SpiderOak Mission Systems Adds Recognized Industry Leaders to Federal Advisory Board

New board to guide SpiderOak in setting new standard for secure communications and collaboration in federal marketplace


Jul 29, 2020, 13:59 ET

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SpiderOak Mission Systems, providers of cryptographically-secure communication and collaboration products, announced today the formation of the company’s Federal Advisory Board.  Composed of thought leaders from civilian, defense, and intelligence agencies, the board features Lieutenant General Ken Tovo, U.S. Army (Retired), Counterterror and Cyber Security expert Nancy Dillman, and internationally renowned political scientist and management scholar Professor Daniel Diermeier.

This news is just another benchmark in SpiderOak’s effort to strengthen its defense- and intelligence-industry expertise. The new board members will be instrumental in helping the company best align the capabilities of their secure communication and collaboration product suite (CrossClave) and new in-the-works solutions that address trusted application development and secure management of spacecraft and payloads to ensure they align with the requirements of the federal government’s most sensitive information-sharing environments.

CrossClave is a modern productivity suite designed from the ground up with security-first principles, not as an afterthought. CrossClave gives users absolute confidence in the safety and integrity of their most sensitive data across trusted and untrusted networks alike. Leveraging a unique combination of No-Knowledge encryption and Distributed Ledger (i.e., private blockchain) technologies, CrossClave eliminates entire categories of cyberattacks, reducing the attack surface and the subsequent vulnerabilities attackers can exploit.

We are honored and excited that Lieutenant General Tovo, Ms. Dillman and Mr. Diermeier, will officially be joining SpiderOak’s newly created Federal Advisory Board,” said Dave Pearah, President and CEO of SpiderOak Mission Systems.  Their positions are effective as of August 1st, 2020 and have already begun advising this disruptive company.

This announcement builds on SpiderOak’s ongoing strategy of growing its federal market presence and helping DoD and intelligence clients address some of the industry’s most complex security challenges. “It is essential for us to find proven leaders who not only share our perspective on security but have the mission experience to validate the need for it.  Lt. Gen. Tovo, Ms. Dillman, and Mr. Diermeier will help the executive team build on our investments and guide us to the next level,” said Mike Campanelli, SpiderOak VP of Federal.  “I am confident that these are the leaders to get us there.”

United States Army Lieutenant General (Retired) Ken Tovo joins SpiderOak after serving as Commanding General of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).  “I think what SpiderOak is doing with No-Knowledge Encryption and Distributed Ledger is a real game changer for secure information exchange in field,” said General Tovo. “The possible applications are exciting, and I look forward to directing them where they can be of the most benefit.”  Tovo was graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1983. He served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command; Commander, Special Operations Command Central; Deputy Commanding General, Special Operations Command Europe; Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and Commanding General, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan and NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Tovo is joined by Ms. Nancy Dillman who most recently served as an Operations Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in denied-area tradecraft techniques, along with counterintelligence (CI) and counterterrorism (CT).  “The challenges facing secure communication and collaboration in military operations are at a completely different level than in commercial settings,” said Ms. Dillman.  “SpiderOak’s Zero-Trust approach is specifically designed to operate in these contested environments, and I look forward to helping them get this capability into the hands of people who really need it.”  Before joining SpiderOak, Ms. Dillman’s last overseas tour took place in Afghanistan, where she handled sensitive CI and CT accounts. Following her public service, Ms. Dillman set out to develop data-analytic products that would offer real-world solutions to USG clients.  She became the majority owner and CEO of Rsignia Inc. in 2015, and after having successfully built the company, Ms. Dillman oversaw and led the acquisition of Rsignia by FedData Holdings in 2019. 

Professor Daniel Diermeier, an internationally renowned political scientist and management scholar, also joins the Federal Advisory Board.  “From a business perspective, it’s been interesting watching the rapid shift to telework over the past few months,  specifically how it has exposed a massive security blind-spot in many of the products organizations rely on to facilitate the remote workplace,” stated Diermeier.  “SpiderOak’s security-first design principle eliminates this blind spot and brings enterprise level security to the home office.” Daniel was recently elected Vanderbilt University’s ninth chancellor, beginning his term on July 1st, 2020.  A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Guggenheim fellow, Diermeier also served as the provost at the University of Chicago, where he was recognized as the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor and as dean of the Harris School of Public Policy.

SpiderOak is looking forward to how Lt. Gen. Tovo, Ms. Dillman, and Professor Diermeier can guide and accelerate the company’s objective in driving a new standard for secure communications and collaboration within the DoD and intelligence communities. The advisory board will be structured to help with SpiderOak’s direct operation and keep the company up to date on various business, regulatory, and federal trends and the potential impact on the company and clients.

About SpiderOak Mission Systems

As network environments have become increasingly contested, the defensive capabilities of most software products have not kept pace with the attackers. SpiderOak is on a mission to protect the world’s data via secure communication and collaboration products and solutions. Our offerings leverage Zero-Trust distributed data enclaves to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our clients’ most sensitive data in any environment. From explicit entitlements in mobile applications to process sandboxing in web browsers, SpiderOak employs a constructional design philosophy where security is built into our products from the ground up.

For more information about SpiderOak Mission Systems, join us for our August 6th SpiderOak/CarahSoft webcast, “Blockchain And Distributed Ledger: Not Just for Cryptocurrency Anymore!”  contact the SpiderOak team at 703-673-9037 or e-mail Caroline.Malaby@carahsoft.com.

mPulse Mobile Announces Closing of Series C Funding of more than $16 Million, Led by Optum Ventures

PR Newswire August 11, 2020

New investment will support mPulse Mobile’s engagement and outcomes strategy through Conversational Artificial Intelligence

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — mPulse Mobile, a leader in Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for the healthcare industry, today announced more than $16 million in funding. The round was led by Optum Ventures and includes existing investors HLM Venture Partners, OCA Ventures, SJF Ventures, Echo Health Ventures and Rincon Ventures.

Powering more than 300 million personalized, automated consumer healthcare conversations annually, mPulse Mobile’s solutions help consumers and healthcare organizations achieve better health outcomes by increasing engagement and improving communication through meaningful, tailored conversations. mPulse combines behavioral science, artificial intelligence and an enterprise-grade platform to assist healthcare organizations guide consumers to adopt healthy behaviors.

mPulse Mobile has more than a decade of healthcare consumer engagement experience, serving more than 100 healthcare organizations. The Series C investment will help mPulse Mobile further enhance solutions that deliver positive consumer experiences on behalf of its customers.

“We are excited to have the support of Optum Ventures and all of our current investors as we execute on our strategic roadmap to improve health outcomes for consumers and our customers through improved communications,” said Chris Nicholson, CEO of mPulse Mobile. “This new investment recognizes that scale and solution performance are key factors in successfully engaging consumers in their healthcare, and we will use it to expand our consumer conversational AI capabilities, enhance our client engagement analytics platform and expand our engagement solutions across healthcare verticals.”

“mPulse Mobile enables valuable connections between healthcare organizations and consumers, while addressing a significant market need for better experiences,” said Laura Veroneau, Partner, Optum Ventures. “We believe mPulse’s innovative approach to consumer engagement can play a key role in improving health outcomes and lowering the total cost of care.”

About mPulse Mobile
mPulse Mobile, the leader in Conversational AI solutions for the healthcare industry, drives improved health outcomes and business efficiencies by engaging individuals with tailored and meaningful dialogue. mPulse Mobile combines behavioral science, analytics and industry expertise that helps healthcare organizations activate their consumers to adopt healthy behaviors. With over a decade of experience, 100+ healthcare customers and more than 300 million conversations annually, mPulse Mobile has the data, the expertise and the solutions to drive healthy behavior change. For more information, please visit http://www.mpulsemobile.com

About Optum Ventures
Optum Ventures is the independent venture fund of Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone, and part of the UnitedHealth Group. Optum Ventures invests in digital health companies that use data and insights to help improve consumers’ access to health care services and how care is delivered and paid for, and that make the health care system more reliable and easier to navigate. For more information, please visit http://www.optumventures.com.

About HLM Venture Partners
HLM Venture Partners is a leading venture capital firm and one of the nation’s oldest and most experienced in the tech-enabled healthcare services, healthcare information technology, and medical device and diagnostics sectors. Seeking dynamic, emerging-growth companies, HLM invests in the industry’s most innovative companies, including Phreesia, Teladoc, AbleTo, Regroup Therapy, Nordic Consulting, meQuilibrium and ClearDATA. http://www.hlmvp.com

About OCA Ventures
OCA Ventures is an early stage (Seed, Series A, and Series B) venture capital firm focused on equity investments in companies with dramatic growth potential, primarily in technology and highly-scalable services businesses. OCA invests in many industries, with a preference for technology, financial services, cyber security and healthcare technology. Founded in 1999, the firm is investing out of its fourth fund in companies spread throughout the United States. Learn more at https://ocaventures.com

About SJF Ventures
SJF Ventures invests in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter and cleaner future. Its mission is to catalyze the development of highly successful businesses driving lasting, positive changes. We are experienced venture capital investors who have been at the forefront of impact investing since 1999. We are passionate about generating extraordinary results, creating positive changes, and partnering with visionaries who combine these two. Our team has invested in over 70 companies during the last 21 years, bringing time-tested perspective and expertise to partnerships with entrepreneurs. For more information, visit http://www.sjfventures.com

About Echo Health Ventures
Echo Health Ventures invests to build and grow great health care companies. Echo Health Ventures seeks to drive systemic health care transformation through hands-on, purpose-driven strategic venture capital and growth equity investing. As a strategic collaboration of Cambia Health Solutions and Mosaic Health Solutions, Echo Health Ventures works closely with its parent entities to catalyze the development of its portfolio companies and accelerate their innovations to scale nationally. For more information, please visit http://www.EchoHealthVentures.com

About Rincon Ventures
Rincon Venture Partners, as well as its successor firm Bonfire Ventures, is an LA-based seed-stage venture capital firm that invests exclusively in B2B software businesses, and typically leads or co-leads a startup’s first priced round. We back extraordinary founders who are seeking to build world-class market leaders, and aspire to serve as those founders’ most trusted advisors. Investments made by the firm’s founders include The Trade Desk (IPO), Burstly (acquired by Apple), Edgecast (acquired by Verizon), Datapop (acquired by Criteo), MessageLabs (acquired by Symantec), Orbitera and Bitium (each acquired by Google), EmailAge (Acquired by LexisNexis), TaxJar, ChowNow, Rainforest QA, Invoca, Honk and others. For more information visit http://www.bonfirevc.com

QL Gaming Group acquires TennisInsight to power BetQL tennis

By Chris Murphy -August 11, 2020

QL Gaming Group (QLGG), a direct-to-consumer sports data and igaming affiliate platform, has announced the acquisition of TennisInsight, the world’s largest online tennis community. This latest partnership will expand the capabilities of BetQL, QLGG’s sports betting analytics platform for casual bettors, to include both men’s and women’s professional tennis.

TennisInsight specializes in crowd sourcing data for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Davis/Fed Cup, Challenger and International Tennis Federation (ITF). 

The premium tennis statistics site has data on all 550,00 professional matches since 2000, including player ratings and actual vs predicted odds. TennisInsight also boasts 400,000 user-generated predictions.

“We envision BetQL as an all-in-one platform where users can find insightful data for all sports,” said Justin Park, QL Gaming CEO. “We’ve learned that the best way to offer an authentic experience around a particular sport is to partner with a business whose sole focus is that sport. We can’t think of a better partner than Ulysses Oliver and TennisInsight to power BetQL’s tennis product.”

QL Gaming has also acquired a proprietary motorsports database built by a professional handicapper over a 19-year period. The 600,000 record database will allow BetQL to expand into NASCAR, Formula 1 and IndyCar.

Level I Randomized, Blinded Study Demonstrates Significant Improvement in Surgical Proficiency Using Virtual Reality Training

 Josh Sandberg August 10, 2020

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Aug. 10, 2020 – Osso VR, a virtual reality-based surgical training platform used by surgeons globally, and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, today announces the results of a validation study using its technology. The study, titled “Does Virtual Reality Improve Procedural Completion and Accuracy in an Intramedullary Tibial Nail Procedure? A Randomized Control Trial” was officially published online in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research in August 2020.

The study examined whether VR, compared to the current standard of a technique guide for surgical training, would show an improvement in procedural accuracy and completion for an intramedullary (IM) tibial nail procedure, which requires the combination of elaborate and large-scale movement applicable to most surgeries, and its conclusion found VR significantly increased procedural accuracy and completion rate of an IM nail procedure when compared to the utilization of a technique guide alone. This demonstrates VR has the potential to help residents learn all surgical procedures and its utilization in surgical education may improve patient safety and outcomes.

For the study, 25 first and second-year medical students, without prior exposure to an IM tibial nail insertion procedure, were recruitedThis participant group sets this study apart from other studies on VR in surgical training as to ensure participants had largely the same skill level. Participants were randomly assigned to the technique guide control group, the VR group, or the VR and technique guide group. In the control group, participants were given an online document with wording and images directly from a tibial nail technique guide, which they were able to use at their discretion. Participants in the VR experimental groups went through Osso VR’s simulation in three separate sessions, at a set interval of 3-4 days apart. Following 10-14 days of preparation, all participants performed an IM nail on a SawBones tibia. 

In the technique guide group, 2 of 8 (25 percent) participants successfully completed the procedure. Both VR groups demonstrated significantly increased procedural completion rates (p < .05) with the VR group having a 6 of 8 (75 percent) completion rate, and the VR technique guide group having a 7 of 9 (78 percent) completion rate. The number of normalized incorrect steps displayed a significant difference between both the VR and VR technique groups when compared to the technique guide group (p = .02). 

“The use of augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality have become more prevalent in surgical preparation in recent years, and through learning more about its uses I became interested in putting technology to the test to understand how they could contribute to surgical proficiency,” said Mark Orland, head of the VR research study at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. “I was first introduced to Osso VR, specifically, through its use with medical students at the University of Illinois’ College of Medicine and saw how the students were using it to practice surgical steps or learn new procedures. The results of this study demonstrate the effectiveness of VR and how it can be particularly impactful in improving procedural accuracy and completion rates.”

“This is another exciting study further exhibiting the significant impact VR is able to have on surgical proficiency and patient outcomes on a global basis,” said Justin Barad, MD, CEO and co-founder of Osso VR. “We repeatedly cite a University of Michigan study showing that upon graduation from residency, after 14 years of education, 30 percent of surgeons were still unable to operate independently. We truly believe that the safe and repeatable environment of VR, combined with a realistic immersive environment, has the capability to change that outcome in the years to come.”

A previous Osso VR validation study from August 2019 conducted by the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) showed a 230 percent improvement in the participants’ overall surgical performance when prepared with its VR training. 

To learn more about using Osso VR, visit www.ossovr.com

About Osso VR 

Osso VR is an award-winning, clinically validated surgical training platform designed for medical device companies, practicing surgeons, residents and medical students of all skill levels. Using immersive VR technology, the scalable platform offers a realistic, hands-on training environment that leads to real world performance gains and ultimately improved patient outcomes. Osso VR is the first training platform to incorporate assessment into its modules, objectively measuring the trainee’s knowledge of steps, level of precision and overall efficiency throughout the procedure providing a benchmark for proficiency.

Led by UCLA and Harvard trained orthopedic surgeon Justin Barad, MD, the Osso VR team has a deep background in clinical care, medical technology, and VR development. To learn more, visit www.ossovr.com.

Some hospitals are tracking Covid-19 by adding sensors to employees’ badges


  • SwipeSense started off by tracking whether staff at hospitals were correctly washing their hands. It also monitors expensive assets, like wheelchairs. 
  • Now, for the first time, it’s tracking people’s movements. 
  • That’s a form of contact tracing – but inside the four walls of a hospital. 

Around 50 hospitals today use a technology from a company called SwipeSense to monitor whether medical staff are washing their hands when they enter and exit patient rooms. Others use it to track expensive assets, like wheelchairs or IV pumps, which have a tendency to go missing. 

The system leverages sensors embedded into equipment and location beacons in hospital rooms, which connect to an online dashboard. Administrators can access the dashboard to check in, or receive reports. 

Because of privacy concerns, SwipeSense has steered clear of monitoring people’s movements. That is, until Covid-19. 

When hospitals started reporting that their staff had contracted the virus, SwipeSense’s chief executive Mert Iseri figured he could help. The situation was particularly problematic when hospitals lacked sufficient personal protective equipment. Reports have found that at least 879 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel have now died of the virus. 

So Iseri had the idea of adding sensors to staff badges, which they routinely wear on shifts. From there, the company could create a virtual floor map of sorts to track their movements, including to document potential exposure to Covid-19 inside the hospital. 

The idea was if a patient, doctor, nurse or any other hospital employee was diagnosed with the virus, SwipeSense could pull up a map with little dots, representing people, and administrators could go back in time to determine who might have been in close proximity. From there, the hospital could take steps to isolate and test them for the virus.

Iseri emailed some of the company’s existing customers in March to explain the concept and see if anyone was willing to give it a shot.

“We got huge interest,” he recalled. About 10 of the hospitals got the message and 3 immediately said yes. Health care sales cycles and implementation of new software can take months, but these customers were willing to move forward in weeks. 

‘We could flag when a patient tested positive’

One of the first customers to get on board was Edward-Elmhurst Health in Illinois. The hospital had treated its first Covid-19 patient in early March, and anticipated a surge. 

About 3,600 hospital workers at Edward-Elmhurst agreed to sport a SwipeSense badge, including doctors, nurses and workers assigned to clean patient rooms. By the end of March, the hospital had a functioning dashboard that administrators could use to monitor exposures. 

“We could flag when a patient tested positive, and see whether a staff-member went in and how many times they went in,” said Raj Iyer, the chief data analytics officer.

Some of the hospital’s employees were concerned that their managers would use the data to track their productivity and penalize them if they took long breaks. Iyer reassured them that the sole purpose of the system would be to catch Covid-19 outbreaks, and not to monitor their movements. 

And so far, it seems to be working. In one recent case, Iyer said that a patient unexpectedly got a positive result from a Covid-19 test. Iyer’s team used SwipeSense to figure out how many people had been in that patient’s room. They determined that 75 employees were at risk, and asked them to get tested and isolate themselves for 72 hours. One of them tested positive, but was isolated and prevented from spreading the virus further.  

As a result of this work and other efforts, including frequent hand washing and masks, the percentage of staff testing positive for COVID-19 at the facility went from 17% at the peak in March to less than 1% by June. 

‘Doing everything we can’

The SwipeSense system is form of “contact tracing,” an epidemiological method that involves tracking down and notifying those who might have come into close proximity to a person diagnosed with an infectious disease. But in this case, it’s limited to a particular business, rather than a city, state or country.

Aspects of the system might sound like Big Brother. Iseri, who’s well aware of the potential privacy and security implications, notes that the company and its customers are taking steps to alleviate the ‘creep’ factor. For starters, the SwipeSense isn’t tracking individuals throughout their day and there are no beacons outside of patient rooms — they can’t track people when they go to the bathroom, for instance.

Still, he acknowledges there are risks when it comes to monitoring people rather than things. And these kinds of tools can always get into the wrong hands. “We have to be really thoughtful about the technology we’re building,” he said. 

Another customer using the SwipeSense technology for contact tracing is Methodist Hospital of Southern California. 

For Clifford Daniels, a senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the hospital, it’s not just about keeping staff safe. Daniels is also looking for ways to reassure patients about coming back in.

In the early days of the pandemic, many hospitals agreed to delay non-urgent and essential ‘elective’ procedures. In some cases, that cost them millions of dollars per day in lost revenue. But now, health systems across the country are starting to reopen their doors to patients that still need that knee replacement or colonoscopy. 

“We’re hoping to get across that the hospital is as safe a place as it can be and that we’re doing everything we can to help contain the spread of Covid-19,” said Daniels. In addition to SwipeSense for contact tracing, his hospital and many others are implementing temperature checks, masks, and symptom checks.

“There would be a lot less coronavirus if the rest of the country starting doing what hospitals are doing.”