News In Context

Future4Care: Four Corporates Team To Make Europe A Global Leader In E-Health

Sanofi, Capgemini, Generali and Orange revealed the name of their joint venture- Future4care – and more details of their plans to create an  ecosystem in France to fast-track the development of e-health in Europe. The project will bring the four founding companies together with startups and as well as other players in the healthcare sector around an open-innovation approach, which they hope will be conducive to the emergence of disruptive new models. The ambition is to collectively invent the future of healthcare.

The project, which was first announced in January, includes both a virtual platform that will act as an entry point for interactions between founders, partners and startups to launch hackathons, initiate competitions, and share data and expertise, and a physical base located in the 13th district of Paris linked to the PariSanté Campus initiative announced by French President Emmanuel.

The founding partners are planning an initial investment of €24 million in the new entity, which will be operational from June for the virtual platform and December for the physical platform.

The startup selection process is based on two routes: either applications in response to a specific call for projects or a spontaneous application. The first call for projects will be launched in September around two themes: virtual care using digital tools and personalized care, from diagnosis to treatment.

Startups that join Future4care will benefit from personalized support through a series of thematic labs and will be given the means to design, test, validate and launch solutions. As access to data is essential for digital health, the founding members said they will work together to provide startups with data relevant for their development, in compliance with the applicable ethical and legal frameworks.

During a June 10 press conference attended by The Innovator Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, said the pharmaceutical company has “an extraordinary amount of data from decades of work in biology” while Jean-Laurent Granier, CEO of Generali France and Chairman of Europ Assistance noted that the insurance business works on the basis of statistics drawn from a large volume of anonymized data reaching back over several decades. “This can be made available to startups to fuel their search for solutions,” he said.

Ultimately, the Future4care accelerator aims to bring together a wide ecosystem of diverse contributors that will include not just the four founding members but fifteen corporate partners; 100 French and European startups; health, technology and insurance players; public and private hospitals; patient associations; regulators, schools and higher education institutions.

Work will focus on key themes for one or two years at a time and may revolve around a technology, a pathology, a patient population or be related to a public health topic. The partners said the strength of the alliance is based on the fact that the entire ecosystem will simultaneously focus on the same commitment, which will limit the dispersion of energy and increase the chances of success.

“Future4care is a unique opportunity for startup and, more generally, for all healthcare players to join forces to build the digital health services of tomorrow,” said Agnes De Leersnyder, a veteran Orange executive and Future4care’s newly appointed CEO.  During the press conferenceshe and the CEOs of the four partner companies all stressed that by joining forces Europe has the capacity to become a world-leader in e-health.

In other news this week:


Electronic Arts Becomes The Latest Victim Of A Spate Of Cyber Attacks On U.S. Companies

Videogame publisher Electronic Arts confirmed it is investigating a recent data breach involving some of its game source code and related tools. Vice’s Motherboard earlier reported that hackers had stolen a wealth of data, including source codes for popular title “FIFA 21” and source code and tools for Frostbite engine, a software development toolset for game creators. Overall, hackers stole about 780 gigabytes of data and also advertised it for sale on several underground hacking forum posts, according to the report. EA said it does not expect the breach to have an impact on its games or business and that it was working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

JBS Paid $11 Million To Resolve Ransomware Attack

Brazilian meat company JBS’s USA Holdings, paid an $11 million ransom to cybercriminals who last week temporarily knocked out plants that process roughly one-fifth of the nation’s meat supply, the company’s chief executive told the Wall Street Journal. The ransom payment, in bitcoin, was made to shield JBS meat plants from further disruption and to limit the potential impact on restaurants, grocery stores and farmers that rely on JBS, said Andre Nogueira, chief executive of Brazilian meat company JBS SA’s U.S. division.


French and Swiss Central Banks To Trial Wholesale Digital Currencies

The Swiss National Bank and the Bank of France will trial Europe’s first cross-border central bank digital currency payments, the banks said on June 10, a move that will be a first for two of the world’s top currencies.The experiment will focus on the bank-to-bank ‘wholesale’ lending market rather than everyday public transactions but will be the first time a digital euro and Swiss franc have been fully tested.Switzerland’s UBS, Credit Suisse  and France’s Natixis  are involved in the project, along with Swiss bourse operator SIX Digital Exchange, fintech firm R3 and the Innovation Hub at the Bank for International Settlements.

World Economic Forum Releases Decentralized Finance Tool Kit For Policy Makers

 The World Economic Forum this week released the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Policy-Maker Toolkit, providing policy-makers and regulators with guidance for technologies that are global and transforming rapidly. The toolkit is a collaboration with the Blockchain and Digital Asset Project at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It draws on contributions from an international expert group of academics, legal practitioners, DeFi entrepreneurs, technologists, global policy-makers and regulators, and is the second report in the series, after DeFi Beyond the Hype. DeFi has been evolving since the launch of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015 and is a category of financial services based on blockchain’s distributed ledger technology. It does not rely on central institutions, and interest has risen sharply from both private and public sectors.  The report notes that, in the past year, the value of digital assets locked in DeFi smart contracts grew by a factor of 18, from $670 million to $13 billion. The number of associated user wallets grew by a factor of 11, from 100,000 to 1.2 million, and the number of DeFi-related applications grew from eight to more than 200.


Flying Taxis Could Poach Passengers From Planes

Airbus and Boeing watch out – one of the world’s largest aircraft owners says passenger planes could see their wings clipped by the rapid spread of flying taxi startups. Commercial air travel already faces competition from high-speed trains in parts of the world. But the head of Irish aircraft leasing firm Avolon said competition would shift skywards as it invested up to $2 billion in aerial shuttles.

Avolon is among the launch customers for up to 1,000 electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVOTL) aircraft being developed by Britain’s Vertical Aerospace, which plans to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm. German air shuttle startup Lilium said in March it would float on the U.S. stock market via a similar process.The deals reflect growing interest in battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically, offering a new way for travellers to beat traffic and hop between cities.

Vertical’s VA-X4 has a range of 120 miles but that could be extended further, Avolon Chief Executive Domhnal Slattery said June 10.”The challenge for incumbent (planemakers) is if the range can extend to 400-500 miles, what is the implication for traditional narrowbodies?” he said in a Reuters interview.Asked if the vehicles for four passengers and a pilot could take business from much larger commercial planes, Slattery said, “Eventually, yes of course. This is the inevitable future.

Apple Hires Former BMW Executive For Car Project

Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help its vehicle initiatives, Apple confirmed June 10.

AI Pioneer Launches Self-Driving Startup With Backing From Uber

Raquel Urtasun, the AI pioneer who was the chief scientist at Uber ATG, has launched a new startup called Waabi that is taking what she describes as an “AI-first approach” to speed up the commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles, starting with long-haul trucks. Urtasun, who is the sole founder and CEO, already has a long list of high-profile backers, including separate investments from Uber and Aurora.

Pirelli And Enel X Team On Recharging Infrastructure For Electric Vehicles

Pirelli and Enel X announced the launch of plans that will lead to the installation of recharging infrastructure from the Enel Group’s business line for electric vehicles at selected sales points of Pirelli’s driver network of tire centres. The agreement, which was signed on the occasion of the Milano – Monza Motor Show, sets in motion a cooperation that will immediately involve many Pirelli tire centers in Italy, to be followed by Spain and other European countries.

Global Airline Body Says COVID Travel Pass To Soon Go Live

The head of global airline body IATA said on Thursday a digital travel pass for COVID-19 test results and vaccine certifications would go live in the coming weeks following a testing phase.The mobile application, which has been tested by some airlines, was originally designed to facilitate passenger screening at the airport check-in and aircraft boarding stages. However, IATA says it has since modified the app for when passengers are also checked by immigration officers on arrival.


Cargill CEO says Plant-Based Protein Will Cannibalize Its Meat Business

  Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan has said that his company is preparing for a big shake-up in its business over the next few years, as consumer demand for the new generation of plant-based protein products eats into market share for meat from slaughtered animals.  “Our analysis is that in […] three to four years, plant-based will be perhaps 10% of the market,” he said at a conference held by the US National Grain & Feed Association. “We’re a large beef producer and that is a big part of our portfolio. So there’s some cannibalization that will occur,” Reuters reported him as saying. Cargill has been trying to increase its footprint in the plant-based protein space of late, anticipating the consumer shift away from animal protein.The US agribusiness giant is a key supplier of pea protein to plant-based patty maker Beyond Meat through a joint venture with Puris Foods, and recently earmarked $475 million to expand its US soybean crushing capability.Cargill has also launched its own range of plant-based meat alternatives in China. Its PlantEver retail brand is available to consumers following a trial period with enterprise customers including fast food chain KFC in the country last year.


Netflix Opens Online Store Selling Limited-Edition Merchandise Connected To Its Streaming Content

Netflix will launch an online store to sell limited-edition apparel, lifestyle merchandise and collectibles based on “Stranger Things,” “Lupin” and other popular shows, the streaming giant said June will be available in the United States and expand to other countries in the coming months, Netflix said in a blog post. The video streaming pioneer is facing a growing list of competitorsoffering their own streaming services with new movies and TV shows. In April, Netflix fell short of Wall Street projections for new subscribers.The online store offers a new source of revenue for Netflix and expands its product line beyond the items it sells through partenrs such as Target Inc  and Walmart.


Facebook Plans Smartwatch That Can Be Used For Video Calls

Facebook is taking a novel approach to its first smartwatch, which the company hasn’t confirmed publicly but currently plans to debut next summer. The device will feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, reports The Verge .A camera on the front of the watch display exists primarily for video calling, while a 1080p, auto-focus camera on the back can be used for capturing footage when detached from the stainless steel frame on the wrist. Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project, both of whom requested anonymity to speak without Facebook’s permission. The idea is to encourage owners of the watch to use it in ways that smartphones are used now. It’s part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build more consumer devices that circumvent Apple and Google, the two dominant mobile phone platform creators that largely control Facebook’s ability to reach people.


Should Google Be Declared A Public Utility?

This week, like just about every other week, Silicon Valley tech giants were fined by various governments for anticompetitive behavior or violating privacy regulations. These slaps on the wrist don’t change the playing field but a move by Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, just might.  Yost filed a lawsuit on June 8 in pursuit of a novel effort to have Google declared a public utility and subject to government regulation.The lawsuit, which was filed in a Delaware County, Ohio court, seeks to use a law that’s over a century old to regulate Google by applying a legal designation historically used for railroads, electricity and the telephone to the search engine.“When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Mr. Yost, a Republican, said in a statement. He added that Ohio was the first state to bring such a lawsuit against Google.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.