Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.
On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the first week of May.
Kaia Health raises additional $75 million in Series C for its digital therapeutic platform
"The company, which focuses on delivering at-home musculoskeletal therapy, plans to use the funds to expand its user base in the U.S and Europe. Its platform combines active physical therapy guidance with mental health tracking, and it has recently expanded this model to include an initiative for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The utilization of multimodal therapeutics for treating chronic pain improves long-term patient outcomes by targeting comorbidities and is a great example of how digital tools bring value to the space. Those interested in digital pain management should follow Kaia Health closely and recognize the benefits of holistically treating chronic conditions."
Solid Power closes $130 million Series B
"China's GAC Group is in the final vehicle testing phase for its graphene-based battery that can withstand up to 6C charge rates. Due to its high electron mobility and good rate performance, graphene has the potential to be a successful anode material. The cost to manufacture of graphene has been a barrier to mass production, and creating a 3D anode material has typically only been achieved at lab scale. Other companies have claimed to have a graphene battery but have failed to follow through with any product. While pure graphene batteries are unlikely to become the norm in Li-ion batteries, this announcement indicates that innovations in carbon nanotechnology will become increasingly important for competing with silicon-based anodes."
Growing fitness app Keep has become an emerging sales channel for food and apparel
"In 2020, Keep's consumer products achieved a user base of 8 million and $155 million in revenue. This covers IoT fitness equipment like exercise bikes and adjacent CPGs like low-calorie meals (with sales above $15 million) and sports apparel, all under Keep's brand. It seems Keep's food products have done well among users, given its food revenue per user being about half of its meal's unit price. CPG companies making food and apparel should reach out to Keep for white-label product opportunities. The Keep app has shown potential to become a significant user engagement and sales channel for CPGs. Keep also plans to enrich its brand-label food and apparel offerings to capitalize on higher profit margins and a much higher repurchase frequency."
Modern Meadow raises whopping $130 million Series C despite lack of progress
New insights about human immune response to COVID-19 have implications for vaccine design against new variants
Honda targets zero tailpipe emissions by 2040
Google to power data centers in Virginia with 24/7 clean energy
"Last September, Google set a goal to procure 24/7 zero- or low-carbon (e.g., nuclear) electricity by 2030. In line with this ambition, the company signed a 10-year supply agreement with AES Corporation, which will build a 500 MW portfolio of renewable energy (wind, solar, and hydro) and electrical storage assets tailored to Google's needs. This portfolio will require an investment of about $600 million and will start supplying electricity toward the end of 2021. As we previously pointed out, more corporations will follow in the footsteps of Google and demand larger amounts of around-the-clock renewable energy, with data centers playing a significant role along this transition."
Withings enables its connected health scale to estimate "vascular age" to indicate cardiovascular disease
"Withings develops a number of connected health devices, and this feature has been pushed to its Body Cardio smart scale. The scale measures pulse wave velocity (PWV), which is correlated with arterial stiffness and is an indicator of cardiovascular disease. It remains to be seen how precise its estimation of PWV is, as the company itself currently notes that the feature is not meant to diagnose or monitor any condition. It could be looking to leverage data as a future market strategy. An approximation is still very valuable in leading to better outcomes, particularly for at-risk users. Those interested in heart disease management should note the distinction and see if this measurement can be paired with their own offerings."
Solidia raises $78 million and names new CEO – will these developments finally lead to commercialization?
Drishti Masand, Analyst | @DrishtiMasand
Lux Take: Average Importance
"Solidia Technologies has a new CEO, Bryan Kalbfleisch, along with $78 million more in funding from Imperative Ventures, Zero Carbon Partners, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, along with existing investors. The company has a promising technology, but the lack of scale-up and commercialization activity leaves many questions and doubts about the technology's viability. Solidia needs to progress soon or risk losing interest and market advantages as competitors like CarbonCure continue growing and spreading rapidly. Companies should continue to monitor Solidia with hopes that the company can validate its technology at the commercial-scale soon."