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Start-Up Leaders Recall Choice to Cash In or Stay Independent

Start-Up Leaders Recall Choice to Cash In or Stay Independent | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Nine start-up founders recounted the moment they had to decide whether to sell or stay independent — when the money was on the table and the future was unpredictable.

The reactions last week flowed like those to a Rorschach test.

Were the young founders of Snapchat, a mobile-messaging start-up, delusional for turning down a multibillion-dollar buyout offer? Greedy to think they might get more later? Or courageous to chase their dreams?

The decision they faced — to cash out or remain independent — is one that all successful technology entrepreneurs eventually confront. The founders face cold business considerations: pressure from investors and workers who want liquidity, and complex calculations about timing in a dynamic industry. But the choices also involve ambition and exhaustion, competition and loyalty, dreams and reality.

The successes get the attention. But Silicon Valley is littered with stories of companies that gave up money by rejecting offers and of those that sold too early. “It’s never obvious whether to sell or hold,” said Ben Horowitz, of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, an early investor in Instagram, which was co-founded by Kevin Systrom and sold to Facebook for $1 billion. “When Kevin sold Instagram, people said he was a genius, and now they’re asking whether he did it too early, and they’re saying Snapchat is so bold,” he said. “Who was right? We don’t know yet.”

When Snapchat’s founders rejected the buyout offer, it conjured memories among start-up founders who once faced a similar decision. Nine recounted their thoughts in that moment — when the money was on the table and the future was unpredictable.

To read the full article, click on the title.



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Via KAGEMUSHA Capital
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very interesting decision: are you cashing out, or living your dream, all the way?

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KAGEMUSHA Capital's curator insight, November 18, 2013 9:24 PM

“People in this situation are very, very rational about money, in an unusual way,” he said. “You don’t say no to a life-changing amount of money so that you might get a larger life-changing amount of money. I know it sounds untrue, but you think about it a lot, and you think more about the company and the mission than whether you should hang in there so you can someday afford two really big yachts, instead of one.”

Venture Capital Stories
Whether it's  Silicon Valley or Boston, it's a world of millionaires and billionaires, the domain of the happy few.
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Yodlee Interactive's incubator program gives fintech startups $20K for no equity

Yodlee Interactive's incubator program gives fintech startups $20K for no equity | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Financial tech might not be the sexiest thing happening around town, but one company is putting all its bets on it.

Yodlee Interactive (YI), a division of financial software company Yodlee, is beefing up the incubation part of its Next program, making it a more formal incubation program for financial tech startups.

YI’s Next program helps financial companies through three periods: incubation, acceleration, and cultivation. Companies falling into the incubation categories are very small, and need of resources to get their products going, which is why YI is now giving them, on average, $20,000 each. They will also get six month of free access to Yodlee’s API, as well as dedicated technical assistance and early access to new versions.

The $20,000 is actually part of a total $250,000 — or more if it sees fit — that YI will invest across all the participating incubator companies.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

NIce way to nurture promising startups and get them involved.

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New VC firm Upside gives entrepreneurs a piece of its fund

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Reuters) - Most venture capital firms give cash to entrepreneurs. Now Upside Partnership plans to give them a stake in its new fund, too.

The $30 million fund, announced on Thursday, is the brainchild of Kent Goldman, a former managing partner at First Round Capital. Upside will invest at the seed stage, meaning very early in a startup's life.

In a highly unusual move, part of the fee the fund takes on profits will go directly to the fund's entrepreneurs. Normally, those fees go directly to the fund's partners, not the entrepreneurs whose projects get financing from the fund.

Those fees, known in the venture capital business as carry, are generally around 20 percent to 30 percent of the profits. A percentage of that fee, described by Goldman as in the double digits, will go to entrepreneurs.

"We believe this will strengthen the bonds of our founder community," Goldman said in a blog post, adding that founders often get good advice from other founders.

"We want to encourage this type of collaboration." (Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Jan Paschal)


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Nice way to connect the interests of the entrepreneur with the fund.

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Google Will Open a $100 Million Venture Capital Fund In London

Google Will Open a $100 Million Venture Capital Fund In London | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Google Ventures will open a $100 million tech startup investment fund in London, the company announced on its blog. Google believes that Europe may be as interesting as Northern California when it comes to entrepreneurs and innovation:

We believe Europe’s startup scene has enormous potential. We’ve seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond—SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Thomas Faltin
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There is talent and great startups everywhere. Glad to see Google engage in Europe.

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Enter Twitter’s New Venture Capital Arm? - Digits - WSJ

Enter Twitter’s New Venture Capital Arm? - Digits - WSJ | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Twitter raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital before it held an IPO. Now it may be making its own venture bets.

Twitter raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital before it held an IPO last November. Now it may be making its own venture bets.

Buried under all the chatter about Twitter’s new chief financial officer was the fact that the company is starting a new strategic investments group. Mike Gupta, who was replaced as financial chief by former Goldman banker Anthony Noto, will head up the new corporate VC arm.

Twitter isn’t saying much yet about the group, but the rough objective will be to make investments outside of Twitter. Given Gupta’s title — senior vice president of strategic investments — it’s likely that Twitter would make investments only in startups that are strategically beneficial as many corporations do. Another possibility is it could become like Google Ventures, which operates independently from Google Inc. and makes investments for financial gain.

Twitter is sitting on a pretty pile of cash thanks to its IPO that raised as much as $2.1 billion. Twitter said it had $960.7 million in cash and $1.2 billion in short-term investments as of the end of the first quarter.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Another venture arm in the tech startup sector.

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This Startup's Brilliant Customer Service Strategy Is To Treat People 'The Way We Wish Our College Boyfriends Had Treated Us'

This Startup's Brilliant Customer Service Strategy Is To Treat People 'The Way We Wish Our College Boyfriends Had Treated Us' | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Jane Park, cofounder and CEO of the make-up startup, Julep, takes customer service very seriously. After all, Julep relies on its customers: Every new product the company makes is tested on a community of monthly subscribers before it gets mass-produced. 

“We want to treat our customers the way we wish our college boyfriends had treated us,” she told Business Insider. 

Julep, which raised a $30 million Series C in April from Azure Capital, Madrona Venture Group and others, is constantly getting feedback to help it launch more than 300 new products every year. It’s moving 10 times faster than traditional beauty brands.

Like a good boyfriend or girlfriend, Park says that Julep really listens to and values the input of the people who love it. It collects feedback from social media, its “Maven” subscription service, and a 6,000-strong community of fans that it calls its “Idea Lab.” The company wants the relationship to be two-sided, and makes changes and launches products because of feedback. It also keeps a lot of data about its customers’ likes and dislikes so that it can surprise them with tailored product recommendations.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here is something to learn about customer service from a business operated by and for women. Great lessons.

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Digital health startups have taken $2.2B in funding so far in 2014, already besting 2013 total (report)

Digital health startups have taken $2.2B in funding so far in 2014, already besting 2013 total (report) | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

The digital health space has continued to heat up, and it’s looking like 2014 will be a big year for investment in the space.A new Rock Health report says that halfway through 2014 more than $2.2B has been invested in digital health startups. That’s already more than the $1.97 billion invested in the space during all of 2013, and 2013 was a record year for funding in the space.“We’re seeing a lot of tailwinds from healthcare reform,” Rock Health managing director Malay Gandhi told VentureBeat Monday. “Healthcare reform has put a lot of pressure on existing stake holders to reduce costs, and startups in the top categories have a direct effect on those pain points.”The most active venture capital firms in the space were Qualcomm Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Emergence Capital, Google Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Venrock.The largest funding deals so far in 2014 include NantHealth ($135 million), Flatiron Health ($130 million), Alignment Healthcare ($125 million), Proteus ($120 million), MedHOK ($78 million), Lumeris ($71 million), Zenefits ($67 million), and Doximity ($54 million).Year over year, the amount invested in digital health startups grew by more than 160 percent, the Rock Health report claims.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Another booming sector in the startup arena.

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New Guide: A Career as a Junior Venture Capital Professional

New Guide: A Career as a Junior Venture Capital Professional | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Becoming a VC is difficult, but not impossible. Though the job has some downsides, especially if you don’t like telling people “no,” ultimately, if you love making things and supporting creative, hardworking individuals, this career is worth pursuing.

Our mentor for this guide, Phil Strazzulla, started working in VC as a pre-MBA analyst/associate when he was just 24 years old. He has gone through the grueling interview and job-hunting process involved and has many tips and tricks to share with aspiring VCs and those simply interested in the industry.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Not for everyone. In this dynamic environment of startups and entrepreneurship, this might be a great choice.

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Are VCs on the dark side?

Are VCs on the dark side? | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Considering a career in venture capital? Read our new blog post to see which side you are on...

Many people see VCs as having shady reputations, and some might even ask “Why would anyone want to work in VC?” The myths about VCs tend to increase in exaggeration from the startup/entrepreneurial perspective, some even referring to the VC environment as “the dark side.”

While the VC environment can appear cutthroat, there’s more to business than just hard and fast decisions. Here are some common myths about VCs broken down.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Many successful startup founders end up in the VC business. Did they run over to the other side? I don't think so. Read this interesting article to learn more.

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Here's What Every Major Silicon Valley Investor Is Using To Find The Next Big Thing

Here's What Every Major Silicon Valley Investor Is Using To Find The Next Big Thing | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Here's where to find the next big thing.


Product Hunt, founded by Ryan Hoover, is used by a lot of familiar names in Silicon Valley and New York: Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Raptor Ventures, Betaworks, SV Angel, Y Combinator, 500 Startups (Dave McClure), Techstars, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Google Ventures (Kevin Rose, MG Siegler), Dave Morin, VaynerRSE, Cowboy Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Greycroft, Andrew Chen and others.


The site looks like Hacker News or Reddit, with up-votes to signal which new products are most popular. But instead of sorting through news articles or photos, Product Hunters can expect to find apps that have just bubbled up, like a crowd-sourced Google Play or App Store.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Jeff Domansky
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Looking to pitch your startup? Get on there, get noticed.

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Jeff Domansky's curator insight, June 22, 12:15 AM

If you want to find the next big thing make sure you start following Product Hunt.

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Five weird ways VC investors say ‘no’ to your funding proposal | Techcircle.in

Five weird ways VC investors say ‘no’ to your funding proposal | Techcircle.in | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

As young entrepreneurs, we all meet angel investors and venture capital (VC) funds during different stages of our venture. As a business, we felt we had the fundamentals right from day one – we were adapting to changing markets, keeping costs under control, investing in the future, hiring the right people, etc. And after four years of being in the business, like most startups, we too reached a stage where external funding was required to scale the business and take us to the next level.

Thus started our journey into the world of strategic presentations, number crunching through complicated Excel sheets running into several tabs (we have about 40 versions as of now), market analysis and competition benchmarking.

No doubt that all of the above have given us deeper insights into the business, shaped us into what we are today (and we got more convinced about our vision), but it is the VC interactions that have been the most interesting. To date, we must have met over 70 VCs and had at least three times that many meetings. While there are several articles that talk about how to address typical VC queries, this is not one of them. It is in fact to tell you about the different ways in which VCs say ‘no’ to a proposal.

(This is definitely not to undermine the assessment process of investors, but a light note on how we perceive it)

Here are the weird nos that we have received from different VCs to date:

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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4 Things You Get Wrong About Venture Capitalists

Make sure you understand your potential investor, and your relationship with them.

Some widely held views about those strings simply aren't true. Luke Burns, a graduate of Harvard and MIT's Sloan School of Management, is a venture partner at Boston's Ascent Ventures. The firm has invested in more than 100 startups through seven funds. He described the four biggest misconceptions about VCs and what you should do about them. To read the full article, click on the title or image.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good information about some current misconceptions. If you intent to work with VC's, go ahead and read this.

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4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Venture Capital

4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Venture Capital | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Venture capital plays a pivotal role in the startup economy, providing vital funds to high-potential early-stage companies. Not surprisingly, it’s also a constant topic of conversation within the startup community — who’s receiving it, how much they’re getting, and how long it took them to capture the interest of VCs.

During my 19 years of experience as an entrepreneur, I have founded 3 venture-backed companies, and I know firsthand that navigating venture funding can be incredibly confusing. As the founder of Fundable, I talk to startups daily about their approach to investors. I’ve put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and topics of discussion amongst our community of founders. If you’re thinking about raising capital, here are a few things to keep in mind before you dive headfirst into the venture funding pool.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Ivan Berlocher, Marc Kneepkens
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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, June 12, 5:34 AM

Before thinking about Venture Capital, try to understand what it can do for you. This article explains a few important points.

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Airbnb Co-Founder: If Rejection Slows You Down, Entrepreneurship Isn't For You

Airbnb Co-Founder: If Rejection Slows You Down, Entrepreneurship Isn't For You | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

The apartment-rental platform is no stranger to controversy and criticism, but its founders say determination is everything.

When Airbnb was first shopping its idea to investors five years ago, it faced a lot of skepticism. Today, even as valuations of the apartment-sharing company hover around $10 billion, Airbnb is still pushing against a wall of naysayers. The San Francisco-based startup is in the midst of legal battles with the State of New York and its CEO has recently had to answer for wild orgies happening in rented apartments.

If Airbnb's founders had perfectly thought through every single scenario and unintended consequence of having strangers rent accommodations from each other, they probably wouldn't have entertained the business idea for more than half a beer. But determination is what makes a successful entrepreneur, above all else, says Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk. If you wait for perfection, you will miss some epic opportunities.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Being an entrepreneur is very different than working for someone else. It is scary at first. Making your own decisions, going step by step discovering what it is like. Rejection is definitely a killer. Once you find your way though, it is great to be an entrepreneur. You'll never want to work for someone else again.

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AleksBlumentals's curator insight, June 11, 10:47 PM

I am on the track of models for growth and their enablers. Just like it doesn't matter if Bitcoin will succeed as a virtual currency because what is essential, is that it cracked the math and structure which enable a non-hierarchical system, Airbnb does the same for the use of physical assets.

think how you can transform your own business, the valuations possible, with these two elements. 

Rookie Fair's curator insight, June 12, 1:44 AM

Starting a business is hard,but its the powering through that makes you successful! #startup #success #mentors

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Technological Innovation Requires More than Just Money by John Blyler Chip Design

Technological Innovation Requires More than Just Money by John Blyler Chip Design | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

They say that money can't buy happiness. Apparently, it cannot buy innovation either. Even though venture-capital (VC) funding increased twelvefold between 1993 and 2002, related technology innovation has been steadily decreasing. At least, that is the finding of an article that appeared in the April issue of IEEE Spectrum titled, "How Venture Capital Thwarts Innovation" [www.spectrum.ieee.org].

One might naively conclude that more VC funding would lead to the realization of more innovative ideas. Yet several factors are working against this notion. First, many VCs seem so traumatized by the losses that occurred during the burst of the dot-com bubble that they have greater risk aversion. The second factor, which is more subtle, challenges the idea that more money increases the pool of innovative ideas.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The relationship between business and innovation looks like a love/hate relationship. Where is the perfect marriage?

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Big-data start-ups become target for investors

Big-data start-ups become target for investors | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
A new Los Angeles venture capital fund was among 78 funds nationwide to raise money in the second quarter of 2014, the largest number of funds pulling in money since 2007, according to the National Venture Capital Assn. and Thomson Reuters .

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Plenty of funding available for good startups, and Big Data is scoring high these days.

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How Vibrant is the Hardware Startup World?

How Vibrant is the Hardware Startup World? | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Tom Tunguz is a venture capitalist at Redpoint and writes about startups, fund raising, SaaS companies, and best practices for founders.

It would seem hardware startups are booming. First, the amazing success of the GoPro business and IPO, which set a 23-year high-water mark for a consumer hardware company. Second, there seems to be a growing number of hardware startups bubbling in incubators like Lemnos Labs and Highway1. Third, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have enabled hardware startups to mitigate one of the biggest risks in starting out: obtaining a reliable proxy for consumer demand. But do the data support the idea that the hardware ecosystem is as vibrant as it seems?

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via marcduke
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's not just technology, cloud, or health. Hardware startups are doing well too.

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Michael Dell: How I Became an Entrepreneur Again


Twenty-five years after Dell went public, Michael Dell took it private in 2013. Now, he aims to transform the business.

For a guy who doesn't broadcast his emotions much, Michael Dell is positively jolly. In faded jeans and a starched gray button-down, he settles in at the head of a massive conference-room table and lets out a long belly laugh; his communications executive has just told a story about a recent family-vacation mishap, and Dell rolls back into his laugh like a man who's deep in his comfort zone. He has reason to be happy. It's a week before the 30th birthday of his namesake company, and six months ago he completed the largest corporate privatization in history.

If Dell's famous founding story is an American legend, the blueprint for so many tech companies started in dorm rooms, the company's more recent history is also a cautionary tale. In the past decade, the company missed the switch to mobile devices and lost its spot as the world's largest PC maker. But lately, Michael Dell has been leading his company through a sweeping transformation.

Of Dell's roughly $60 billion in revenue last year, one-third came from new lines of business in the enterprise market, including cybersecurity, networking, Big Data services, and cloud computing. The big idea: to become the industry leader in modern IT solutions, and to do it much the same way the company revolutionized the PC industry in the '90s. Dell, who likes to say he runs "the world's largest startup," points to the company's new private status as key to making the kind of aggressive, long-term bets that could catapult it past its competitors. --As told to Tom Foster

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via marcduke
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

About the advantages of private business, and being the ultimate start up.

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500 Startups' newly released fundraising documents will keep you from 'getting screwed'

500 Startups' newly released fundraising documents will keep you from 'getting screwed' | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Free things are great, and they’re even better when they save you, your startup, and your investors a boatload of money and drama. And lucky for you, startup accelerator program 500 Startups is releasing one of those magical gifts today.

The program released today a set of free legal documents for startup founders it calls “KISS,” or “keep it simple security” — it’s attempt at a play on the “keep it simple, stupid” mantra.

The documents are actually for convertible notes, either for debt or equity, and are designed to keep founder from “getting screwed” — a technical term, of course.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Official AndreasCY
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Legal documents tend to be quite expensive. This is a great gift and tool to work with.

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Official AndreasCY's curator insight, July 5, 2:34 AM

Free things are great. They’re even better when they save you & your startup a boatload of money.

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Building Singapore's Tech Start-up Ecosystem

Building Singapore’s Tech Start-up Ecosystem by Zach Tan, Infocomm Investments



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Via Zach Tan
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Singapore is a dynamic hub for startups and VC funding. This Slideshare provides lots of information, including names of VC funding companies and networking events.

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Oiling Europe’s wheels: what will it take for venture capital to take off?

Oiling Europe’s wheels: what will it take for venture capital to take off? | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Oiling Europe’s wheels: what will it take for venture capital to take off? | Despite being hailed as one of the drivers of innovation and economic growth, venture capital is lagging in Europe. What will it take for the continent to catch up with the US?

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Via Thomas Faltin
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Difficult situation. It will take time before VC will take off in Europe.

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Education Needs to Factor In Entrepreneurship

Education Needs to Factor In Entrepreneurship | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Nearly every debate about the “value” of a college degree is based on two questions: “Is college worth it?” and “Does someone with a degree earn more than someone without one?

Both of these questions come up year after year as headline fodder despite the fact that at a macro level, the answer to both of them is an unequivocal yes.

Unfortunately, both questions frame the debate as if America’s jobs and income will automatically rebound, regardless of our interdependence on a global economy and the increasingly fast pace of technological change. There’s a third question we must ask instead, and it’s one with far more long-term importance to the economy: “Do college degrees adequately teach value creation?”

The answer, sadly, is largely no.

Value creation doesn’t mean creating individual wealth for our grads; it means empowering our grads with the know-how to innovate, create jobs and contribute to long-term economic growth. And who creates more value than entrepreneurs?

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Chris Shern
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good article. Interesting to see that 88% of Millenials want to work for Startups. Also glad to see that Harvard calls business "Value creation".

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Chris Shern's curator insight, June 23, 2:54 AM

In an increasingly globalised world the education system as well as policy needs to support value creation through entrepreneurship. 

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MIT ranking of 10 New Breakthrough Technologies in 2014

MIT ranking of 10 New Breakthrough Technologies in 2014 | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it

Technology news is full of incremental developments, but few of them are true milestones. Here we’re citing 10 that are. These advances from the past year all solve thorny problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. They are breakthroughs that will matter for years to come.


Agricultural Drones

Relatively cheap drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage.


Ultraprivate Smartphones

New models built with security and privacy in mind reflect the Zeitgeist of the Snowden era.


Brain Mapping
A new map, a decade in the works, shows structures of the brain in far greater detail than ever before, providing neuroscientists with a guide to its immense complexity.


Neuromorphic Chips
Microprocessors configured more like brains than traditional chips could soon make computers far more astute about what’s going on around them.


Genome Editing
The ability to create primates with intentional mutations could provide powerful new ways to study complex and genetically baffling brain disorders.


Microscale 3-D Printing
Inks made from different types of materials, precisely applied, are greatly expanding the kinds of things that can be printed.


Mobile Collaboration
The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs.


Oculus Rift
Thirty years after virtual-reality goggles and immersive virtual worlds made their debut, the technology finally seems poised for widespread use.


Agile Robots
Computer scientists have created machines that have the balance and agility to walk and run across rough and uneven terrain, making them far more useful in navigating human environments.


Smart Wind and Solar Power
Big data and artificial intelligence are producing ultra-accurate forecasts that will make it feasible to integrate much more renewable energy into the grid.


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Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very interesting information on what is happening with cutting edge science and technologies.

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Russ Roberts's curator insight, June 21, 10:46 PM

A fascinating look at our future, a time dominated by artificial intelligence, robots, digitral wizardry.  I'm not sure I'm ready for all of this.  Interesting and somewhat frightening, especially if this technology falls into the wrong hands.  Something to think about.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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Microsoft is on the hunt for home automation startups - Neowin

Microsoft is on the hunt for home automation startups - Neowin | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Microsoft is opening up a new accelerator program in which it is looking to work with home automation startups at its campus in Redmond, Washington and is teaming up with American Family Insurance.

Home automation is likely the next big wave for consumer innovation. While the idea is nothing new, the barrier to entry for startups is quite low and prices are quickly entering the range where many consumers can afford such luxuries.

An easy example of the home automation wave is Nest, a simple thermostat that uses algorithms to help keep your heating and cooling costs down, but packaged as a stylish piece of hardware. Admittedly, what they were doing was not new, but their execution was unique and their marketing was more or less perfect.

Nest was soon bought by Google, fueling the home-automation race among the tech giants with Apple getting into the game too, and now Microsoft is looking to move in on the turf. 

Microsoft’s approach, however, is a bit different from that of Apple or Google, as the company is opening up an accelerator program. In partnership with American Family Insurance, Microsoft will be opening up an immersive program from August to December and American Family Insurance is offering an optional $25,000+ for an equity stake in any company accepted into the program.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The 'Internet-of-Things' is slowly taking shape. It'll be a race for the next big thing.

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New study suggests patent trolls really are killing startups

New study suggests patent trolls really are killing startups | Venture Capital Stories | Scoop.it
Heavy patent litigation scared off about $22 billion in VC funding over 5 years.

Patent reform advocates have long argued that "patent trolls"—companies that do nothing but sue over patents—are harmful to innovation, not just a plague on big companies. A new study attempted to find out if there's any real data behind that accusation or if it's just a few sad anecdotes.

Turns out there is a very real, and very negative, correlation between patent troll lawsuits and the venture capital funding that startups rely on. A just-released study [PDF] by Catherine Tucker, a professor of marketing at MIT's Sloan School of Business, finds that over the last five years, VC investment "would have likely been $21.772 billion higher... but for litigation brought by frequent litigators."

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Via ventureLAB
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article points out a real threat to innovation and startups. Good to be aware.

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SBA's Plan for Getting More Money into the Hands of Minority Business Owners

Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet lays out her plan for economic growth.

The Small Business Administration's newest boss Maria Contreras-Sweet laid out her plans for economic growth on Tuesday, signalling that the smallest businesses will be the cornerstone of a new lending initiative. 

Speaking at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., she unveiled a new program the SBA hopes will get more smaller loans to entrepreneurs, primarily through its flagship 7(a) program. The SBA acts as a backstop for these loans, which can be as high as $5 million. Banks originate the loans and benefit from a federal guarantee against default.

Although the SBA has reached record levels of lending since the recession, many critics have called to task the SBA and banks in its program for making too many big loans that are in the end more profitable for banks. Typically, businesses owned by minorities and immigrants take out smaller loans, and Contreras-Sweet drew heavily on her own experience as a minority entrpreneur and immigrant to drive the point home of why changes are in order.

"I immigrated to this country from Guadalajara at the age of five, not speaking a word of English," Contreras-Sweet said. "My mother worked at a poultry processing plant so her six children could have opportunities she never had."

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Via Sandra Brevett-Dib
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The SBA is trying hard to get money to you for your small business or startup. Interesting article. Consider getting funded by the SBA. If you need help with the paperwork, let me know.

Use the contact form on www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

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