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TruTag raises $7.5 million Series C for tiny, edible barcodes that can be placed on pills, food and vaping systems – TechCrunch

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TruTag Technologies, a company that creates microscopic, edible barcodes to authenticate medications, food, vaping pods and other products, has raised a $7.5 million Series C. The funding, led by Pangaea Ventures and Happiness Capital, will be used to further commercialize its technology and develop new solutions.

Along with earlier rounds, this brings TruTag’s total funding to $25 million. Its clients include PwC, which uses the company’s technology in its Food Trust Platform quality assurance program for Australian beef exports.

A high magnification of TruTag particles, each of is an edible “chip” that authenticates the product it is applied to.

A high magnification of TruTag particles, each of is an edible “chip” that authenticates the product it is applied to.

Called TruTags, the company’s tiny barcodes are made out of nano-porous silica, a material that has received GRAS (generally recognized as safe) notice from the U.S Food and Drug Administration, and can be placed directly on products or in packaging to track it through the supply and logistics chain.

TruTags are used with hyperspectral imaging technology, which is able to process much more wavelengths than other imaging methods, so it can collect more precise and detailed data from an image. When scanned, the barcodes provide information about where a product was manufactured, lot numbers, authorized distributors and safe use.

In email, TruTag chief executive officer Michael Bartholomeusz, who holds a PhD in materials engineering from the University of Virginia, told TechCrunch that the company sees the most growth opportunities in industries, such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceutical foods and cannabis, that deal with counterfeit products from the black market or the “grey market,” including products from unauthorized suppliers.

A conceptual photo of TruTags' technology.

A conceptual photo of TruTags’ technology.

“TruTags material is an already approved excipient in pills by the FDA. Pharmaceuticals and food comprise a very large portion of the global counterfeiting problem, and given the very unique edible feature of TruTag’s solution, this is a core area of focus for the company,” he says.

For example, the technology can be used to lock vaping systems so they only work with authentic vaping pods, helping reduce the number of counterfeit pods on the market. Bartholomeusz adds that TruTags is close to coming to market in the CBD space.

TruTags’ ability to be placed directly on products, its edibility and instant authentication in one to five seconds differentiates it from other solutions. Bartholomeusz notes that other quality assurance tech include specialized symbols, inks and holograms, though many of those products have the disadvantages of being replicable by high-quality printers or relying on consumers’ ability to recognize them.

In a press statement, Matthew Cohen, director of technology at Pangaea, which focuses on investing in advanced materials technology, said “Pangaea is excited to partner with TruTag and help the company expand its team and product portfolio. We believe TruTag’s edible barcode technology will help increase consumer confidence and ultimately save lives. TruTag is making our world better by utilizing compelling advanced materials and advanced material process innovations to combat rising problems such as drug counterfeiting.”



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Best Buy Black Friday 2019: Get a 13-inch MacBook Air for $900 and other deals

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2019, your source for the season’s best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.

Best Buy’s early Black Friday sale is heading into the weekend with momentum. Today’s “doorbuster” is a 2019 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina True Tone display. And Best Buy’s 65-inch Vizio Quantum TV costs about $100 less than anywhere else. 

Also noteworthy: The 40mm Apple Watch Nike Plus Series 4 GPS model is now at $299 — its all-time low. And Best Buy is sticking with its $100 discount on Apple’s brand-new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which was announced earlier this week, and its great deal on Lenovo’s loaded Yoga convertible laptop. 

To take advantage of some of Best Buy’s best sale prices, you need to be a member of the retailer’s My Best Buy rewards program, the basic tier of which is free. Discounts are available online and in-store. And Best Buy has also revealed its Black Friday ad, offering many specific products it’s selling for the real Black Friday timeframe later this month. 

We’ll keep this list up to date with the best deals in real time, but the current highlights are below.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The M-Series Quantum delivers excellent picture quality, with deep black levels, accurate color and very good 4K HDR performance. And its smart system is phone-friendly, with Google Cast and Apple AirPlay control.

Walmart is selling this exact set for $100 more and the the 50-inch model for $467 — but that’s the M7 series, which doesn’t deliver quite the same level of picture quality as that M8. It’s still a great price, however. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Yesterday, Apple unveiled a new version of the MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display, a revamped keyboard, improved AMD graphics, a bigger battery and boomy speakers. Today, Best Buy is knocking $100 off its list price.

Read our 16-inch MacBook Pro review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Dyson’s lightweight, compact, cord-free floor cleaner was down to $350 when it was Best Buy’s featured doorbuster. Now still a good deal at $150 off list price.

Read our Dyson V10 Cyclone preview.

Lori Grunin/CNET

We’ve long been fans of Lenovo’s flagship Yoga laptops — and the C940, which debuted in January, is one of a handful of Intel’s Project Athena devices designed to make it perform more like a phone. The C940 wakes instantly from sleep and has a fingerprint reader that works in a second and Wi-Fi that connects just as fast. This model features a 400-nit FHD-resolution and up to 17.5 hours of battery life.

Read our Lenovo Yoga C940 preview.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We love the UE Boom 2 — a compact, durable wireless Bluetooth speaker that plays loud and sounds good. It’s stain-resistant, shock-resistant and fully waterproof. Battery life is a strong 15 hours, and it can be paired with a second UE speaker for stereo sound.

Read our UE Boom 2 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sure, this entry-level configuration has lower-end components (Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD). But you’re still getting the best Windows two-in-one tablet, with the Type Cover thrown in, for $700. This package was down to $600 last week — but it’s still a fantastic deal at this price.

Read our Surface Pro 7 preview.

Best Buy deals that have expired (but are likely to return)

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Gram 17 weighs less than most other smaller laptops. It also has an amazing battery life. In fact, its 12 hours of run time made it one of the the top 10 laptops with the longest battery lives we’ve ever tested. Normally, it’s too pricey for us to recommend without qualification. Best Buy’s discount makes the case much more straightforward.

Read our LG Gram 17 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best Buy comes within $1 of the all-time lowest price we’ve seen for the 11-inch 64GB iPad Pro, $650. And the 256GB model is also on sale for $800. Note that you need to be a member of the retailer’s My Best Buy program to get this sale price.

Read our 11-inch iPad Pro review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Allergy vacuum does its job without a filter — and maintains suction over the long haul because of it. It’s great with fine particles and bested the competition at deep cleaning. Our only beef is that it’s too pricey — and Best Buy has taken care of that. This is a steal.

Read our Dyson Cinetic review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best Buy has Bose’s SoundLink Revolve on sale for $120, which is the lowest price we’ve seen for it. This model is smaller than the SoundLink Revolve Plus, but it’s a good compact Bluetooth speaker.

Read our Bose SoundLink Revolve review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Best Buy has the JLabs JBuds Air on sale for $30 through Sunday, Nov. 10. They normally retail for $50. JLabs makes a lot of true wireless earphones and this is its most affordable — and frankly, the only one I’d buy. It’s a decent set of true wireless earbuds that’s a relative bargain at $30.

David Carnoy/CNET

We saw this deal last year but it’s still a good one: Sony’s micro Bluetooth speaker, the SRS-XB01, is on sale for $15 at Best Buy.

Read our Sony SRS-XB01 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re less inclined to buy from Apple, Garmin’s rugged fitness watches are great. The Fenix 5X cost $700 when it came out in 2017 — now, Best Buy has it for $300. I’ve been using Garmin’s lower-end Forerunner 245 and I like it a lot. The model on sale here includes all of its fitness tracking functions and adds an altimeter and barometer. Plus, you get topographic US maps, routable cycling maps for turn-by-turn navigation and a scratch-resistant sapphire lens.

Read our Garmin Fenix 5X preview.

Ariel Nunez/CNET

Walmart has been selling these headphones for about $120 — a massive $80 discount off the $200 list price. Now, Best Buy takes it a step further by cutting the price to $90.

Read our Powerbeats3 review.

More sales will kick off on Thanksgiving Day

Best Buy stores are opening at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving, with the company highlighting the deals listed below (again, straight from its press release). These will presumably be available online as well.

  • Save $350 on 70-inch Samsung 4K UHD Smart TV with HDR (sale price: $549.99)
  • Save $280 on 58-inch Insignia 4K UHD Smart TV with HDR Fire TV Edition with free Amazon Echo Dot (sale price: $199.99)
  • Save up to $250 on iPad Pro 
  • Save up to $100 on iPad 10.2-inch
  • Save $400-$500 on the Note 10 Series (with qualified activation) 
  • 20% off haircare for My Best Buy members 
  • Save $80 on Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell (sale price: $149.99)
  • Save $1,000 on Hydrow Connected Rower (sale price: $1199)

Free next-day delivery on some items, free shipping on everything else

Feeling the heat from Amazon Prime, Best Buy is now adding free next-day delivery on “thousands of items” purchased on its website. And it’s also offering free standard shipping on everything else through Christmas Day, with no membership or minimum purchase required.

Same-day delivery is also available for some online orders in dozens of US cities, too. 

The full list of Black Friday sales are online, too

Check it out here.


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Originally published earlier this month. Updated with our favorite deals now highlighted at the top.



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40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019

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Digital transformation has arrived.

Not a single industry is safe from the unstoppable wave of digitization that is sweeping through finance, retail, transportation, and more.

And in 2019, there will be even more transformative developments that will change our businesses, careers, and lives.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a list of 40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019 across Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, The Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, Transportation & Logistics, and Digital Health.

This exclusive report can be yours for FREE today.



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