Medicus unlocks health data into meaningful insights

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Artificial intelligence is gaining traction across various fields, especially health care, and with the use of data, it’s turning it into meaningful insights. Dubai-born Medicus uses an AI platform and works with diagnostic labs to translate medical reports and blood tests into visual and interactive report that a common person can understand.

“AI works in multiple ways. It converts all those numbers into explanations with machine learning personalising the experience for users. Then we have AI that works with medical labs to make it easy and integrate with the system,” Baher Al Hakim, CEO of Medicus, told TechRadar Middle East.

Born in Syria, Al Hakim is a dentist by study and a serial entrepreneur by practice with 15 years of tech experience in various companies such as Wally, Restronaut and Napkin. Al Hakim was thinking of starting a global company from Dubai and then move to Silicon Valley.

“I learned that having a company located somewhere else is also necessary to attract big clients and money. After doing some research, I learned that having a base in Europe is an optimal place for health care sector as they have…good public support for healthcare companies,” he said.

So, he started building his team for Medicus from Dubai in 2015. When he raised his first round of funding from the region and from Austria, he moved to Vienna and incorporated the company in Vienna in 2016. Since then, Al Hakim does businesses in both Dubai and Vienna. Medicus has offices in Berlin, Paris and Beirut.

How the app works

Health care is complex and impenetrable and, at the same time, he said that it is in dire need of a user-experience overhaul and that people are now used to experiencing things in a much simpler and clear fashion.

“Our app takes all of the reports such as personal profile, family history, medications, and the most tested blood, urine and stool markers and medical history and gives exactly what those numbers mean and provides continuous coaching to improve health,” he said.

If the diet of the patient is not healthy, Al Hakim says the app will give recommendations to improve and if the diet is healthy, then it will recommend when to visit a doctor or when to do a retest.

“The app will ask you many questions and based on that, it will give you continuous recommendations based on the medical guidelines and based on the region” he said. There are around 50,000 diseases and it is impossible to support all the diseases- Medicus currently supports around 400 diseases and by the end of the year, aims to support around 1,000 diseases and 2,000 tests.

Medicus’ biggest clients come from this region, especially Saudi Arabia

“We have 10 clients, including medical labs and insurance providers. We have two from the region and eight from Europe,” he said. Moreover, he said that insurance providers are interested in making you healthy in a bid to cut costs and Medicus allows them to do that.

“The region is open to health innovation but, unfortunately, as we are still young and very small, we did not have the time to push it in the region. This year, we will be focusing more on the UAE market. The biggest obstacles we face are in hiring and raising capital,” he said.

Data privacy

Medicus has raised 1.5 million euros from two rounds and 2.75 million euros in the third round, recently.  By end of the year, Al Hakim expects to raise 6.5 million euros in total.

“This will be enough for the next two years and we are also planning to expand globally. We are looking into China, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Italy, apart from the Middle East,” he said.

The biggest issue with the use of data is security and privacy but Al Hakim has kept a close vigil.  “We have the toughest privacy standards in the world and the data never leaves your phone. You can use the app in the offline mode. Data privacy is very strict in Europe.

“Anything can be hacked but even if a hacker hacks your phone, he will hack only one account. It is up to the user to protect his device and the data. If a hacker hacks a server, he can expose millions of accounts. No hacker will spend so much time to hack one person,” he said.

To date, Medicus supports Arabic, German, French and English, with Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish in the pipeline for this year.

[“source=techradar”]

Create, introspect, improve – insights and tips for harnessing your creative edge, from the Akanksha 2019 artists

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 345 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

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The Akanksha 2019 exhibition, held recently at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, featured over 500 artworks by 55 women artists, showcased for six full days. In Part I of our photo essay, we interviewed curator Shyamala Ramanand on the mission and journey of the exhibition; see also Part III for more artist insights.

The artist lineup includes Anusha Reddy, Tanu Gupta, Sunitha Krishna, Saroj Revankar, Pareejat Gogoi, Sindhu Rani, Aakriti Agrawal, Ahila C, Suvidha Bolar, Vedha Sreeram, Yamuna Padmanaban, and Sangeeta Agarwal.

Saroj Revankar has a range of artworks reflecting her upbringing in rural India. “Art is a never-ending learning process for me. A few workshops have helped, but I believe we learn from our mistakes and from regular practice. Art is my passion, and gives me peace and happiness,” she says, in a chat with YourStory.

Her artworks feature the tribal people from her village, and are priced in the range Rs 2,500 to Rs 25,000. “View art not only from your eyes but also from your heart,” Saroj advises audiences. “Don’t be afraid to take the ideas from your mind and put them on canvas or paper. Keep practicing and follow your passion,” she offers as tips to aspiring artists.

Self-taught artist Pareejat Gogoi specialises in realistic and semi-abstract art. Her works are priced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 25,000; at the exhibition, she displayed paintings titled Bodacious and Devotion. “Akanksha is a great platform for artists, and has set a benchmark of excellence. There is so much history at the venue itself, Chitrakala Parishad,” she explains.



Sindhu Rani showcased her landscapes and traditional paintings like Kerala murals and Madhubani painting, priced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 30,000. She sees success coming from developing a unique style and getting recognition for it.

“I would like to make audiences feel that presence of self inside my paintings, and experience the depth in each,” Sindhu says. She advises artists to spend time planning before starting to paint, in order to get a clear idea of how to compose the artwork.

“Art to me is happiness that I can share with the world without saying a word, by living my dreams, by creating little things in nature that I so love, on canvases. Art is therapeutic and has the power to cure any ailment in this world,” says Ahila C.

Her artworks are priced in the range Rs 6,000 to Rs 9,000. She is working on creating some authentic Kerala mural artworks. She advises audiences to enjoy the sheer creative energy of art. “Art is a planet of thoughts you can transport yourself to,” Ahila enthuses.

“Love what you do and do it with utmost sincerity, absolute hard work and pure thoughts! Don’t go after sales and fame. They will pour on you anyway, if your work has the purity and the power to speak to the world,” she adds.

“Have you seen people go through old photographs to relive moments of the past? I use art to do the same,” explains Suvidha Bolar. Success for her is seeing art taking form as she imagined, and receiving genuine appreciation or constructive criticism. The ability to do artwork as per the needs of a customer is equally important. Her artworks are priced from Rs 7,000 to Rs 9,000.

“There is no failure in art. Everything which didn’t turn out the way you want teaches something and there is always the chance of a beautiful accident,” she evocatively explains. She says she is not sure if she wants to stick to a style or have her unique signature as yet.

“Sometimes I do things which convention or many art schools would say are not to be done. One of them is the predominant usage of black in my paintings in order to break the cliche that black is associated with something dark, bad or negative,” Suvidha explains.

For Akanksha 2019, she featured works with the theme ‘Colours of Prayer.’ She hates being repetitive, and is also working with clay and learning techniques of blue pottery under the guidance of Gyanesh Mishra.

She urges audiences to turn out in large numbers at galleries and studios to support art. “Artists need viewership to thrive,” Suvidha emphasises. She advises aspiring artists to keep learning. “The attitude to learn is very important. As artists, we cannot be stagnant and should never cease to learn. Learn, practice and stay positive,” she sums up.

Yamuna Padmanaban sees art as a medium to create ripples of positive vibrations while taking the audience on a mystical journey. Success for her comes from seeing viewers immersed in her art.

“Through every work, I try to paint a gentle story that has touched me in some form and is a joy to share,” Yamuna explains. With the theme ‘Positive Vibes,’ she created works titled Innocence and Fairy for the Akanksha exhibition. Her works are generally priced from Rs.3,000 to Rs.50,000.

She advises audiences to approach art with an open mind, take time to observe and interpret it, and communicate their thoughts to the artist. “We are always glad to hear back,” Yamnua enthuses. She advises artists to explore without constraints and stay original.



Vedha Sreeram practices and conducts workshops on Mandala art, combing her passion for painting and teaching. “Mandala art is mainly for inner exploration and achieving meditative effects through radial symmetry and intricate patterns,” she explains.

For the Akanksha exhibition, she featured works titled Sahasrara, Aishwaryam, Anantham, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient, with variations of ruby, emerald, gold, sapphire, silver, and hues of blue, yellow and purple. Her works are priced from Rs 500 to Rs 18,000.

Artforms like Zentangle and Mandala attracted Aakriti Agrawal. “A year back, I was having a tough time both in my personal and professional life, I was becoming negative, prickly and sour to the world. I started doing art as a distraction to fight stress and depression, but soon it became a passion and a sacred practice that I try to do daily,” she explains.

Her artworks are priced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000. Aakriti sees success as attaining the ability to innovate and be creative. “I try to include many patterns in one object, making it more appealing and beautiful. Regular practice and being up to date with the ongoing trends in art motivates me to develop and work better each time I do it,” she adds. Her mantra is to never hesitate to try new things.

For the Akanksha exhibition, she prepared works inspired by Mandana, a traditional form of art done on the floors and walls of central India. “Being from Chhattisgarh, I was always attracted to this traditional artform,” she explains; it is very similar to rangoli. Her other projects centre on the Chakra Mandala.

Aakriti urges audiences to appreciate the hard work and patience that go into artworks, enjoy their beauty, and derive positive energy. She advises aspiring artists to practice and innovate regularly. “I follow the cyclical process of Create – Introspect – Improve, it helps things fall in place,” she signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, introspect on your creative side, and achieve your true potential?

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Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at [email protected]!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

[“source=yourstory”]

‘The relationship between brands and consumers has flipped’: Insights from the Glossy Summit

Image result for ‘The relationship between brands and consumers has flipped’: Insights from the Glossy SummitLast week at The Glossy Summit: Future of Fashion and Luxury in Miami, fashion brands, both big and small, came together to speak frankly about the challenges they’re facing and what they are doing to evolve. From the main stage where speakers outlined their companies’ strategies to small working groups where attendees sought guidance from their peers, the event was full of modern retail insight. Here’s what we learned:

The power is with the consumer
On the minds of many of the brands in attendance was how the power to control the fashion conversation has shifted to consumers.

– Consumers, not brands, now dictate trends and have more knowledge than they have ever had before. They also have a huge number of options of where to buy their desired item. This has led to a fundamental shift in how brands engage with their customers, making reactivity and flexibility a core skill for the modern fashion brand.

– Brands like Universal Standard have worked extensively to make sure that their sizes are as comprehensive as possible, ensuring that every customer has a wide array of options. This required a significant amount of rethinking the standard fashion production schedule from design to manufacturing. It also created new ways of manufacturing fabric that could accommodate the brand’s extended sizing.

The bottom line: Brands need to listen to what consumers are saying and react accordingly. Through data collection, direct engagement with customers through social media, and wear testing, the power that consumers hold can be leveraged for a brand’s success.

Convenience is king
As consumers gain more control and power over the fashion industry, one way that brands are catering to them is through an increased focus on convenience.

– Since consumers have many options of where to shop, the slightest bit of friction can send them looking for an alternative. Brands need to make sure that they are digitally savvy and treat customers to the most seamless experience possible in order to lure them away from competitors.

– Charles Gorra, founder of Rebag, spoke about how his resale company courts two different types of customers, buyers and sellers, with opposite interests. Maximizing convenience is the best way to satisfy both.

– This challenge is different for bigger brands than for smaller ones. Large brands have the advantage of scale and resources, yet they also are more complicated and have more moving parts. Smaller brands do not always have the resources for a customer experience with the shiniest bells and whistles, but they are able to react more quickly.

The bottom line: When customers have a hundred shopping options at any given moment, they will take the path of least resistance.

Brands are taking things in-house
Alongside the shift to direct-to-consumer, companies are rethinking big parts of their business and wondering if they can handle them themselves. At the Glossy Summit, attendees at Monday’s town hall expressed doubt that they needed someone else to run things for them.

– One speaker spoke about using the same PR team for nearly 12 years with diminishing returns. When they eventually dropped the PR team and took it in-house, they did not see any noticeable decline in ROI.

– Laura Dowling of Digital Brands Group spoke at length about taking all of their influencer relations in-house. While a few other attendees said that working with an influencer agency affords opportunities and reach that would not be attainable otherwise, Dowling was not the only one in the audience who believed that an influencer agency was increasingly irrelevant.

The bottom line: Brands should not think that they can handle everything themselves, necessarily, but it increasingly seems like companies are feeling more skeptical about middlemen.

Speaker highlights 
Shira Suveyke, Shopbop President 

– Shopbop has fine-tuned its influencer strategy over the last two years — first, by moving the involved duties to a dedicated team versus marketing staffers focused on other responsibilities. “This ‘little thing,’ that was growing super fast and was driving a lot of revenue, was getting ignored,” said Suveyke. The company also started giving influencers “total creative freedom,” which was a difficult adjustment for the in-house creative team, and moved from working with macro-influencers exclusively to micro-influencers and nano-influencers.

– High conversion is not a KPI for influencer campaigns. Instead, the company is looking at engagement, then reach, and it’s weighing campaigns’ effectiveness and efficiency by looking at cost-per-engagement. Influencer marketing is now part of the brand’s marketing budget versus its performance marketing budget. “We see it as an opportunity to build the Shopbop brand on a social platform, and we believe that has a halo effect of downward revenue,” said Suveyke.

– The retailer just launched its  360-degree, content-fueled campaign called “The Summer of Shopbop.” Its brand marketing and creative teams traveled with eight influencers to Lake Como to create content around its travel-inspired story of the season. “It resonates with our customer when they have an affinity with the influencer, rather than Shopbop pushing the product,” said Suveyke.

Laura Dowling, Digital Brands Group CMO
– DSTLD’s (which is part of holding group Digital Brands Group’s portfolio)  millennial customer base values ethical behavior and transparent brand messaging, and DSTLD is an audience-driven brand. The mission of the denim and leather company is to distill its shoppers’ wardrobes down to essentials by updating the quality and consistency of the pieces, said Dowling. Unlike other brands, its sustainability message is not centered on the changeover of styles but rather on the lack of waste the brand is producing. “Quality equates to longevity,” she said.

– In the name of transparency and authenticity, the brand recently made changes: It has moved its production from Asia to Europe to ensure it is using mills that are ethical and sustainable, both in the materials they use and also in the radius in which they operate. “Our carbon footprint is as small as possible,” said Dowling. In addition, it has added a quality control step to production, enabling it to have just 3% waste, when the industry standard is 7%.

– To amplify its message for credibility, Dowling said the brand leans into press, letting industry publications tell its story. It also taps into relevant opportunities to amplify the story. On Earth Day, it launched an education-based marketing campaign for eco-conscious consumers on how best to wash jeans. And because music has been woven into the brand’s marketing since inception, it hosted a sustainability-centered activation at Coachella.

Nate Checketts, Rhone co-founder
– Checketts broke down the company’s data collection process into three steps. “One, you have to gather the data; two, you have to organize the data; and three, you have to take some actionable insight from it,” he said. “Most companies are stuck on part one, and for DTC brands, there are so many ingestion points of data that it can be hard to sort through them all of them.”

– In addition to the regular channels for data collection, like points of purchase either in Rhone’s DTC or wholesale business, the company also collects data from some out-of-the-box, third-party sources. Weather on the day of a purchase, the performance of stocks on a given day and other data points can help paint the picture of what a brand needs to know. According to Checketts, it all comes down to sorting through what’s relevant and what isn’t.

– The data collection and feedback used can also be a selling point for the company. While older generations may be less likely to appreciate how the data collected is used to improve their experiences, Rhone’s younger customers expect it. Whenever the company launches a product that was designed heavily with feedback from consumers, Rhone highlights that in its marketing, said Checketts.

Overheard
“If your advisers and investors are telling you that it’s too early to be thinking about and using data to improve your business, then you need different advisers and investors.”

“Going direct-to-consumer is definitely about brand control a bit, especially when you’re a new designer. You have a small assortment. On a shelf, you can only tell so much of your story. In pop-ups and on social media, you can speak to your customer a lot more.”

I believe in the power of full-frontal marketing, really thinking about what we need and driving understanding through to conversion. To do that, the best way possible, you have to lean into all the channels available to you.”

“If you look at, like, Marc Jacobs, that kind of old luxury, it used to be that designers did what they wanted and the women followed. What we’re trying to do is the exact opposite. They decide, and we follow.”

“We were able to start our direct business pretty early on, our first website opened in 2003. We’ve been able to go from 100% wholesale to 60% wholesale, 40% direct. Our ideal split is flipped, 40% wholesale and 60% direct. That’s where we are trying to be.”

Challenge Board

[“source=glossy”]

Insights From Behavioral Finance: Parameter Uncertainty

Although behavioral finance may at first seem to be far removed from the kind of rigorous analysis required by the discipline of value investing, it is actually at the core of what value investing is all about. After all, one of the central tenets of behavioral finance is that humans are not mechanical utility maximizers, whose actions can be predicted by models that presuppose rational action. Rather, they are subject to a wide range of emotional and cognitive biases, a topic that we have explored previously.

Fuzzy models

This sentiment is quite similar to classic value investing metaphors such as “Mr. Market” and the concept of irrational exuberance. Indeed, value investing presupposes the market can be highly irrational at times, as this is what allows diligent practitioners to pick out undervalued stocks. Another key insight from behavioral finance is that of parameter uncertainty – the inherent fuzziness of financial models.

The implications of parameter uncertainty are twofold. First, it makes it very difficult to put an exact number on what the value of a business should be. Now, for most value investors, this is not a big issue. For instance, Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio) has often said he greatly prefers to have a range of possible values for a business, rather than a specific number.

There are many reasons why this is preferrable. For one, it is easier to do. For another, it enables an investor to establish an adequate margin of safety. And finally, it is simply the more intellectually honest thing to do. With this in mind, the exact price targets set by so many sell-side analysts begin to look suspicious. Exact numbers convey certainty and authority, which is why they appeal to so many people. But they are no better, and are often far worse, than ranges. By tying ourselves to exact targets, we narrow our margin of error and open ourselves up to a greater possibility of being wrong.

The categorization problem

The second implication of parameter uncertainty concerns the problem of categorization of investment targets. In a world where corporations are based in many different countries, how does one ascertain the risk associated with any given company? In 1990, Robert Reich, who would go on to be U.S. Labor Secretary from 1993 to1997, wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, “Who Is Us?” which examined this exact question. Is a U.S.-based and listed company that conducts most of its business in the developing world more representative of the U.S. market than a foreign company that primarily employs American workers? Which is riskier?

The truth of the matter is different individuals and institutions will pick their own definitions for these things. Moreover, they will have to grapple with problems like whether Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a cloud computing company or a retailer and whether or not China should still be considered an emerging market. Of course, each will come up with their own answers. The problem is when so many different market participants have different ways of viewing the world, it is somewhat difficult to build reliable predictions of how they will react in the future.

Summary

Behavioral finance has a lot to offer value investors. While traditional thought holds that all market participants share broadly the same goals, outlooks and decision-making calculi, the truth of the matter is all of this is incredibly subjective. Parameter uncertainty is a particularly good example of this as it touches on so many different aspects of investing. As investors, there is no way to overturn uncertainty – so the best thing to do is embrace it, not ignore it.

[“source=gurufocus”]