H|T: The Healthtech Times – Teladoc CEO axed after 15 years at the helm

Plus: An AI company uses your nudes to detect STIs.

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Teladoc’s long-time CEO is out after the stock hits an 8-year low

Shares of Teladoc Health Inc. were set to bounce slightly off an eight-year low on Friday, after the telehealth provider said its long-time chief executive, Jason Gorevic, was leaving the company, effective immediately.

The company named Chief Financial Officer Mala Murthy, who has led the company finance organization for the past five years, as acting CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.


Recon Instruments founder unveils new AR swim goggles

After four years of fine tuning the design of its flagship product, Form has unveiled the second generation of its smart goggles: Smart Swim 2.

Similar to the first iteration of the product, the Smart Swim 2 goggles use onboard sensors and Waveguide, a technology that directs visual information to the swimmer’s eyes, to deliver athletes real-time swimming metrics, such as stroke rate and pace, as well as guided workouts and real-time coaching. The new goggles also include heart rate monitoring measured at the temple, and a digital compass called SwimStraight, that allows swimmers to follow in-goggle directional heading to avoid swimming off course.


Exclusive: An investor in once-hot mental health startup Cerebral is suing the company

Access Industries, the investment firm founded by billionaire Len Blavatnik that invested in mental health company Cerebral, is suing the company and another of its backers as tensions mount inside the mental health company, according to documents obtained by Business Insider.

It’s the latest challenge to the once-hot mental health startup, which launched in 2020 to provide mental healthcare online. A Business Insider investigation published in June 2022 found that Cerebral flouted clinical guidelines in prescribing serious medications and sometimes put patients’ health at risk.

(Business Insider)

“The stakes are high”: CCI report calls on feds, provinces to revamp approach to buying from Canadian tech companies

The Council of Canadian Innovators believes that improving Canada’s approach to public procurement could help address the nation’s “historic innovation underperformance.”

According to the report, in 2021, procurement amounted to 14.6 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product, while typically, procurement accounts for over a quarter of all public sector spending. As CCI noted, given the amount of money at play, “the stakes are high.”


Apotex buys specialty pharma Searchlight in $500-million-plus move to diversify from generic drugs

Apotex Inc. has bought fast-growing specialty pharmaceutical supplier Searchlight Pharma Inc., a significant shift by the generic drug powerhouse to diversify its business ahead of an expected initial public offering.

Canada’s largest domestic drug manufacturer didn’t disclose the value of the transaction, but three industry sources said the deal likely valued Montreal-based Searchlight at more than $500-million.

(The Globe and Mail)

Meet the Y Combinator Winter 2024 cohort startups with Canadian roots

YCombinator’s Winter 2024 demo day is currently underway, and Canada has made up a notable presence in this season’s cohort.

One of these is San Francisco-based Attunement, which offers a remote monitoring solution that allows healthcare providers to track patients’ behavioural health.

Attunement was founded by CEO Angie Muller and CTO Briar Smith. Smith, who is Canadian and University of Waterloo alumnus, previously worked at several organizations in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, including BrainStation, FleetCarma, and WATonomous.


Johnson & Johnson to buy Shockwave Medical for $13.1 billion

Johnson & Johnson on Friday announced it would acquire heart device firm Shockwave Medical for $13.1 billion. It’s J&J’s second billion-dollar deal in the cardiovascular space in two years, following its 2022 purchase of Abiomed for $16.6 billion.

The company also said in November that it would buy private heart device company Laminar for $400 million.


Startup Open House returns to its roots after acquisition by MTL NewTech

Nonprofit MTL NewTech has acquired the rights to Startup Open House from Elevate and will bring the event back to Montréal this spring.

“An initiative like Startup Open House really represents us to the core of everything we try to do,” said Simran Kanda, executive director at MTL NewTech. “Part of it is just being involved, present, and supporting the ecosystem and the community, but also to help inspire new generations of entrepreneurs.”


Osso VR to lay off 67 people at corporate HQ

Osso VR will lay off 67 people at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday.

The company developed a virtual reality surgical platform for training and assessment and had raised more than $100 million to date. Osso had 180 employees in March 2023.


BetaKit Live: How Coinbase is growing crypto adoption in Canada

Coinbase announced it has obtained restricted dealer status from the Canadian Securities Administrators, making it the first international and largest cryptocurrency exchange to be registered in Canada.

In partnership with Coinbase, BetaKit is happy to present a live-streamed fireside discussion tackling the company’s focus on growing the opportunity for digital assets in Canada, the future of money, and Canada’s innovation opportunity.


This AI company scans penis pictures for STIs. Its unproven tech is in an FDA gray zone

Artificial intelligence is already assessing decay in your teeth, abnormalities in your heart rhythm, and suspicious spots on your skin. Now, at least one company is betting that you will let it take a look at your penis.

HeHealth, which is meant for people with penises, launched in 2022. Last week, the team launched a separate platform called Calmara, earnestly marketed to Gen Z women who may want to put their partner’s penis to an AI test before sex. “Pics vanish quicker than Snapchat,” the website cheerily proclaims. “So yeah, your secrets? They’re locked in our crypt, no trace, no trail,” it continues, more hauntingly.


Hard Knocks: Marcus Daniels on creating impact over activity in #CDNtech

In the first entry of Hard Knocks, a four-part series presented by Mantle where key players from Canadian tech share insights, war stories, and lessons learned, Highline Beta CEO Marcus Daniels believes Canadian tech is facing an “Old Yeller” moment.

Well, not entirely. To Daniels, Canada does a fantastic job cheering for its triumphs, even those he considers to be “superficial wins.” However, he believes the real test comes when things aren’t going well, and it’s time to pull the plug.


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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