $9 a month. But the metal razor handle that came with the blades was clearly not meant for ladies. The company describes it as "weighty" and "substantial," which might be nice for a guy's face… but as a woman shaving with upward strokes in a slippery shower, the heavy handle worked against me.

    Needless to say, from fifth grade to my late twenties, shaving was the bane of my existence. Until I found Billie, a razor subscription service aimed directly at the female market.

    "While we saw that there were a number of startups in the grooming space bringing better pricing to men's shaving products, we didn't see that same innovation for women," Georgina Gooley, the co-founder of Billie, tells Business Insider. "We knew that we wanted to create a razor that was designed specifically for the way women shave and priced in line with affordable men's razors."

    Gooley notes that women typically shave over 10 times the surface area than men do, and navigate more curves and angles. "Which is why we designed the Billie razor to deliver the smoothest, most comfortable shave available for women," she says.

    Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that Gooley's not exaggerating.

    My Billie razor— rendered in a pale pink shade that perfectly matches my bathroom decor, one of many colors to choose from — is incredibly lightweight and easy to grip. The razor head is flexible enough to handle the curves of my ankles, knees, and toes without a problem. "Our American-made blades are super sharp and are encased in 360° of aloe shave soap, so it feels like it's floating right over your skin," Gooley adds. "We also have more space between each blade to allow shave cream and hair to pass through easily, so you never have a clogged razor."

    Billie Razor Blue

    When you subscribe through Billie's site, you first have to answer a few questions about your shaving habits, including how often you use your razor (every day? once a week? once a month?).

    "Blade refills arrive every one, two, or three months, depending on how often you shave, so you never run out," Gooley says. To me, this feature is particularly useful. When I subscribed to Dollar Shave Club, I ended up with more razors than I could possibly use, and they wastefully piled up in my bathroom cabinet until I pawned them off on my husband.

    But perhaps the best thing about Billie is that the brand is the first to offer a realistic view of women's body hair— and, in contrast to most other women's grooming brands on the market, empowers women to make their own decisions about when, and even if, to shave.

    "We built Billie to be a brand for all womankind, not just women who shave," Gooley tells Business Insider, with a nod to the other personal care products Billie sells (like shower caps, hair combs, and body wash). "We think of our customers as our friends. We would never dictate what they should do, especially when it comes to personal grooming habits."

    To this point, Billie has launched Project Body Hair, a "celebration of female body hair" that aims to fill the internet with pictures of real women shaving (or not) in order to normalize the idea that body hair is, well, normal. "Many female razor brands have historically ignored female body hair by always showing glossy, hairless legs in their ads," Gooley explains. "It felt like an archaic way of communicating with women and we're proud to celebrate body hair and reinforce that shaving is a choice, not an expectation."

    Talking in the photos and videos of unshaven armpits and legs on Billie's site (not to mention, out in the world in the form of advertising) feels like letting out a heavy sigh of relief. They've even inspired me to shave a little less often — and to actually enjoy the experience when I do. And I'm not alone here.

    "The Project Body Hair film has 20 million views across social media, the campaign has been covered in 22 countries, and has hundreds of thousands of positive comments," Gooley says. "I think women are appreciative of brands who are celebrating diversity and breaking the mold of what is considered 'normal' in mainstream media."

    Recently, the brand took their mission a step further when they plastered one of the most frequented subway stops in New York City with an ad depicting none other than "the underrated toe shave," in Gooley's words. Yes, the toe shave. As a nearly 30-year-old woman, this thrills and excites me; and I can't even begin to imagine the positive impact images like this —the first of their kind — will have on young women.

    Would I have felt differently about my body if a brand like Billie had been around when I started shaving? The answer, undoubtedly, is yes.

    But since I can't go back in time and undo years of unrealistic media influence — not to mention less-than-enjoyable shaving — the least I can do is take control of my experience today.

    To me, shaving with Billie is so more than just a (dreamy) physical experience; when I pull out my razor, I feel good about supporting a brand that supports me and my fellow women, in all our hairy-toed glory.

    Billie subscription, starting at $9 for three months, from Billie

    SEE ALSO: I started using a $30 facial steamer to clear my pores and my whiteheads are completely gone

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    falon fatemi

    • Falon Fatemi, the founder and CEO of the tech startup Node, was the youngest person Google ever hired when she got a job at age 19.
    • The entrepreneur said she remembered how awe-struck she was the first time she toured the Google campus.
    • Fatemi worked on development and partnerships for Google for six years, often learning skills on the job while also taking college classes in the mornings and evenings.

    Most college sophomores are focused on passing their exams, getting good grades, and maybe lining up a summer internship.

    Getting hired at one of the biggest companies in the world usually isn't on the list.

    But that's exactly what Falon Fatemi did. In 2005, at the age of 19, Fatemi scored a job at Google, becoming the company's youngest-ever employee.

    Fatemi stayed at the company for six years, working on development and partnerships for Google and later for Youtube. Today, she's the CEO of her own tech startup Node, which makes an AI-powered search tool that helps companies find sales leads.

    A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

    But 13 years after she first arrived at Google, Fatemi can still remember the day she first stepped foot on Google's campus in Mountain View, California — and how awe-struck she was after just one glance.

    "I just remember there was food that was just free and was amazing. It felt like a Michelin star experience," Fatemi told Business Insider. "Everyone was very young, it was sunny, they had a fan, people were throwing a football. I was like, what is this? Is this a resort?"

    "People were playing MC Hammer in the background," she added. "I had never seen anything like it."

    Before Google, Fatemi interned on Microsoft's research team — an internship that earned her the recommendation that led to the Google gig. Although she planned on going into investment banking, her initial meeting with Google higher-ups convinced her to take the job there.

    "Basically they asked me, 'So what do you want to do?'" Fatemi said. "And I was like, 'Look, I just want to learn everything,' and that was that."

    Read more:Everyone wants to work at Google — but we found out how 15 ex-Googlers knew it was time to quit

    Although the Google job was a full-time responsibility, Fatemi didn't give up on her education. She continued taking business and computer science classes at Santa Clara University while working at Google's Bay Area offices. She took a mix of early-morning and evening classes, she said. She even worked briefly at Google's United Kingdom office when she was studying abroad at Imperial College London.

    The unusual set-up gave Fatemi the opportunity to apply her education to real-world problems, she said.

    "Honestly, I think a had a better educational experience as a result," she told Business Insider. "Because everything I was learning, I would apply immediately. I'd learn about statistical concepts and go apply it on a network spec analysis of Google's two product lines."

    Fatemi said in her early days at the company, she leaned on other colleagues to help her with business and engineering concepts. The collaborative nature of the company helped her get by, especially in London, when she was tasked with a project well beyond the grasp of most college students.

    "I don't even think they knew how old I was. It was like, 'OK Falon, take two weeks and figure out how Google should enter Africa and Eastern Europe," Fatemi said. "I mean, I'm a sophomore, I've never even taken a finance test, and I had to figure out what Google's go-to-market strategy should be."

    "You just had to figure it out. It was a very sink-or-swim environment," she said. "I came in as a 19-year-old, and you just had to figure it out."

    SEE ALSO: Everyone wants to work at Google — but we found out how 15 ex-Googlers knew it was time to quit

    DON'T MISS: 3 former Google execs explain why they left a company where just about everyone wants to work

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Meet the 24-year-old who's the youngest female broker in the New York Stock Exchange


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    man thinking happy optimistic work

    • If your 2019 plans include looking for a new job at a hot startup, we've got you covered.
    • It's once again time for Business Insider's annual picks of enterprise startups poised to flourish in 2019 and beyond.
    • We selected a variety of startups at a variety of stages and locations.

    As the New Year approaches, many of us find this is a natural time for self-reflection on our lives.

    If you've come to the conclusion that you're ready for a new job and want to go to a startup that plays in the $3.8 trillion world of enterprise tech — selling wares to other businesses, not to consumers — we've got you covered.

    Here's our annual list of promising enterprise startups who did so well in 2018, they are poised for future success in 2019 and beyond.

    We looked at a variety of factors when selecting this list including the experience of leaders and founders, the reputations of investors and the amount of funding raised along with valuations, based on data from online finance database Pitchbook, keeper of such records. We also selected startups at a variety of stages from just starting out to well established.

    Here are the 44 enterprise tech startups to bet your career on in 2019:

    SEE ALSO: From Elon Musk to Satya Nadella: Here are the 29 top tech CEOs of 2018, according to employees

    Zapier: The plumbing that connects the internet

    Valuation: Unknown
    Total raised to date: $2.56 million
    Year founded: 2011
    HQ: Sunnyvale, CA

    What it does: Zapier helps users easily connect apps together through integrations. In other words, it will automatically connect one piece of workplace software to another

    Why it's hot: This six-year-old company has raised a total of $2.56 million, but this year, it announced that it already has a $35 million annualized run rate, a key measure of revenue. Oh, and by the way, at Zapier, you can work in pajamas from the comfort of your bedroom, if you really wanted to. This all-remote company even started a delocation package of $10,000 to move away from the pricey San Francisco Bay Area



    Platform Science: a telematics bigwig is back with a new company

    Valuation: Unknown
    Total raised to date: $14 million
    Year founded: 2015
    HQ: San Diego

    What it does: Platform Science does what it calls "enterprise IoT fleet management" which is a lot of buzzwords that means it puts a specialized computer into each truck (or other fleet vehicle) stuffed with all kinds of apps, communications, mapping, fuel economy, driver performance. Plus it allows other software developers to write apps for the device, too.

    Why it's hot: CEO John Kennedy is a former Qualcomm bigwig, who sold his last telematics company for $800 million. Now he's back with a new telematics company that uses all the latest tech to take on the legacy players.



    BigID: help for GDPR

    Valuation: $26.06 million
    Total raised to date: $46.16 million
    Year founded: 2015
    HQ: New York

    What it does: BigID offers a way for companies to find and identify their most sensitive data.

    Why it's hot: Data privacy software became a hot category after European GDPR data privacy rules were mandated in May. This helped the company raise $30 million this year from investors like Scale Venture Partners and the investment arms of Comcast and SAP. Founder and CEO, Dimitri Sirota, also sold his previous security startup to CA in 2013.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    1

    • Few of us have the time or the will to research, prep, buy, measure, and blend healthy foods into delicious smoothies, chia parfaits, or soups.
    • Daily Harvest is a subscription service that sends healthy, pre-portioned superfood eats to your home either weekly or monthly.
    • I tried Daily Harvest's smoothies and was pleasantly surprised. All of the smoothies, while healthy, tasted extremely good. 
    • In terms of prep, everything could not have been easier to make. Daily Harvest smoothies solved virtually all of my healthy food obstacles.

    Ever wished you could have those delicious, super healthy smoothies you see on Instagram without the nutrition degree or piles of perishable ingredients? So did Rachel Drori, a busy mom living in New York.

    So she founded Daily Harvest — a subscription service that will send healthy, pre-portioned superfood eats to your home either weekly or monthly. The food combinations are developed by a nutritionist and a chef, and the company is backed by big names like Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams.

    It's not hard to see why it's so popular: Few of us have the time or the will to research, prep, buy, measure, and blend healthy foods together habitually. Daily Harvest gets those super smart, balanced foods into your freezer and requires zero thought beforehand and almost zero prep (about 30 seconds' worth).

    Extra bonus: According to the company, apples you buy in the grocery store are picked over a year before you get to them. They lose much of their nutritional value along the way. Daily Harvest ingredients are "always picked at peak maturity, then flash frozen to maintain farm-fresh nutrient density and flavor, without using preservatives or added sugar." Frozen foods can be delicious and healthy, even if the word makes you first think about the soft beans in your "vegetable medley" bag.

    Right now, Daily Harvest delivers to 95% of the US, though they're not currently shipping outside the continental states.

    Here's how it works:

    1. Build your box: Choose any combination of superfood eats (smoothies, overnight oats, chia parfaits, soups, and sundaes) to be delivered to you. You can even choose foods based on dietary needs, key benefits, and your likes and dislikes via options found in the top-most bar.Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.54.27 PM
    2. Check your doorstep: The pre-portioned cups will arrive at your doorstep ready to be popped in the freezer/blended/heated up — whatever the minimal instructions or your schedule demand.
    3. Make it: Just open the lid, add the recommended liquid base and blend, soak, or heat. The cups are meant to be their own carrier, so you can drop the ingredients into a blender or pan, heat or blend them, and then drop them right back into the same container. Minimal cooking and minimal cleanup.

    Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.52.38 PM

    Price: 

    You can opt for weekly or monthly deliveries.

    If you choose weekly, you can get 6, 9, 12, or 24 cups per week. The price per cup decreases the more you order. For 6 cups a week, it’ll be $7.99 per cup (about $48 total, or $7.99 a day) and for 12 it'll be $7.49 per cup (about $90 total, or $13 a day). See more prices here.

    If you choose monthly, you’ll be sent 24 cups per month ($6.99 per cup, $167.76 total before taxes), which works out to about $6 a day.

    Use the promo code "businessinsider" and get 3 free smoothies in your first order.

    Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.50.05 PM

    Why I liked it:

    Daily Harvest solved some common problems for me. I want to eat healthily and smoothies are one solid way to make "healthy" taste good, as well as being travel-friendly. However, I have to buy single-person groceries, and it doesn’t make sense to buy the volume of veggies and perishable produce it takes to make even two different superfood smoothies — and having the same one every day because I need to use up groceries before they go bad is a fast way to kill a good habit.

    It’s also hard to portion single-person smoothies. Unless you’re following a specific recipe and halving your celery stalks and using x amount of kale, which takes time, I always wind up with leftovers that don’t sit well in the fridge, but that I also really don’t want to throw out.

    And lastly, I always wanted to eat well, but I wasn’t sure which combinations got me the most health bang for my buck — and also tasted good. I lacked the advanced nutritional knowledge and didn’t want to spend the time figuring it out. For this reason, and not wanting to waste money on food that might not blend together well, I wasn’t exactly adventurous.

    These are the reasons why Daily Harvest initially appealed to me. I try to go to the gym in the mornings before work, and a tasty smoothie immediately after that is good for me, pre-portioned, and easy to carry (with an opening for a straw already in the lid) — and also doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to make — is ideal. It’s something I’d be willing to grudgingly commit to for the price simply because it does what I want to do better than I can on my own. If left to my own devices, I'd probably wind up never doing it. 

    In reality, Daily Harvest smoothies solved virtually all of my healthy food obstacles. 

    My experience:

    The company sent a box over and I committed to making one Daily Harvest smoothie every morning after the gym. An immediate upside was 30-second prep time and not having to clean up any dishes aside from the blender, since the container it comes in doubles as a cup post-blend. I loved being able to carry it out the door and drink it on the way to work. Since I know that Americans throw out 500 million straws every day, I ordered stainless steel ones to use with the Daily Harvest straw-enabled tops without extra waste.

    I purposefully picked smoothie combinations that I was unsure about — mixes with more leafy greens and unknown ingredients in them than I would comfortably make myself (like Apple + Greens and Pineapple + Matcha). When I put the ingredients into the blender, I expected the result to taste healthy, but not good.

    product shot ingredients@3x

    I was pleasantly surprised. All of the smoothies, while definitely healthy, tasted extremely good. I really liked all of them, particularly the "green and leafy" ones that initially seemed too healthy to be tasty, as well as the Cold Brew + Almond.

    In terms of prep, everything could not have been easier to make. The instructions never required more than throwing the ingredients into a blender and adding liquid before blending (a simplicity mirrored uniformly in all of their food options). 

    If you're looking for a way to eat healthy, balanced, and fresh foods without spending all the time yourself grocery shopping, researching, or doing the prep and cleanup, you might want to look into trying Daily Harvest yourself.

    It's possible that not all of their mixes will appeal to you equally, but the smoothies at least were a safe place to start. Depending on your budget, it might not be realistic to do it every month, but I can't imagine superfoods for the masses getting any easier than delicious, pre-portioned cups that get delivered to your freezer. 

    Try Daily Harvest and get three free smoothies in your first box with the promo code "businessinsider" here.

    SEE ALSO: 13 organizing ideas that'll help you make the most of your space

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    22861810_504729209886237_6904604374905882471_o

    • If it looks like a cloud, feels like a cloud, and moves like a cloud, chances are it's a cloud— or in this case, a Buffy comforter.
    • Organic eucalyptus may just seem like a buzzword to help sell comforters, but in reality, it makes a huge difference in the comfort of your comforter, and consequently, the quality of your sleep.
    • Surprisingly breathable yet still thick enough to be warm, this is a perfect blanket to have on your bed as you begin to consider transitioning from the summer months to the fall.
    • Best of all, you get to try Buffy before you buy it, though chances are, once you take this comforter out of the box, you'll never want to send it back.

    The eucalyptus revolution has finally made it into your bed. You're not only finding traces of that Australian tree in your favorite ointments, lip balms, perfumes, and medicines, but also in yet another product meant to make you feel like the most pampered version of yourself. Meet Buffy— not the vampire slayer (a joke I'm sure the company is tired of hearing), but rather a new line of comforters that may just be one of the best things I've ever had in or on my bed.

    At its core, the Buffy is a down-alternative comforter constructed with a mix of microfiber and eucalyptus fiber.

    The eucalyptus isn't just for show, but rather lends its naturally soothing and anti-inflammatory effects to your nightly skin regimen — all without your having to lift a finger. While I was a bit skeptical about just how useful a eucalyptus comforter could be, I will say that this is one blanket that you'll want to have touching your face.

    It's incredibly soft and silky, and while I can't say that I've ever had inflammatory issues with other comforters, Buffy somehow feels slicker (in the best of ways) when compared to other comforters I've tried out. That said, keep in mind that you'll have to sleep with the Buffy sans duvet cover if you want to reap the full eucalyptus benefits — that may be a little iffy, even if you can wash the Buffy in your laundry machine. In any case, here's hoping that the company will soon release a companion cover that still leverages the health benefits of our favorite Australian plant.

    buffy comforter review

    The interior of the comforter is filled with no fewer than 50 recycled bottles.That isn't to say that they've just crushed up your empty Dasanis and Aquafinas and placed them within a eucalyptus cover, but rather that Buffy's sustainable practices are actively rescuing used plastic bottles and giving them new life as part of your bedtime. Somehow, these bottles are spun into polyester and then "crimped for fluffiness." And fluffy this comforter most certainly is.

    Part of this may be attributed to the lyocell found in the comforter — this cellulose fiber is a form of rayon, made by dissolving wood pulp using a jet-wet spinning method. It also turns out to be hypoallergenic, naturally repelling mold, mildew, dust mites, and other microbes or pathogens. The result is a comforter that feels light and airy, and won't get musty over time, and is substantial enough to keep you warm on a chilly evening.

    And as for keeping you warm, I'm always a bit concerned about overheating during the night. But the Buffy does a surprisingly effective job at regulating temperature. By leveraging 37.5 technology, this comforter is able to keep you cooler than a similar product of comparable thickness, but is also breathable enough to let warm, sticky air escape during the night. That is to say, I've never woken up in a pool of my own sweat when sleeping with Buffy. Come fall, I'm quite confident that I'll be able to wrap myself in my comforter and face down even the chilliest of evenings without a snuggle partner.

    Sustainability has clearly taken a forefront in all that Buffy does, which means that you can sleep comfortably and with a clear conscience, knowing that Buffy has reclaimed over 750,000 plastic bottles from entering the oceans and landfills, and saved over 15 million gallons of water by using eucalyptus rather than cotton.

    buffy comforter review

    Oh, and because Buffy isn't worried about filling its comforters with down feathers from the birds of the world, you'll also be investing in a cruelty-free product.

    As for pricing, the Buffy isn't necessarily the cheapest option on the market, but when compared to similar products, it's still extremely affordable at $120 for Twin size. I should also point out that you don't initially buy the Buffy — instead, you take it out for a 30-day test period, totally risk-free. In fact, you're not even charged for the comforter until you're convinced you've fallen in love with it. That said, if you do decide to return it, the comforter goes to a good cause — the company notes that it generally donates returned products to homeless shelters in the local community.

    All in all, if you're looking to give your nightly repose a major upgrade, you may want to take a closer look at what's on top of your bed, and replace it with a Buffy comforter.

    Buy a Buffy comforter in the following sizes: Twin ($120), Full/Queen ($150), and King/Cali King ($190).

    SEE ALSO: Not all beds in boxes were created equal, and here to prove that is the DreamCloud — I slept on the mattress and loved it

    DON'T MISS: The best adjustable bed frames you can buy

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Jonathan Gaurano

    • On Thursday, tech worker Jonathan Gaurano posted a YouTube video claiming that he lived in his startup's offices for an entire year because rent in the San Francisco Bay Area is too expensive. 
    • “I was there for a couple days and then it just turned into thirty. And then I realized, ‘Oh my god, I should just stay," Gaurano told Business Insider.
    • Gaurano says that despite some close calls, he was never caught sleeping in the unnamed startup's office. 
    • While viewers have expressed some skepticism about the video, Gaurano says that it's "as true as I can ever make it be."

    The San Francisco Bay Area's ongoing housing crisis has led to some denizens paying ridiculous amounts of money for, ahem, unconventional living arrangements

    And then you have the story of Jonathan Gaurano, a tech worker who says in a YouTube video posted this week that he lived in his San Francisco startup's offices for an entire year, after his landlord abruptly quadrupled his rent. 

    The video shows what he says was his unique living arrangement in the unnamed startup's offices, covering everything from where he hid his electric toothbrush from his coworkers, to the time he says he locked himself inside a room late at night.  

    You can watch the video here:

    He says that he was laid off by the company in June 2018 and now lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a freelance video maker. Gaurano is an avid YouTube content creator in his own right, and even directed and starred in a video for popular DJ duo The Chainsmokers. He says that he wiped his LinkedIn and his online resumés to preserve the identity of his former employer, with whom he says parted on agreeble terms. 

    “I was there for a couple days and then it just turned into thirty,” Gaurano told Business Insider. “And then I realized, ‘Oh my god, I should just stay! It’s just working out so great.’”

    Gaurano says that in the beginning of his time living in the office, he had anxiety “24/7."

    "The first seven days was really brutal," he says. "[Over time], the anxiety was like, ‘I’m really tired. Can people please leave the office?'”

    Gaurano also says despite some close calls — once with an early morning cleaning crew — he was never caught sleeping in the office. 

    Viewers have raised concerns about the authenticity of the video — at one point, for example, a clock's hands don't appear to move, even though he says that time has passed. Gaurano dismisses this skepticism, and says that the events chronicled in the video are "as true as I can ever make it be." 

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    leonandgeorge magenta triostar

    • What sounds like it could be a recipe for disaster — an indoor house plant you never see in person that is packed into a cardboard box and shipped across the country to your door — is something online startup Léon & George pulls off surprisingly well. 
    • Its collection is full of indoor house plants ($139+) that are easy to care for and each order comes potted in a stylish ceramic planter. 
    • I tried the service with some initial hesitance, but found it lived up to its mission of making shopping for beautiful plants convenient and enjoyable.

    Home and interior design magazines frequently espouse this simple trick for refreshing your space: add a house plant. It's not only a strategic aesthetic move — research has found exposure to nature improves emotional well-being, making you happier and even more creative.

    I'm no scientist, but plenty of anecdotal evidence has also confirmed that shopping for and taking care of these beneficial house plants isn't as easy as the magazines make it out to be. After hearing similar feedback from friends, plant enthusiasts Ron Radu and Nico Bartoli wanted to show people that owning plants can actually be hassle-free and thus created Léon & George, a full-service online startup that delivers potted, responsibly sourced plants right to your door.

    Radu and Bartoli started in 2016 by partnering with local growers who were looking for a change from big box stores and nurseries, which often placed unrealistic demands on crop growth or didn't store plants in optimal growing environments. Though the company has now scaled to a point where the founders don't need to turn their own homes into mini greenhouses, the level of care and attention remains: they source the highest-quality greenery from US growers, and all plants are stored under conditions that imitate their native climates. 

    leon and george plant care

    Customers can choose from a collection of attractive plants, like the dense Little Hope philodendron or the summery Parlor Palm, then pair their selection with a simple and stylish ceramic planter. You can also shop by "Benefits" (easy care, air purifiers, safe for pets) and "Light" (medium-to-bright, low). Everything is included in the $139 price: the plant, pot, wood stand, care instructions, and shipping. 

    I ordered the Zanzibar Gem, namely because the website told me it's "near indestructible" and can "handle long periods of neglect"  — music to the ears of traditionally terrible plant owners like myself. It can also handle low-light environments, so I could plan to keep it right at my office desk instead of a distant window sill. 

    The potted plant arrived upright in a box, and thanks to layers of cardboard support and bubble wrap, it emerged from the shipping journey fresh and unscathed. 

    my leon and george plant

    Caring for my Zanzibar Gem has been a breeze. I basically water it whenever I think to (which is really not often) and it's still thriving a couple weeks after it first arrived. If you're worried about plant care falling by the wayside, Léon & George sends Weekly Plant Care Reminder emails to nudge you to pay a little more attention to your plant. 

    My experience with the service couldn't have been easier. Since I live in a big city, it's inconvenient and tiring to visit a nursery and haul a large plant onto the subway, so having it delivered (the company delivers nationwide) instead was a major boon. The potting was already done for me, and the site offers a lot of support if you run into any trouble while caring for your plant. Buying greenery from Léon & George is also an investment back into the Earth because the company plants one tree in a US National Forest through the National Forest Foundation for every plant sold. 

    Léon & George's selection of high-quality plants will appease plant parents of all types. If you're new to plant care, the site offers guidance and low-maintenance options, and if your room is already filled with greenery, Léon & George's all-in-one service makes it that much more convenient to add to your collection. 

    Shop plants at Léon & George here

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    we company wework rebrand

    • WeWork, the startup operating coworking spaces in more than 25 countries, is rebranding to The We Company.
    • The rebrand is part of the company's goal to push beyond providing desk space and into creating residential and educational units as well.
    • The announcement comes after news that SoftBank, the company's biggest investor, reneged on plans to invest an additional $16 billion and would instead invest just $1 billion in new capital, with another $1 billion going to shareholders and additional $1.5 billion arriving in 2020.

    The coworking startup WeWork is rebranding itself ahead of plans to further expand its business beyond commercial office workspaces.

    The company will now be called The We Company, Fast Company reported. The new name and rebranded material could be found on the company site as of Tuesday.

    The new name is apparently related to the ambitions of CEO Adam Neumann to expand the company "to encompass all aspects of people's lives, in both physical and digital worlds," according to Fast Company.

    As of now, Neumann's company provides commercial spaces, in almost 100 cities in more than 25 countries, for businesses to rent out and employees to use as office space. But under the new We Company brand, the startup will consist of three business units.

    Beyond the existing WeWork entity, the new model includes the spin-offs WeLive and WeGrow. WeLive runs community-oriented coliving "hacker houses" in New York and Arlington, Virginia. WeGrow is more education-focused. WeGrow opened its first school last fall, an elementary school with a focus on entrepreneurship that operates out of a WeWork space in New York City.

    Read more:A $20 billion startup that rents office space to millennials is opening a grade school inside its offices

    Fast Company's report of the company rebranding comes a day after reports surfaced that WeWork would not receive an expected $16 billion investment. The wide-reaching Japanese investment firm SoftBank had reportedly planned to invest an additional $16 billion into WeWork on top of the $8 billion it previously put in.

    But the deal fell through in the face of pushback from SoftBank's government-backed investors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investors called into question The We Company's money-losing year in 2018.

    The $16 billion investment would have given SoftBank a majority stake in the startup. Instead, SoftBank will invest just $1 billion in new capital, at a $47 billion valuation.

    SEE ALSO: GE is showing a 27-inch voice-activated 'kitchen hub' smart screen for above the stove that can walk you through recipes and make video calls

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    japanese workers employees office japan

    • The Japanese startup Attuned devised a 55-question test for companies to give their employees to find out exactly what motivates them.
    • The test uses AI to score each employee by how much they are motivated by competition, autonomy, feedback, financial needs, and seven other values.
    • Companies are paying thousands of dollars to use the service, which can also track when workers are becoming less motivated over time.

    If you've ever led a team at work before, you know how hard it can be to keep people motivated.

    But one Japanese startup is using technology to make that easier than ever.

    The Tokyo-based company Attuned offers what it calls "predictive HR analytics" to help companies understand what makes each of their employees tick. And companies in Japan are paying thousands of dollars for the chance to get a better read on their workers.

    It's a simple process: When a company signs on with Attuned, its employees take a 55-question online test in which they're presented with pairs of statements, such as "Planning my day in advance gives me a sense of security," and "I prefer to be able to decide which task to focus on at any given time." The test-taker must choose which of the two statements applies to them better, and whether they "strongly prefer" it, "prefer" it, or just "somewhat prefer" it:

    attuned

    Once the test is complete, Attuned churns out a unique "motivational profile" scoring each employee in 11 key human values, including "competition,""feedback,""autonomy,""security," and "financial needs."

    Areas in which the employee scores particularly high are labeled "need to have" motivators for that person, while lower scores indicate "nice to have" or "neutral" motivators. How each employee scores in certain areas can clue managers in to what kinds of work environments they'll thrive in and what will keep them motivated, Casey Wahl, the American founder of Attuned, said. 

    "Maybe it's, 'Hey, you want to have drinks on a Friday night?' if socialization is important for you," Wahl told Business Insider. "For somebody else it's different. Maybe it's a financial incentive, or maybe, say, 'OK, if you nail this product, you can have more autonomy; you can run this project that you've been wanting to do for a while."

    The survey brings managers and their employees to common ground

    The technology can also help managers find common ground with their workers. Wahl recalled an employee of his who took issue with the location of Attuned's office on a Tokyo backstreet instead of a more popular, high-trafficked area. As it turned out, the employee had scored high in the "status" category, suggesting a need to work for a well-known brand or in a position of prestige.

    "This is something where, because I don't value it, I can't give her what she wants easily," Wahl said. "Now that I see this, I can say, OK, she's coming from this point of view. So it's going to take a lot of the emotion and everything out of it."

    Read more:The progression of office culture from the '50s to today

    Attuned charges $1,960 for a basic yearly subscription, with prices varying based on the size of the company. The subscription also includes "pulse surveys"— short, 30-second follow-up quizzes that employees take every two weeks to see how their motivators change over time. Attuned uses AI to tailor the surveys to the individual based on answers they've previously given. 

    Wahl says the surveys can identify faster than ever when workers are feeling less motivated, allowing managers to act before the workers get frustrated and leave the company.

    At the hiring level, the technology can also predict which departments a prospective employee might be well-suited for, say, if they're motivated by high competition or require a lot of autonomy.

    And they can help hiring managers recognize if someone might not be a good fit at all. Wahl said that after one client started screening potential hires with the Attuned test, its "mis-hire" rate — the percentage of new hires who left the company within six months — dropped from 35% to 8%.

    "Management, up until now, has been art," Wahl told Business Insider. "And we're bringing some science to it."

    Employees tend to have similar motivations across age, gender, and cultures

    Wahl said the company spent more than two years working with a team of psychologists to write the test and whittle it down to something that would take 10 or 15 minutes to complete. 

    Interestingly, they found that there's no significant differences in what motivates people across age, gender, or even cultural lines: millennials value social relationships at work just as much as older workers, for example, and Japanese workers want feedback at the same rate as Americans, Wahl said.

    There were some cultural differences to be accounted for, however. Wahl, who has lived in Japan for 18 years, said Japanese workers were less likely to say they "strongly" preferred a given statement, opting for the softer "somewhat prefer" option more than workers from other countries. He said Attuned localizes the data for each company to account for the difference.

    Attuned's clients in Japan include Rakuten, the largest e-commerce site in the country, and Denso, the second largest auto-parts supplier in the world. The company is also beginning to attract clients in the Middle East, Russia, and the United States — two of its American clients include the Noonday Collection and San Diego's Church at Rancho Bernardo.

    SEE ALSO: Harvard Business School just signaled a huge shift in online education with a simple name change

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    electrodes on brain

    • Last year, after several failures related to Alzheimer's disease drugs, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it was stepping away from neuroscience research and development.
    • The company isn't completely done with the field. It partnered with Bain Capital in October to launch neuroscience spinoff Cerevel Therapeutics.
    • Cerevel is part of a much larger strategy to maintain a presence in neuroscience, Pfizer Ventures executives explained in an interview with Business Insider during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

    Nearly a year after throwing in the towel on a suite of efforts to develop better treatments for brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, drug giant Pfizer appeared to make an about-face.

    Together with investment firm Bain Capital, it created a new drug company called Cerevel Therapeutics in October to focus on Parkinson's, epilepsy, and other central nervous system disorders.

    The Cerevel launch is just one piece of a larger strategy that Pfizer aims to use to keep its eye on neuroscience — if not from the front row, then at least from the sidelines. Although the pharmaceutical behemoth will no longer pursue neuroscience research and development efforts internally, it will fund startups doing everything from screening for better drug targets to running advanced clinical trials for superior drugs.

    Those efforts will be directed by a newly-expanded initiative called Pfizer Ventures, which has up to $150 million to invest in nascent neuroscience companies. The venture arm manages a total of more than $1 billion, and also makes investments in medical treatments for other conditions.

    "We did not feel that [neuroscience] was an area we wanted to totally walk away from,"Barbara Dalton, the vice president of Pfizer's worldwide business development team and a senior managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, told Business Insider during a meeting on January 9 on the periphery of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

    Read more of Business Insider's coverage from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here

    Dalton and Denis Patrick, who leads Pfizer's innovative medicines initiative and is also a managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, outlined a broad strategy for maintaining an arms-length approach to neuroscience that will include the Cerevel spinoff as well as funds for neuroscience startups.

    In November, Pfizer Ventures contributed to a $25 million funding round for System1, an early-stage startup based in Silicon Valley that’s growing 'mini brains' to screen for new drug targets for schizophrenia and autism.

    Read more:A Silicon Valley startup is growing 'mini brains' to create new drugs for schizophrenia and autism — and big pharma is investing millions

    Dalton said that while the Pfizer Ventures team considers System1 to fall on the early end of the drug development continuum, they aim to invest in a range of companies from mid-to-late-stage.

    "We'll go across the spectrum, from much earlier to much later too," Dalton said.

    From in-house R&D to seeding ‘star clusters’

    system1 petri dishUp until last year, Pfizer had been heavily invested in research on the brain. Its primary focus areas were Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, two diseases characterized by the progressive degeneration or death of the brain's nerve cells. In 2012, Pfizer and research partner Johnson & Johnson called off work on a highly anticipated Alzheimer’s drug called bapineuzumab when it failed to help patients in a trial.

    Dozens of other Alzheimer's drugs failed around the same time, leading many large pharmaceutical companies to step away from neuroscience entirely. Pfizer announced in early 2018 that it was pulling back from brain research and eliminating several hundred jobs.

    "The trends have largely been disappointments," Patrick said.

    Read more: What we saw at JPMorgan's big healthcare investor conference

    Those failures taught Pfizer some valuable lessons, Patrick and Dalton said. So instead of abandoning the field completely, they're turning to startups to carry the neuroscience torch — with those lessons in mind.

    The first lesson, Dalton said, is that researchers can no longer rely on animal models to study how drugs might work in the human brain.

    Pfizer Ventures Barbara DaltonSecond, besides neurodegeneration, the company wants to be more open to investigating two additional research areas in neuroscience: neuroinflammation, where parts of the brain swell in response to infection or something else, and neurometabolism, where the brain's energy-generating areas stop functioning properly.

    While neuroinflammation may play a role in everything from Alzheimer's to psychosis, neurometabolism is a central feature of conditions like epilepsy.

    To lead those efforts, Pfizer Ventures created a scientific advisory board specific to neuroscience, Dalton said.

    The board will keep an eye out for what Dalton calls "star clusters"— where a successful hypothesis about how a drug might work leads one company to a win, and several other companies build their ideas on the same hypothesis. 

    "That's when you want to kind of keep your ear to the ground," she said.

    "If you put too many blinders on, you’ll maybe miss the next big thing," said Dalton.

    Keep up with all the most important healthcare news. Subscribe to Dispensed, our weekly newsletter on pharma, biotech, and healthcare.

    SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley startup is growing 'mini brains' to create new drugs for schizophrenia and autism — and big pharma is investing millions

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