Electric Harley, Ab E, D2P, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist
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Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) and Kansas City, MO-based Cerner (NASDAQ: CERN), could feel an impact as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) makes more of a push into healthcare, according to some analysts who follow the industry. This week, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), said they’re planning to launch a joint venture aimed at both improving the quality of healthcare their U.S.-based employees receive and lowering costs. Several U.S.-based health insurers saw their stock prices fall shortly after the trio of companies made the announcement.
—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiled Socialeads, a startup based in the city that’s developing technology to mine Facebook feeds, Twitter timelines, and other social media activity to flag posts where users indicate they recently made a significant financial decision. For example, Socialeads might find a status update in which someone says she just bought a new house and turn that information over to financial advisors, according to the report. The company recently landed an investment of up to $85,000 from Northwestern Mutual, a life insurance and financial services provider headquartered in Milwaukee.
—Speaking of Northwestern Mutual, the financial news and investment advice service Benzinga published an interview with Karl Gouverneur, the insurer’s chief technology officer and head of digital innovation. In the Q&A, Gouverneur discusses the investment funds Northwestern Mutual has launched in recent years to support startups, the insurer’s shift to focus more on “exploration” than on legacy business models, and other topics.
—Under an expanded partnership with Gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based organization that runs training programs for startup companies and invests in some of them, Microsoft will support entrepreneurship in Detroit and the surrounding area. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) had previously agreed to provide backing for some of Gener8tor’s Wisconsin programs. Gener8tor said it will enroll up to 15 startups with connections to Michigan in its seven-week, equity-free accelerator, known as gBETA, each year. The first gBETA Detroit class, which graduated in December, was run out of the TechTown Detroit co-working space.
—The Capital Times published a lengthy article about people in the Madison area with interest and expertise in blockchain technologies, including buying and selling Bitcoin, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Blockchain is a way to create a public record of transactional data so that those transactions can later be authenticated, but which allows the parties involved to keep certain information private by encrypting it. One of the blockchain enthusiasts the newspaper spoke with is Jason Tham, a former Epic Systems employee who recently opened up an “incubator space” at 100state and plans to “launch a startup that will support blockchain networks.”