Monica Berrondo pulls up a digital schematic of an antibody. It resembles bits of different-colored yarn stuck together by someone with no sense of design. Each color and bend represents information about the amino acids that comprise the antibody, explains Berrondo, whose company, Macromoltek, made this model possible. If the antibody shown in this image works, it may one day be deployed in the body of a sick person, where it will hunt down and cling to a specific pathogen. There, this colored squiggle may stimulate the immune system to go after the pathogen, mark it as an enemy for other immune system cells to take out, or attack it outright. Antibodies, unlike many older pharmaceuticals, don’t have to carpet bomb healthy cells to attack specific pathogens. They’re efficient.
It used to take months to design an antibody like this, just to get it to the point where it could be created and tested. With Macromoltek it takes hours. More
According to a study by Tufts University in 2014, 60-to-80 percent of the cost of any new drug or treatment goes to clinical trials, and most of that is money is channeled into luring in, then weeding out patients to test the drug. They have to have the exact combination of age, health status, family history and dozens of other factors to make the clinical trials valid. That’s what ePatientFinder, a startup in Austin, was created to deal with. More
The first time Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob saw the internet, it changed her life. She lived, she said in a “predefined reality.” “We live in a dark place we only see what the family chooses for us. We only hear what people say about the West.” But the internet opened her eyes to the reality that there was a whole world outside the one she lived in. Now Mahboob, founder of the Digital Citizen Fund, and activists from other authoritarian regimes, are looking for tech savvy people who can help them use information to break open their dark worlds and liberate the people who live in them. More
SalesVu’s Pascal Nicolas told the kind of story every entrepreneur fears, of draining his company’s investment money on trips to Dubai, and a useless valuation report, in expectation of a huge infusion from a United Arab Emirates investor. On a brighter note, Jagath Narayan of Orodoro told of the VC from Brussels who found his company on AngelList and invested nearly $1 million after spending two days in Austin. Austin Technology Incubator’s Startup Week session “Attracting International Investment” gave a snapshot of the possibilities for startups who seek investment beyond U.S. borders.
Non-profit organizations spend more than $30 billion every year in overhead costs, trying to get cash to people around the world, according to Luke Kyohere, president and CEO of Beyonic.
That $30 billion goes to armed guards and armored trucks, currency exchanges and even helicopter drops to rural farmers and all that money could be used to lift 42 million more people out of poverty. The non-profits use cash because it’s the only currency that translates across countries and payer systems.
Ironically, in the countries where this cash goes, more than 80 percent of the rural population uses smart phones to buy goods and services. But the mobile and payment networks are so disjointed, it would very difficult for any organization to use them. That’s where Beyonic comes in. More
They were a group of space geeks, scientists, engineers and artists who met at NASA but, because of cutbacks in the U.S. space program, considered they might never get a chance to slip the bonds of earth’s orbit. So instead, they started a company to tackle two huge problems in the third world, the ability to make things communities needed, and the ability to recycle waste. More
Europe’s Fastest Growing Tech Center is Austin’s Kindred Spirit
Serial entrepreneur Fred Schmidt remembers sitting in his London hotel, getting ready to head to Heathrow and back to Austin with the entourage, including Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. They’d concluded an official visit to Tech City in the borough of Hackney, the European Union’s fastest-growing tech hub, and signed a friendship agreement between the two cities. But Schmidt wasn’t ready to leave. In the 30 years he’d spent coming to London, he’d never seen anything like what was happening in Hackney. More