11/18/19 - Subscribe
"LIFT OFF,” Your Weekly Digest Of Employee Benefits INVESTMENT & INNOVATION News

Alexa von Tobel And Penny Pritzker Raised $200 Million For Their Venture Firm Inspired Capital
Elana Lyn Gross, Contributor / Forbes

LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker have raised $200 million for their venture firm Inspired Capital, the company announced on Tuesday. It is one of the biggest debut funds out of New York and an especially significant raise for a female-founded firm. Only 29% of venture capital firms with $100 million to $250 million in assets have any female check-writers, according to Pitchbook and All Raise’s recent report.

Von Tobel and Pritzker started their early-stage venture firm last January with the goal of raising $200 million, according to a SEC filing. Inspired Capital invests in seed and Series A stage technology-driven startups that appear to be on the path to profitability, according to a statement. Inspired Capital will write checks ranging from $500,000 to $10 million and the stake will vary based on investment size, von Tobel told Forbes by email.

More than $8.7bn was raised across the ten largest ICOs to date

The ICO (Initial Coin Offering) market first gained real momentum in 2017, as a way for cryptocurrency developers to raise capital for their projects without going through the same costly and compliance heavy processes encountered with traditional fundraising and IPOs.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the crypto universe has a combined total market capitalisation of $225bn however, the ICO market has since been mired with controversy with respect to companies breaching SEC federal securities laws in the ICO process.

Amazon acquires telemedicine startup Health Navigator
By Anthony Spadafora / techradar.pro

Health Navigator will become a part of Amazon Care

Amazon is continuing its push into the healthcare space by acquiring a startup called Health Navigator that provides technology as well as services to digital health companies.

CNBC reached out to the e-commerce giant which confirmed the acquisition and said that Heath Navigator will become part of the company's recently launched Amazon Care group. Amazon Care provides medical benefits to the company's employees through telemedicine but in-home visits are also available when additional care is required.

Noyo Wants To Become The API Layer For Health Insurance
Alex Wilhelm / Crunchbase

Here is a statement of fact, followed by a cliche: The health insurance industry in America isn’t very consumer-friendly, and software is eating the world. And where those two ideas meet, there is a company hoping to use software to improve how American insurance works. And it has made real progress.

Backed by investors like Homebrew, Precursor Ventures, and Core Innovation Capital, Noyo is a technology startup building a software layer between the various parties in the world of health insurance, helping industry members pass information between each other more quickly and with fewer errors.

Founded in 2017 with offices in both San Francisco, California and Durham, North Carolina, Noyo has raised $4 million to date, including a Pre-Seed round in April 2018 and a Seed raise in November of that year.

Google signs huge healthtech cloud deal
By Mike Moore / techradar.pro

Health giant Ascension signs up to Google Cloud

Google has revealed a significant push into the healthcare space with a major new cloud computing deal.

The computing giant has announced Google Cloud will be partnering with Ascension to provide hosting services for large amounts of health data from millions of patients across the US.

The deal will also mark the beginning of Project Nightingale, Google's new initiative to try and bring AI and machine learning technology and healthcare closer together.

Coinbase Is in Talks to Launch Its Own Insurance Company

Coinbase is exploring plans to set up its own “captive” insurance company, industry sources said.

At the start of this year, insurance broker Aon began establishing captive companies in the Cayman Islands, working with a handful of cryptocurrency firms.

Aon says a captive structure can help firms get access to additional coverage at more reasonable prices.

Insurance for crypto remains scarce, and major exchanges Kraken and Huobi say they simply self-insure by setting aside coins to cover losses from thefts or hacks.

Allianz partners with Microsoft to digitally transform the insurance industry

Allianz and Microsoft to reimagine the insurance industry experience with Azure to streamline insurance processes; Microsoft will partner with Syncier, the B2B2X insurtech founded by Allianz, to offer customized insurance platform solutions and related services

MUNICH and REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, Allianz SE and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership focused on digitally transforming the insurance industry, making the insurance process easier while creating a better experience for insurance companies and their customers. Through the strategic partnership, Allianz will move core pieces of its global insurance platform, Allianz Business System (ABS), to Microsoft's Azure cloud and will open-source parts of the solution's core to improve and expand capabilities.

Japan-based WealthNavi bags $37.6m in funding round

WealthNavi, a robo-advisor based in Japan, has raised 4.1bn JPY ($37.6m) in a funding round to support the expansion of its management base.

The capital injection was supported by Sony Financial Ventures, DBJ Capital, Opt-Ventures, SMBC Venture Capital and Resona Capital.

Proceeds from the round will be used to strengthen the development system, expand its management base and increase marketing.

WealthNavi is an automated service for long-term asset management, which uses a risk management algorithm to provide investing advice. The platform helps middle-income consumers diversify their investments with international assets.


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Walt Podgurski - Co-Editor
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