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Take a look inside Johnson & Johnson’s new startup incubator in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, that feels more like a rustic-chic coffee shop with jewel-toned couches

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Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Manhattan outpost of its startup incubator, JLabs, is the new kid on the NYC-health-tech block.

First opened in June, JLabs host startups looking for a space to grow their businesses — whether that be developing drugs, coming up with new medical devices, or applying new technology to the world of healthcare. In addition to NYC, there are JLabs in San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Houston, Boston and Belgium as well as another planned in Shanghai.

The incubators provide J&J, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, with a front-row view of what’s happening at the startup level. Though J&J doesn’t take an immediate stake in the companies, it does end up investing in some in the long-run. The relationship works like this: J&J will provide all the infrastructure, operation management, network, and programming, and the startups just have to bring new and innovative ideas.

It’s part of J&J’s plan of looking to the future and adapting to become more nimble as it evolves for the new generation of consumers.

We’re the leading healthcare company,” Kate Merton, head of the NYC and Boston JLabs, told Business Insider. “In the future we want to be the leading digital healthcare company.”

Take a look inside JLabs’ NYC digs, which with its coffee-shop vibes looked unlike any startup space we’ve ever seen.

The 30,000-square foot facility is located on the 3rd floor of the New York Genome Center in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood.


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The 30,000-square foot facility is located on the 3rd floor of the New York Genome Center in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Right when you come in, you see the investor hub, where incubator companies can meet with potential investors as well as mentors. This front of the house layout is the same in many other JLabs across the country, which are designed by architecture and design firm Gensler.


Right when you come in, you see the investor hub, where incubator companies can meet with potential investors as well as mentors. This front of the house layout is the same in many other JLabs across the country, which are designed by architecture and design firm Gensler.play

Right when you come in, you see the investor hub, where incubator companies can meet with potential investors as well as mentors. This front of the house layout is the same in many other JLabs across the country, which are designed by architecture and design firm Gensler.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

On the wall next to the reception desk is a presentation of all the companies housed at JLabs. There are 25 presently. The companies living at JLabs have a wide-ranging set of interests and ideas – from Curie Co’s biologic enzymes intended to replace abrasive chemicals in our cosmetics and drugstore products, to Nanowear’s high tech undergarment equipped with sensors that can monitor heart conditions.


On the wall next to the reception desk is a presentation of all the companies housed at JLabs. There are 25 presently. The companies living at JLabs have a wide-ranging set of interests and ideas – from Curie Co's biologic enzymes intended to replace abrasive chemicals in our cosmetics and drugstore products, to Nanowear's high tech undergarment equipped with sensors that can monitor heart conditions.play

On the wall next to the reception desk is a presentation of all the companies housed at JLabs. There are 25 presently. The companies living at JLabs have a wide-ranging set of interests and ideas – from Curie Co’s biologic enzymes intended to replace abrasive chemicals in our cosmetics and drugstore products, to Nanowear’s high tech undergarment equipped with sensors that can monitor heart conditions.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Sitting next to the reception desk is a white room built for video conferencing and meetings. Inside, the space design is white and minimalistic, and the wall on the far facing end holds two large screens along with motion sensing cameras.


Sitting next to the reception desk is a white room built for video conferencing and meetings. Inside, the space design is white and minimalistic, and the wall on the far facing end holds two large screens along with motion sensing cameras.play

Sitting next to the reception desk is a white room built for video conferencing and meetings. Inside, the space design is white and minimalistic, and the wall on the far facing end holds two large screens along with motion sensing cameras.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The hub is where “office hours” are held to help entrepreneurs find investors and partners to raise their Series A funding rounds. It’s a free resource offered by JLabs where residents can connect with consultants and specialists recommended by Johnson and Johnson to take care of the more technical aspects of business operations and filings.


The hub is where play

The hub is where “office hours” are held to help entrepreneurs find investors and partners to raise their Series A funding rounds. It’s a free resource offered by JLabs where residents can connect with consultants and specialists recommended by Johnson and Johnson to take care of the more technical aspects of business operations and filings.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Building out the incubator took a lot of adjustments. “We actually went back and cut out big holes all of the walls so as much light comes through as possible,” Merton said.


Building out the incubator took a lot of adjustments. play

Building out the incubator took a lot of adjustments. “We actually went back and cut out big holes all of the walls so as much light comes through as possible,” Merton said.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

To get into the private conference rooms and labs, you need a key fob for access. After a short stretch of traditional-looking offices and desk spaces, you enter the general meeting space. This is a public work area, and it’s designed to be filled with natural light.


To get into the private conference rooms and labs, you need a key fob for access. After a short stretch of traditional-looking offices and desk spaces, you enter the general meeting space. This is a public work area, and it's designed to be filled with natural light.play

To get into the private conference rooms and labs, you need a key fob for access. After a short stretch of traditional-looking offices and desk spaces, you enter the general meeting space. This is a public work area, and it’s designed to be filled with natural light.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

“I call it the speakeasy-Starbucks, because by day, it actually looks like a Starbucks where you would come and hang out and have coffee and work,” said Merton. The rustic-vintage vibe is complete with jewel-toned couches and chairs and antique-looking bookshelves.


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“I call it the speakeasy-Starbucks, because by day, it actually looks like a Starbucks where you would come and hang out and have coffee and work,” said Merton. The rustic-vintage vibe is complete with jewel-toned couches and chairs and antique-looking bookshelves.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Phone rooms that also feature exposed brick are sequestered to a private corner of the space.


Phone rooms that also feature exposed brick are sequestered to a private corner of the space.play

Phone rooms that also feature exposed brick are sequestered to a private corner of the space.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The bookshelves along the perimeter are filled with some of Merton’s own textbooks. The space is designed to be easily reconfigurable. Furniture can be moved to suit the nature of the function or individual group meetings.


The bookshelves along the perimeter are filled with some of Merton's own textbooks. The space is designed to be easily reconfigurable. Furniture can be moved to suit the nature of the function or individual group meetings.play

The bookshelves along the perimeter are filled with some of Merton’s own textbooks. The space is designed to be easily reconfigurable. Furniture can be moved to suit the nature of the function or individual group meetings.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The kitchen area by night can turn into a bar space for happy hour meetings with fellow incubator companies.


The kitchen area by night can turn into a bar space for happy hour meetings with fellow incubator companies.play

The kitchen area by night can turn into a bar space for happy hour meetings with fellow incubator companies.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The light fixtures can change color, and are spread out in the shape of a J.


The light fixtures can change color, and are spread out in the shape of a J.play

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The light fixtures can change color, and are spread out in the shape of a J.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The meeting space connects to a room that was originally intended to be a touch-down space for different companies, but Merton has been approached by individuals wanting to rent the dry space.


The meeting space connects to a room that was originally intended to be a touch-down space for different companies, but Merton has been approached by individuals wanting to rent the dry space.play

The meeting space connects to a room that was originally intended to be a touch-down space for different companies, but Merton has been approached by individuals wanting to rent the dry space.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Through the windows of the dry space, you can peek into the labs, which residents are currently moving into. The aesthetic here is supposed to recall the bridges that you cross coming from New Jersey — where J&J is based — to New York.


Through the windows of the dry space, you can peek into the labs, which residents are currently moving into. The aesthetic here is supposed to recall the bridges that you cross coming from New Jersey — where J&J is based — to New York.play

Through the windows of the dry space, you can peek into the labs, which residents are currently moving into. The aesthetic here is supposed to recall the bridges that you cross coming from New Jersey — where J&J is based — to New York.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The dry area segues into the wet lab areas, where different entrepreneurs can rent out individual benches for their work.


The dry area segues into the wet lab areas, where different entrepreneurs can rent out individual benches for their work.play

The dry area segues into the wet lab areas, where different entrepreneurs can rent out individual benches for their work.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

This bench in particular goes for around $3,000 a month. With that rent, the startups get access also to all the equipment around this space including shared freezers and fridges and fume hoods.


This bench in particular goes for around $3,000 a month. With that rent, the startups get access also to all the equipment around this space including shared freezers and fridges and fume hoods.play

This bench in particular goes for around $3,000 a month. With that rent, the startups get access also to all the equipment around this space including shared freezers and fridges and fume hoods.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

As companies grow and need more space, they can move into a private lab. There, the actual cost of the bench decreases, as J&J tries to make it cheaper for companies to grow. The price goes down to $2,300.


As companies grow and need more space, they can move into a private lab. There, the actual cost of the bench decreases, as J&J tries to make it cheaper for companies to grow. The price goes down to $2,300.play

As companies grow and need more space, they can move into a private lab. There, the actual cost of the bench decreases, as J&J tries to make it cheaper for companies to grow. The price goes down to $2,300.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Only half of the residents are fully moved in now, so the spaces will fill up more in the next few months. Different spaces have different equipment, so entrepreneurs can rent out the space that best suits their needs with testing and unique requirements.


Only half of the residents are fully moved in now, so the spaces will fill up more in the next few months. Different spaces have different equipment, so entrepreneurs can rent out the space that best suits their needs with testing and unique requirements.play

Only half of the residents are fully moved in now, so the spaces will fill up more in the next few months. Different spaces have different equipment, so entrepreneurs can rent out the space that best suits their needs with testing and unique requirements.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

A lot of the artwork on the walls are old J&J advertisements and designs.


A lot of the artwork on the walls are old J&J advertisements and designs.play

A lot of the artwork on the walls are old J&J advertisements and designs.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The artwork includes an array of both black and white TV advertisements and colored posters and newspaper ads for everything from kidney plaster (pain patches) to toothpaste.


The artwork includes an array of both black and white TV advertisements and colored posters and newspaper ads for everything from kidney plaster (pain patches) to toothpaste.play

The artwork includes an array of both black and white TV advertisements and colored posters and newspaper ads for everything from kidney plaster (pain patches) to toothpaste.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

Source: J&J

J&J has a deal with manufacturers to provide the latest new lab equipment for free so their entrepreneurs can use the most high-quality materials. That way, when it’s time to move out, the companies might opt to buy their own machines from the manufacturers.


J&J has a deal with manufacturers to provide the latest new lab equipment for free so their entrepreneurs can use the most high-quality materials. That way, when it's time to move out, the companies might opt to buy their own machines from the manufacturers.play

J&J has a deal with manufacturers to provide the latest new lab equipment for free so their entrepreneurs can use the most high-quality materials. That way, when it’s time to move out, the companies might opt to buy their own machines from the manufacturers.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

“When we were building this place, for some reason we had to have a wall here, which we found tragic that we blocked out the view to the World Trade Center and everything else,” Merton said. To remedy this, they commissioned a local artist to come in two days before they opened, and she replicated the view that could have been on the wall in just one night.


play

“When we were building this place, for some reason we had to have a wall here, which we found tragic that we blocked out the view to the World Trade Center and everything else,” Merton said. To remedy this, they commissioned a local artist to come in two days before they opened, and she replicated the view that could have been on the wall in just one night.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)

The hope of the incubator is to provide more space for NYC-based companies to grow in the city. A few months in, the startups are still getting settled in, but already JLabs has cemented its place in NYC’s biotech and health-tech scene.


The hope of the incubator is to provide more space for NYC-based companies to grow in the city. A few months in, the startups are still getting settled in, but already JLabs has cemented its place in NYC's biotech and health-tech scene.play

The hope of the incubator is to provide more space for NYC-based companies to grow in the city. A few months in, the startups are still getting settled in, but already JLabs has cemented its place in NYC’s biotech and health-tech scene.

(Charlotte Hu / Business Insider)



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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