The Fishy Vaccine Startup That Could've Helped Millions 💉

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The Curious Case of A Vaccine Startup
And Its 2 million Users

In January 2021, when Covid-19 vaccines were facing plenty impediments in mass manufacturing, sub-zero storage and global distribution, Dr B - a startup - resolved to help people find vaccine doses. 
 

Here’s how Dr B was supposed to work 

People provide the website with personal data  — phone number, date of birth, medical conditions, etc. The site adds them to a "standby list" that connects patients with vaccine sites who have leftover doses and need to administer them before they expire. Users then get a text when there's an opening, and must respond within a short span of time to get the leftover vaccine.

The whole system was free.

The company gained tons of media attention by early March from the likes of The New York Times and The Verge. By May it had an estimated 2.4 million subscribers, who had given their personal information over to the site.
 

The lack of data

As the standby list continued to grow some of the website's user base became increasingly suspicious. 

  • How many of its million-plus users had received a vaccine through the app?
  • How many vaccination sites were using the website? 
  • And what happened to all the user data? 

Even today, Dr. B has provided little information on any of these. 

Non-corroborative facts

  • The company’s founder - tech entrepreneur Cyrus Massoumi - said that over 600 vaccine sites in more than 38 U.S. states (including New York, Alabama, California, and Arkansas) were using the app. However, both Alabama and New York State Health Departments denied using Dr. B for any of their state-run vaccine sites. 
  • The company initially stated that it was a public benefit organisation and that the funds for employee salaries came from Massoumi’s pocket. But later, a spokesperson of the company said that it had raised funds from private individuals and organizations. No data on the investors were provided.
The company is currently sitting on personal data of millions with no clarification of what it intends to do with it, now that vaccine distribution has become widespread and there is no need for the app. 

The Hottest Polish
Startups of 2021

The Polish economy is buzzing with startups. So we've compiled a list of top startups in Poland to keep an eye out for in 2021. 

BFFs Edition: Europe, Startups and VCs

Investment in Europe startups tracked at $21.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021. New unicorns in Europe grew as well, with an unparalleled 16 new unicorns in a single quarter. The unicorns also raised a greater amount of capital in the first quarter, $8.2 billion compared with $3.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Seed funding and early-stage funding are also at an all time high. 

If these aren't reasons enough to believe in Europe's thriving startup economy, we don't know what is. Take a look at these four European countries that are leading in business friendliness. 

Norway

Starting a small business in Norway is only a few clicks away since the whole process of setting up a new company is entirely online.

The taxes can be high, indeed, but they are transparent, and the costs are balanced out by low investment risks. Norway offers public benefits and support, and if things don’t work, you can resolve insolvency for only 1% of your entity’s value.

Source: Crunchbase News

Sweden

Sweden is known for its healthy economy and thriving startup culture. Successful companies such as Skype and Spotify are Sweden made. The country’s government is known for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship and offers plenteous support to startups. 
 

Ireland

Ireland’s economic boom of the mid-1990s to early-2000s gave rise to a period of growth known as the Celtic Tiger, which was based on foreign investment. It has a low corporate tax rate of only 12.5% and an Enterprise Ireland program that provides funding and support to startups. 

This is also part of the reason why companies as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter opened their European head offices here.


Bulgaria

A post-Soviet state, Bulgaria is one of the friendliest countries for new businesses. Registering a new business here takes only 23 days. It has low administrative costs, varying from 500 to 800 Euros and the bank deposit for setting up a limited liability company is close to nothing at only 1 Euro.


20 Queer Owned Businesses To Support This Pride Month
In the spirit of pride month, let's support queer owned startups. Here's a list of 20  kickass business to endorse this month and forever. 

Opinion: Why Are Startup Acquisitions On Fire? 
So far this year, there have been 1,070 acquisitions of venture-backed companies with a reported total of $91.9 billion. There are a few reasons for the surge in mergers and acquisitions. 

Capital is cheaper now, there are “pent up dollars” to spend, and perhaps most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of deals on pause last year that are now coming back into play.  And then there are the SPACs pushing up valuations. Clearly there's a lot of dynamics in the startup world and it's making entrepreneurs and employees uneasy. Read more for know how these dynamics play up the coming months.
The Independent Woman: Talking Finance in Romance
How hard is it to navigate money matters in a relationship? Would you rather stub your toe dining in the kitchen or awkwardly pick a cheque on a date? Studies show that modern couples find it harder to discuss their finances than to talk about sexual experiences or crack religious jokes. 

Read the full insightful comic for more eye-opening data on how men and women look at money as the new barrier to romance in the new age. 
The Best Web Design Resources Online
Here's an all-in-one web design list to level up your designing skills and create chic graphics for your business and personal needs. 

Shorts
  • Day 1 of Pride Month - Florida governor signs bill that bans transgender athletes from competing at high school and college level. 
  • A queer-owned startup that sells knitted genitalia for transgenders criticised for fake penises being made for infants in diapers. 
  • Disneyland reopens to out-of-state guests. Non-California residents can now book tickets online. 
  • UK police raid an energy-intensive marijuana operation only to realise it was actually a bitcoin mining farm
  • U.S. releases tens of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to target dengue fever and Zika virus. 
  • China is giving out $6.2 million in digital currency to Beijing residents as part of a trial run of the digital yuan.
  • Ireland's government approves basic income pilot scheme for the arts sector in a historic move to support artists. 
  • Covid-19's demographic fallout - fewer babies, fewer immigrants, and more trouble

Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
Launchaco: feature-rich and easily usable website builder tool that helps content creators to build websites and online applications.

Concrete5 Another free and open-source content management system that helps all kinds of creators build websites and enhance their online presence.

MineralTree: An accounts software that aims to automate and optimize your business accounting process in order to reduce workloads and cut costs. 

Freshservice: An inventory management tool that uses AI, automation and powerful asset management capabilities.

Why Your Side Hustle Isn't Getting Off The Ground
One in five side hustles fail in their first year and half of those make it past year five. Here is how to make it past year five.  

 
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