recentpopularlog in

jerryking : early-stage   21

Family offices turn their attention to tech companies
December 2, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Javier Espinoza.

return comes from a few hyper-successful outliers. Investors should take a portfolio approach to have the best chance of “catching the winners”,
early-stage  Europe  family_office  high_net_worth  investors  technology  venture  capital  vc 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Weston family hires OMERS managing partner Jim Orlando to invest $100-million in tech ventures
June 19, 2019 | Globe & Mail | by SEAN SILCOFF

Canada’s billionaire Weston family is making a $100-million bet on the emerging-technology sector, hiring away one of Canada’s top early-stage investment professionals from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System to run its new venture fund.

Jim Orlando, a managing partner with OMERS Ventures, will join a new arm of the Westons’ holding company, Wittington Investments, to develop “a meaningful corporate venture capital program and strategy...... he will focus on areas of innovation germane to the family’s key corporate interests: baking company Weston Foods, supermarket operator Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and drugstore chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., controlled by the Westons’ publicly traded conglomerate, George Weston Ltd.....Wittington has just two disclosed investments in Toronto’s emerging-technology sector, backing digital-health benefits provider League Inc. and venture-capital fund Radical Ventures. George Weston made its first investment in venture capital in 2016, backing a $25-million consumer-products-focused fund managed by Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson, while Loblaw this year partnered with Toronto startup Flashfood Inc. to sell perishable food items nearing the end of their shelf lives through a mobile app.....he Westons join a small but growing group of wealthy families and corporations – including Telus Corp., Power Corp. of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and OpenText Corp. – to invest in early-stage technology ventures.

Several real estate firms including Michael Cooper’s Dream Unlimited and Dream Office REIT and Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. have committed tens of millions of dollars each to fund innovation in the property-tech market. Other Canadian “old economy” entrepreneurs – including mining magnate Seymour Schulich, property developer Robert Mantella, Vega nutritional supplement maker Charles Chang and Mission Hill Winery founder Anthony von Mandl – have emerged as big financiers of early-stage ventures in recent years.

“No question, [the Westons'] various companies are confronting a good number of significant opportunities and challenges, so there is no shortage of things to focus on,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures. “My caution would be, it’s easy to source and structure deals. The hard part is really unlocking the strategic value. That takes a lot more work and time to build that muscle. It will be a learning exercise for them for some time.”
angels  corporate_investors  early-stage  family_office  George_Weston  investors  moguls  OMERS_Ventures  seed-stage  Seymour_Schulich  vc  venture_capital 
june 2019 by jerryking
Everything still to play for with AI in its infancy
February 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

the future of AI in business up for grabs--this is a clearly a time for big bets.

Ginni Rometty,IBM CEO, describes Big Blue’s customers applications of powerful new tools, such as AI: “Random acts of digital”. They are taking a hit-and-miss approach to projects to extract business value out of their data. Customers tend to start with an isolated data set or use case — like streamlining interactions with a particular group of customers. They are not tied into a company’s deeper systems, data or workflow, limiting their impact. Andrew Moore, the new head of AI for Google’s cloud business, has a different way of describing it: “Artisanal AI”. It takes a lot of work to build AI systems that work well in particular situations. Expertise and experience to prepare a data set and “tune” the systems is vital, making the availability of specialised human brain power a key limiting factor.

The state of the art in how businesses are using artificial intelligence is just that: an art. The tools and techniques needed to build robust “production” systems for the new AI economy are still in development. To have a real effect at scale, a deeper level of standardisation and automation is needed. AI technology is at a rudimentary stage. Coming from completely different ends of the enterprise technology spectrum, the trajectories of Google and IBM highlight what is at stake — and the extent to which this field is still wide open.

Google comes from a world of “if you build it, they will come”. The rise of software as a service have brought a similar approach to business technology. However, beyond this “consumerisation” of IT, which has put easy-to-use tools into more workers’ hands, overhauling a company’s internal systems and processes takes a lot of heavy lifting. True enterprise software companies start from a different position. They try to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ problems and needs, then adapt their technology to make it useful.

IBM, by contrast, already knows a lot about its customers’ businesses, and has a huge services operation to handle complex IT implementations. It has also been working on this for a while. Its most notable attempt to push AI into the business mainstream is IBM Watson. Watson, however, turned out to be a great demonstration of a set of AI capabilities, rather than a coherent strategy for making AI usable.

IBM has been working hard recently to make up for lost time. Its latest adaptation of the technology, announced this week, is Watson Anywhere — a way to run its AI on the computing clouds of different companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, meaning customers can apply it to their data wherever they are stored. 
IBM’s campaign to make itself more relevant to its customers in the cloud-first world that is emerging. Rather than compete head-on with the new super-clouds, IBM is hoping to become the digital Switzerland. 

This is a message that should resonate deeply. Big users of IT have always been wary of being locked into buying from dominant suppliers. Also, for many companies, Amazon and Google have come to look like potential competitors as they push out from the worlds of online shopping and advertising.....IBM faces searching questions about its ability to execute — as the hit-and-miss implementation of Watson demonstrates. Operating seamlessly in the new world of multi-clouds presents a deep engineering challenge.
artificial_intelligence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  automation  big_bets  brainpower  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  cultural_change  data  digital_strategies  early-stage  economies_of_scale  Google  hit-and-miss  IBM  IBM_Watson  internal_systems  randomness  Richard_Waters  SaaS  standardization  value_extraction 
february 2019 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato - FT.com
August 14, 2015 12:07 pm
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato
John Thornhill

* Mazzucato’s book The Entrepreneurial State

As Mazzucato explains it, the traditional way of framing the debate about wealth creation is to picture the private sector as a magnificent lion caged by the public sector. Remove the bars, and the lion roams and roars. In fact, she argues, private sector companies are rarely lions; far more often they are kittens. Managers tend to be more concerned with cutting costs, buying back their shares and maximising their share prices (and stock options) than they are in investing in research and development and boosting long-term growth.
“As soon as I started looking at these issues, I started realising how much language matters. If you just talk about the state as a facilitator, as a de-risker, as an incentiviser, as a fixer of market failures, it ends up structuring what you do,” she says. But the state plays a far more creative role, she insists, in terms of declaring grand missions (the US ambition to go to the moon, or the German goal of creating nuclear-free energy), and investing in the early-stage development of many industries, including semiconductors, the internet and fracking. “You always require the state to roar.”
... Some tech and pharmaceuticals companies are going to extravagant lengths to reduce their taxes, one of the ways in which they pay back the state. The more libertarian wing of Silicon Valley is even talking of secession from California so they can pay no tax at all. “Won’t it be nice when there’s the next tsunami and these guys call the coastguard,” she says....
One criticism of Mazzucato’s work is that she fetishises the public sector in much the same way that rightwing commentators idolise the private sector. She appears stung by the suggestion: “I’m from Italy, believe me, I don’t romanticise the state.” The challenge, she says, is to rebalance the relationship between the private sector, which is all too often overly financialised and parasitic, and the public sector, which is frequently unimaginative and fearful. “When you have a courageous, mission-oriented public sector, it affects not just investment but the relationships and the deals it does with the private sector,” she says. Europe’s left-wing parties could have run with this agenda. Instead, she says, they have “absolutely failed” to change the political discourse by obsessing about value extraction rather than value creation, by focusing more on taxing big business than fostering innovation.

====================================================
The Chinese get the state to do that risky and costly, research and the development to keep them ahead.

The US does the same, but just keeps quiet about it so it doesn’t spoil the narrative.
“The parts of the smart phone that make it smart—GPS, touch screens, the Internet—were advanced by the Defense Department. Tesla’s battery technologies and solar panels came out of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Google’s search engine algorithm was boosted by a National Science Foundation innovation. Many innovative new drugs have come out of NIH research.!” http://time.com/4089171/mariana-mazzucato/
activism  books  breakthroughs  DARPA  de-risking  Department_of_Energy  early-stage  economists  fracking  free-riding  innovation  Mariana_Mazzucato  mission-driven  moonshots  NIH  NSF  private_sector  public_sector  semiconductors  Silicon_Valley  sovereign-risk  state-as-facilitator  value_creation  value_extraction  women 
august 2015 by jerryking
William Galston: Government Is a Good Venture Capitalist - WSJ.com
August 27, 2013, 7:02 p.m. ET

Government Is a Good Venture Capitalist
Early-stage tech firms get more funding from Washington than from private VC investors.

By
WILLIAM A. GALSTON
venture_capital  risks  uncertainty  early-stage 
september 2013 by jerryking
NBC Buying Web Service to Stream Phone Video - NYTimes.com
By BRIAN STELTER
Published: August 11, 2013

NBC News. The network is betting that the next generation involves live video, streamed straight to its control rooms in New York from the cellphones of witnesses.

On Monday, NBC News, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, will announce its acquisition of Stringwire, an early stage Web service that enables just that.
streaming  mobile_phones  smartphones  web_video  NBC  start_ups  Stringwire  early-stage 
august 2013 by jerryking
Angel money and sustainable business
04/10/2003 | In Business | William Wetzel and Jeffrey Sohl.

Believe it not, angels do exist. The term was born on Broadway to describe individuals who put up the high risk, early stage seed money to launch Broadway productions. At the Center for Venture Research based at the University of New Hampshire, the term applies to individual investors who back emerging entrepreneurial ventures. Angels are the most likely investors for early stage, high risk companies that need relatively small amounts of capital to get started.
angels  Broadway  theatre  investors  early-stage  risks  risk-taking 
june 2013 by jerryking
For Love or Money
January 2006 | Business in Calgary | by Derek Sankey
angels  Canadian  venture_capital  funding  early-stage 
march 2013 by jerryking
Flight Risks
November 2005 | Worth | by Dan Rosen.

Angel investors often get caught up with charismatic and passionate entrepreneurs. It‘s the joy and the danger of angel investing. For angel investing to work, investors and entrepreneurs need that shared passion and vision. But angel investing is not for the faint of heart. Seedstage investments tie up your money for a long time because you are investing early in the life of a company whose typical gestation period is six to eight years. No individual can do (nor does a relatively modest investment justify) the depth of analysis and due diligence that professional investors such as venture capitalists conduct; that often makes decisions difficult. And the likelihood that several additional rounds of financing will follow your initial investment and dilute your stake causes a large financial risk....Know your strengths, weaknesses and desires. If they don‘t match angel investing, don’t do it. If they do, have Fun.
angels  due_diligence  illiquidity  start_ups  financial_risk  risks  passions  strengths  early-stage  weaknesses  self-awareness 
march 2013 by jerryking
Risk? Bring it on, Canadian miners say - The Globe and Mail
DOUGLAS MASON

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 22 2012

There are few business sectors where Canada can claim global dominance, but as a centre for mining development, it is an industry leader....No other place has the same concentration and depth of services and financial market sophistication to support mining finance and development.

How does Canada do this? According to Kevan Cowan, president of TSX Markets, Canadians have a long history of participating in early-stage mining investments and a “whole ecosystem” has developed to support the industry.

“We have a tremendous network of industry players. Our legal services are the best expertise in this sector worldwide, together with a huge pool of geologists, engineers and mining entrepreneurs, as well as sophisticated capital markets for mining finance. We are a world ahead of our competitors.”
Canada  Canadian  mining  risk-taking  TSX  entrepreneurship  DRC  Banro  early-stage  ecosystems  capital_markets  geology  engineering  legal  TMX  epicenters  hyper-concentrations 
december 2012 by jerryking
Getting Into Venture Capital
This note is a response to this blog post, (http://www.sethlevine.com/wp/2005/05/how-to-become-a-venture-capitalist). It essentially outlines the various routes into the field at a later stage.

too many people have very narrow views of what venture capital consists of. Basically. they only see the large, open to external investors. early-stage/middle~stage venture capital funds who gamer most of the headlines. But, the private equity and private debt world is huge, including such slices as:
. distressed debt
. buyout/private equity funds with it's own vast number of permutations
. corporate M&A
. family offices (some of which do lots of private deals and do them well, others of which don't)
. technology transfer operations (some of which are close to being VC, others of which are very distant)
. secondary purchasers of venture portfolios
. workout groups at commercial banks
8. private placement debt investment managers (which include a whole host of insurance companies)
9. SBlCs
10. PIPE managers
11. private debt managers of all sorts of permutations
12. what are essentially merchant banking groups at various hedge funds
13. venture investing groups at vanous hedge funds
venture_capital  vc  career_paths  LBOs  private_equity  family_office  early-stage 
march 2012 by jerryking
Angels flexing their wings
Dec. 19, 2010 | Financial Post | Karen Mazurkewich,
Traditional early-stage investors — otherwise known as angels — are
usually passive: Their activity measured solely by the speed with which
they sign a cheque. But the vacuum in the venture-capital space has
resulted in a new breed of “active” angels — the kind that rolls up
their sleeves and jumps into the operational fray.

David Ceolin, former founder of Digital Cement, is the poster boy for
this new breed of startup seraph. Mr. Ceolin, who leveraged a book on
entrepreneurship into a lucrative consulting firm that was sold to
Pitney Bowes Inc. in 2007, is enjoying his new role as mentor to
companies.
angels  investing  well.ca  start_ups  early-stage  investors 
december 2010 by jerryking
VC's New Math: Does Less = More? - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 29, 2007 | WSJ | By REBECCA BUCKMAN. Thiel Seeks to Change Old Habits by Investing Small on Start-Ups.
Peter_Thiel  start_ups  early-stage  entrepreneurship  facebook  funding  investors  investing  Rebecca_Buckman  angels 
november 2010 by jerryking
Start-Up Programs Find Niche - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 18, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By SARAH E.
NEEDLEMAN. Some business incubators—programs designed to support
early-stage companies—are going niche, specializing in industries like
fashion, food and design. These programs are focusing on entrepreneurs
in emerging fields or areas that require expensive resources to get
started.
Sarah_E._Needleman  start_ups  incubators  specialization  fashion  food  design  early-stage 
november 2010 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read