Uber agrees to buy electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

Ridesharing giant Uber is set to take over Jump Bikes, a bike-sharing startup offering dockless electric bicycles. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2018
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Uber agrees to buy electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

SAN FRANCISCO, : Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. said on Monday it has agreed to buy electric bicycle service JUMP Bikes, allowing Uber to offer US passengers an alternative to cars and further consolidating the crowded bike-sharing industry.
JUMP is a dockless electric bike service that has rolled out in San Francisco, where it has 250 bikes, and Washington. About 100 JUMP employees will join Uber, an Uber spokeswoman said. Terms of the deal, which the spokeswoman said is expected to close in the coming weeks, were not disclosed.
The deal furthers Uber’s goal of offering “the fastest or most affordable way to get where you’re going, whether that’s in an Uber, on a bike, on the subway, or more,” said Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
JUMP bikes in January integrated its service with Uber’s smartphone app in San Francisco, so that users could find one of JUMP’s bright red bicycles by opening the Uber app. The Uber spokeswoman said the company had no plans to withdraw the standalone JUMP app.
The deal signals a shift for Uber toward a wider set of transportation options in urban centers.
“We’re excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform” and help “shift millions of trips from cars to bikes,” said JUMP CEO Ryan Rzepecki.
With the addition of bicycles, Uber is taking a page from the playbook of competitors such as China’s Didi Chuxing. Uber has at times lagged rivals in certain markets because it has been limited to private car-hailing.
Based in New York, JUMP started in 2010 as Social Bicycles, evolving over the past eight years from selling bikes to operating its own fleets. JUMP bikes are unlocked and locked using a smartphone app. Because they are dockless, they can be left at any public bike rack, eliminating a lot of the infrastructure cost other bike-share companies incur, and their location is tracked via GPS. The company has raised about $11 million from investors.
JUMP is part of the bike-sharing craze that made its way to the United States after sweeping through China. Chinese startups Mobike and Ofo have recently entered the United States, competing with bike-share services sponsored by Citigroup Inc. and Ford Motor Co. and California-based startups such as LimeBike.
But the crowd of startups has begun to thin through acquisitions, including Didi’s deal with Bluegogo and China Internet company Meituan Dianping’s purchase of Mobike.
Industry experts say more consolidation will follow in the United States, particularly as bike-sharing companies face regulatory limits on the number of bikes allowed in cities and difficulties getting Americans accustomed to pedaling instead of driving.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.