H|T: The Healthtech Times – Salesforce launches an AI healthcare assistant

Plus: Vancouver looks to join the global big leagues of modern medicine.

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Salesforce launches healthcare data platform Einstein Copilot: Health Actions

Tech company Salesforce announced it is launching a new healthcare AI assistant, Einstein Copilot, which delivers responses based on a healthcare organization’s private data.

The AI assistant will trigger workflows that send referrals, book appointments and other administrative tasks.

Salesforce’s AI assistant is set to compete with AI chatbot Microsoft Azure, AI assistant IBM Watsonx Assistant and Juji AI Healthcare assistant, and will be available in the summer of 2024.


B.C. biotech boom: Vancouver looks to join the global big leagues of modern medicine

Two decades ago, Vancouver had a burgeoning life sciences scene led by QLT Inc. and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. By the 2010s both had foundered and the sector flatlined.

Now a group of bold companies led by AbCellera are determined to shock the local ecosystem back to life, even if they must lay the bricks themselves.

They are bent on establishing Vancouver, and in turn Canada, as a major player in the US$1.5-trillion pharmaceutical industry, spurning our long-standing reputation as a country of top-notch medical researchers whose breakthroughs get commercialized elsewhere.

(The Globe and Mail)

Virtual mental health platform Cognito raises $2 million in seed funding

Victoria-based Cognito Health has secured $2 million CAD in seed funding for its all-in-one virtual mental healthcare platform.

Cognito’s platform aims to provide users with a single access point for immediate mental health treatment, combining cognitive behavioural therapy and support with medication access and an integrated care team.

Cognito co-founder and CEO Armon Arani said the startup plans to use this capital to hire staff, invest in its software, and support operations in Ontario.


Dentistry AI developer Overjet chows down on $53M VC round

After receiving its fourth clearance from the FDA last year for artificial intelligence programs that help spot tooth decay and gum disease, Overjet has raised $53.2 million in venture capital money to build out a unified platform for dentists’ offices and payers.

The company aims to put its objective AI programs at the center of dental decision-making with the goal of enabling faster and more consistent reimbursements.

(Fierce Biotech)

Three Canadian startups earn spots in Google’s latest Women Founders accelerator cohort

Three Canadian, women-led tech startups have been tapped to join the 2024 cohort of Google’s Women Founders accelerator program.

Startups in the cohort include Kitchener-Waterloo’s MedReddie, a B2B healthtech startup that uses large language models to improve healthcare supply chains, and Calgary-based Nimble Science, which developed an ingestible device that is capable of collecting samples from the small intestine.


BlackRock Leads $75 Million Round by AI Safety Startup RapidSOS

RapidSOS, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to help emergency response teams, raised a $75 million investment led by BlackRock Inc. funds.

RapidSOS will use the funds to further develop its intelligent safety systems that help direct firefighters and other emergency response personnel to the right location quicker.

“We have millions of connected devices everywhere and yet, we have first responders going in blind when there’s a school shooting or a train on fire,” founder Michael Martin, 37, said over a video call. “We are trying to build the Copilot for 911,” he said, referring to the Microsoft Corp. assistants.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Lack of inclusion, unclear parental leave still hamper retention of women in Canadian VC

According to Roxanne Leduc, a Canadian Women in VC board member, LPs and the VCs they back have focused less of their efforts on inclusion—and this is likely why some Canadian funds are struggling to retain the women and visible minorities they hire.

“When markets are tough, unfortunately, if it’s not mandatory, it will not be a priority for any fund. I think it’s more important than ever in this economic downturn to reemphasize the importance of inclusion and equity, and not just diversity.”


BrainCheck locks $15 million investment for cognitive assessment platform

BrainCheck, a digital health company specializing in cognitive assessments, announced it secured $15 million in funding.

BrainCheck is a cognitive assessment provider enabling physicians and their patients with a quick, repeatable process to identify cognitive impairment. It accomplishes this through a three-minute test which can be performed remotely or with a provider.


Passwords are showing their age. Here’s the tech set to replace them

Despite leaning on passwords, small businesses aren’t confident about their cybersecurity.

“With Canadians increasingly targets of fraud, cyber preparedness can’t be an afterthought. It needs to be a priority for both consumers and businesses,” Aviva Klein, Vice President of Digital Payments & Cybersecurity Solutions at Mastercard noted.

Klein recently shared with BetaKit two key technologies aiding in the fight against these challenges, and how Mastercard is using them to improve the cybersecurity posture of both consumers and businesses.


‘An Opportunity to Catch Up’: Women’s Health Execs Applaud White House’s $100M Investment

Women aren’t adequately represented in health research even though they make up more than half of the population. In fact, it wasn’t until 1993 that women were required to be included in clinical research in the U.S.

That’s why women’s health executives and advocates are applauding First Lady Jill Biden’s recent announcement of a $100 million investment into women’s health research.

With the funding, Jill Biden said in her announcement that the White House is “going to invest in your discoveries early, when private companies may not be willing to take the risk.”

(MedCity News)

Canadian businesses are optimistic about growth in 2024. Here’s why

Higher interest rates, rampant inflation, looming recession fears, and geopolitical turmoil are all contributing to a seemingly bleak outlook for the year ahead.

However, Zoho Canada has revealed a wave of optimism among Canadian SMBs. Zoho surveyed thousands of small business owners in Canada across a variety of industries over the last year, and nearly 75 percent expect to grow by one to 20 percent in the next year.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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