News Article | October 7, 2016
Pfleger, a graduate student at the time and now a scientist at Oceana, agreed to help a friend track down proof of a living Alabama sturgeon—a fish not seen since 2009. Instead of netting a live sturgeon, though, Pfleger would be hunting for its genes. 'Environmental DNA,' or eDNA, is an emerging technique that lets scientists identify aquatic animals from the minute bits of tissue they leave behind. Early adopters say that the standard trappings of field research—pricey vessels, ship crews, scuba divers and jars of specimens—could one day be replaced by a geneticist and a liter of water. The Alabama sturgeon is a russet-colored, one kilogram (two to three pounds) fish with hard, armor-like scales. The rarest member of the sturgeon family, it's a casualty of the caviar market and the dams that slice up its river habitat. In 2009, researchers lost contact with the only known living Alabama sturgeon when the fish, a male, broke or lost his tracking tag. Despite what Pfleger described as "extreme" search efforts, no other members of his species have been spotted since. Pfleger's task was to find out if any unseen sturgeons might have shed even a single cell—from scales, mucus or excrement—in water sampled from sites across its historic range. For each sample, Pfleger ran through a multi-step process that resulted in a slurry of genes from potentially thousands of species. The process was time-consuming, Pfleger said, but not hard: "If you can bake cookies, you can do genetics." To tell if any of those fragments belonged to an Alabama sturgeon, Pfleger then applied a 'primer'—a compound that only binds to the DNA of a single species. At the beginning, it was slow going. "I ran hundreds of samples with nothing coming up," Pfleger said. "It was sad for multiple reasons: sad for the sturgeon, and sad I that I had to work for multiple hours on end. It was morally defeating." But defeat turned to triumph. One day, a bit of DNA turned up that tested positive for the long-lost sturgeon. A check against a database confirmed the match. After that, 17 additional results came back positive—putting to rest fears that Alabama sturgeon had gone extinct. Since each sample is tied to a specific spot, Pfleger said, sturgeon search parties can now narrow down where to look. The ultimate goal is for officials to capture enough fish to breed them in captivity—and perhaps to identify and remove the most damaging dams. As for eDNA, Pfleger had high praise: "It's the coolest biological tool available right now." So far, eDNA has seen its biggest successes in rivers. Because ocean environments are enormous and complex, marine applications of this technique have lagged. But researchers at the Center for Ocean Solutions in Monterey, California are starting to change this. In 2014, a team there turned to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see if eDNA could identify the species swimming in the 4.5 million liter (1 million gallon) Open Ocean tank. After sequencing the genetic material in a liter of tank water, they compared the aquarium's list of fish, sharks and turtles to the one they generated. "It turns out we were able to successfully identify all the bony fishes," said Larry Crowder, the science director at the Center for Ocean Solutions. "The first probe we used saw almost everything in the tank." A year later, the team put eDNA to the test in a less controlled environment: Monterey Bay. They pitted trained divers—the current best method for tallying up marine animals and their abundance—against samples of seawater. Environmental DNA again passed with flying colors. "What was remarkable was that there was only one species of fish that the divers saw that the DNA did not pick up," Crowder said. "And the DNA picked up almost twice as many vertebrate organisms than the divers recorded." The eDNA samples differed markedly by habitat type—a "quite surprising" result given that some sites were separated by only 60 meters (200 feet). "It turns out that the organisms you see in the eDNA samples are organisms you'd expect to be in those habitats," Crowder said. Because DNA degrades within one or two days in the sea, Crowder added, each sample likely represents an accurate, time-bound snapshot of a location: "Given space and time, this could be a pretty high-resolution technique." Though Crowder conceded that eDNA has "a lot of kinks that need to be worked out," he forecasts big changes ahead. Over the last 10 years, Crowder noted, the cost of eDNA sequencing has plummeted by orders of magnitude. Further declines could make eDNA a game-changer for cash-strapped government agencies and environmental groups. And because the number of DNA strands in a sample is proportional to a species' abundance, further improvements might make eDNA an important tool for telling not just if an animal was present or absent, but how many individuals there were—a big help for managers that need to keep track of endangered whales or commercially valuable fish. "We like to think it might be disruptive," Crowder said. "This is completely different from any approach we've used before." Explore further: Ocean 'dandruff' a new tool for marine biologists More information: Mariah O. Pfleger et al. Saving the doomed: Using eDNA to aid in detection of rare sturgeon for conservation (Acipenseridae), Global Ecology and Conservation (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.gecco.2016.08.008
News Article | October 27, 2016
In January–September 2016, the result of the Group amounted to EUR 12.9 million (EUR 10.1 million in the same period previous year). Earnings per share was EUR 0.84 (0.66). Investment income was EUR 17.5 million (12.8). Net Asset Value (dividend-adjusted) increased during the period by 8.0% (6.8%). Dividend of EUR 0.79 per share was paid in March for 2015 (0.30). The third quarter of the year was good for equity investors, even though the result of the Brexit vote organized in Britain in the end of June was a disappointment for investors. At the same time, it was somewhat of a relief that the uncertainty related to the vote was temporarily removed from daily discussion. After the vote, share prices rose especially in July, and for example, the value of the OMX Helsinki CAP Yield Index increased by nearly 10% in total during the third quarter of the year. Towards the end of the summer, stock markets calmed down and price volatility decreased. An indication of this was that the value of VSTOXX Index measuring the volatility of European shares sank to almost the lowest level in two years in August, and still remains close to that level. The state of the Eurozone economy has hardly improved during the summer. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) highly accommodative monetary policy has not worked very well, and the Eurozone economy has not seen the desired growth. The ECB’s interest policy has pressed the risk-free interest level into negative territory in many euro countries. A demonstration of the absurdness of the current economic situation is that in September the State of Finland issued a seven-year bond with a 0.22% negative yield for the first time in its history. Consequently, the State earned money by borrowing it. The current negative time value of money causes peculiar phenomena and cannot be sustainable in the long term. The currently calm situation in the market can change quickly. One sign of the structural tensions in the Eurozone is that there continue to be significant differences in interest rates between Germany and certain euro countries, such as Greece. The alternative that Greece cannot repay its debts is reflected in interest rates. According to the latest forecasts, the Eurozone economy will grow by 1.5% this year and by 1.3% in 2017, while the Finnish economy is expected to grow by 1.0% in both 2016 and 2017. The global economy is expected to grow by 2.9% this year and by 3.1% in 2017. During the current presidential election year, the US economy is expected to grow by 1.5% and in 2017 by 2.2%. Index yields on various exchanges for the first nine months of 2016 were as follows: Norvestia’s twofold investment strategy consists of market investments and Growth Equity. Market investments are made primarily in Nordic listed shares, funds and bonds. Growth Equity investments are made in unlisted companies, growth-oriented listed companies and private equity funds. Norvestia’s investments excluding cash and other liquid assets were 89% (83%) of total assets at the end of September. The fair value breakdown of the investments was as follows: 83% of the Group’s assets were in euros, 10% in Swedish krona, 6% in US dollars and 1% in other currencies. The value of Norvestia’s market portfolio developed well during the third quarter of the year with total return for the portfolio after hedging reaching EUR 7.9 million. An individual share worth a special mention is Nordea. The Nordea share benefitted especially from the decrease in general market risks, and its price increased by nearly 30% from the rock bottom of early July. In Norvestia’s portfolio, this corresponded to a return of EUR 0.8 million during the third quarter. Also the values of funds developed favorably. Didner & Gerge Aktiefond offered the best yield. The return on Norvestia’s Net Asset Value fluctuated less month on month than the stock market in general. During the third quarter, the portfolio was hedged, according to hedging policy, with Euro Stoxx Index futures. Approximately half of the Swedish krona currency risk was hedged with a currency future. During the third quarter of the year, the value of Norvestia’s Growth Equity portfolio increased by EUR 1.0 million due the unrealized fair value movements of investments in the portfolio. During the third quarter, Norvestia committed itself to investing approximately EUR 5 million in Hamilton Lane PE IX Fund, which focuses on US and European small- and medium-sized companies. Investments in unlisted companies belong to Norvestia’s Growth Equity portfolio, which is administered by Norvestia’s subsidiary Norvestia Industries Oy. The aim of Norvestia’s Growth Equity investment activities is to find interesting companies with strong growth potential, the long-term and active development of which can yield significant increases in value and thereby return to Norvestia’s shareholders. In accordance with its investment strategy, Norvestia aims to find target companies that operate in sufficiently large markets and have the opportunity to take advantage of their service and solution innovations both in Finland and internationally. Norvestia invests in minority shares or can be in the majority together with another investor. At the end of September 2016, the Growth Equity portfolio consisted of six unlisted companies: Aste Helsinki which offers media production and consulting, Coronaria Hoitoketju which offers health care services, Fluido which offers cloud services consulting, Idean Enterprises which offers customer experience design services, Polystar Instruments which develops telecommunications business intelligence software solutions, and Touhula Varhaiskasvatus which offers early childhood and preschool education. The total fair value of the interests in these companies amounted to EUR 28.3 million. Growth Equity also includes investments in private equity funds. Norvestia has committed itself to investing EUR 2.0 million in the Amanda V East private equity fund, of which EUR 1.3 million is now invested; approximately EUR 5 million in Hamilton Lane PE Fund IX, of which EUR 0.8 million is now invested; EUR 2.0 million in Lifeline Ventures Fund I, of which EUR 1.5 million is now invested; EUR 5.0 million in Lifeline Ventures Fund III, of which EUR 0.4 million is now invested; and EUR 3.0 million in Open Ocean Fund 2015, of which EUR 0.3 million is now invested. In addition, Norvestia has invested EUR 0.1 million in Lifeline Ventures Fund III AB. It looks like the US presidential election to be held 8 November will be the most significant factor in the capital markets in the near future. According to opinion polls, the election will be fairly even. For the capital markets, Clinton represents continuity and visibility. Trump’s political agenda is more unclear and unpredictable. According to many analysts, the election of Trump as President would increase uncertainty and complicate, at least initially, the predictability of the US economy. Typically markets react negatively to increasing uncertainty. Therefore, from the perspective of the capital markets, the election of Clinton would be a better choice. The European economic environment remains challenging. Despite the ECB’s powerful support purchases and interest stimulus, the euro economy has not taken a proper step towards growth. The overall situation in Europe is made difficult by the fact that Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU are only about to start. It is too early to estimate the impact of Brexit on the European economy, but the impact will nevertheless be negative. In addition to unfavorable economic effects, the result of the Brexit vote has already caused political turmoil in other EU countries, with demands for a similar referendum on EU membership being made in Italy and France, among others. Such referenda would probably be extremely difficult for the future of the EU. In this sensitive investment environment, Norvestia aims to take into account various possible scenarios in the economy and on the stock market, based on the latest economic figures. According to the chosen strategy, the amount of Growth Equity investments will be increased during 2016–2018. Otherwise investment levels between shares, funds and interest-yielding investments will be assessed on the basis of the prevailing situation. This stock exchange release is a summary of Norvestia's January-September 2016 Interim Report. The full Interim Report including tables is attached to this release and available on Norvestia’s website at www.norvestia.fi/reports. The interim financial information is unaudited.
News Article | October 27, 2016
Myös sijoitukset pääomarahastoihin sisältyvät kasvusijoituksiin. Norvestia on sitoutunut sijoittamaan Amanda V East -pääomarahastoon 2,0 miljoonaa euroa, josta on nyt sijoitettu 1,3 miljoonaa euroa; Hamilton Lane PE Fund IX -pääomarahastoon noin 5 miljoonaa euroa, josta on nyt sijoitettu 0,8 miljoonaa euroa; Lifeline Ventures Fund I -pääomarahastoon 2,0 miljoonaa euroa, josta on nyt sijoitettu 1,5 miljoonaa euroa; Lifeline Ventures Fund III -pääomarahastoon 5,0 miljoonaa euroa, josta on nyt sijoitettu 0,4 miljoonaa euroa; sekä Open Ocean Fund 2015 -pääomarahastoon 3,0 miljoonaa euroa, josta on nyt sijoitettu 0,3 miljoonaa euroa. Norvestia on myös sijoittanut 0,1 miljoonaa euroa Lifeline Ventures Fund III AB -pääomarahastoon. Euroopan taloustilanne jatkuu vaikeana. Huolimatta EKP:n voimakkaista tukiostoista ja korkoelvytyksestä eurotalous ei ole lähtenyt kunnolliseen kasvuun. Euroopan kokonaistilannetta vaikeuttaa se, että Britannian eroneuvottelut EU:sta ovat vasta käynnistymässä. Eron vaikutuksia Euroopan talouteen on vielä liian aikaista arvioida, mutta ne ovat joka tapauksessa negatiivisia. Kielteisten talousvaikutusten lisäksi Brexit-äänestystulos on jo aiheuttanut poliittista kuohuntaa myös muissa EU-maissa, ja muun muassa Italiassa ja Ranskassa on jo vaadittu kansanäänestystä EU:n jäsenyydestä. Tällaiset äänestykset olisivat todennäköisesti EU:n tulevaisuuden kannalta hyvin hankalia.
Thoppil P.G.,Open Ocean |
Hogan P.J.,Open Ocean
Journal of Physical Oceanography | Year: 2010
The circulation and mesoscale eddies in the Persian Gulf are investigated using results from a highresolution (̃1 km) Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). The circulation in the Persian Gulf is composed of two spatial scales: basin scale and mesoscale. The progression of a cyclonic circulation cell dominates the basin-scale circulation in the eastern half of the gulf (52°-55°E) during March-July. This is primarily the consequence of density-driven outflow-inflow through the Strait of Hormuz and strong stratification. A northwestward-flowing Iranian Coastal Current (ICC; 30-40 cm s-1) between the Strait of Hormuz and north of Qatar (̃52°E) forms the northern flank of the cell. Between July and August the ICC becomes unstable because of the baroclinic instability mechanism by releasing the potential energy stored in the cross-shelf density gradient. As a result, the meanders in the ICC evolve into a series of mesoscale eddies, which is denoted as the Iranian coastal eddies (ICE). The ICE have a diameter of about 115-130 km and extend vertically over most of the water column. Three cyclonic eddies produced by the model during August-September 2005 compared quite well with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) SST and chlorophyll-a observations. The remnants of ICE are seen until November, after which they dissipate as the winter cooling causes the thermocline to collapse. © 2010 American Meteorological Society.
Thoppil P.G.,QinetiQ |
Hogan P.J.,Open Ocean
Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers | Year: 2010
The results from a ∼ 1 km resolution HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM), forced by 1/2° Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) atmospheric data, were used in order to study the dynamic response of the Persian Gulf to wintertime shamal forcing. Shamal winds are strong northwesterly winds that occur in the Persian Gulf area behind southeast moving cold fronts. The period from 20 November to 5 December 2004 included a well defined shamal event that lasted 4-5 days. In addition to strong winds (16ms-1) the winter shamal also brought cold dry air (Ta=20°C, qa=10gkg-1) which led to a net heat loss in excess of 1000Wm-2 by increasing the latent heat flux. This resulted in SST cooling of up to 10°C most notably in the northern and shallower shelf regions. A sensitivity experiment with a constant specific humidity of qa=15gkg-1 confirmed that about 38% of net heat loss was due to the air-sea humidity differences. The time integral of SST cooling closely followed the air-sea heat loss, indicating an approximate one-dimensional vertical heat balance. It was found that the shamal induced convective vertical mixing provided a direct mechanism for the erosion of stratification and deepening of the mixed layer by 30m. The strong wind not only strengthened the circulation in the entire Persian Gulf but also established a northwestward flowing Iranian Coastal Current (ICC, 25-30cms-1) from the Strait of Hormuz to about 52°E, where it veered offshore. The strongest negative sea level of 25-40cm was generated in the northernmost portion of the Gulf while the wind setup against the coast of the United Arab Emirates established a positive sea level of 15-30cm. The transport through the Strait of Hormuz at 56.2°E indicated an enhanced outflow of 0.25 Sv (Sv≡106m3s-1) during 24 November followed by an equivalent inflow on the next day. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
News Article | December 1, 2011
Zentyal, the Zaragoza, Spain-based maker of the Zentyal Linux small business server, has raised $1 million in Series A funding from freshly financed and Europe-focused venture capital firm Open Ocean Capital. Zentyal develops a server solution that combines cloud-based services to make network management easy and secure for small and medium-sized businesses. Basically, it’s an open source alternative to Microsoft’s Windows Small Business Server.
News Article | February 7, 2014
The caller ID app that’s become pretty essential to most smartphone owners these days, Truecaller, has landed $18.8 million in a series B funding round. The company has also announced a partnership with Yelp to help users verify business numbers calling your phone. Truecaller announced that the investor group, led by Sequoia Capital as well as existing investor Open Ocean, Truecaller Chairman Stefan Lennhammer and a private, unnamed investor were involved in the funding round. Truecaller, that boasts 45 million users the world over, is situated in Stockholm and has just been joined by Shailesh Lakhani of Sequoia Capital on the board. As part of the company’s ongoing effort to expand its list of product features, it announced an integration of Yelp’s API data as part of its new product launch on Android. The API will allow Truecaller users to identify millions of reviewed businesses on a global scale. You will also be able to check out the Yelp rating of an establishment via Truecaller. Truecaller’s own search engine information will be combined with Yelp’s crowdsourced business ratings and shown to the user in the app or before the phone call. The new release also adds new social features that make it easier to update contacts and get in touch with people you may know. Back in December, Truecaller had joined hands with Twitter with the aim of increasing the app’s India userbase too. The tie up ensures that Truecaller users will be able to look people up on Twitter using their phone numbers. Essentially, besides the name of the caller, a user will also be able to see their Twiter handle and follow them right through the Truecaller app.
News Article | February 7, 2014
The round was led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investor Open Ocean. Founded in 2009 by icon Alan Mamedi, CEO, and Nami Zarringhalam, CSO, Truecaller is a verified mobile phone community that allows users to expand their contact list and reach people they want to find. It is available on the web and as an app for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian S60, Series 40, and Windows Phone. Along with funding, Truecaller partnered with Yelp to allows its users to identify local, national, and international businesses, and also view their Yelp rating.
News Article | November 4, 2013
Just when the hype of big data is wearing off is when real businesses are getting built. Take a look at RapidMiner, a German analytics company that’s setting up U.S. headquarters in the Boston area as it looks to expand in North America. RapidMiner (formerly known as Rapid-I) has been around since 2006 but has just raised its first venture funding, a $5 million Series A round led by two European funds, Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean Capital. With this deal, the company is bringing some big names aboard: Open Ocean partner Monty Widenius is a founder of MySQL, and data-mining expert Usama Fayyad, a Yahoo and Microsoft veteran, is also joining RapidMiner’s board of directors. RapidMiner makes open source software that helps businesses analyze data on a large scale and make predictions for business intelligence. The company stands out in a crowded field because it has 400-plus paying customers (including PayPal, Pepsi, Sanofi, and Siemens) and has bootstrapped itself to profitability. In a press release, Fayyad touted RapidMiner’s ease of use for business people who don’t have programming expertise. That’s a big goal for the current generation of analytics software makers; previously you had to be a techie to use such tools. All in all, it sounds like a welcome addition to the Boston-area big data cluster. In the past year, RapidMiner has opened small offices in Burlington, MA, and San Francisco, and now it expects to get a new local office space and make new hires. The company is led by CEO and co-founder Ingo Mierswa, who will split his time between Dortmund, Germany, and the Boston area. Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @gthuang