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Exclusive: Ro cuts 18% of staff despite narrowing focus, raising additional capital

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Ro cuts 18% of staff despite narrowing focus, raising additional capital

#cuts #staff #narrowing #focus #raising #additional #capital

Ro, a healthcare unicorn that last raised $150 million just months ago at a $7 billion valuation, has cut 18% of its staff to “manage expenses, increase the efficiency of our organization and better map our resources to our current strategy,” leadership wrote in an e-mail obtained by TechCrunch and confirmed by multiple sources.

“Due to our obligation to protect patient healthcare information, there will not be a transition period for those departing the company,” the e-mail continues. “We know that this will feel abrupt and hope you can find alternative ways to connect to say goodbye to your teammates.” Impacted employees will get two months of severance pay and support for job placement. The healthcare unicorn is offering two months of paid healthcare benefits.

Ro confirmed the news to TechCrunch and provided a copy of the aforementioned e-mail that CEO Zachariah Reitano sent to staff. A spokeswoman said that Ro is still hiring.

The layoff today, per one source, impacts most of Ro’s recruiting team. Another source says that the announcement was unexpected, and that current employees were told about the workforce reduction via Zoom without the chance to ask any questions. In the e-mail, Ro asserts that people who were impacted by the layoffs were told in 1:1 conversations.

In the email, leadership says it took steps over the past six months to prepare for a possible downturn, including narrowing focus and raising additional capital. The capital they’re alluding to, despite being at a higher valuation, was solely funded by existing investors. The financing event was less than its preceding round. The absence of new investors signaled that the company stuck to people who already have financial stakes in the company’s future success.

Ro’s decision to lay people off comes after a number of executives left the company, including Ro COO George Koveos, GM of Ro Pharmacy Steve Buck and most recently, Modern Fertility co-founder Afton Vechery. Vechery’s departure, which happened around one year after her company was acquired by Ro, has been rumored for over six months — first sparked by an employee exodus that peaked last year. At that time, former and current employees spoke to rising tensions at Ro that were caused by the health tech company’s inability to gain meaningful revenue from newer products.

Its ED line continues to account for half of the health tech unicorn’s revenue. In a statement, the company said that, alongside its acquisition and pharmacy growth, it launched Ro Mind for mental health and Ro Derm for skincare. In a statement in response to TechCrunch’s 2021 investigation into Ro’s culture and business, Reitano said that Derm is on pace to do over $20 million in revenue in 2021. He also said that non-Roman revenue is growing faster than Roman, reportedly 150% year over year.

In a previous, separate email sent to employees, Ro leadership said that they will put “more energy and resources toward fewer initiatives” for the remainder of Q2 and H2. “Narrowing the focus does not mean we will launch any fewer products or services for patients. In fact, we believe it will have the opposite effect. We will increase the speed of innovation for patients,” the memo continues, also noting that it will build “new products for existing patients.”

“The mantra for the remainder of the year (and potentially beyond) will be growth with discipline,” the e-mail continued. Quite a different feel than just last year when the company raced to be the “Amazon of healthcare.”

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Exclusive: Samsung's Wildest Design Collabs, From BTS to Supreme – TalkOfNews.com

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Samsung's Wildest Design Collabs, From BTS to Supreme

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There’s nothing people love and hate more than a collab. Whether it’s a fashionable collaboration between two designers, or two musicians teaming up on a “hybrid” kind of musical genre, it’s an easy way to create a fusion to appeal to folks beyond the usual suspects.

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Exclusive: Apple Music’s student plan is getting more expensive in the US, UK, and Canada – TalkOfNews.com

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Apple Music’s student plan is getting more expensive in the US, UK, and Canada

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Apple Music has raised the subscription price of its student plan in the US, UK, and Canada, as first reported by 9to5Mac (via TechCrunch). While it’s increasing the price from $4.99 to $5.99 / month in the US and Canada, student users in the UK can expect a similar jump from £4.99 to £5.99 / month.

Apple hasn’t acknowledged the changes yet, but the new pricing information is currently available on Apple Music’s webpage. Students subscribed to Apple Music have also started seeing the price increase on their iPhones and iPads’ subscription pages. It’s unclear when exactly Apple implemented these changes, but, as 9to5Mac points out, it was likely rolled out sometime between June 21st and the 23rd — an archived Apple Music webpage shows the old £4.99 student price on the 21st.

Apple Music’s student plan, which is reserved for those enrolled in a college or university, was previously the most affordable full-featured plan on offer. Pricing for the $9.99 / month individual and $14.99 / month family plans remain unchanged, and the same goes for the $4.99 / month voice plan. While students might look to the voice plan as a way to save an extra buck, it offers more limited access to Apple Music, as you can only control it through Siri.

Apple Music’s price increase isn’t limited to just the US, UK, and Canada. Last month, Apple quietly upped the subscription price for students across several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Israel, and Kenya. It’s unclear whether Apple has plans to raise costs for students in additional countries, and Apple didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.


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Exclusive: A YouTuber Just Created the First "PS5 Slim," Kinda – TalkOfNews.com

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A YouTuber Just Created the First "PS5 Slim," Kinda

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DIY Perks

The Playstation 5 is one of the biggest consoles around, but eventually, Sony will likely release a slim version. However, one DIY YouTuber didn’t want to wait several years for it, so he made his own “PS5 Slim.”

Matt Perks, known as DIY Perks on YouTube, got busy taking the entire PS5 apart and slowly figuring out how to remove, replace, or displace all the most significant parts of the gaming console. The result is a PS5 Slim under an inch thick instead of over 4-inches thick like the original.

He substituted components with homemade parts, like the beautiful copper exterior, built his own LED power button, and removed two of the biggest pieces of the Playstation 5 to create a gaming console just a hair thicker than a DVD case.

As you can see from the image and video above, Matt’s Playstation 5 is super thin and absolutely stunning. It’s slim, sleek, and small enough to fit just about anywhere.

However, if you don’t watch the entire video, you’ll miss that two of the most important components aren’t smaller. They’ve just been moved behind the desk. Most of the PS5’s thickness comes from the massive cooling heatsink and power supply needed to power all the fun games.

PS5 Slim power supply
DIY Perks

For this, the YouTuber still came up with a pretty genius plan. He added new custom liquid cooling blocks to his PS5 Slim, then routed the heat, water-cooling, and power to an external power supply and heatsink unit. This way, the chunky parts of Sony’s Playstation 5 can hide behind a TV, out of the way, where it won’t be such an eye-sore.

And while some will consider hiding those two components elsewhere is cheating, it’s still downright amazing what DIY Perks managed to create using household tools. From the shiny exterior, custom copper water block, and everything else that went into bringing this “Slim PS5” to life.

For now, regular people will have to wait a few years and see if Sony releases a slim version of its hard-to-get console or live vicariously through this YouTuber.

via Engadget

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