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We get it: there’s a silly number of mobile messaging apps out there, and a great many of them are meant for you to share your banalities more easily. But a Philadelphia-based startup called Seratis is different.

Before Divya Dhar founded Seratis earlier this year, she was a practicing physician who had to use a work-issued pager to try to keep tabs on her patients and colleagues. That didn’t stop her fellow doctors from using smartphones to do the same thing – it’s the 21st century for heaven’s sake – but it turns out sharing that kind of information over insecure protocols isn’t exactly lawful.

Enter Seratis, a secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging app that may finally kill medical pagers dead.

Frankly, it’s sort of a surprise to hear that pagers are still widely used since they’ve all but disappeared from the public vernacular, but Dhar told me at Dreamit Ventures’ Philadelphia Health Demo Day that “90 percent of hospital communications still flows through pagers.” Turns out they’re pretty expensive, too.

“Everyone knows pagers need to go, and everyone is moving towards that,” she added.

Here’s how Seratis works: you log into the service as you would any other mobile messaging app, but the app organizes messages based on the patient they pertain to, so the entire team can see exactly what’s been going on with a particular person before they even check in for their shift. Even better, the app gives physicians direct access to colleagues they may rarely see, which makes for a much more fluid transfer of patient information.

After all, if you need clarification about a patient’s condition from a fellow doctor you haven’t run into before, imagine how long it would take to track down their contact info, reach out to them (assuming they’re not knee-deep in other work), and respond accordingly? That’s time that could be much better spent, and Dhar is frankly pretty sick of wasting it. Throw in support for read receipts and a quick, at-a-glance view of a patient’s entire medical team, and you’ve got a solid little smartphone app.

Turns out, the app is only part of the solution (data nerds may like where this is going). Hospitals and wards inside them will have access to important analytics from those conversations – some of the metrics like messaging volume and response time are pretty straightforward, but Seratis can also track specific words as they’re thrown around. Think of it as a lexicological early-warning system. If a slew of doctors working with multiple patients all repeatedly use the word “infection” on the same floor, something bad may be brewing. Seratis will be able to flag this so staffers and administrators can prepare and respond accordingly.

Of course, Seratis’ model isn’t exactly without its drawbacks. If you’re going to implement a crucial smartphone-centric messaging system in a hospital, you need to make sure every doctor who needs to use it actually has a smartphone. Considering smartphone penetration rates, there’s a solid chance that most physicians already have one, but Dhar conceded that some hospitals may need to offer incentives like data plan reimbursement to coax doctors into joining the BYOD bandwagon.

The team is also still trying to figure out the sweet spot, but Seratis plans to charge users per month so it can fit into small hospitals, as well as sprawling ones. Right now an alpha version of the iOS app (an Android version is in the pipeline, too) is being tested by Penn Medicine, but here’s hoping my doctors can more easily communicate about all my terrible miscellaneous ailments sooner rather than later.

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A new Kickstarter project wants to let a little light shine in on your mobile photos – much more than the built-in flash on devices like the iPhone 5 can provide alone. The iblazr is an external flash that uses four high-output CREE LED lights to provide a whole lot of illumination via a small piece of hardware that plugs into your gadget’s headphone jack, easily outgunning the iPhone’s flash, and giving the flash-less iPad something to shine on photographic subjects.

The iblazr is entirely synchronized with your device’s camera shutter, too, thanks to a proprietary free app for iOS and Android. It has a number of different features, including photo and video modes, a constant light mode, changeable brightness, and a built-in, USB rechargeable battery that lasts up to 1,000 flashes. The iblazr recharges via a flexible USB cable, and it even works without a smartphone or connected device at all, providing you a tiny pocket flashlight as well.

If you’re serious about your Instagrams, or about not carrying a dedicated camera around and still getting good shots, the iblazr looks to be a smart option, as it offers less chance to result in red-eye than the built-in flash, more than doubles the brightness possible and can even act as a fill flash for daylight outdoor shots to prevent exposure from becoming unbalanced between light and dark background and foreground.

The iblazr includes its own free app, but its creators also made it open source, and are offering SDK access before its general release to backers. Already a number of apps are signed up on both Android and iOS to take advantage of the accessory, so it’s possible your favourite mobile photography app will be able to take advantage, too.

iblazr is the product of a team based in Kiev, Ukraine, which includes a number of designers and engineers who have worked on hardware and software projects related to camera and photography gear before. Two of the team members were the first to solve flash synchronization issues with external devices on the iPhone, making the iblazr’s tricks possible.

The startup is looking for $58,000 in funding, and has raised nearly half so far. $39 is the price of admission for a pre-order pledge, which gets you one white or black iblazr with charger, with an expected ship date of December, 2013.

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The time has come. TechCrunch is coming to San Diego for a night of pitches, drinks and general tomfoolery. And we’re looking for the area’s best undiscovered startups to pitch their revolutionary ideas on our stage. Apply within.

On August 22, TechCrunch is taking over Block 16. Josh Constine, Jordan Crook, Greg Kumparak, and myself are stoked to see San Diego’s best up and coming startups. We’re only in town for a few days, so we’re looking to make this night huge.

General admission tickets are $5 and including drinks. 21 and over only, please.

But this is more than just a meet and drink affair. This is a pitch-off. And as the attendees of our Austin and Seattle’s pitch-offs will likely attest, this is an event you’re not going to want to miss.

We’re looking for the area’s best and brightest young startups to pitch their company or idea to a few TechCrunch editors and local VCs. It’s free to register, and the 30 companies selected will get free admission to the event, as well as some one-on-one time with TC editors earlier in the day.

Best yet, the winners of the pitch-off get a Disrupt SF Startup Alley package that puts them in front of the masses of Silicon Valley’s elite. The runners-up get two tickets to Disrupt SF.

Apply here or in the form below. We’re reviewing applications on a rolling basis so it’s best to apply early. Registration closes on August 16.

San Diego is our latest stop in TechCrunch’s nationwide Meetup + Pitch-Off tour. We were just in Seattle last week and found a bevy of amazing startups nestled in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. In May, we visited Austin, Texas, and before that, we held the first Pitch-Off of 2013 in front of 1,200 people in New York. We’ll be visiting Boston in November.

Our sponsors help make events happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team at sponsors@techcrunch.com.

Dick_Costolo

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wears many hats. Not only is he helping lead Twitter into its possible future as a public company, Costolo is a master at improv from his days as a professional comedian, and is a serial entrepreneurs who has sold companies to Google (Feedburner) and others. Which is why we are thrilled to announce that Costolo will join us for a discussion at Disrupt SF.

As Twitter heads down a path towards an eventual IPO, Costolo has been steering the company towards profitability via new ad products, with Twitter potentially hitting $1 billion in ad revenue in the coming year. Beyond supercharging the financials, Costolo has a unique approach to managing his fleet of over one thousand employees, and creating a distinct culture at a company that has been growing by leaps and bounds.

We’re excited to have Costolo take the stage along with other notable CEOs like Marc Benioff, Marissa Mayer, and Jeff Weiner. Much has changed for both Costolo and Twitter since hespoke at TC50 in 2009.

Disrupt SF takes over The San Francisco Design Concourse from September 7 to 11. Tickets are currently on sale here. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, opportunities can be found here.


Dick Costolo
Twitter, CEO

Since October 2010, Dick has been the Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, where he is responsible for the growth and management of the overall business. Previously, as Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer, he oversaw monetization and day to day operations.

Before joining Twitter, Dick was co-founder and CEO of FeedBurner, a digital content syndication platform that was acquired by Google in 2007. While at Google, Dick was Group Product Manager on the Ads team responsible for social media ads.

Previously, Dick lived and worked in Chicago, where he founded and ran two digital media companies: SpyOnIt, a web page monitoring service, and Burning Door Networked Media, a web design and development consulting company. Dick was also an improv performer with the acclaimed Annoyance Theater.

He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Computer Science. He is @dickc on Twitter.

[image Scott Beale / Laughing Squid]

DisruptEurope

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe will be TechCrunch’s major international conference this October. Featuring global startups, influential speakers, VIP guests and breaking news, you will not want to miss out. But, if you are a new startup that wants to launch in front of TechCrunch’s writers on the Battlefield stage: We want to make sure you have filled out your Startup Battlefield application. Do it now. The deadline is approaching July 31, and the clock is ticking.

In addition to onstage panel sessions and fireside chats, Disrupt will feature Startup Battlefield and Startup Alley to the Arena Berlin venue.

Startup Battlefield competitors pitch their companies live and onstage to innovators, investors and influencers in the tech community. TechCrunch identifies emerging companies to demo and compete for a prize of 40,000 ($50,000) and the coveted Disrupt Cup, won previously by Mint.com, Yammer, Fitbit, and Dropbox. Companies can apply to enter Startup Battlefield now, and the deadline has been extended to July 31.

The Startup Battlefield will select 30 brand new startups to launch on stage in front of a panel of top VCs and other founders, coverage on TechCrunch and the winner gets the 40,000 prize. We review applications on a rolling basis, so it’s to your advantage to submit as soon as you can.

Due to strong demand, it’s unlikely that we will review applications more than once, so please don’t submit a draft application before you are ready.

All submissions are confidential unless otherwise permitted by applicants on the application form. PowerPoint slides and video demos are optional but highly encouraged. We reserve the right not to review applications without video demos based on application volume.

Startup Alley offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a setup that encourages both exhibiting and networking, and provides high visibility. Roughly 100 startups comprise Startup Alley with around 50 new companies demoing on Monday and 50 demoing on Tuesday. Startup Alley companies will have the opportunity to sign up for one on one conversations with the editorial staff of TechCrunch, also known as Office Hours.

Additional speakers and agenda details will be announced between now and the show – find all the latest information on the Disrupt Europe website.

Extra Early Bird tickets are available for a limited time. Click here to purchase before they sell out.

Our sponsors help make Disrupt happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team here sponsors @ techcrunch.com

Media inquiries by can be directed to John Nolan on john.nolan @ teamaol.com

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Strap on a tin foil hat and dust off your VHS tape of Hackers because a thrilling, civilized discussion of contemporary cybersecurity is coming to TechCrunch Disrupt SF. I’ll be joined onstage by some of the leading security experts to discuss cyber threats from hostile foreign governments, rogue hacker groups, corporate espionage, and complications of the surveillance state.

Heather Adkins was head of cybersecurity at Google at just 25 years old and is now a veteran in securing one of the most sought-after Internet companies in the world.

Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant, made front-page headlines around the world after unmasking China’s infamous cyber army. Within the industry, it’s known that if you have to call Mandia, you have serious problems from the toughest cyber criminals on the net.

Ted Schlein of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers knows as much about the business of cyber security -both defense and offense – as anyone in Silicon Valley. Governments have big money to throw at cyber defense and it’s Schlein’s job to identify the most profitable private partners.

When the National Security Agency made headlines this summer, media outlets turned to arguably the most knowledgeable journalist on the secret spy organization, James Bamford.

Now, imagine all the contentious ethical quandaries and business pressures that come from cybersecurity. We’ll be discussing all of these, sometimes with fierce disagreement, with people who have staked their reputations on being right. This panel kicks off at 11:30 on Tuesday, September 10.

General-admission tickets and exhibitor packages are currently available. Buy tickets here.

Our sponsors help make Disrupt happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team here sponsors@techcrunch.com.

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