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Beddr to Launch New Solution for Improving Sleep with $5.6 Million in Series A Funding

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Beddr to Launch New Solution for Improving Sleep with $5.6 Million in Series A Funding

Pre-orders Start Today for BeddrSleepTuner, A Clinical Grade Product that Leverages a Scientific, Integrated Approach to Understanding and Solving Sleep Problems

With $5.6 million in Series A funding led by Three Leaf Ventures, Beddr is launching a new product to help consumers understand and solve their sleep problems.

Other investors in the round included the Stanford-StartX Fund, Delta Dental Washington Seed Fund and I.T. Farm, as well as top experts in technology and healthcare.

Now available for pre-order, the BeddrSleepTuner is the initial step in the company’s plan to deliver the industry’s first integrated, digital approach to understanding and improving sleep. The SleepTuner’s innovations are based on validated sleep science, providing users with insights into how breathing and sleep position impact health.

As many as 54 million adults struggle with their breathing while they sleep, and these problems significantly impact their physical and emotional well-being. In fact, poor sleep quality comes at a high cost. Frost & Sullivan estimates that undiagnosed breathing issues cost the U.S. more than $149 billion annually and increase the risk for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and depression.

“Working with leading sleep medicine experts, we’re bringing science into consumers’ homes with the first comprehensive solution that helps individuals understand factors impacting their sleep,” said Mike Kisch, co-founder and CEO of Beddr. “The BeddrSleepTuner helps people objectively understand the impact of sleep position, weight loss, alcohol consumption, as well as current treatments on overall sleep quality. Every morning, an individual will be presented with clinical grade insights and actions that may improve breathing, increase sleep duration, reduce snoring and improve recuperation.”

Integrated Approach Guides Users to Better Sleep

The Beddr approach integrates a clinical-grade sleep sensor, mobile app and predictive analytics to provide personalized insights and actions. The SleepTuner’s compact sensor is designed for comfort and ease of use when worn while sleeping over the course of multiple nights. It captures and correlates many key data points that provide deeper insights into the causes of sleep issues, including blood oxygen saturation, stopped breathing events, heart rate, heart rate spikes and sleep position. The SleepTuner connects wirelessly with the Beddr mobile app, guiding users through the sleep tuning process. The app compares each sleep assessment result to the prior one so users can see the impact of sleep tuning over time.

Unlike consumer sleep trackers that provide few insights and may have questionable accuracy, Beddr will ship an FDA-listed solution that leverages the science used in sleep labs. Now these clinical-grade insights are available directly to consumers at an affordable price.

“The BeddrSleepTuner is based on the best practices we use in a sleep clinic,” said Brandon R. Peters, M.D., a practicing neurologist and board-certified sleep physician at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, who also sits on Beddr’s clinical advisory board. “As more and more people come to understand the importance of high-quality sleep, the demand for sleep expertise is exploding, and yet the supply of board-certified sleep physicians cannot keep up with demand. Existing solutions on the market have limitations; they’re either inaccessible to most people due to high cost and complexity, or they are not accurately gathering the right information to deliver clinically valid insights. We need to manage this gap and find new approaches to solve our nation’s sleep problems. Beddr is doing just that.”

New research from Parks Associates’ study of U.S. broadband households, “Sleep and IoT: Behaviors, Awareness, and Opportunities,” reports that 57 percent of consumers suffer with at least one sleep problem and 42 percent are concerned their health will worsen due to poor sleep quality.

“There is a clear opportunity for tech players to create products that not only track sleep, but also address sleep issues, and consumers show a willingness to pay for these kinds of products,” said Jennifer Kent, research director and project manager of the Parks Associates’ study. “Consumers report a high interest in devices that provide personalized insights and recommend actionable steps to improve their sleep; 61 percent of consumers are very interested in sleep tech features that can clinically improve the quality of sleep.”

Series A Supports Commercial Launch
The Series A funding will support the commercial launch of the BeddrSleepTuner, as well as further development of the company’s integrated sleep approach. In the future, Beddr expects to offer seamless access to board-certified sleep physicians, personalized treatment options, and ongoing coaching and support to drive improved outcomes at lower costs.

“I’ve experienced the sleep medicine system first hand. Ultimately, it helped me, but it took a long time for me to find the best solution to my chronic sleep problems. We invested in Beddr because we believe sleep disorders are vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated, and that the Beddr system can make a real difference,” said Kiki Broe, partner at Three Leaf Ventures. “Beddr’s team is the perfect combination of seasoned leadership and repeat entrepreneurs from medical device companies like Shockwave Medical; consumer marketing expertise at Johnson and Johnson; and technology innovators from companies like Amazon and Mint.”

The BeddrSleepTuner can be preordered now from beddrsleep.com for early fall delivery. The suggested retail price is $149, but the SleepTuner is being offered at an introductory price of $99 while supplies last.

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UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe

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UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints - BoE's Vlieghe 1

By David Milliken and William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below zero later this year or in 2022 if a recovery in the economy disappoints, especially if there is persistent unemployment, policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday.

Vlieghe said he thought the likeliest scenario was that the economy would recover strongly as forecast by the central bank earlier this month, meaning a further loosening of monetary policy would not be needed.

Data published on Friday suggested the economy had stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown hit retailers last month, while businesses and consumers are hopeful a fast vaccination campaign will spur a recovery.

Vlieghe said in a speech published by the BoE that there was a risk of lasting job market weakness hurting wages and prices.

“In such a scenario, I judge more monetary stimulus would be appropriate, and I would favour a negative Bank Rate as the tool to implement the stimulus,” he said.

“The time to implement it would be whenever the data, or the balance of risks around it, suggest that the recovery is falling short of fully eliminating economic slack, which might be later this year or into next year,” he added.

Vlieghe’s comments are similar to those of fellow policymaker Michael Saunders, who said on Thursday negative rates could be the BoE’s best tool in future.

Earlier this month the BoE gave British financial institutions six months to get ready for the possible introduction of negative interest rates, though it stressed that no decision had been taken on whether to implement them.

Investors saw the move as reducing the likelihood of the BoE following other central banks and adopting negative rates.

Some senior BoE policymakers, such as Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, believe that adding to the central bank’s 875 billion pounds ($1.22 trillion) of government bond purchases remains the best way of boosting the economy if needed.

Vlieghe underscored the scale of the hit to Britain’s economy and said it was clear the country was not experiencing a V-shaped recovery, adding it was more like “something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery.”

“I want to emphasise how far we still have to travel in this recovery,” he said, adding that it was “highly uncertain” how much of the pent-up savings amassed by households during the lockdowns would be spent.

By contrast, last week the BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, likened the economy to a “coiled spring.”

Vlieghe also warned against raising interest rates if the economy appeared to be outperforming expectations.

“It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.

Higher interest rates were unlikely to be appropriate until 2023 or 2024, he said.

($1 = 0.7146 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

 

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UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit

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UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit 2

By William Schomberg and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month hit retailers, and business and consumers are hopeful the vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday.

The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions.

A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

The central bank expects a strong subsequent recovery because of the COVID-19 vaccination programme – though policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said in a speech on Friday that the BoE could need to cut interest rates below zero later this year if unemployment stayed high.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s lockdown but has said any easing of restrictions will be gradual.

Official data for January underscored the impact of the latest lockdown on retailers.

Retail sales volumes slumped by 8.2% from December, a much bigger fall than the 2.5% decrease forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the second largest on record.

“The only good thing about the current lockdown is that it’s no way near as bad for the economy as the first one,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

The smaller fall in retail sales than last April’s 18% plunge reflected growth in online shopping.

BORROWING SURGE SLOWED IN JANUARY

There was some better news for finance minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce Britain’s next annual budget on March 3.

Though public sector borrowing of 8.8 billion pounds ($12.3 billion) was the first January deficit in a decade, it was much less than the 24.5 billion pounds forecast in a Reuters poll.

That took borrowing since the start of the financial year in April to 270.6 billion pounds, reflecting a surge in spending and tax cuts ordered by Sunak.

The figure does not count losses on government-backed loans which could add 30 billion pounds to the shortfall this year, but the deficit is likely to be smaller than official forecasts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said.

Sunak is expected to extend a costly wage subsidy programme, at least for the hardest-hit sectors, but he said the time for a reckoning would come.

“It’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this,” he said.

Some economists expect higher taxes sooner rather than later.

“Big tax rises eventually will have to be announced, with 2022 likely to be the worst year, so that they will be far from voters’ minds by the time of the next general election in May 2024,” Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

Public debt rose to 2.115 trillion pounds, or 97.9% of gross domestic product – a percentage not seen since the early 1960s.

The PMI survey and a separate measure of manufacturing from the Confederation of British Industry, showing factory orders suffering the smallest hit in a year, gave Sunak some cause for optimism.

IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the improvement in business expectations suggested the economy was “poised for recovery.”

However the PMI survey showed factory output in February grew at its slowest rate in nine months. Many firms reported extra costs and disruption to supply chains from new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the European Union since Jan. 1.

Vlieghe warned against over-interpreting any early signs of growth. “It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.

“We are experiencing something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery. We are clearly not experiencing a V-shaped recovery.”

($1 = 0.7160 pounds)

(Editing by Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)

 

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Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output

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Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output 3

By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.

Brent crude futures were down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $63.60 a barrel by 11:06 a.m. (1606 GMT) U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1%, to $59.92.

This week, both benchmarks had climbed to the highest in more than a year.

“Price pullback thus far appears corrective and is slight within the context of this month’s major upside price acceleration,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.

Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.

Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.

Companies were expected to prepare for production restarts on Friday as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.

“While much of the selling relates to a gradual resumption of power in the Gulf coast region ahead of a significant temperature warmup, the magnitude of this week’s loss of supply may require further discounting given much uncertainty regarding the extent and possible duration of lost output,” Ritterbusch said.

Oil fell despite a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the big freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]

The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Still, analysts did not expect near-term reversal of sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the previous U.S. administration.

“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.

(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)

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