Jan 30, 2018

Dog-walking startup Wag raises $300 million

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Dog-walking startup Wag has raised $300 million from SoftBank Vision Fund, confirming the talks Axios first reported in December. It also said that former LifeLock CEO Hillary Schneider is taking over as CEO from Wag co-founder Josh Viner.

Why it matters: This is another deep-pocketed deal from SoftBank, which now owns 45% of Wag, according to Recode, but is a bit unusual in that none of the money was used to buy shares from early employees or investors.

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GOP sees more hurdles for Trump as coronavirus crisis drags on

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most. 

Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.