MediBuddy seizes US$20 million in Series B funding round

The investment will be used by MediBuddy to strengthen its doctor & hospital base, product, patient reach, technology, and brand

Indian health-tech company, MediBuddy has successfully secured US$20 million (around Rs 145 crore) from investors India Life Sciences Fund III, LLC and others. In a statement, the company said that the recent investment comes line to an initial funding of US$20 million raised under a Series B round in June 2020.

Sources close to the development state that the latest US$20 million funding was led by India Life Sciences Fund III, with involvement of other investors. The round incited new financing from JAFCO Asia Fund, TEAMFund LP, FinSight Ventures, ALES Global Japan, and Beyond Next Ventures. The round also included involvement of existing investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Rebright Partners and Milliways Ventures.

So far, MediBuddy has raised over USD 50 million, claim reports. Established by Enbasekar Dinadayalane and Satish Kannan, the MediBuddy platform entails a partner network of over 7,000 hospitals, 90,000 doctors, 3,000 diagnostic centers and 2,500 pharmacies. The platform has around 1,000-member team working across 22 cities in India.

Commenting on plans in line, Satish Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy, said that their firm orchestrates the infusion of the recently raised funds to further strengthen their hospital and doctor base, and enhance their patient reach, technology, product, and brand, consequently moving a step closer to the vision of providing quality healthcare services and solutions to billions of people.

Over the past few months, MediBuddy has incorporated leading industry professionals to thrive in critical areas, bolstering an already-strong team. While recent, the company received a proposal of a debt fund of around Rs 25 crore from InnoVen Capital, said Mr. Kannan.

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Operators in Australian live music industry warn of further job cuts

With several industries severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Australia’s live music industry is no exception. Most of the live entertainment operators estimate that the music industry will take until 2025 to recover from the impact of audience restrictions and shutdowns that have hampered it for almost a year.

Based on a survey conducted by Live Performance Australia (LPA), the apex body for live entertainment, on its more than 300 members, around 90% of them have stated that they are still dependent on the jobkeeper wage subsidy for continuing operations or for retaining the staff. One-third of the members who responded to the survey have stated that they will have to lay off the staff once the wage subsidy ends on March 28.

Speaking on the daunting situation, chief executive of LPA, Evelyn Richardson, stated that the pandemic has made a devastating impact on live entertainment. She also added that the industry has faced an estimated economic output loss of $24 billion along with a loss of $11 billion in terms of industry value.

Reportedly, the live performance sector has recorded a loss of around 80,000 jobs over the past 10 months.

Richardson further stated that although, the Australian Taxation Office has claimed that 90% of the 1.3 million jobs that were lost across the country have been restored, this does not reflect in the live performance industry. LPA is gradually getting its shows back, but under high restrictions due to which the business is expected to suffer heavily, she added.

Sources have confirmed that LPA has been in communication with Treasury and the federal arts minister, Paul Fletcher, pressing for targeted financial support until the end of 2021.

Last week, over 3,500 live music professionals had signed an open letter to Fletcher as well as the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, requesting for extending the deadline for jobkeeper beyond March 28 for the members working in the entertainment sector.

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AI software maker Mindtrace lands $3Mn in venture capital financing

Mindtrace, a Manchester-based AI software firm, has made headlines after picking up around $3 million as an investment from venture capital (VC) firms Bloc Ventures, Skylake Capital and current investor Mercia Asset Management. Sources indicate that Mindtrace might use these funds to boost its product roadmap and expand its go-to market capabilities such as strategic partnerships.

Speaking on the investment, Skylake Capital GM, Marcos Battisti said that Mindtrace has developed a platform that provides customers a unique blend of capabilities that include federated learning and few-shot learning. These capabilities are essential for democratization of AI. Furthermore, solutions developed by Mindtrace can help drive new AI capabilities at the edge.

Sir Hossein Yassaie, Chairman, Mindtrace, explained that in order to remain competitive in the digital era, enterprises can utilize solutions like deployment of persistent learning AI technology, learning on multiple platforms and sharing knowledge of new use case across other enterprises and partner networks, with low data labeling and AI model rebuilding requirement.

Meanwhile, Michael Dimelow, Chief Commercial Officer, Bloc Ventures, stated that major venture capital and technology firms have poured enormous funds into AI over the years incited by innovators that are dedicated on improving decision making capabilities or automating repetitive tasks.

He said that as the world is now entering into an era of AI, teaching computers new learning capabilities as well as cognitively process similar to human could be the next logical step in future technology roadmap.

Commenting on Mindtrace, Mr. Dimelow said that the company has been working on this challenge for over half a decade and their firm is excited to partner with the team at Mindtrace and see whether the goal of unsupervised learning could become a reality.

As per Ashwin Kumaraswamy, Investment Director, Mercia, said AI is of high significance to Mercia and Mindtrace is ideal for their firm as it aims at bringing a brain inspired AI platform that can make machines think more dynamically and learn continuously like humans.

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Universal airs global launch of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services

American music corporation, Universal Music Group (UMG), has reportedly launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, which is its new international division dedicated to serve independent artists and labels in music field. According to the company, this initiative has been inspired and influenced by the essence of the distinguished Virgin Records label.

Under this initiative, the US based Caroline, UMG-owned Capitol Music Group’s independent services division, as well as Caroline operations in Germany, UK, and France will be retitled as Virgin Music Label & Artist Services.

Moreover, this services division will also be launched in Spain and Mexico along with the launch of Latin operations in the US, across Miami and Los Angeles. UMG has claimed that this will be the world’s first completely integrated label services division for Latin music.

Reportedly, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, is expected to be a separate global operation of Ingrooves, which had been acquired by UMG in 2019, and since then has been focusing on accelerating the global expansion.

Expressing his delight on this new initiative, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, stated that this global launch marks an important evolution of its strategy of being a crucial partner and an accelerator for the finest independent artists and entrepreneurs in the music industry.

For the record, in the US, Virgin Label & Artist Services will run under the leadership of Jacqueline Saturn, as the President of the new division, and will report to Michelle Jubelirer, President and COO, Capitol Music Group.

In the UK, the new division will be led by Vanessa Higgins as MD, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services UK, and will report to David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK.

In France, the new division will be led by Thomas Lorain in the capacity of MD, Virgin Music Labels & Artist Services France.

In Germany, Tina Adams will be leading the new division as the Label Manager and will report to Frank Briegmann, Chairman & CEO of Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Music Central Europe.

In LATAM & Iberia, Virgin Music will be led by Víctor González, in the position of President, Virgin Music for the region.

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UMG & Big Hit Entertainment collaborate to launch a “Global” Boy Band in 2022

  • The Korean entertainment agency and the music giant will work together to announce a K-pop boy band in the United States
  • This partnership will prove beneficial for the future of K-pop and create new opportunities for artists around the world, possibly “rewriting global music history”

Universal Music Group (UMG) and Big Hit Entertainment, two of the most instrumental music companies in the world, have reportedly signed an extended partnership which will create new opportunities for musical technology, artists across the world and for K-pop.

For the record, Big Hit Entertainment is a Korean music agency that has global chart-topping artists like BTS, considered to be the ‘Beatles of the 21st century’, under their label. The company will work closely with Universal Music Group in assembling a K-pop boy band which will receive global exposure.

This move was initially announced in a private media show which was later reported as news to the public. Four important personnel from these companies, the CEO and Chairman of Big Hit Entertainment, Bang Si-Hyuk, Lenzo Yoon, CEO of Global & Business, Big Hit Entertainment, Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO & Chairman of Universal Music Group and the CEO & Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, John Janick, featured in an impactful video presentation to share the news.

The “global” K-pop boy band will make their debut alongside an American media partner in 2022. Big Hit Entertainment will collaborate with UMG’s Geffen Records, which boasts artists like Guns N’ Roses, Olivia Rodrigo and the late Avicii, to create a music label based in Los Angeles. This label will be used to release the new-artist project. The new boy band will follow the “K-pop system” that got global recognition to Big Hit clients like Tomorrow X Together, ENHYPEN and BTS.

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BioSteel establishes a multi-year partnership with U.S. Soccer Federation

  • The sports drink company will now be the official sponsor of USMNT, USWNT, Youth team and extended national teams
  • The multi-year agreement commences with a premium women’s soccer tournament, SheBelieves Cup, starting February 18, 2021 at the Exploria Stadium in Florida

BioSteel, a sports hydration company, has reportedly signed a multi-year partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation. This makes the company an official sponsor of U.S soccer. This deal initiates with the SheBelieves Cup, considered to be one of the top women’s soccer tournaments,which begins on February 18 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando with the final match scheduled on February 24.

This agreement was executed by Soccer United Marketing, who have been partners of U.S. Soccer for over 15 years. As part of the deal, BioSteel will provide their zero-sugar sports drink packed inside an eco-friendly tetra pak container. These drinks will be available to all national soccer teams of the United States, from USMNT, USWNT to extended national teams.

BioSteel products will be placed on the sidelines during practice sessions and matches, in training camps and in locker rooms as well. This will project the brand message of ‘Clean. Healthy. Hydration.’ across all levels of U.S. Soccer. BioSteel’s logo will be branded on squirt bottles, towels, cups and coolers placed on sidelines.

The company will gain substantial exposure through their in-stadium digital signatures. This will further expand with social and digital integrations, retail activities with brand ambassadors and Team BioSteel athletes.

John Celenza, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of BioSteel, has apparently stated that the company looks forward to making future investments in U.S. Soccer and they appreciate the Soccer Federation for choosing a healthy drink to hydrate their players without compromising the environment.

David Wright, the Chief Commercial Officer of U.S. Soccer Federation, reportedly stated that BioSteel is dynamic as a brand and that they are committed towards bolstering the Federations’ vision for future growth in the sport.

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Time Manufacturing Co. buys Ruthmann to enhance product portfolio

The move will provide both the companies with complementary products and services that allow them to improve their offerings and meet escalating customer demand  

Texas-based- Time Manufacturing Company has reportedly announced the completion of the purchase of European manufacturer of aerial work platform- Ruthmann. Based in Gescher-Hochmoor, Germany, Ruthmann carries a long history of developing superior quality, truck-mounted aerial work platforms across Europe which are made available in the market under notable brand names like Ecoline, Steiger, Ruthmann, and Bluelift.

Similarly, Time is a leading manufacturer of aerial lifts mainly for the telecommunications, infrastructure, forestry, and electric utility industries. The company is operational in the market through various brands such as Aspen Aerials, Versalift, and BrandFX.

In a statement, Curt Howell, CEO, Time Manufacturing Company, said that Ruthmann stands for reliability and quality. Through the partnership, both the companies will provide complementary products and services that allow both the parties to improve their offerings and meet the escalating demand of their customers.

For the record, the acquisition of Ruthmann is an integral step for the American company to develop a strong product portfolio that supports the growing technological needs of the electric utility, telecommunications, and other essential customers worldwide. Time has a robust international operation that showcases a remarkable opportunity to increase and promote the brands of Ruthmann to a wider audience.

Rolf Kulawik, Managing Director of Ruthmann, was reportedly quoted stating that the transaction aims at integrating the two complementary work trucks along with high access equipment manufacturers, increasing the product line with improving customer service.

Notably, Time Manufacturing Company will showcase its product lines across all its brands at the APEX Show in Netherlands in June 2021, and The Utility Expo in Louisville in September 2021.

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Super! signs a multi-year deal with live-streaming platform DICE

Super! a Paris-based promoter, has reportedly signed a new multi-year deal with DICE, a London-based cellular ticketing and live-streaming platform.

The new partnership would see Super! events endorsed to audiences across the world through the live streaming DICE platform. The deal also covers both live as well as live streamed events all throughout the promoters list of artists, including Caribou, Bicep, Jungle, Bon Iver, Disclosure, and The xx.

The deal would also be including the ticketing for Pitchfork Music Festival Paris.

Super!, established 15 years ago, specializes in folk, electronic, alternative and rock artists. The platform also produces and promotes several French festivals such as French Riviera’s MIDI festival, Villette Sonique, and Pitchfork Music Festival Paris.

Apart from ticketing, both the firms would also be joining forces on several special events, including a project named THEOREM, a novel series of monthly performances from R&B and Hip-Hop artists at venues throughout Paris.

Additionally, a brand-new event from Super! named SPIRITUS SANCTI would also be launched later this year at the Saint-Eustache Church located in Paris and would be held twice a month. These shows would be filmed as well as streamed by Brut. Last April, Super! introduced top-quality live streaming to its platform.

Julien Catala, founder, Super! stated that the firm is thrilled to start this new partnership with live streaming platform DICE. Catala is also equally thrilled by the notion of developing new types of events with DICE over the coming years.

Country Manager for DICE, France, Alba Gautier, stated that the platform is excited to onboard the impressive portfolio of Super! onto the DICE app.

Gautier added that both firms are working together to bring top-quality, memorable music moments to followers, offering one of the best buying experiences, from discovering the show to seeing their beloved artist on stage.

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Hyundai unveils new interior design for its EV platform, IONIQ 5

Motioning towards the idea of offering enhanced passenger comfort, Hyundai Motor Company has recently released images of its BEV model, IONIQ 5’s spacious interior. Sources acquaint with this development state that the IONIQ 5 will debut at Hyundai’s virtual world premiere on February 23rd, 2021.

Built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), IONIQ 5 houses a flat battery base that enables a more spacious and modular interior, offering flexible configurations to comfortably seat both passengers and their luggage.

The E-GMP platform enables integration of a longer wheelbase and flat floor, features that make IONIQ 5 stand out from other midsize crossovers, particularly those with IC (internal combustion) engines and traditional Steer-by-Wire systems.

Thanks to the flat floor design that allows the center console to slide back and forth, driver and passengers in the vehicle can enter and exit the cabin freely from either side when parked.

Expressing his views, SangYup Lee, Senior VP & Head, Hyundai Global Design Center, said that the IONIQ 5 is a statement of design that presents optimistic features that customers are looking for in the EV era.

Apparently, Hyundai believes in an imminent need for eco-conscious mobility solutions that have a lower impact on the environment. With this vision, the company’s designers have focused on using eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials in the IONIQ 5.

For example, the seats in the IONIQ 5 at cladded in a sustainable, eco-processed leather that is then dyed and treated with plant-based oil extractions squeezed from flaxseed. Similarly, other soft furnishings used in the cabin compose of textiles that are sourced from sustainable fibers like wool, sugar cane bio components, and poly yarns, as well as materials woven from fibers that are made from recycled PET plastic bottles.

Moreover, components such as switches, dashboard, steering wheel and door panels are layered with a polyurethane bio paint made from rape flowers and corn.

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UMG invests in Big Hit’s livestreaming content platform VenewLive

Universal Music Group is reportedly making an investment in VenewLive, the livestreaming content platform owned by K-pop giant, Big Hit Entertainment. The transaction also comprises Blackpink’s record label, YG Entertainment, as an investor.

The new backing will enable Big Hit to exercise the potential of livestreaming technology by extending the reach of its livestream events. Universal and YG will also have the opportunity to develop new avenues for their artists to connect with their fans.

According to the CEO of Big Hit Global, Lenzo Yoon, the company’s dream and objective is to offer the most advanced technology that is presently available so that fans could experience the content of the artists in the best manner plausible under any circumstances. Yoon also added that the company will continue to study how new attempts and technologies in various fields could have a positive impact on strengthening its fan experience and how these technologies could be introduced.

For the uninitiated, the venture behind VenewLive, KBYK Live, was jointly established by Kiswe, a video company based in New Jersey, and Big Hit in May 2020. The concert platform was launched shortly thereafter. As per records, VenewLive has already put on some of the biggest livestreaming concerts. One of these comprises BTS’s MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E, which was streamed in October 2020 and witnessed a peak audience of 993,000.

By making use of Kiswe’s technologies, VenewLive has also developed the capacity of converting every concert experience to fit the attributes of specific artists, allowing fans watching to customize the content in the manner of their choice. The platform’s livestream experience on offer for fans comprises digital interactive features, 4K resolution, as well as multi-view technology.

VenewLive had reportedly hosted Justin Bieber’s Beverly Hilton Hotel concert on New Years’ Eve 2020.

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