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Where Computing Is Headed—Beyond Quantum
Feb. 4, 2020 | WSJ | By Sara Castellanos.

Startups are coming up with new ways to make computer chips and store huge amounts of data in DNA........dozens of companies gaining interest from investors and corporations because of their novel approaches to computing. They are using light, quantum physics, molecular biology and new design methods to build chips and create data-storage techniques for future computing demands.
data  DNA  engineering  fundamental_discoveries  good_enough  high-risk  innovation  light  molecular_biology  Moore's_Law  novel  quantum_computing  semiconductors  software  start_ups  technology  up-and-comers  vc  venture_capital 
11 days ago by jerryking
Innovation diary: MIT professors keep the ideas flowing | Financial Times
John Thornhill

“But it is my duty to make something that solves an important problem,” he says. “It is all about the problem.”

Founded in 1861, MIT is one of the world’s leading research centres, with a reputation for “learning by doing”. It is affiliated with 95 Nobel Prize-winners.

Professor Kripa Varanasi, the co-founder of LiquiGlide, has developed a “solid liquid” that enables every last drop of ketchup to slide smoothly out of the bottle on to your fries........ between 5 % and 25 % of various consumer products are left in the bottle, with lotions being a particularly irritating, and expensive, problem for consumers.......LiquiGlide’s technology can also be usefully applied to all kinds of other surfaces, from paint tins to bread-making machinery to catheters. Intriguingly it can also be “inverted” to counter the hydrophobic surfaces of many plants, increasing the absorption rates of chemicals. “Only 2 per cent of what is sprayed sticks to the plants,”........the newly launched Schwarzman College of Computing, a project with $1.1bn in funding that counts the head of the Blackstone Group among its backers. The college has three main aims: to advance computer research; to infuse knowledge of artificial intelligence across all the university’s schools; and to focus on the social impact and ethical responsibilities of computing.

That seems like an urgent priority as we grapple with the malign effects of algorithmic discrimination and facial recognition technologies. “We have to think about all these ethical issues at the design stage,” ........Winston Churchill asserted that no technical knowledge could outweigh the knowledge of the humanities in which philosophy and history walked hand in hand. “Human beings are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be tended as such.”
artificial_intelligence  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  fluidity  human_factor  humanities  ideas  innovation  MIT  patents  PhDs  scholars  start_ups  Winston_Churchill  worthwhile_problems 
15 days ago by jerryking
Hey Siri. Why did Apple pay $200m for an AI start-up?
JANUARY 15 2020 | Financial Times | Richard Waters and Patrick McGee in San Francisco.

For Apple, better on-device AI would allow the company’s customers to keep full control of their personal data.

Apple has paid almost $200m for an AI start up, Seattle-based Xnor, that specialises in bringing intelligence to “smart” devices.....Xnor specialises in running complex machine learning models on so-called edge devices — the wide range of gadgets, from smartphones to smart home devices and cars, that operate beyond the reach of the cloud data centres that currently handle most artificial intelligence processing.  Running machine learning on-device, rather than in the cloud, has become one of the most important technology frontiers in the spread of AI. For Apple, better on-device AI would allow the company’s customers to keep full control of their personal data......That has become an important part of the company’s marketing pitch as it tries to distinguish itself from Google and Facebook.

Xnor had developed a way to run large machine learning models without requiring the computing resources and power normally needed for such data-intensive work (e.g. the technology reduces network demands caused by AI aka latency). .....This means that critical applications can continue to run even when they lose a connection to the cloud, such as in driverless cars.
Apple  artificial_intelligence  cloud_computing  connected_devices  data_centers  decentralization  edge  Facebook  Google  latency  M&A  machine_learning  on-device  personal_data  Richard_Waters  Siri  start_ups  Xnor 
28 days ago by jerryking
Scaling Success Lazaridis Institute Whitepaper
March 2016

Building a prosperous Canadian knowledge-economy depends in no small part on the creation of
a next generation of high-growth, globally competitive Canadian technology companies. These
high-growth companies contribute disproportionately to the creation of employment and economic
growth. However, compared to other mature economies, Canada has so far underperformed on the
creation of these firms.
As part of the development of the Lazaridis Institute at Wilfrid Laurier University, this white paper
is designed to shed light on the relative scarcity of high-growth Canadian technology firms. We
began by asking 125 of Canada’s most well-informed and best-placed industry stakeholders—in
particular the founders of, and investors in, high-growth technology firms—to talk about the major
impediments facing these firms. Their comments indicated a significant knowledge gap related
to the role management and executive skills play among these growth challenges. Their feedback
also demonstrated a shared understanding that scaling a technology company in today’s global
marketplace is radically different than in previous eras.
The analysis of this data reveals the following key findings:
• While science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) talent is
abundant, the talent pool in general lacks business and management knowledge.
• Shortages of experienced management and/or executive talent are the primary inhibitors
to scaling up.
• Canadian technology firms lack key management competencies in specific areas including
sales, marketing, organizational design and product management.
• The talent shortage is linked to the lack of existing and/or exited growth firms in
Canada’s technology sector.
These findings underscore the importance of building a well-rounded cadre of managers and
executives in Canada’s technology sector. Doing so must take into consideration the fact that
today’s technology markets are distinguished by far shorter time-to-market and product life cycles,
as well as a generally more complex global operating environment.
This white paper presents an in-depth review of the challenges facing Canadian high-tech firms and
develops a strong evidence base upon which to build future initiatives designed to address them.
The work represents an important first step by the Lazaridis Institute to help a next generation of
Canadian technology companies scale into global leaders.
Canada  Canadian  gazelles  high-growth  investors  scaling  start_ups  talent  technology  Colleges_&_Universities  Kitchener-Waterloo  knowledge_economy  WLU  Mike_Lazaridis  team_risk 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
Goldman Taps Startup to Explore Quantum Computing - WSJ
By Sara Castellanos
Dec. 10, 2019

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has teamed up with a quantum-computing startup, QC Ware Corp., for a 3-month trial to explore how the emerging technology could be used to speed up financial calculations and artificial-intelligence-based decision making........harnessing the properties of quantum physics, quantum computers have the potential to sort through a vast number of possibilities in nearly real time and come up with a probable solution. While traditional computers store information as either zeros or ones, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which represent and store information as both zeros and ones simultaneously........QC Ware uses the cloud to connect businesses with early-stage quantum-computing hardware providers including D-Wave Systems Inc., Rigetti Computing and IBM. The startup also helps enterprises develop quantum algorithms and applications......QC Ware will help Goldman Sachs determine whether quantum computing could be used to speed up a computational algorithm known as Monte Carlo. The algorithm is used to calculate the theoretical value of an option, or a contract that gives individuals the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific price and time.......Quantum-computing technology could also be useful in speeding up AI-based calculations that help determine trading strategies for clients,......“In the universe of industries where there is a potential quantum advantage, you could argue that finance has got the shortest path to impact,”
algorithms  Goldman_Sachs  IBM  Monte_Carlo  quantum_computing  start_ups 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Vulture Capital
Jan 7, 2002,

** Scavengers pick through a killing field of corporate investment portfolios.

It's garage sale time at Polaroid. Now in bankruptcy, the company is selling.....an investment portfolio with stakes in a handful of tech startups, including Colorado MicroDisplay and ActivePhoto of Sunnyvale, Calif.......Such clearance sales are becoming commonplace.... The secondary market saw $1.5 billion in sales in 2001, a 150% increase since 1997. Faced with recession and a collapse in their once-buoyant tech speculations, some firms are rushing to unload venture portfolios, either by closing the fund and writing down the value or by selling the portfolio. Lucent and mobile phone retailer Hikari Tsushin are just two of the companies said to be looking to dump VC portfolios........One of the scavengers picking through the detritus is Nick Harris, general partner of Lexington Partners in New York. Last year Lexington paid $1 billion for 70 partnership interests from Chase Bank after it acquired J.P. Morgan. Lexington dropped another $1 billion buying a portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland.

With $5 billion under management that it raised from banks, insurance companies and other institutions, Lexington is one of the biggest buyers of secondary stakes. In the mid-1990s buyers got an average 25% discount from the original investors' prices; today they buy at up to 40% discounts. Desperate sellers have even given away their portfolios for free in exchange for a share of future returns. "In some cases we're happy to pay a good price for the assets," says David Park of Paul Capital, in San Francisco. "In other cases they need to give us an extreme discount.
corporate_investors  culling  exits  secondary_markets  selling_off  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
Stock Market Drops. VCs Hold Partner Meetings. What Happens Next? | TechCrunch
So let me give you the news 2 months early. If the economy and the stock market continue to languish that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

I’ll bet most partners’ meetings this week consisted of looking just a little bit closer at the cash needs of their portfolio companies – making sure they’re “fully funded.” I’ll bet many of them did a review of their “investment pace” as in – how quickly should we be investing. I’ll bet many did a slow roll on deals that might have gotten approved today. Not a “no” but not yet a “yes.”

It’s impossible to sit in a partners’ meeting on a day like today without having an iPhone on watching the stock market free fall and no matter how much of a public tech cheerleader you are – privately I guarantee there was much concern.

If we do head South it will take a few weeks or months until the memos to portfolio companies get published and the Powerpoint presentations get sent out. But the internal conversation started today – trust me. VCs will take a “wait and see” approach right now. Don’t want to call it either way. It’s too early.
economic_downturn  economy  entrepreneurship  history  investors  technology  business  recessions  start_ups  vc  venture_capital  via:sha 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
SoftBank’s House of Cards Begins to Fold - GuruFocus.com
John Engle
Articles (423) 
Bookmark Print

SoftBank’s House of Cards Begins to Fold
The Vision Fund's ambitious startup portfolio is colliding with harsh financial reality
October 09, 2019
Softbank  start_ups 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Chasing Amazon, Retailers Are in a Never-Ending Arms Race
Nov. 25, 2019 | New York Times | By Sapna Maheshwari and Michael Corkery

Especially hard hit are the big sellers of apparel and accessories like Nordstrom, which are grappling with the dual costs of running fast and efficient e-commerce operations, while also keeping their stores inviting and relevant........While retailers are coming through with a “very, very competitive digital shopping experience,” said Kimberly Greenberger, a retail analyst at Morgan Stanley, they are pouring money into their e-commerce operations at the same time their stores are bringing in fewer sales. Just when they seem caught up, Amazon raises the bar again.
“It just continues this vicious cycle that retailers find themselves in,” .........And then, there are the dozens of buzzy e-commerce start-ups, built through savvy marketing on Instagram and Facebook, that have also been putting pressure on department stores. Often, these companies are built around one product, ship directly to consumers and have only a few stores, if any. They include Away for suitcases, Allbirds for shoes, Lively for bras, Everlane for clothing and Brooklinen for bedsheets.
Many of these companies, backed by venture capital, are focused on growth and not concerned with making money in the short term.
Amazon  Amazon_Prime  apparel  arms_race  contra-Amazon   department_stores  e-commerce  Kohl’s  Macy’s  Nordstrom  product_returns  retailers     same-day  start_ups  supply_chain_squeeze 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Smart Startup Advice: Don't Panic - Profit
Oct. 12, 2008 | Business Insider | by Peter Kafka

Bibliography
Silicon Valley Finds It Isn't Immune From Credit Crisis - WSJ.com
Sequoia Capital deck startups and the economic downturn
Inside Details of Sequoia Capital's Doomsday Meeting With its Companies - G...
VC dean Alan Patricof warns against panic, urges entrepreneurs to seize the...
Master of 500 Hats: Fear is the Mind Killer of the Silicon Valley Entrepren...
Angel Investor Ron Conway Emails His Portfolio Companies Over Financial Mel...
Benchmark Capital Advises Startups To Conserve Capital, Look For Opportunity...
How Bad Will The Ad Market Get? Time To Get Out The History Books
News Corp. Estimates Cut in advertising
advice  economic_downturn  panic  recessions  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
november 2019 by jerryking
Adventures in Corporate Venturing
January 1, 2001 / First Quarter 2001 / Issue 22 (originally published by Booz & Company)
Adventures in Corporate Venturing
A well-funded R&D program isn't enough. Corporations must invest in business opportunities outside their four walls to accelerate innovation and growth.
by Jill Albrinck, Jennifer Hornery, David Kletter, and Gary L. Neilson
corporate_investors  investors  start_ups  venture_capital  vc 
november 2019 by jerryking
How FleetOptic’s data analytics smooth the last mile of a parcel’s journey
SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail| by JOANNA PACHNER, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

FleetOptics specializes in so-called last-mile delivery, from a retailer's distribution centre to the customer's door—the hardest and most expensive portion, estimated to account for a least 30% of total transportation cost. It's also the most vital as, in the e-commerce era, receiving the package is often the only contact consumers have with a human during the transaction. FleetOptics' software makes the parcel's progress transparent for both business and consumer. Customers can track the driver on-screen as they might an approaching Uber car, avoiding that infuriating experience of the deliveryman arriving just after they jump in the shower. Retailers, meanwhile, can check packages' status in real time through FleetOptics' online portal. As co-founder Vince Buckley pithily sums it up, “Tesla is a battery company that also makes cars. We're a technology company that also makes deliveries.”
analytics  data  data_driven  delivery  delivery_networks  delivery_services  distribution  distribution_centres  e-commerce  FleetOptics  fulfillment  last_mile  logistics  package_delivery  retailers  same-day  start_ups  shipping  third-party  traceability  tracking  trucking  warehouses 
november 2019 by jerryking
My time on The Apprentice taught me a lot about black men in business
Fri 1 Nov 2019 | The Guardian | by Samuel Brooksworth.

There is a lack of black men in senior positions. We need to tackle the discrimination that is holding so many people back
Black_British  FTSE_100     men  race  racial_discrimination  reality_tv  start_ups  systemic_discrimination  under-representation  United_Kingdom 
november 2019 by jerryking
Don Valentine, Founder of Sequoia Capital, Is Dead at 87 -
Oct. 25, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith

In 1959, when Don Valentine joined a silicon company, “the word ‘Silicon Valley’ hadn’t been created yet,” he said in an interview at a technology conference in 2013.

In 1972, Mr. Valentine established Sequoia, and it soon became one of Silicon Valley’s most successful and enduring firms. Sequoia backed companies including Oracle, Microchip Technology, Linear Technology and Network Appliance. Several tech giants, including Electronic Arts and Sierra Semiconductor, were created in Sequoia’s offices.

Mr. Valentine invested in Atari in 1975, and three years later, he wrote a $150,000 check for Apple Computer. He also invested in Cisco Systems and was the networking equipment company’s chairman for three decades.......Unlike other venture capital investors at the time, he played an active role in the companies he backed....Venture capital is often called a “people business,” and many top firms have stumbled as they have tried to pass the reins from one generation to another. But Sequoia survived that transition when Mr. Valentine handed control to Michael Moritz and Doug Leone in the mid-1990s. He continued to attend partner meetings for the next decade. Mr. Valentine evaluated start-ups by their ability to answer the question “Who cares?”.........Mr. Valentine explained one element of his success. “The key to making great investments is to assume that the past is wrong, and to do something that’s not part of the past, to do something entirely differently,” he said.
Don_Valentine  founders  Michael_Moritz  obituaries  Sequoia  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
october 2019 by jerryking
Winners in Silicon Valley put in the hard yards
October 24, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Michael Moritz 6 HOURS AGO

The genuine formula for success among Silicon Valley's "real companies" are longevity and persistence against all odds. It is no coincidence that the greatest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley and its sister regions in China share hallmarks that are very different from popular perception. These companies are never “overnight sensations”, and they have usually had plenty of close encounters of the worst kind.

Their founders will not be leading the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Instead, they will be strapped to the mast displaying single-minded devotion to their business, jealous of every minute that is not associated with the welfare and sustenance of their company.

Their reading lists will be long; they will be voracious in their willingness to learn from others; harbour insatiable curiosity; display a fetching mixture of supreme confidence and humility; and have a keen understanding of how to make the impossible possible.

They will also adopt healthy corporate habits in their early days, have a sound appreciation for how their company will become profitable and refuse to pursue a strategy for growth come what may. They will pay keen attention to unit economics, operating expenses, cash balances, positive cash flows and dilution. The founders of the flagship technology companies of the past 50 years — Intel, Cisco, Qualcomm, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Alibaba and Tencent — have all shared these traits and that is true for today’s best privately held companies.......In the technology world, fatuous slogans, broken promises, unlaced basketball shoes and black turtlenecks can only get you so far. It is then that the absence of a sound business model suddenly becomes evident. It is then that heaps of protective voting rights melt away. It is then that people understand gravity has not been repealed and that patience is the best way to build what you want. That’s the life of the persistent majority.
business_models  character_traits  dotcom  founders  hard_work  illusions  Juul  ksfs  longevity  Michael_Moritz  persistence  Silicon_Valley  reading  Sequoia  single-minded_focus  start_ups  WeWork 
october 2019 by jerryking
He Grew Up on a Farm. Now, He Helps Protect Them.
Oct. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Norman Mayersohn.

Books: Warren Buffett biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,”

Few livelihoods offer as many paths to failure as agriculture. Throughout history, farmers have been at the mercy of nature — be it weather, pests or crop diseases — even as the survival of people and livestock depended on their success...... Thomas Njeru, is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Microinsurance — think of it as an offshoot of the microloan programs that kick-start businesses in impoverished areas — provides protection for low-income individuals who do not have access to conventional coverage....Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest......People in Africa don't invest in agriculture because the chance of them losing their money due to the vagaries of the weather is huge.........Pula’s mission is to give farmers confidence by providing risk mitigation. Our solutions protect a farmer’s investment by pairing it with insurance. We build business cases to persuade Fortune 500 companies, seed and fertilizer suppliers, lending institutions, and governments in Africa, that embedded insurance will help deliver better results for both businesses and food security....The sad reality is that farmers are one drought or one disease outbreak away from sliding into absolute poverty......the penetration of agriculture insurance in Africa is less than 1 percent. The reason is that insurance companies’ business models are not set up to serve the unique needs of smallholder farmers......scaling Pula’s business model to the point that insured seed and fertilizer become ubiquitous in the market......The average annual insurance premium per farmer is about $3 to $5. This includes the cost of product development, pricing, underwriting, claim adjustment and, of course, the claim costs. We use artificial intelligence, mobile-based registration systems, remote sensing and automation tools...Agriculture insurance is a cemetery of pilots and trials..
Africa  agriculture  behavioral_change  books  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  crop_insurance  farming  insurance  Kenya  low-income  microfinance  mobile_applications  poverty  precarious  Pula  seeds  smallholders  start_ups  risks  risk-mitigation  Warren_Buffett  weather 
october 2019 by jerryking
The Disruptive World of Edward Norton - The New York Times
Oct. 7, 2019
The disruptive world
of Edward Norton.

By David Marchese Photograph by Mamadi Doumbouya
actors  category_errors  disruption  Edward_Norton  entrepreneur  start_ups 
october 2019 by jerryking
To Power A.I., Start-Up Creates a Giant Computer Chip -
Aug. 19, 2019 The New York Times By Cade Metz.

New A.I. systems rely on neural networks. Loosely based on the network of neurons in the human brain, these complex mathematical systems can learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. By pinpointing patterns in thousands of cat photos, for instance, a neural network can learn to recognize a cat.

That requires a particular kind of computing power. Today, most companies analyze data with help from graphics processing units, or G.P.U.s. These chips were originally designed to render images for games and other software, but they are also good at running the math that drives a neural network.

ADVERTISEMENT

About six years ago, as tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft doubled down on artificial intelligence, they started buying enormous numbers of G.P.U.s from the Silicon Valley chip maker Nvidia. In the year leading up to the summer of 2016, Nvidia sold $143 million in G.P.U.s. That was more than double the year before.

But the companies wanted even more processing power. Google built a chip specifically for neural networks — the tensor processing unit, or T.P.U. — and several other chip makers chased the same goal.
artificial_intelligence  Cerebras  conventional_wisdom  Intel  Qualcomm  semiconductors  start_ups 
august 2019 by jerryking
How to Pursue a Side Hustle or Startup While Working Full Time
July 31, 2019, 4:00 AM EDT Updated on August 1, 2019, - Bloomberg By Arianne Cohen
millennials  side_hustles  start_ups 
august 2019 by jerryking
Makerspaces under pressure to revamp business models
July 29, 2019 The Globe and Mail | BRENDA BOUW, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.
3-D  bankruptcies  business_models  hacks  innovation  manufacturers  start_ups  Makerspace 
july 2019 by jerryking
Opinion: Canadian companies must prepare for disruptors to come knocking
July 26, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by JOHN RUFFOLO.

In August, 2011, technology legend Marc Andreessen wrote his seminal article titled Why Software Is Eating the World, which became the central investment thesis behind his venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen’s prognostication has since followed Amara’s Law on the effect of technology, which aptly states: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” [JCK: See also Andy Kessler's definition of S-Curves "Technology develops in S curves: Things start slow, go into hyperbolic growth, and then roll over. "] The feast has really just begun.

We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or as some call it, the Information Revolution.....the Information Revolution really began to take shape in 2008, catalyzed by three incredibly powerful and converging forces – mobility-first, cloud computing and social media. All three forces collided together with full impact in 2008, spawning a wave of new technology companies.......The next phase of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will see the rise of a new species of company – the “disruptors.” While technology companies will continue to grow, we are witnessing the enablement of those technologies across all economic sectors as the leading weapon used by new entrants to disrupt the traditional incumbents in their respective industries. The massive influx of venture capital to support the building and growth of technology companies over the past 10 years has produced these tools, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things, which are now being leveraged across all industries......Those companies that can harness these new technologies to operate better and faster, and to gain unmatched insights into their customers, will prosper. Although these disruptors are not technology companies in the conventional sense, their tight focus on value creation through innovation further blurs the lines between a technology company and a traditional company.

The incumbents, however, are not asleep at the wheel. To ward off the disruptors, they know they must embrace technology. It is this battleground that I believe will generate the greatest wealth creation and transfer opportunities over the next decade. The disruptors, naturally, are particularly active in those industries where they perceive the incumbents to be burdened by outdated technological infrastructure or business models, and hard-pressed to counterattack.

Yesterday, the disruptors focused primarily on consumer sectors such as the music industry, travel booking, newspapers, magazines and book publishing. Today, it’s groceries, entertainment and personal transportation, thanks to Amazon, Netflix and Uber, respectively.

But consumer-focused sectors were just the start for the disruptors. Before long, I believe we will see them try to disrupt varied industries such as banking, insurance, health care, real estate and even agriculture and mining; no industry will be immune. These sectors all represent emblematic Canadian brands, and yes, each will in turn will go through the same jarring disruption as so many others.
************************************************
See [Why It’s Not Enough Just to Be Disruptive - The New York Times
By JEREMY G. PHILIPS AUG. 10, 2016] Creating enormous value over the long term requires turning a tactical edge into some form of durable advantage....Superior tactical execution can still create real value, particularly where it provides ammunition for a bigger war (like Walmart’s battle with Amazon). And in the long term, value is created not by disruption, but by weaving together advantages (as both Amazon and Walmart have done in different ways) that together create a barrier that is hard to storm.
Amara's_Law  artificial_intelligence  cloud_computing  digital_savvy  disruption  incumbents  insurgents  investment_thesis  John_Ruffolo  legacy_tech  Marc_Andreessen  mobility_first  overestimation  S-curves  social_media  software_is_eating_the_world  start_ups  technology  underestimation  venture_capital 
july 2019 by jerryking
British quantum computing experts leave for Silicon Valley
June 24, 2019 | Financial Times Madhumita Murgia in London.

A group of Britain’s best-known quantum computing scientists have quietly moved to Silicon Valley to found a start-up called PsiQ that believes it can produce a commercial quantum computer within five years.

The departure of some of the UK’s leading experts in a potentially revolutionary new field of technology will raise fresh concerns over the country’s ability to develop industrial champions in the sector.

The news comes just weeks after the successes of the British start-up scene were extolled at London Tech Week, where prime minister Theresa May pledged £150m specifically to help develop commercial applications for quantum computing.

The scientists’ move to Silicon Valley was driven partly by a need to raise capital. “The story is that the best of Britain is going to the United States to scale up,” said Hermann Hauser, co-founder of UK-based chip designer Arm, which is now owned by Japan’s SoftBank, and an early investor in PsiQ.

“They rightly concluded that they couldn’t access the capital in Europe so moved to the Valley,” he added. So far PsiQ has received investment from Playground Global, a venture firm started by Android founder Andy Rubin.

PsiQ, which has 50 employees according to LinkedIn, was co-founded by Jeremy O’Brien, a physicist at the University of Bristol and Terry Rudolph, a professor at Imperial College London. Several PhD graduates of the two UK labs have followed the researchers to Palo Alto, where the start-up has set up shop close to Stanford University.

Chief operating officer Stu Aaron was previously a partner at premier Silicon Valley investment firm Khosla Ventures and has worked for at least five start-ups based in California. 
carve_outs  funding  package_deals  Palo_Alto  PsiQ  quantum_computing  relocations  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  United_Kingdom 
june 2019 by jerryking
How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  Gulliver_strategies  IBM  Microsoft  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
june 2019 by jerryking
Opinion: Canadian CEOs facing an innovation disconnect - The Globe and Mail
ELIO LUONGO
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED MAY 29, 2019

Both Canadian and global CEOs told us the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns.

For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And with nearly a third of our gross domestic product tied to exports, growing trade differences with and between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the continuing health of our economy.

While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology. Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment in disruption detection and innovative processes – with the same number planning to collaborate with innovative startups.

But CEOs must also brace for the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on their work force. It comes down to culture, and three-quarters of CEOs say they want a culture in which failure in pursuit of innovation is tolerated. However, barely half say that it exists today.
Canadian  CEOS  collaboration  disruption  innovation  large_companies  start_ups 
may 2019 by jerryking
Walmart Hires Global Tech Chief to Compete With Amazon
May 28, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah Nassauer.

Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups and investing heavily to boost online sales. ...... Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups, investing heavily to boost online sales, adding more grocery-delivery options and working to ramp up its digital ad revenue. The bulk of Walmart’s revenues and profits came from around 4,600 U.S. stores as of the most recent quarter......Walmart’s current chief information officer, Clay Johson, and all unit CTOs will report to Mr. Kumar. Marc Lore, Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce, will continue to report to Mr. McMillon directly,
Amazon  appointments  C-suite  CTOs  digital_strategies  e-commerce  hiring  retailers  start_ups  technology  Wal-Mart 
may 2019 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Needs a Few Good CFOs
May 24, 2019 | WSJ | By Kristin Broughton and Ezequiel Minaya.
CFOs  compensation  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  unicorns 
may 2019 by jerryking
Cashew foie gras? Big Food jumps on ‘plant-based’ bandwagon
MAY 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris and Emiko Terazono in London

* Boom in meat and dairy substitutes sets up ‘battle for the centre of the plate’
* Nestlé recently launched the Garden Gourmet's Incredible burger in Europe and plans to launch it in the US in the autumn in conjunction with McDonald’s.
* Burger King has partnered with a “foodtech” start-up to put meat-free burgers on their menu.
* Pret A Manger is considering a surge in its roll-out of vegetarian outlets as it looks into buying UK sandwich rival Eat.

A change is afoot that is set to sweep through the global food industry as once-niche dietary movements (i.e. vegetarians, then the vegans, followed by a bewildering array of food tribes from veggievores, flexitarians and meat reducers to pescatarians and lacto-vegetarians ) join the mainstream.

At the other end of the supply chain, Big Food is getting in on the act as the emergence of plant-based substitutes opens the door for meat market disruption. Potentially a huge opportunity if the imitation meat matches adoption levels of milk product alternatives such as soy yoghurt and almond milk, which account for 13% of the American dairy market. It is a $35bn opportunity in the US alone, according to newly listed producer Beyond Meat, given the country’s $270bn market for animal-based food. 

Packaged food producers, burdened with anaemic growth in segments from drinks to sweets, have jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. Market leaders including Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are investing heavily in acquisitions and internal product development.

Laggards are dipping their toes. Kraft-Heinz, for example, is investing in start-ups via its corporate venture capital arm and making vegan variants of some of its products. Even traditional meat producers, such as US-based Tyson Foods and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, are diversifying into plant-based offerings to remain relevant with consumers.......“Plant-based is not a threat,” said Wayne England, who leads Nestlé’s food strategy. “On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity for us. Many of our existing brands can play much more in this space than they do today, so we’re accelerating that shift, and there is also space for new brands.” .....a plethora of alternative protein products are hitting supermarket shelves... appealing to consumers for different reasons....(1) reducing meat consumption for health reasons... (2) others concerned about animal welfare...(3) concern over agriculture’s contribution to climate change......As Big Food rushes in, it faces stiff competition from a new breed of start-ups that have raced ahead to launch plant-based meats they claim look, taste and feel like the real thing. Flush with venture capital funding, they have turned to technology, analysing the molecular structure of foods and seeking to reverse-engineer versions using plant proteins......Not only are the disrupters innovating on the product side, they are rapidly creating new brands using digital marketing and partnerships with restaurants. Big food companies, which can struggle to create new brands, often rely on acquisitions to bring new ones onboard.....Aside from the quality of the new protein substitutes, how they are marketed will determine whether they become truly mass-market or remain limited to the margins of motivated vegetarians and vegans. The positioning of the product in stores influences sales, with new brands such as Beyond Meat pushing to be placed in the meat section rather than separate chilled cabinets alongside the vegetarian and vegan options.....Elio Leoni Sceti, whose investment company recently backed NotCo, a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian replicas of meat and dairy, believes new brands have an edge on the marketing side because they are not held back by old habits. 

“The new consumer looks at the consequences of consumption and believes that health and beauty come from within,” said one industry veteran who used to run Birds Eye owner Iglo. “They’re less convinced by the functional-based arguments that food companies are used to making, like less sugar or fewer calories. This is not the way that consumers used to make decisions so the old guard are flummoxed.”...Dan Curtin, who heads Greenleaf, the Maple Leaf Food's plant-based business, played down the idea that alternative meats will eat into meat sales, saying the substitutes were “additive”. “We don’t see this as a replacement. People want options,” he said. 

 
animal-based  Beyond_Meat  Big_Food  brands  Burger_King  CPG  Danone  diets  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  meat  Nestlé  new_products  plant-based  rollouts  shifting_tastes  start_ups  tribes  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
may 2019 by jerryking
America’s Biggest Supermarket Company Struggles With Online Grocery Upheaval
April 21, 2019 | WSJ | By Heather Haddon.

Kroger adjusts operations and invests in technology to hang on to customers who avoid stores; ‘we’ve got to get our butts in gear
Amazon  bricks-and-mortar  BOPIS  CDO  cultural_clash  delivery_services  digital_strategies  disruption  e-commerce  e-grocery  grocery  IBM  Instacart  Jet  Kroger  Microsoft  millennials  Ocado  Oracle  pilot_programs  post-deal_integration  retailers  same-day  Shipt  start_ups  supermarkets  Vitacost  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods 
april 2019 by jerryking
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
april 2019 by jerryking
The Impossible mission — to save the planet with a burger
April 5, 2019 | Financial Times Emiko Terazono and Tim Bradshaw in London.

Impossible Foods discovered that “heme”, an iron-containing protein molecule present in plants and animals, was the magic ingredient giving meat its aroma, taste and texture. Heme, produced through genetic engineering and yeast fermentation, is also behind the “juices” that make the Impossible burger bleed... In 2019, the company has introduced a new and improved burger after swapping wheat for soyabeans and using less salt. After signing its distribution deal with Burger King it is fundraising to increase the capacity of its production facility in Oakland, California.

Along with rival Beyond Meat, which is preparing to float in the US, Impossible has sought to lure meat-eating consumers who want to reduce their meat intake or are looking for tasty options, casting the net wider than vegans....... Pat Brown , 64-year-old former professor of biochemistry, is the founder of Impossible. ..Mr Brown seems to have slipped into his role as an entrepreneur with ease. He told investors that if they backed him, he was going to make them “insanely rich”.

His pronouncements that he was not bothered about exits have been perceived as arrogance by some venture capitalists. However he has still raised more than $475m since 2011 and attracted plenty of other backers, including Viking Global, Bill Gates, and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. Investors hope the latest fundraising will value the company at more than $1bn.

Bruce Friedrich, who launched the Good Food Institute, a US not-for-profit that promotes alternative proteins and advises start-ups, calls Mr Brown “a prophet” and praises his “infectious optimism”....If the Impossible burger is successful, Mr Brown hopes to eliminate animal meat in the food chain by 2035, helping the earth to restore its vegetation cover.
Beyond_Meat  green  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kholsa_Ventures  plant-based  prophets  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vegetarian 
april 2019 by jerryking
Spy tactics can spot consumer trends
MARCH 22, 2016 | Financial Times | John Reed.
Israel’s military spies are skilled at sifting through large amounts of information — emails, phone calls, location data — to find the proverbial needle in a haystack: a suspicious event or anomalous pattern that could be the warning of a security threat.....So it is no surprise that many companies ask Israeli start-ups for help in data analysis. The start-ups, often founded by former military intelligence officers, are using the methods of crunching data deployed in spycraft to help commercial clients. These might range from businesses tracking customer behaviour to financial institutions trying to root out online fraud......Mamram is the Israel Defense Forces’ elite computing unit.
analytics  consumer_behavior  cyber_security  data  e-mail  haystacks  hedge_funds  IDF  insights  intelligence_analysts  Israel  Israeli  Mamram  maritime  massive_data_sets  security_&_intelligence  shipping  spycraft  start_ups  tracking  traffic_analysis  trends  trend_spotting 
april 2019 by jerryking
The Missing Piece in Big Food’s Innovation Puzzle
April 1, 2019 | WSJ | by By Carol Ryan.

.......In truth, they are becoming reliant on others to do the heavy lifting. Specialist food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle and Kerry Group work with global brands behind the scenes to come up with new ideas. These businesses can spend two to three times more on innovation as a percentage of turnover than their biggest clients.

One part of their expertise is overhauling recipes. Ingredients companies can do everything from adding trendy probiotics to taking out excess sugar or gluten. Nestlé got a hand from Tate & Lyle to remove more sugar from its Nesquik range of flavored drinks, while Denmark’s Chr. Hansen helped Kraft Heinz switch from artificial to natural colors in the U.S. giant’s Macaroni & Cheese......Another service food suppliers offer is coming up with successful innovations to help revive sales. Nestlé’s ruby chocolate KitKat, which has become very popular in Asia, was actually created by U.S. cocoa producer Barry Callebaut, for example.

=============================================
See also, "For innovation success, do not follow the money"
07-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Michael Schrage "There is
no correlation between the percentage of net revenue spent on R&D
and the innovative capabilities of an organisation – none,"...Just ask
General Motors. No company in the world has spent more on R&D over
the past 25 years. Yet, somehow, GM's market share has
declined....R&D productivity – not R&D investment – is the real
challenge for global innovation. Innovation is not what innovators
innovate, it is what customers actually adopt. Productivity here is not
measured in patents granted but in new customers won and existing
customers profitably retained..
customer_profitability  Big_Food  brands  flavours  food  foodservice  health_foods  healthy_lifestyles  ingredients  ingredient_diversity  innovation  investors  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Mondelez  Nestlé  new_ideas  R&D  shifting_tastes  start_ups  Unilever 
april 2019 by jerryking
The need for weed: why Wall Street is getting hooked on cannabis
MARCH 15, 2019 | Financial Times | by Nicole Bullock in New York.

a “sea change in attitude” towards the sector.  “You don’t get an opportunity every day to participate in the very early stages of the creation of a large global industry and that is what is happening now,”
Aurora  Cambrian_explosion  cannabis  Canopy_Growth  FDA  investors  start_ups  Wall_Street 
march 2019 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Startups Providing the Cannabis Industry with Data-Driven Tools
November 18, 2015 | High Times | by ??

Startups are providing a myriad of service to the legal marijuana industry—from Eaze, which connects dispensaries with customers, and Flowhub, which helps optimize growing factors for cultivators, to PotBiotics, a resource for doctors looking for medical research, and Leafly, which gathers customer reviews of dispensaries.

This new technology is providing insights and statistics, which until very recently were impossible to find.

“You couldn’t collect this information [previously] because all the transactions and purchases were conducted in the shadows via an illicit market,” Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of a private-equity firm that owns three pot businesses, told WSJ.
data_driven  cannabis  illicit  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  tools 
march 2019 by jerryking
‘We Know Them. We Trust Them.’ Uber and Airbnb Alumni Fuel Tech’s Next Wave.
March 13, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

......“There are just not that many places to find people who have seen that kind of scale,” said Ryan Graves, Uber’s former senior vice president of global operations and a member of the company’s board.

Each city that Uber, Airbnb, Lyft or Postmates expanded into created a new set of operational, regulatory and business challenges. Regulators balked. Rival business operators resisted. Neighbors protested. And people abused the platforms, over and over.

Uber managers ran each city like a mini-start-up. “If you were the general manager of San Francisco or of Atlanta, you were the C.E.O. of your region,” ..... “It led to a really entrepreneurial approach from everyone.”......
Airbnb  alumni  Andreessen_Horowitz  gig_economy  IPOs  networks  new_businesses  on-demand  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Uber  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Jeff Bezos’ family office invests in Chilean plant-based food start-up
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris.

The family office of Jeff Bezos is among the investors in a $30m funding round for a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian alternatives for animal-derived products such as mayonnaise and ice cream.

Four-year old NotCo on Friday announced the financing round led by The Craftory, a fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, as well as Bezos Expeditions.....The funds will be used to finance product development and help NotCo expand to Mexico and the US later this year. It sells its plant-based mayonnaise, which is made with chickpeas, in grocery stores in Chile......NotCo has developed a software platform that analyses the molecular structure of foods, such as beef or milk, so as then to derive combinations of plant-based alternatives that most closely resemble the original in taste, colour, and texture. The technology seeks to map the similarities between the genetic properties of plants and their corollaries in animals, so as to more accurately mimic the properties.....“The potential is massive because NotCo is not just a meat-replacement company or a milk-replacement company,”.....The technology can be applied to all foods derived from animals,” he said, adding that if successful, the opportunity was there to create a major food company to compete with the likes of Nestlé and Danone......the approach of analysing the molecular structure of foods to engineer vegetarian versions of meats, cheeses and dairy products is similar to that of US-based start-up Just Inc, formerly known as Hampton Creek.....The company changed its name after a series of setbacks, including an alleged food safety issue that led to it losing distribution at retailer Target. Nevertheless, Just Inc is well-funded; it has said that it has raised $220m from investors.....Venture capital investors have been pouring money into start-ups to create plant-based or lab-grown alternatives to traditional meat and dairy. Impossible Foods — which is backed by Bill Gates and Alphabet’s GV, formerly Google Ventures, among others — has raised $387.5m,
Chile  Chileans  Danone  family_office  flexitarian  food  Jeff_Bezos  machine_learning  Nestlé  plant-based  start_ups  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
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