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February 28, 2014

Companies (Ideas) for the Times: Glow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Krupa @ 5:45 pm
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One of the promises of big data is better event predictions.  A prediction has a percentage confidence interval, but the outcome is binary, the event either happens or not, as anyone who has gone “all-in” with pocket aces and lost knows.  The win was, however, highly probable.  So what.

Talk to any fertility expert and they will eventually get around to talking about probabilities too.  There is a data model for getting pregnant and Glow is distributing just that to want-to-be parents. Glow is also demonstrating a very practical application for two other modern trends: crowd-funding and the “quantifiable self” (more on this in the future).  Couples pay $50/month to use the Glow application and monitoring system, which provides ongoing predictive information for the ideal times for a couple to attempt to reproduce, among other things (if you click on the website the FAQ section will take you through the necessary data inputs, but body temperature is one of the inputs, for example).  

The $50/month contribution is held in a funding pool.  If a successful pregnancy doesn’t occur within 10 months that couple gets pro-rata funding from the pool to go against the cost of fertility treatment.  How much money is in the funding pool?  All of the money paid in by couples that did succeed in getting pregnant within 10 months.

The bet is that, over time, with more data and experience, the Glow application will give couples better advice and enable a greater percentage of natural pregnancies, leaving more money in the pool to help finance those couples that absolutely need fertility treatments.

Here’s the link.  Please check it out.  I think it’s a very important idea.

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February 27, 2014

Mt Gox – Bitcoin / How Bitcoin is Supposed to Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Krupa @ 2:56 pm
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I have to admit, I am hoping Bitcoin survives its current onslaught of controversy. It’s hard to trust governments, and I find the idea of a borderless currency very intriguing. I am also very curious about the prospect of a technology that allows for services to be built around the concept of programmable money.

I am going to post more on these issues in the future. For right now I thought the attached video would be interesting for those of us looking for insight into the failure of the Mt Gox exchange. After all, as you will see, the intent of the Bitcoin protocols are to make stealing money extremely difficult.

Another take away from this video might be to note how deeply computer science and complex mathematics have penetrated the essential day-to-day activities of our lives.

The prospect of Bitcoin is one of a supply of money and a corresponding anonymous payment system that is controlled by computers and their operators/programmers. Bitcoin’s first value proposition is that it has the potential to be a more reliable store of value than a fiat currency and banking system regulated by a sovereign government.

As you will see, the inter-workings of Bitcoin are very interesting, complex and hard to understand. We are aggressively building modern society around computer technology (including complex mathematical encryption), and to me, this video gives some sense of what that actually might mean.

February 26, 2014

Copying VC’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Krupa @ 12:17 pm
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Here’s an interesting article by Joel Dreyfuss at CNBC.com titled “How to Invest Like a VC in the Hottest Technology”.  I got a little play here for our healthcare investment strategy, and I think it caught Joel’s attention because it definitely is the case that some of the more disruptive technology ideas like SaaS computing and mobile are earning a way into the healthcare industry, where business model and immediate ROI tend to dominate technology purchases.  More to come on this throughout the year as healthcare technology starts to gain mindshare in the press and public market investment community.  

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