Tag Archives: teamwork

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ZipDial, The Missed-Call Leader In India, Adds Jungle Ventures To Seed Round And Launches In Sri Lanka


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ZipDial, the company based in India that has turned missed calls into a business, has raised new funds from Jungle Ventures and launched its service in Sri Lanka. The company has clients like P&G and Disney, who have realized that the common social interaction of missed calls in India, are turning to ZipDial instead of focusing on driving likes to Facebook pages or chasing followers on Twitter.

Basically, in a trend seen by ZipDial and others, people would communicate by calling one another and then hanging up. This is so that pre-paid cell minutes aren’t used up. For ZipDial customers who get their own numbers, consumers can call it, hang up and then receive an incoming text about the brand, which is free.

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When I met with its founder and CEO Valerie Rozycki Wagoner while visiting India, she made it clear that ZipDial was a company that could bring its learnings and services from India to new markets globally. With new funding from Jungle Ventures, the service has launched in Sri Lanka, with some of its current clients expanding their business to the new location. For example, Unilever will be promoting a contest throughout Sinhalese New Year, using ZipDial as a mechanism to push polls via SMS to help pick a winner.

Unilever’s marketing agency, GroupM, sees Sri Lanka as a massive opportunity. Its managing director in Bangladesh, Rohith Hettiaratchi, says: “Sri Lanka is a country with a high mobile penetration.”

Some of the differences in Sri Lanka, ZipDial says, is the difference in literacy rates and per-capita income. However, even with those differences, there is little or no consumer data to be had for mobile phone users there. Naturally, ZipDial aims to change that for its clients with its platform, tools and analytics.

Exact terms of the funding from Jungle Ventures wasn’t shared, but the firm now becomes ZipDial’s largest investor shareholder, Wagoner tells us. The company calls this “the final piece” of its “Seed Plus” funding, as it plans to raise a Series A sometime in the next year. Jungle Ventures joins 500 Startups and Blume Ventures as investors.

On why Jungle Ventures was an important part of the puzzle, Wagoner told us:

The decision to work with Jungle was very strategic for our international expansion as the team is made up of successful entrepreneurs who have built their businesses and networks in the South East Asia region. We have already benefited from client introductions and valuable strategic advice, and we are very enthusiastic about the leverage that Jungle will create for the company.

On Jungle Ventures’ side, Managing Partner Amit Anand shared what was so impressive about ZipDial: “Having built businesses as well as our Jungle portfolio across Asia, we immediately saw the power of ZipDial’s innovative model and the team’s potential to be market leaders not only in India but across the region.”

The company is still heavily focused on its business in India, but the opportunity to expand was too hard to pass up. As Wagoner and team continue to learn more about mobile phone users in South East Asia, the model that it has built will be ready to bring to other nations.

(VIA. Tech Crunch)

A view shows the headquarters of Life Technologies Corp in Carlsbad

Thermo Fisher to buy Life Tech for $13.6 billion


(Reuters) – Genetic testing equipment maker Life Technologies Corp has accepted a $13.6 billion cash buyout proposal from scientific and laboratory instruments company Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc in one of the year’s biggest corporate takeovers.

A view shows the headquarters of Life Technologies Corp in Carlsbad

The deal, announced on Monday, values Life Tech at $76 per share and would catapult Thermo Fisher into the hot field of genetic sequencing, where researchers, drugmakers and doctors are uncovering the hereditary factors underpinning diseases to better tailor treatments to patients.

The offer represents a premium of about 12 percent to Life Tech’s market close on Friday.

Life Tech shares were up 7.7 percent at $73.24 in morning trading, while Thermo Fisher rose 3.4 percent to $82.30.

William Blair analyst Amanda Murphy said the deal price was at the high end of market expectations of $65 to $75 per share.

Thermo Fisher expects the transaction to close early in 2014 and immediately add to earnings before special items. It still requires U.S. regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Thermo Fisher will also assume Life Tech’s net debt of about $2.2 billion. In the third year following the deal’s closing, the company said it expected to achieve cost savings of $250 million by consolidating facilities and support functions.

Life Technologies explored a sale after previous attempts by Chief Executive Officer Gregory Lucier to boost the value of the company’s stock and capture more market share from rival Illumina Inc proved unsuccessful.

Illumina had already demonstrated the appeal of gene-sequencing companies that help analyze a person’s genetic blueprint to develop personalized medical treatment. Drugmaker Roche Holding AG had made a $6.8 billion hostile offer for Illumina last year but walked away when the company demanded a higher price.

Thermo Fisher’s products range from basic scientific equipment, such as test tubes, to advanced mass spectrometry equipment used to determine the chemical structure of molecules. It also sells chemicals, agents and antibodies used in the manufacturing and research of biotech medicine, and in recent years has increased its portfolio of products for testing air and water quality and food safety.

The Life Technologies deal would boost Thermo Fisher’s presence in scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. Thermo Fisher has been quite acquisitive in recent years, buying Phadia for $3.5 billion in 2011 and Dionex for $2.1 billion in 2010.

Thermo Fisher has obtained committed bridge financing from J.P. Morgan and Barclays, which also acted as the company’s financial advisers.

Life Tech’ board met on Saturday to review three takeover offers.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday the company chose Thermo Fisher over Sigma-Aldrich Corp, a maker of chemicals for research laboratories, and a private equity consortium consisting of Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, KKR & Co and Temasek Holdings.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Moelis & Co advised Life Tech.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz and WilmerHale are legal counsel to Thermo Fisher, and Cravath, Swaine and Moore is legal counsel to Life Tech.

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg in New York, Esha Dey in Bangalore and Susan Kelly in Chicago; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Lisa Von Ahn)

(VIA. Reuters)

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Startup Founder Ramona Pierson Has Survived Worse Things Than Most People Can Imagine


Everybody has a story but few are as painful and triumphant as Ramona Pierson’s.

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Pierson is the CEO of a stealth startup, Pierson Labs.

She is also, quite possibly, the most inspiring tech founder in the Valley today. And that’s saying something.

Business Insider recently met with her and her cofounder Nelson González at the startup’s Palo Alto headquarters.

Pierson is lucky to be alive. She’s also lucky to be walking, talking and thinking, much less be leading her second startup, developing big-data education software.

In 1984, when she was 22 years old, she went out jogging with her dog and was hit by a drunk driver. The car crushed her face, throat, heart lungs and legs. At the hospital, she fell into an 18-month coma. And then she had a heart attack.

Instead of killing her, the heart attack woke her up. She came to weighing 64 pounds, blind and unable to walk, talk, eat.

Doctors rebuilt her through more than 50 surgeries: a plastic nose, a new eye, lots of titanium used as bones and some bones taken from cadavers, too.

“Eventually, I started to look human,” she says in her stirring 2011 Ted Talk about the ordeal.

Today, she looks more than human. She looks like the attractive, fit, ex-Marine that she is. But it was a long road to recovery involving having to relearn everything.

In the marines, Pierson learned to code. Her experience lead to an interest in neuroscience so during her military service she wrote algorithms to diagnose brain injuries from the battlefield.

That lead to an interest in how people learn and a job as director of technology for Seattle Public Schools. There she created a social network for students and teachers called “The Source.”

And that lead to her first startup, SynapticMash, an education software company sold to Promethean World for $10 million in 2010.

But her injuries still plagued her. The cadaver bone in her leg randomly broke while she was running and needed to be replaced. Just last year, her toes needed to be fixed.

She became so good at living through surgeries that she actually negotiated the sale of SynapticMash from the hospital recovery room 15 minutes after an operation. She refused the pain medicine and instead popped open her laptop, hopped onto Skype and sold her company, she told Business Insider.

Despite her history, Pierson is a cheerful, hopeful, driven person with a big sense of humor and an enormous amount of charisma. A screenwriter for Moneyball is even writing screenplay about her life.
Her new company is likely to be more successful than the last one. Pierson Labs will exit stealth next month and the company already has some big customers, we’ve heard, and a partner at venture capital firm Khosla is her personal advisor.

The company is home to about 20 employees who are building a big-data platform called Declara. It’s a combo analytics/social networking platform to help teachers create more personalized lessons for students. It can also be used by enterprises for training, González told us.
Plus the company is working on other interesting projects. For instance, Hall of Famer 49er’s football player Ronnie Lott is an investor, Pierson says. He wants to make football safer and is looking at Pierson’s tech for that. By attaching sensors to player’s bodies, the platform can analyze bio-mechanic data and assess injuries.

Pierson is also half of a Valley power couple. Her partner Debra Chrapaty, Zynga’s former CIO, just became CEO for Khosla-backed cloud-storage startup Nirvanix.

(VIA. Business Insider)

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Here’s Russia’s Badass Next-Generation Stealth Strategic Bomber


This last week has been pretty hectic in terms of next generation concepts: Boeing unveiled the updated version of the F/A-XX sixth-generation fighter concept, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works released a new UCLASS Concept video and, after some years of evaluation and study, Russia’s PAK-DA conceptual design was given the official approval.

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In a meeting with Russian lawmakers, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said that all the relevant documents were signed allowing the industry to begin the development of systems for the plane.
With its flying wing shape and radar-evading capabilities, the subsonic PAK-DA is destined to replace Moscow’s aging fleet of 63 Tu-95 Bear and 13 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers.

According to the RIA Novosti, Russian Air Force commanders insisted that the aircraft will be equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems and armed with new nuclear-capable long-range cruise missiles, and will be able to carry a wide array of conventional precision guided weapons.
The new plane will enter production stage by 2020 with the first bomber in active service by 2025-2030 timeframe.

The PAK-DA will not be hypersonic (even if it will probably carry hypersonic missiles) as opposed to the American X-51, Falcon HTV-2 and other hypersonic development programs on which the U.S.’s perspective strike capability will be based.

A “sixth-generation” pilotless strategic bomber based on the PAK-DA could come around 2040-2050.

(VIA. Business Insider)

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Kermit Gosnell’s Nightmare Abortion Clinic Was A Multimillion-Dollar Business


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Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is accused of killing newborn babies at his filthy clinic, and it was apparently very lucrative work.
Gosnell allegedly “snipped” the spinal cords of seven newborns after performing illegal late-term abortions. Prosecutors believe he killed many other fetuses in their third-trimester and destroyed related records.
Gosnell is also accused of running an absolutely filthy clinic — known as the Women’s Medical Society — that had untrained staff give at least one patient a fatal dose of the painkiller Demerol.

Catering to women who were so pregnant they couldn’t get abortions anywhere else, Gosnell’s clinic became a “huge moneymaker” by charging $3,000 for a late-term abortions, according to a scathing, 281-page grand jury report that lays out the allegations against him.

The grand jury estimated Gosnell took in at least $1.8 million a year, mostly in cash, using figures provided by Women’s Medical Society staff.
That amount doesn’t include the money Gosnell allegedly took in from his “side business” writing illegal prescriptions. One law enforcement agent said Gosnell was one of Pennsylvania’s top three prescribers of the addictive painkiller Oxycontin.

Gosnell likely got to keep most of that money, especially since one of his key staff members was a 15-year-old high school student he allegedly paid $8.50 an hour.

Another unlicensed doctor who worked at the clinic says he was paid $300 a week.

While his workers remained poor, Gosnell allegedly made millions. Prosecutors say he cut every corner he could — reusing disposable medical supplies again and failing to employ trained staff. Gosnell went for a jog or a swim during the day while women were laboring in his clinic, one worker told prosecutors.

On the surface, it might have seemed like Gosnell was “giving back” to the poor West Philly neighborhood where his clinic was located. Gosnell grew up in that neighborhood. He was also African-American and served a number of African-American clients.

But Gosnell’s business was not about his patients’ health, prosecutors allege. It seems he was running his gruesome operation in the heart of a poor neighborhood purely for profit.

(VIA. Business Insider)

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Victoria’s Secret Manager: ‘Our Customers Are Getting Younger And Younger’


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A Victoria’s Secret store manager recently revealed that she gets frequent complaints that merchandise isn’t small enough to fit young girls.
“Our customers are getting younger and younger every year,” the woman said in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. “It’s crazy to see 13-year-olds buying lacy underwear.”

[NOTE: While the woman's identity was verified by moderators on Reddit, Business Insider can't independently confirm her identity.]

The manager said that customers frequently complain that they can’t get merchandise in even smaller sizes of the brand’s Pink line for teens.
“We get complaints ALL the time that our merchandise isn’t sized small enough to fit younger girls,” the woman said. “We have middle schoolers and high schoolers who come in and can’t find Pink yoga pants or clothing small enough.”

The brand was criticized recently after an executive said that the brand was ramping up marketing efforts toward teens. The Pink line is technically for college students.

“When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be?” Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said at a conference. “They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”

After Burgdoerfer’s comments were reported by Bloomberg News, thousands of parents signed a petition to pull panties printed with “Call me” and “Now or never.”

The store manager said she thinks the brand needs to work harder to accommodate its youngest customers.

“We still sell an array of thongs and ‘sexy’ bras in Pink,” the woman wrote. “College women wear thongs, they wear lingerie…but it’s taboo for teenagers to do so. Our marketing just isn’t reaching the people it used to.”

(VIA. Business Insider)

'PIPPI LONGSTOCKING' BUSTED FOR ASSAULT

‘PIPPI LONGSTOCKING’ BUSTED FOR ASSAULT


'PIPPI LONGSTOCKING' BUSTED FOR ASSAULT

Tami Erin — who played the title role in the 1988 movie “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” and is now pretty smokin’ hot — was arrested for assault on Thursday for allegedly roughing up her roommate … TMZ has learned.

According to Walnut Creek PD in northern California, Erin was placed under citizen’s arrest by a neighbor who heard Erin and her male roommate arguing. Police say at some point, the roommate called out for help and that’s when the neighbor came rushing to the scene and placed Erin under arrest until police arrived.

Police eventually booked Erin for assault and she was released Friday morning. They say the victim had no visible injuries and the case has been passed on to the DA for review.

We attempted to reach out to Erin for a date comment … so far, no word back.

(VIA. TMZ)

SLY STALLONE Settles Legal Beef With 'Celeb' Contractor  Read more- http-::www.tmz.com:2013:04:13:sylvester-stallone-settles-lawsuit-contractor:#ixzz2QUBzGCXi  Visit the TMZ Store- http-::tmzstore.com

SLY STALLONE Settles Legal Beef With ‘Celeb’ Contractor


Sly Stallone has settled a nuclear battle he was having on the homefront … TMZ has learned.

SLY STALLONE Settles Legal Beef With 'Celeb' Contractor  Read more- http-::www.tmz.com:2013:04:13:sylvester-stallone-settles-lawsuit-contractor:#ixzz2QUBzGCXi  Visit the TMZ Store- http-::tmzstore.com

Sly put an end to his $1.4 million lawsuit against contractor Mohamed Hadid, who allegedly had charged top-of-the-line prices for a job that would have been unbecoming in a double wide.

We don’t know how much money changed hands, but sources connected with the case tell TMZ, “Sly was smiling.”

The actor claimed Hadid — who has appeared on “Shahs of Sunset” — charged him a fortune for a high end kitchen island but installed cheap wood veneer/plywood. And the complaints went on and on.

In Sly’s lawsuit, filed by Marty Singer, he blamed Lisa Vanderpump, who gave Hadid a four-star referral.

Case closed.

(VIA. TMZ)

Report- Collins supports Manchin-Toomey background checks plan

Report: Collins supports Manchin-Toomey background checks plan


Report- Collins supports Manchin-Toomey background checks plan

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she will support a proposal to expand background checks for commercial gun sales, according to a report Saturday.

The Manchin-Toomey proposal is “a responsible breakthrough from two people who have far better NRA rankings than I have,” Collins told NBC News.

Collins joins Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois in supporting the measure, which would require background checks for online and gun-show gun sales. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reached a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) last week and said Kirk would support it.

The National Rifle Association said last week that it opposed the measure and that it will consider “votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals” in its evaluations of political candidates.

The plan could come up for a vote as soon as Tuesday as the Democrat-controlled Senate begins debate on a gun control bill spurred by the shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Conn., in December. Collins met with victims’ families in Washington last week while she considered the Manchin-Toomey plan.

A spokesperson for Collins did not immediately respond to a request for comment from POLITICO.

(VIA. Politico)

Irrigation units are pictured in southwest Kansas near Dodge City Kansas

Drought risk alive this year in U.S. crop belt – meteorologist


(Reuters) – Winter snow and early spring rains have helped ease the drought in the United States crop belt, but there is still a lack of moisture in lower levels of soils, leaving crop yields vulnerable, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday.

Irrigation units are pictured in southwest Kansas near Dodge City Kansas

Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist for MDA Weather Services told a weather conference in Chicago that the U.S. Plains and the western Midwest are still in the worst drought in more than 50 years.

“Subsoil moisture is still lacking. Moisture has improved in the top two inches of soils but not in the subsoil” or lower levels, Tapley said.

MDA Weather Services is forecasting a drier-than-normal growing season but not the extreme dryness that slashed corn and soybean production during the summer of 2012.

Corn, soybean and wheat yield per acre will be below trendline but better than the harvest from last year’s drought-stricken crop, Tapley said.

“Topsoil in Nebraska is above average but subsoil is below average. If dryness persists it won’t take long to dry out the soils,” Tapley said.

Nebraska, one of the top five corn producing states in the United States, remains in drought as does much of the Plains and other areas of the Midwest roughly from Iowa and Missouri westward. The eastern half of the Midwest has near normal soil moisture reserves.

Tapley said MDA Weather Services was forecasting warmer weather and below-normal rainfall in May which will be conducive to rapid planting of this year’s corn and soybean crops.

For the summer growing season, the weather company is forecasting a warm pattern for the central and eastern United States, drier than normal weather for the Plains and southern Midwest but “dryness won’t be nearly as extreme as last year,” he said.

Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Climatologist told the gathering of risk managers and others interested in crop weather that the next couple of weeks will remain colder than usual and it will remain wet, which will stall spring field work in many areas until nearly May.

Taylor also forecast a warmer and drier than normal summer growing season.

“We’ve had three years straight of below trendline yields and we’re likely to have a fourth one this year,” Taylor said. “Drought is likely to persist and expand west.”

MDA Weather Services is forecasting corn yields this year at 154 bushels per acre and soybean yields at 43 bushels, Tapley said.

Last year’s drought-reduced U.S. corn crop averaged 147.2 bushels per acre and two years ago the yield per acre was 152.8. The soybean yield last year was 41.9 bushels and two years ago 43.5 bushels per acre, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

(Reporting by Sam Nelson; Editing by Grant McCool)

(VIA. Reuters)