Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based insurtech startup Fedo has raised $1 million in pre Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. This is Unicorn India's fifth investment from its Rs 400 crore Fund II. The funding round saw participation from SEA fund along with Ashish Mehrotra, Former MD and CEO, Max Bupa.

Founded in 2017 by Prasanth Madavana and Arun Mallavarapu, Fedo is a Bengaluru-based insurtech startup, which has built an AI/ML platform that leverages the power of deep tech and medical research to automate underwriting in the health and life insurance sector. It uses computer vision and AI algorithms to help insurers enhance sales, reduce costs, and enrich the quality of their portfolio.

According to a statement released by the company, Fedo plans to deploy the funds raised in launching the world's first ever image-based underwriting platform this year that would enable insurance on boarding in less than 60 seconds. It is also working with a global player to dynamically price retail and group premiums as well as plans to launch its operations in South East Asia and Australia this year.

Fedo

Team at Fedo

Speaking on the investment, Prasanth Madavana, Co-founder, Fedo, said,

“Our vision is to offer AI backed solutions to insurance providers, which enables early identification of potential health risks by using non invasive methods thereby reducing out of pocket expenditures of individuals and making insurance accessible, affordable, and personalised.”

Fedo works with many health and insurance players in India and abroad with data driven smart portfolio management. Apart from this, the startup also supports population risk predictions, partnering with health departments of local governments in India and globally.

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, said,

“India is one of the most under-insured countries in the world. A big reason for this is that many people may want to take insurance but they don’t know which product works for them or covers ailments. Fedo has the capability to deploy AI and assess your health related risks. With COVID situation entering into the community stage in India and coming back in the second wave in other countries, the awareness about getting a health cover is on the rise. Insurtech players like Fedo are positioned right to leverage this trend.” 

Edited by Megha Reddy

Original Source: yourstory.com

Twice each year, every U.S. state except Hawaii and Arizona transition from daylight saving time (DST) to standard time and back again.1 Yet, the research is quite clear that meddling with time, and therefore sleep, has negative effects on your health.

DST was first introduced in 1918 when it was called “fast time.”2 The law was signed by the president to support the war effort. It followed a similar initiative in Germany that went into effect in 1916.3 After the war ended, the law was repealed and then reinstated during World War II.4 Three weeks after World War II ended, the law was again repealed.

By 1963, Time magazine called the resulting state of confusion a “chaos of clocks.”5 Nearly 20 years after the end of World War II, DST was restored under the Uniform Time Act.6 This standardized when DST would begin and end, and gave states the option to stay on standard time year-round.

In 1973, Congress determined DST should be observed all year, but this was again changed in 1974 when the clocks were moved forward in the spring and fell back an hour in the fall.7 In 1986 the time officially changed at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October.

The date in the fall changed in 2005 to the first Sunday in November in response to lobbying from the golf, barbecue and candy companies, which wanted more daylight during the evening hours to accommodate Halloween night and the traditional passing of sugar treats.8 The current dates and times have remained unchanged since 2007.

Long-Term Health Effects of Daylight Saving Time

Part of the risk posed by DST is that it can shrink the average amount of sleep an adult gets by up to 20 minutes during transitions.9 Chronic sleep disruption contributes to a rising number of people who are obese.10 Dr. Chris Winter, author of “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It,” explains how sleep is an integral part of your eating patterns by affecting the hormones ghrelin and leptin:11

“Appetite in general is often not the body requesting food; it’s the body anticipating food. When your body knows you eat lunch around 12:30 p.m. or so every day, it anticipates and prepares for the meal.

These two hormones are intimately associated with sleep, which is part of why when we’re not sleeping well, we tend to overeat. It’s a tight hormonal balance and daylight-saving shifts can absolutely throw it off.”

A lack of sleep may also raise the risk you can experience a fatal accident. Dr. Beth Ann Malow from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and colleagues published a commentary reviewing large epidemiological studies that document these negative health effects.12 Malow commented on their findings:13

“People think the one-hour transition is no big deal, that they can get over this in a day, but what they don’t realize is their biological clock is out of sync. It’s not one hour twice a year. It’s a misalignment of our biologic clocks for eight months of the year.

When we talk about DST and the relationship to light, we are talking about profound impacts on the biological clock, which is a structure rooted in the brain. It impacts brain functions such as energy levels and alertness.”

Another team of researchers published an analysis of the effect daylight saving time has on a spectrum of diseases.14 They gathered data using a population-based, cross-sectional analysis from an insurance claim data set of over 129 million patients in the U.S. and Sweden.

They evaluated the effect shifting time by one hour twice each year had on hundreds of age- and sex-specific health conditions. Their data confirmed past research results that heart attacks,15 accidents,16 mental health concerns17 and immune-related diseases18 increase during the time shift.

The analysis also revealed several surprises. For instance, it showed an increase in substance abuse in men ages 41 to 60 near DST.19 They also found immune-related disorders that had not been associated in the past with daylight saving time occur more often in the first week following the spring DST shift.

The analyses revealed a higher number of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and increases in renal failure.20

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to report the DST-related RRs [relative risk] of disorders involving the digestive system (such as noninfective enteritis and colitis), which rose three percent after the spring DST shift in females over 60 and six percent in males under ten.”

Your Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Is Involved

Your body runs on an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm. When you mess up this internal clock, your cells are exposed to an unusual amount of stress. Many of the health conditions attributed to the biannual time change are because these internal clocks are not easily reprogrammed and are synchronized to a 24-hour cycle of light and dark.21

Another system in the body responsible for regulating your internal clock is located in the hypothalamus and called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).22 It functions through hormonal and chemical signals to synchronize your internal clock, which in turn regulates your sleep-wake cycle and has an effect on the regulation of other physiological activities.

These activities include your core body temperature, neuroendocrine function, memory and psychomotor activity.23 The SCN is made up of multiple circadian oscillator neurons that function a little like a pacemaker.

Although your body uses several environmental cues to regulate your circadian rhythm, the most important is your exposure to light. Your SCN produces an electrical output using a specific rhythm in response to light.24 Aging and sleep deprivation will have a negative effect on the electrical amplitude of your SCN, which is essential for optimal behavioral and physiological mechanisms.

There’s growing evidence suggesting your SCN contributes to cognitive performance and overall health. When there’s a negative impact on this 24-hour rhythm it increases your risk for depression, sleep disorders, neurodegenerative disease and cancer.25

Since your SCN responds to light, disruption in light exposure can trigger negative health effects. As the Earth rotates, your body clock adjusts to light changes, including seasonal change.26

However, the sudden adjustments that come with time changes in the spring and fall are what researchers believe triggers the increased incidence of heart attack, stroke, traffic accidents and a higher number of injuries.

Fred Turek from Northwestern University directs the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology and says this about a one-hour time change twice a year: “You might not think that a one-hour change is a lot. But it turns out that the master clock in our brain is pretty hard-wired.”27

Data Don’t Support Daylight Saving Time

One of the reasons given for keeping DST, despite strong evidence it has negative health effects, is the potential it may help save energy. However, as this short video demonstrates, while it may have originally reduced energy use in the early 1900s, the cost difference for a single-family in modern times is just $4 each year.

A second argument is that it offers people more sunlight after work to enjoy recreational activities. Theoretically, this may lead to more physical activity and better health. However, a study published in 2014,28 which gathered data from people living in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, found it did not make a difference in the amount of time outdoors, but had an effect on the types of activities.

They concluded, “… the potential for DST to serve as a broad-based intervention that encourages greater sports/recreation participation is not supported by this analysis.”

Financial losses are also felt in the stock market. An analysis published in the American Economic Review revealed each time the clocks changed there was an impact on the function of the financial markets.29 The scientists believe desynchronized sleep reasonably explained the effect on the market that was different from other Mondays on the two weekends when the time changes.

When a potential $4 savings in energy is compared against the loss of finances, productivity and rising health care costs from injuries and illness, it’s apparent moving the clocks in the spring and the fall is not an effective way of managing human and environmental resources.

Experts also disagree about how long it takes your body to recover from the time change. Till Roenneberg is a German chronobiologist who says his studies demonstrate your body’s circadian clock never adjusts during DST. In an interview with a reporter from National Geographic, he said:30

“The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired. Light doesn’t do the same things to the body in the morning and the evening. More light in the morning would advance the body clock, and that would be good. But more light in the evening would even further delay the body clock.”

Europe Is Ditching DST in 2021

Many Europeans will soon not have to struggle with a biannual time change. March 26, 2019, the European Parliament voted to end DST in 2021.31 The Guardian reported that member states will be allowed to “choose whether to remain on ‘permanent summer’ or ‘permanent winter’ time under the draft directive.”32

Europeans call DST “summertime” and standard time is “wintertime.” This means countries that opted to remain permanently on summertime will make their final adjustments in March 2021. Countries that decide to remain on permanent wintertime will change their clocks for the last time in October 2021.

As more published data establish the negative effects on health, finances and productivity, the tide is beginning to turn in the U.S. with state bills introduced each year that propose changes to DST.33

Tips to Transition When the Clock ‘Falls Back’

Until DST is either repealed or remains in place year-round, you’ll have to make changes to your sleep schedule twice a year. In this short video I share several strategies to help you fall asleep and to improve the quality of your sleep.

Small shifts in your circadian timing are happening all year since many ignore their body’s internal clock, either by necessity to accommodate their work schedule or by choice.

Pushing the limit of your body clock by getting up early and staying up late may not be worth it when it comes to your long-term health. University of Alabama associate professor Martin Young has suggested several natural strategies to help resync your body after a time change, including:34

Wake up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday, to minimize the impact of getting up earlier on Monday morning
Go outside in the sunlight in the early morning
Exercise in the mornings over the weekend, in keeping with your overall level of health and fitness
Consider setting your clock ahead on Friday evening, allowing an extra day to adjust over the weekend

I would also add to these recommendations the suggestions from the video above and the following:

Practice good sleep hygiene, including sleeping in complete darkness, checking your bedroom for electromagnetic fields and keeping your bedroom temperature cool enough for optimal sleep. For a full report about how to maximize the quality of your sleep, see “Sleep — Why You Need It and 50 Ways to Improve It.”
Optimize your vitamin D level to support your immune function, which is especially important during cold and flu season.
Manage your stress with whatever stress-busting techniques work for you. Consider using yoga, exercise, meditation or Emotional Freedom Techniques.
Eat dinner earlier and pay attention to your diet, making sure you are consuming plenty of fresh, whole foods, preferably organic, and minimal amounts of processed foods and fast foods; keep your sugar consumption low, especially fructose. I invite you to review our optimized nutrition plan to help you develop an eating plan that supports your overall health.
Consider encouraging your legislature to change DST by signing a petition to your congresspersons or getting involved in your state to pass a resolution.

Original Source: articles.mercola.com

Future Group founder Kishore Biyani on Wednesday said the homegrown retail major lost nearly Rs 7,000 crore revenue in first three-four months of the COVID-19 pandemic due to closing of stores, which led him to sell his business to Reliance Industries.

In August this year, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries announced acquisition of retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business from the Future Group as going concerns on a slump sale basis for Rs 24,713 crore.

"We got into a trap to be very honest with COVID-19. In the first 3-4 months, we lost nearly Rs 7,000 crore of revenue, Biyani said at the Phygital Retail Convention.

There was no way the company could have survived losing such an amount, he said, adding the problem is rent doesn't stop, interest (on debt) doesn't stop .

"We did too many acquisitions in the last six-seven years… I thought there was no other answer but to exit," he stated.

He said for retailers the worst is yet to come.

"We have designed business to be profitable at 90 percent of our targets. In any scenario… we will not be able to touch 70-80 percent (of target)… If you look at long-term planning 5 to 10 years — it will not be easy for physical stores," he said.

Through the deal made in August with Reliance Industries, the Ambani led firm will acquire Future Retail, which owns BigBazaar that sells everything from groceries to cosmetics and apparel, and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd that operates fashion discount chain Brand Factory.

reliance industries mukesh ambani

Image: Flickr

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While Reliance will take over Future Consumer, which sells food, home, and personal care products, Future Group's financial and insurance business is not part of the deal.

Future Retail operated 1,550 stores. Its flagship brands BigBazaar, FBB and Foodhall, Easyday, Heritage Fresh and WHSmith. Future Lifestyle Fashion operates 354 stores.

Investment from Reliance would help Future's founder Biyani pare debt.

Last week, US online retailer Amazon slapped a legal notice on Future Group, alleging that the retailer's Rs 24,713 crore asset sale to Reliance Industries violated an agreement with the ecommerce giant.

"We have initiated steps to enforce our contractual rights," a spokesperson for the Seattle-based ecommerce giant said. "As the matter is sub-judice, we can't provide details."

Amazon last year bought a 49 percent stake in one of Future's unlisted firms, Future Coupons Ltd, with the right to buy into flagship Future Retail after a period between 3 and 10 years. Future Coupons owns a 7.3 percent stake in Future Retail.

In August this year, Future reached an agreement to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance.

The deal is awaiting regulatory approvals.

Edited by Megha Reddy

Get access to select LIVE keynotes and exhibits at TechSparks 2020. In the 11th edition of TechSparks, we bring you best from the startup world to help you scale & succeed. Register now! #TechSparksFromHome

Original Source: yourstory.com

Notwithstanding the recent headwinds from Covid-19, India’s largely consistent economic growth for more than a decade has precipitated an unprecedented expansion of financial services in the country. With rising disposable incomes, more and more Indians are accessing banking, insurance and mutual funds, among others.

The advent and penetration of the internet has further simplified these daily financial tasks. However, in an era of inter-connected world of devices with cyber technology at its core, lack of awareness as well as the prevalence of ill-designed or inadequate security systems is always a challenge.

With 160 crore bank account holders, 32.8 crore life insurance and 47.2 crore health insurance policyholders, 2.78 crore registered investors with stock exchanges and 9.26 crore mutual fund accounts, India has a mammoth financial sector.

The sheer scale generating gigantic volumes of data on a continuous basis renders the sector vulnerable to frauds. As such, a large scale cyber security enlightenment drive is the need of the hour.

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Recent data breaches illustrate the risks

Although banks are considered as one of the world's most secure and sophisticated enterprises, banks are becoming a popular target for new-age hackers. Only last year, the RBI had to direct the banks to secure their customer data after reports of 1.3 million credit and debit card data of Indians found to be on sale on the dark net came out.

In another instance back in 2016, 32 lakh debit cards had to be recalled by several banks including State-run SBI on account of data breach. According to the latest RBI report, card and internet frauds, more than doubled to Rs 195 crore in 2019-20 from the previous year. Then last year, Aegon had to investigate a data breach involving 10,000 customers. Then this year, Religare is reported to have faced data leakage of 5 million customers and employees.

The modus operandi of a hacker

In recent times, unscrupulous hackers have evolved ingenious ways using unique and complex arrays of cyber-attacks to get past the ordinary security systems. The hackers are attempting to get hold of sensitive financial information of individuals, either from banking servers or an individual’s personal devices.

Infiltration of smartphonesOne of the ways of extracting a person’s financial information is by infiltrating his smartphone with malicious applications. When a user wishes to use an app requiring access credentials, a data-theft overlay mimicking the desired app user interface gets displayed tricking the user to think that he is clicking on the genuine app.

The unsuspecting user goes on to record the details of his access credentials which now get transferred to the hacker who now also has the app under his control.

Deploying banking Trojans

Going a step further, hackers also embed these fake applications with banking Trojans, such as bank bots’ cabarets pink slips intending to attack banks and stock brokerage firms with an eye on making hacking operations easier. These malware lock users using an Active Directory attack further bolting it up with many login attempts. These bots and Trojans are focused on stealing money from the bank accounts.

PhishingPhishing is another type of attack which involves the hacker sending an email to the victim claiming to be a trusted sender (like a bank or online shop), or by way of setting up fake websites claiming to be genuine.

A banking Trojan is attached to this email. Once the victim downloads it and opens it, the Trojan activates and steals information.

Retargeting real information from dark web using fake pages

Another method entails hackers first buying real account information in bulk quantities from the dark web and then retargeting those accounts using phishing emails. In such a phishing email, disguised hackers request victim to follow some simple procedures on a web page, which has been deliberately set up by hackers for stealing login information and other important credentials.

Macro malware

Hackers also employ what is known as macro malware which is developed using programs like VB Script programming language used for MS-Word and MS-Excel. Legitimate-looking files are usually sent via phishing email which comprises of malware-infected attachments such as CV by job seekers and cover letter reports in the form of MS Word files.

Even as several advanced antivirus programs claim to detect macro viruses, hackers are trying to stay ahead of the game. Now, malware can comfortably hide within a system for a long time that gives hackers ample time to infect the system of users.

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What is the way out?

First, financial institutions must identify micro malware during the initial phase itself with a view to pre-emptively block it. And for individuals, to protect your information and make India’s financial sector secure, some tips are as follows: never open or download any attachments on your device without knowing the context, Invest in a genuine and licensed antivirus software on all your devices, never click suspicious links within an email that claims to contain genuine intimation and abstain from sharing your personal details on social media.

Therefore, in order to mitigate financial risks and to rule out any breach, concerted steps are needed at both macro and micro levels. Banks and financial institutions must invest strategically towards improving cyber security with a view to protect customers as well secure the larger financial architecture of the country. More importantly, ordinary users need to be made aware of these risks.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Original Source: yourstory.com

Alteria Capital, which provides loans to startups, is one the three large companies that dominates India’s venture debt market. It was started by Vinod Murali and Ajay Hattangdi, former executives of Temasek-owned InnoVen Capital, which is among the three major venture debt firms in India. The third in the pack being Trifecta Capital. Venture debt or venture lending, simply explained, is debt financing typically for venture-backed companies. Unlike traditional bank loans, venture lending caters to startups and growth companies that may not necessarily have positive cashflow or hard assets to show as collateral.

“Venture dent is a mechanism for founders to reduce dilution when everything else is attractive. This is not a bailout product, this is not a last resort. It is the way you can optimise a good situation and make it even better,” says Alteria Capital Managing Partner Vinod Murali, during a late August chat with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

Alteria Capital has 28 companies in its portfolio including the likes of hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo, online learning platform Toppr, student housing startup Stanza Living, scooter rental platform Vogo, and digital lender Lendingkart.

“It (venture debt) provides you insurance, it provides you time, it gives you that extra oxygen which you may need, that you don’t know if you have a necessity (for) or not, up front. In February, nobody thought the rest of the year was going to play out like this, nobody would have forecast that,” says Vinod. 

As the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 continued to spread rapidly across the world, it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March. The unforeseen event and its adverse impact has left several businesses and economies across the globe reeling. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called it a “crisis like no other’ and its June projection estimates the global economy to grow at – 4.9 per cent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below its April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast, according to the IMF

“It’s like an umbrella you buy before it starts raining, once it starts raining everything gets expensive. Before it starts raining you grab it, keep it. If you don’t use it, great for you, if you use it, you’ve always had it with you — that's venture debt. It’s a debt product, it’s a monthly repayment of principal and interest but it gives a little bit more time for founders,” explains Vinod, who is an IIT-IIM alumnus.

The venture debt market in India is seeing transactions upwards of 300 million to 400 million in a year, with 80 per cent to 85 per cent of it being financed through the three large players Alteria, InnoVen and Trifecta, according to the former Citibank executive.

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Capital in the times of COVID-19

The pandemic has been a difficult time for most businesses, as cashflow has dried up for many. Capital has been critical for several companies to stay alive. While debt financing may be one of the options to raise capital, it could also sound the death knell for some, warns Vinod.

He explains, “While there is a fairly overwhelming need for capital I think it’s also important to distinguish as to what may be appropriate (depending on) what kind of companies, what kind of situation, because you can take a lot of equity and it will be sub-optimal (and) you don’t kill the company but if you take a lot of debt you can actually kill the company. So one needs to be very careful both founders and lenders alike in figuring out what the right fit is.”

Money

Taking on too much debt can kill a company, warns Vinod.

Vinod stresses upon the fact that venture debt is definitely not the right fit for all in need of capital.  “It’s not meant for all companies, I’ll be the first one to say that. Historically, we have seen 25 per cent -30 per cent of funded startups to be appropriate for venture debt and it may seem like an astonishingly small number but the reason is every single company that has taken venture funding is equity funded,” he says.

Alteria spent March to May largely figuring out what its portfolio needed. “We were in firefighting mode, which I think is true for most of the ecosystem,” says Vinod while adding that since June there’s been a lot more understanding on what’s working and where the damage is most heavy. “So we have also managed to calibrate and figure out which are the newer areas in which we can participate and help provide more capital to companies,” he says.

Unsurprisingly, edtech is one the sectors doing well through the pandemic and thus attracting deals from investors. However, even if a startup is part of a sector that is seeing tailwinds, it is important to have a differentiation factor to be able to seal deals with potential investors, according to Vinod.

“It’s not just that if you are an edtech company, everybody wants to give you money. You have to assure you are a good edtech company and you are showing some differentiation. There is a reason why companies are attractive and it’s not just the market,” he says.

Watch the full conversation here:

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During the current times, raising venture debt over venture funding may make sense for several startups, as the pandemic has hit many of their valuations hard. Raising capital through venture funding is likely to force many startups to dilute their equity heavily, making venture debt a more attractive option.

For businesses from the worst hit sectors, however, there is little or no interest from venture capital and venture debt firms alike. “There are some sectors that are fairly badly hit that involve physical community, which involves interaction necessarily for the way in which the way the business is done and this could be across travel, hospitality, offline retail, and all of those are going to take a long time to recover. And we are seeing low to no equity interest in those spaces, so consequently from a venture debt perspective these companies would be difficult to target right now,” says Vinod.

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Original Source: yourstory.com

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