This week, the FDA issued a safety alert about infusing plasma from young donors into older people. The treatments — rumored to be popular with billionaire Peter Thiel — reportedly have no clinical benefits, and most have not gone through sufficient FDA tests.
But the quest to extend the human lifespan is still on. From senolytics to stem cells to caloric restriction, we explore the new drugs and technology working to change the future of aging.
Fingerprints found at the scene
Online “card-not-present” fraud is expected to hit a record $7.2B by 2020. Banks, merchants, and payments cos are fighting back with biometric authentication, or verifying payer identity with fingerprints, voices, and faces.
$3B: Freight-forwarding startup Flexport just became the newest unicorn. The company reached a reported $3.2B valuation this morning, following a $1B funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The round was also backed by previous investors Founders Fund and DST Global, among others. We highlighted Flexport in our supply chain market map, in the digital freight shipping category. Check out the entire landscape here.
$340: An Australian state is going to allow car owners to personalise their license plates with emojis. Queensland’s license plate provider is offering 5 emoji options, including the heart-shaped eyes and winky faces — though it has clarified that the emojis will not be an official part of a car’s registration. Obtaining a new emoji-adorned plate isn’t cheap, coming in at ~$340. 🤑
95%: Global shipments of smart speakers grew 95% in Q4’18, according to a new study from Strategy Analytics. Shipments reached 38.5M units last quarter — more than the total number of smart speakers sold in 2017. Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Home Mini both increased smart speaker market share quarter-over-quarter. Meanwhile Apple’s market share slipped, even as its sales rose. You can read about how FAMGA is battling it out in the $49B voice market here.
40%: Electric scooters are causing serious injuries. A UCLA study found that 40% of electric scooter-related emergency room visits involved bone fractures, with 32% of patients showing signs of head trauma. Only 4% of the riders included in the year-long study reported wearing a helmet. Here’s how e-scooters are playing into the future of transportation.
54 years: Haute couture fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld passed away this week, following a record-breaking 54-year tenure at fashion house Fendi and another 36 years concurrently at Chanel. We mentioned Lagerfeld in our new Luxury Trends 2019 report, which dives into the necessary and experimental trends shaping the luxury tech landscape. One trend to watch is AI designers, which are allowing retailers to use a data-driven approach to create new apparel and accessories. Read more about this and other luxury trends here.
800 miles: The Netherlands-based LOFAR telescope array has detected 300,000 previously unseen galaxies. The innovative telescope detects low-frequency radio waves using dispersed antenna, providing a receiver equivalent to an 800-mile-wide satellite dish. The international study, which has so far only charted 2% of the sky, could shed new light on how galaxies evolve.