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Will Tanzania's Drone Industry Take Off?
January 28, 2019 | Business Daily podcast | By BBC World Service.

Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio streamed directly from their servers.
Drones have been used increasingly in Africa for survey and mapping, but will cargo drone delivery companies be the next big thing? Jane Wakefield visits Mwanza on the banks of Lake Victoria to speak to African and international companies hoping to cash in on the drone delivery market. During a trial for a big World Bank project called The Lake Victoria Challenge Jane speaks to the Tanzanian drone pilot making waves across the continent, to the global start ups innovating rapidly, and to one drone company helping to map Cholera outbreaks in Malawi. Jane hears from Helena Samsioe from Globhe, Edward Anderson from the World Bank, Frederick Mbuya from Uhurulabs, Leka Tingitana Tanzania Flying Labs and others. (Photo: A delivery drone in Tanzania, Credit: Sala Lewis/Lake Victoria Challenge)
3-D  Africa  delivery  drones  flu_outbreaks  Malawi  podcasts  start_ups  Tanzania 
21 days ago by jerryking
The Rise of Global, Superstar Firms, Sectors and Cities - CIO Journal.
Jan 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Scale increases a platform’s value. The more products or services a platform offers, the more consumers it will attract, helping it then attract more offerings, which in turn brings in more consumers, which then makes the platform even more valuable. Moreover, the larger the network, the more data available to customize offerings and better match supply and demand, further increasing the platform’s value. The result is that a small number of companies have become category kings dominating the rest of their competitors in their particular markets.

Network dynamics also apply to metropolitan areas. For the past few decades, the demands for high-skill jobs have significantly expanded, with the earnings of the college educated workers needed to fill such jobs rising steadily. Talent has become the linchpin asset of the knowledge economy, making capital highly dependent on talented experts to navigate our increasingly complex business environment.

“Just as the economy confers disproportionate rewards to superstar talent, superstar cities… similarly tower above the rest,” wrote urban studies professor and author Richard Florida. “They are not just the places where the most ambitious and most talented people want to be - they are where such people feel they need to be.”
cities  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  platforms  start_ups  superstars  talent  winner-take-all  clusters  geographic_concentration  hyper-concentrations  Richard_Florida  knowledge_economy 
25 days ago by jerryking
Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

..
CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  Quibi  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money: America’s Superstar Cities - WSJ
By Christopher Mims
Dec. 15, 2018 12:00 a.m. ET
Technology is creating an economy in which superstar employees work for superstar firms that gather them into superstar cities, leading to a stark geographic concentration of wealth unlike any seen in the past century.

The latest example of this is Apple announcing this past week a billion-dollar investment in a new campus that could ultimately accommodate up to 15,000 employees in a city already red hot with talent (Austin, Texas).....When economists talk about “superstar” anything, they’re referencing a phenomenon first described in the early 1980s. It began as the product of mass media and was put into overdrive by the internet. In an age when the reach of everything we make is greater than ever, members of an elite class of bankers, chief executives, programmers, Instagram influencers and just about anyone with in-demand technical skills have seen their incomes grow far faster than those of the middle class.

In this winner-take-all economy, the superstar firms—think Apple, Google and Amazon, but also their increasingly high-tech equivalents in finance, health care and every other industry—appear to account for most of the divergence in productivity and profits between companies in the U.S.

As firms cluster around talent, and talent is in turn drawn to those firms, the result is a self-reinforcing trend toward ever-richer, ever-costlier metro areas that are economically dominant over the rest of the country.
Christopher_Mims  cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  geographic_inequality  hyper-concentrations  start_ups  superstars  winner-take-all  disproportionality  digitalization 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Tristan Walker on the Roman Empire and Selling a Start-Up to Procter & Gamble - The New York Times
By David Gelles
Dec. 12, 2018

Tristan Walker founded Walker & Company, a maker of health and beauty products for people of color, in 2013. On Wednesday, the company was acquired by Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents a successful exit for Mr. Walker and his investors. It also signals an effort by Procter & Gamble, the maker of Gillette, to reach new markets with its shaving products. But while many start-up founders make a hasty exit after getting acquired, Mr. Walker is planning to stay on and grow Bevel, his men’s shaving brand, and Form, his women’s hair care brand. “We’re a team of 15 with very grandiose ambitions,” he said of Walker & Company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., but will move to Atlanta as part of the deal. “We want this company and its purpose to still be around 150 years from now.”

What’s that book you’ve got there?

It’s “Parallel Lives” by Plutarch. I’ve really been getting into Greek and Roman mythology. I’m reading something right now about the history of Rome during the 53 years when they really came into power, and this idea of the Roman state growing, the Greek state growing, and the differences therein fascinate me beyond belief. I’ve just been devouring it for the past few weeks now.

Walker attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. And from there, he got to see how the other half lived. It completely changed his life. He got to see what success could look like. He got to see what wealth was. And it completely changed his worldview.

How so?

I would walk down the halls and see last names like Ford, go to some classes and realize they’re Rockefellers. These are names that were in my imagination. It taught me the importance of name and what that can mean, not only for you but your progeny. When I started at Hotchkiss, I didn’t know what a verb was. So I spent all of my time in the library studying. I spent all of my time thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What are your priorities as you keep building the company?

I’m dedicating my life to the demographic shift happening in this country. Not only for Silicon Valley. Not only for business. But for this country’s competitiveness. It’s changing. And folks need to respect that and they need to celebrate it.
African-Americans  Bevel  biographies  books  demographic_changes  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  exits  Form  insights  long-term  P&G  Romans  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Tristan_Walker  wealth_creation  black-owned  brands  consumer_goods  personal_care_products  personal_grooming 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
The opportunities left behind when innovation shakes up old industries
November 28, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | GUY NICHOLSON.

early meetings and phone calls were casual conversations with a couple of landscape photographers who specialize in golf.

The very nature of their business had changed fundamentally...After the Internet disrupted print magazines and media, they recast themselves as digital marketers, selling online rights to images created with high-tech arrays of digital cameras, drones and processing software. But even while embracing technology to take their work to new artistic heights, there were dramatically fewer places left for golfers to come across this art in print......Had their little corner of publishing been so thoroughly disrupted and abandoned that it now had more demand than supply? .....Technological innovation can be extremely disruptive and painful – and in the digital era, capable of changing entire industries seemingly overnight. But when creative destruction puts good things in peril, slivers of opportunity can emerge. After the masses and the smart money have flocked to newer technologies, formerly ultra-competitive spaces can be left wide open for innovation – abandoned fields for small businesses, start-ups and niche players to occupy.

It helps to offer a level of quality or service the bigger players consider uneconomical. Look at the travel industry, which has been thoroughly remade under waves of innovation: cellphones, digital cameras, GPS, Google Maps. Between internet comparison shopping and Airbnb, travel agents could have gone the way of the traveller’s cheque. But in the wake of all that disruption, tiny bespoke agencies specializing in advice, unique experiences, complicated itineraries and group travel have re-emerged to offer services too niche for the big digital players.....Similar things are happening in industries such as gaming, where video games have cleared the way for board-game cafes, and vinyl music, which survived the onslaught of MP3s and streaming music on the strength of nostalgia, millennial fascination and sound quality. As the rest of the industry moved into digital, neighbourhood record stores and small manufacturers picked up the pieces, catering to an enthusiastic subset of music buyers.

“We were growing very rapidly, not because vinyl was growing, but because a lot of pressing plants were going out of business,” Ton Vermeulen, a Dutch DJ and artist manager who bought a former Sony record plant in 1998, told Toronto journalist David Sax in his 2016 book The Revenge of Analog. Vinyl is back in the mainstream, but its disruption cleared the field for smaller players.

Abandoned fields aren’t for everyone. Building a business around an off-trend service or product can be a tough slog for fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs, and risky. In the case of the golf photographers, two dozen artists signed up to create a high-end subscription magazine. It’s beautiful, but with two years of work riding on a four-week Kickstarter campaign, there’s no guarantee this particular field will prove to have been worth reclaiming.

Of course, risk has always been part of small business. But a market waiting to be served – that’s a precious thing. As long as there is disruption, it will create opportunities for small businesses to reoccupy abandoned fields
bespoke  David_Sax  disruption  high-risk  high-touch  innovation  niches  off-trends  photography  print_journalism  small_business  start_ups  travel_agents  creative_destruction  new_businesses  opportunities  abandoned_fields  counterintuitive  Kickstarter 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success
November 20, 2018 | Financial Times | Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv.
.... those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.........Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths— cyber security and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping. 

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tuned computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence. .........The full name for Unit 9900 — the Terrain Analysis, Accurate Mapping, Visual Collection and Interpretation Agency — hints at how it has created a critical mass of engineers indispensable for the future of this industry. The secretive unit has only recently allowed limited discussion of its work. But with an estimated 25,000 graduates, it has created a deep pool of talent that the tech sector has snapped up. 

Soldiers in Unit 9900 are assigned to strip out nuggets of intelligence from the images provided by Israel’s drones and satellites — from surveilling the crowded, chaotic streets of the Gaza Strip to the unending swaths of desert in Syria and the Sinai. 

With so much data to pour over, Unit 9900 came up with solutions, including recruiting Israelis on the autistic spectrum for their analytical and visual skills. In recent years, says Shir Agassi, who served in Unit 9900 for more than seven years, it learned to automate much of the process, teaching algorithms to spot nuances, slight variations in landscapes and how their targets moved and behaved.....“We had to take all these photos, all this film, all this geospatial evidence and break it down: how do you know what you’re seeing, what’s behind it, how will it impact your intelligence decisions?” .....“You’re asking yourself — if you were the enemy, where would you hide? Where are the tall buildings, where’s the element of surprise? Can you drive there, what will be the impact of weather on all this analysis?”

Computer vision was essential to this task....Teaching computers to look for variations allowed the unit to quickly scan thousands of kilometres of background to find actionable intelligence. “You have to find ways not just to make yourself more efficient, but also to find things that the regular eye can’t,” she says. “You need computer vision to answer these questions.”.....The development of massive databases — from close-ups of farm insects to medical scans to traffic data — has given Israeli companies a valuable headstart over rivals. And in an industry where every new image teaches the algorithm something useful, that has made catching up difficult.......“Computer vision is absolutely the thread that ties us to other Israeli companies,” he says. “I need people with the same unique DNA — smart PhDs in mathematics, neural network analysis — to tell a player in the NBA how to improve his jump shot.”
Israel  cyber_security  hackers  cyber_warfare  dual-use  Israeli  security_&_intelligence  IDF  computer_vision  machine_learning  Unit_9900  start_ups  gene_pool  imagery  algorithms  actionable_information  geospatial  mapping  internal_systems  PhDs  drones  satellites  surveillance  autism 
november 2018 by jerryking
JPMorgan Invests in Startup Tech That Analyzes Encrypted Data - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By Sara Castellanos
Nov 13, 2018

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested in a startup whose technology can analyze an encrypted dataset without revealing its contents, which could be “materially useful” for the company and its clients, said Samik Chandarana, head of data analytics for the Corporate and Investment Bank division.

The banking giant recently led a $10 million Series A funding round in the data security and analytics startup, Inpher Inc., headquartered in New York and Switzerland. JPMorgan could use the ‘secret computing’ technology to analyze a customer’s proprietary data on their behalf, using artificial intelligence algorithms without sacrificing privacy.......One of the technological methods Inpher uses, called fully homomorphic encryption, allows for computations to be conducted on encrypted data, said Jordan Brandt, co-founder and CEO of the company. It’s the ability to perform analytics and machine learning on cipher text, which is plain, readable text that has been encrypted using a specific algorithm, or a cipher, so that it becomes unintelligible.

Analyzing encrypted information without revealing any secret information is known as zero-knowledge computing and it means that organizations could share confidential information to gather more useful insights on larger datasets.
algorithms  artificial_intelligence  encryption  JPMorgan  start_ups 
november 2018 by jerryking
Amazon’s Ripple Effect on Grocery Industry: Rivals Stock Up on Start-Ups
Aug. 21, 2018 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods Market. The $13.4 billion deal shook the grocery world, setting off a frenzy of deals and partnerships that continues to intensify. Traditional retailers pursued digital technology, and online companies reconsidered their relationship with brick-and-mortar retail......“Are technology folks like us going to figure out retail faster than the retailers figure out technology?” [the Great Game] ..... “In some ways we’re all kind of fighting the same fight against the gigantic folks online.”

Food shopping is one of the last major holdouts to online retail. Groceries are unique in that their inventory is perishable, fragile and heavy. Grocery customers often shop at the last minute, like to see the food they are about to eat and don’t want to pay high delivery fees.

Even Amazon, with its Amazon Fresh online grocery service, has struggled to gain ground in the business. The company’s Whole Foods deal, paired with Walmart’s 2016 acquisition of Jet.com, underscored that the future of selling food and household items requires cooperation between the digital natives and the old-school retailers.....Grocery companies “are realizing that with Walmart and Amazon moving at their pace, you need to pick yours up, too,” .... “I wouldn’t call it fear. I would call it a wake-up call.”....... Market research conducted by Morgan Stanley in July found that 56 % of consumers who were likely to order groceries online said they would most likely order from Amazon, compared with 14 % who would go to a mass merchandiser and 10 % who would use their local supermarket. Phil Lempert, a grocery industry analyst, predicted store closings for chains that do not evolve to meet the changing needs of customers. Stores offering curated selections, specialty items, cooking classes and the option to buy online and pick up in person will thrive,......Josh Hix, chief executive of Plated, a meal kit start-up, said the Amazon-Whole Foods deal had immediately changed his discussions with grocery chains. Meal kit companies have a checkered record. But the grocery companies saw an opportunity to use Plated’s data and research on recipes and taste preferences......Most of the big grocers “have wanted to kill us, partner with us, invest in us or buy us — all probably in the course of the same conversation,”......The ownership structure allows Boxed to license its technology to its retail competitors in the United States as they try to become more digital. The company is in talks with 10 or so potential partners for various pieces of its technology. They include mobile app technology, personalization software, a packing algorithm that maximizes space in shipping boxes, software that tracks item expiration dates, order management software and warehouse robotics automation........Grocery delivery is difficult to do affordably, but tech-driven efficiencies like those developed by Boxed, Amazon and others have forced change on the industry.

“Consumers want convenience and will pay more for it,
Amazon  AmazonFresh  bricks-and-mortar  e-commerce  home-delivery  partnerships  retailers  same-day  start_ups  the_Great_Game  Whole_Foods  fulfillment  grocery  supermarkets  ripple_effects  e-grocery 
august 2018 by jerryking
Katzenberg and Whitman raise $1bn for mobile video start-up
August 7, 2018 | | Financial Times | Tim Bradshaw in Los Angeles.

An unusual alliance of Hollywood studios, Wall Street banks and the family fund of Walmart’s founders have invested $1bn into Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s ambitious mobile video start-up, Quibi.

The giant fundraising comes more than a year before the venture, currently known as NewTV, expects to launch its subscription-based service to consumers. 

NewTV plans to bring Hollywood’s multimillion-dollar production values, brand-name talent and franchises to a new standalone mobile app, delivering video in “bite-sized” chapters of up to 10 minutes each. 

As much as $900m of the financing will go towards commissioning and licensing content from top Hollywood studios, many of whom are also investing in the company. 
mobile  web_video  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  Meg_Whitman  Quibi  start_ups  subscriptions 
august 2018 by jerryking
Tales from the storage unit: inside a booming industry | Financial Times
July 27, 2018 | FT| Daniel Cohen.

Across the UK, there are now about 1,160 indoor self-storage sites like it, according to the Self-Storage Association (SSA), plus 345 sites offering outdoor containers, serving a total of about 450,000 customers. The industry has an annual turnover of about £750m, and the amount of storage space has almost doubled in a decade, to more than 44m sq ft last year — equivalent to 0.7 sq ft for every person in the country. That’s more than anywhere else in Europe, though it’s still far behind the US, where the figure is an astonishing 7 sq ft per person.....The service offered by self-storage operators is fundamentally very simple. If you choose a dedicated, indoor site, as most do, all that really varies is the size of the unit and the length of occupancy. Customers tend to overestimate how much space they require and underestimate how much it will cost......Increasingly, however, the industry has come to prize new, purpose-built warehouses. ......There are plenty of triggers for putting things in storage. “We deal with the three most stressful things: moving, death and divorce,”......For many people, self-storage is a short-term solution to a pressing need. Other customers, however, simply consider it part of their daily life.....The popularity of storage can’t simply be explained by lack of space, though. If that were the case, the industry wouldn’t be so successful in the US, where it experienced annual growth of 7 per cent between 2012 and 2017, ...even though the average home there is bigger than anywhere else in the world. It’s also about how many possessions we have. Frank Trentmann, author of Empire of Things, points to the accumulation of clothing and electrical items over the past few decades. But the rise also reflects wider social changes,.....“You used to buy a table or a bed when you married, and then you kept it until your partner died. Now, you have partnerships changing much more often, more flexible family arrangements. So people end up having multiple versions of the same article.”..For business customers, self-storage is a different equation. Businesses account for a quarter of all self-storage customers in the UK, but they take up 39 per cent of the storage space.....The growth of self-storage also owes something to the surge in start-ups....There are obstacles. The competition for new sites is intense. “If we look at a site, it could well be one that a discount food retailer is looking at, car showrooms, budget hotels, student housing,”
booming  storage  self-storage  United_Kingdom  purpose-built  possessions  artifacts  warehouses  social_changes  hoarding  start_ups 
july 2018 by jerryking
Venture capital firms have a gender problem. Here’s how to fix it - The Globe and Mail
JULY 24, 2018 | THE GLOBE AND MAIL | MICHELLE MCBANE AND LAUREN ROBINSON

Investing in women entrepreneurs isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Companies with a female founder have been shown to outperform all-male competitors. Despite this, when StandUp Ventures was founded last year to back female-led tech startups, many in the industry were skeptical that there even was a pipeline of women-led firms worthy of funding. Turns out there are plenty – StandUp has already made five investments. If more funds step up to the plate and back female entrepreneurs now, we won’t be having this conversation about female VCs again in a decade.

Change isn’t going to happen overnight. VC firms are very different creatures from the startups they fund: They’re conservative and built for stability, not agility.
gender_gap  venture_capital  vc  women  angels  start_ups  large_companies  under-representation  entrepreneur 
july 2018 by jerryking
The AI arms race: the tech fear behind Donald Trump’s trade war with China | Financial Times
Shawn Donnan in Washington YESTERDAY

While the headlines about the Trump administration’s trade war with Beijing often focus on raw materials such as steel, aluminium and soyabeans, the underlying motivation of the new protectionist mood is American anxiety about China’s rapidly growing technological prowess.......
At a time when the US is engaged in a battle for technological pre-eminence with China, the ZGC project is exactly the sort of state-backed Chinese investment that American politicians across the political spectrum view with scepticism.

“China has targeted America’s industries of the future, and President Donald Trump understands better than anyone that if China successfully captures these emerging industries, America will have no economic future,” .....US tariffs on $34bn in imports from China that are due to take effect on Friday as part of a squeeze intended to end what the US says has been years of state-endorsed Chinese intellectual property theft. But it is also part of a broader battle against what the White House has labelled China’s “economic aggression”......Viewed from America, President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 industrial strategy is a state-led effort to establish Chinese leadership in the technologies of the next generation of commerce and military equipment — notably AI, robotics and gene editing.

Many US officials are now questioning one of the basic assumptions about how the American economy operates: its openness to foreign investment....While some technology executives extol the potential for co-operation in areas such as AI, the Washington establishment increasingly sees them as central to a growing geopolitical competition....Many Chinese investors are looking for US companies that they can help move into China. .....Even though Mr Trump’s focus on Chinese technology has strong bipartisan support in Washington, its tactics have been heavily criticised. The biggest blunder, many critics argue, has been the Trump administration’s willingness to wage concurrent trade wars. The IP-driven tariffs push against China has been accompanied by one that has hit allies such as Canada and the EU that might have joined a fight against Beijing.

........“We’re treating the Chinese better than we are treating our friends,” says Derek Scissors, a China expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who sees the tariffs Mr Trump is threatening against European car imports as a similar bit of malpractice.
arms_race  artificial_intelligence  China  CFIUS  Donald_Trump  economic_warfare  economic_aggression  FDI  geopolitics  international_trade  investors  investing  intellectual_property  industrial_policies  protectionism  politicians  robotics  One_Belt_One_Road  security_&_intelligence  Silicon_Valley  SOEs  start_ups  theft  U.S.  venture_capital  Washington_D.C. 
july 2018 by jerryking
JetBlue Tech Execs Tap Startups To Help Airline Innovate - CIO Journal. - WSJ
As digital technology transforms business, enterprises can be at a disadvantage relative to newcomers. One solution is to work with startups, but that can be tricky because of security, regulatory and policy requirements at large companies. CIO Journal spoke to the top technology executives at JetBlue Airways about how they make the relationship work through a corporate venture arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The Silicon Valley-based venture group looks for technology that could add business value within 18 months, as well as that which may have longer, 5- to 10-year payoffs. It has made early and mid-stage investments in 18 startups since 2016.

“Being part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem is very important for us,” Eash Sundaram, JetBlue’s chief digital and technology officer, tells CIO Journal.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Ms. Simi said JetBlue may have never come across the startups in the venture arm’s portfolio if they had simply made a request for proposals for a specific technology project. Instead, the dedicated venture team vets startups, makes strategic investments and works alongside them to match technologies to JetBlue’s current and future needs.

“It’s been hugely helpful at JetBlue in terms of keeping our thinking fresh and innovative,”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
JetBlue  brands  large_companies  airline_industry  innovation  start_ups  CIOs  machine_learning  blockchain 
july 2018 by jerryking
Ticketmaster’s New Challenger: Your Face - WSJ
By Anne Steele
Updated May 4, 2018

The industry is ripe for disruption. People are spending more than ever on experiences, even as concern is rising about security at crowded live events. At the same time, artists and teams today have little control over how, to whom or for how much their tickets are sold.
entrepreneur  start_ups  disruption  Live_Nation  live_performances  facial-recognition  sports  arenas  Ticketmaster  Rival  Andreessen_Horowitz 
may 2018 by jerryking
Norway’s oil wealth swamps innovation
John Gapper OCTOBER 19, 2016

"omstilling", is the name for Norway’s nascent shift to living without the energy industry that has brought it wealth and welfare for 45 years.

Why hurry, some wonder. Its 5.2m citizens are among the world’s comfiest, with gross domestic product per head of $75,000. Its oil-funded sovereign wealth fund, set up in 1990 to help it avoid “Dutch disease” — the syndrome of resource wealth driving up national currencies and weakening other sectors — is worth $880bn. Its oil and gas reserves should last for another half-century.

The trouble is that Norway is too comfortable. It takes a crisis to get most people to change their ways radically or for an economy to adjust the way that it works. Whatever you think of Brexit, it is one of those crises. At the moment, Norway has more official think-tanks and innovation incubators than entrepreneurship and disruption.....The oil fund is exemplary in many ways: by taking the wealth largely out of the hands of the government and directing it into overseas investment, Norway has avoided the worst of Dutch disease. But it adds to the sense of the country having a cushion against change: the fund’s very existence extends its deadline to reshape the economy.

The citizens are also cushioned......Norway remains hesitant about change.....Norway is a consensus-driven society that feels comfortable only with reform that has been carefully discussed and agreed....Elisabeth Stray Pedersen, a 29-year-old fashion designer who last year bought a factory opened in 1953 by the designer Unn Soiland Dale. She wants to revive its Lillunn brand and sell more of its Norwegian wool blankets and coats abroad.
Norway  Norwegian  oil_industry  Brexit  United_Kingdom  innovation  natural_resources  resource_curse  sovereign_wealth_funds  complacency  fashion  apparel  start_ups 
april 2018 by jerryking
Millennials shouldn’t treat their careers like lottery tickets - The Globe and Mail
MARCH 20, 2018 | THE GLOBE AND MAIL | by BRAM BELZBERG.

If you're in your early 20s and just starting your career, you probably shouldn't take a job with a start-up.....joining a startup is attractive. They can be exciting, and the pay can be pretty good. A small percentage of people will pick the right opportunity, collect stock options, and become millionaires before they're 30. It's like winning the lottery.

But, like the real lottery, most people don't win, and they end up worse off than they were before....The majority of startups are going to go bust.....Large companies – such as banks and consulting firms and established tech outfits – understand how to bring along new graduates. They've been developing the best way to do so for decades. They have full-time employees who only think about developing young staff into future managers. Their programs work. They teach you important skills, they teach you how the professional world operates, and they teach you how to network. It takes a lot of time, energy, and focus to create these programs.....Generally, successful startups need three things: a great idea, a reliable funding network, and strong leadership. Most startups don't have a full management team, and the managers they do have probably won't have time to mentor you. You also won't be building a network of peers who can help finance your startup one day. If you have a great idea, it will still be there when you've learned how to develop it into a business. If you really want to get the experience of working at a startup, do it when you've developed your career and built a safety net in case it fails....Work hard, put in your time, and achieve your goals. But there aren't any shortcuts in building a career. When you're ready to move on from your first job, you should have a clear idea of what you want to do next, with a foundation of skills and experience in place. You don't want to be left holding only a losing lottery ticket.
millennials  Managing_Your_Career  Jason_Isaacs  career_paths  start_ups  large_companies  advice  new_graduates  high-risk 
march 2018 by jerryking
Meg Whitman joins Katzenberg’s ‘bite-sized’ video start-up
February 24, 2018 | FT | Tim Bradshaw in Los Angeles and Shannon Bond in New York.

Ms Whitman, the outgoing boss of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and former head of eBay, will become chief executive of a new media venture started by DreamWorks Animation co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. 

The company — provisionally named “NewTV” — has not yet created any content or developed an app. 

“Right now I am the only employee,” Ms Whitman told the Financial Times, “but there is a lot of work [already] done on the business plan and the strategy”.

NewTV’s central idea of creating “premium” short-form video with Hollywood production values was developed at WndrCo, the tech-meets-media holding company co-founded by Mr Katzenberg alongside Ann Daly, former president of DreamWorks Animation, and Sujay Jaswa, Dropbox’s former chief financial officer.

Videos will be up to 10 minutes long and distributed directly to consumers, in a style similar to Netflix.......NewTV plans to ride a wave of change in consumer viewing habits, as eyeballs shift from the big screen to the smartphone. 

Mobile viewing is growing explosively in total minutes and viewing time. And I don’t think the industry is comprehensively serving that up right now....Despite the huge investment in professionally produced online video from the likes of Netflix, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet’s YouTube and Snapchat, Mr Katzenberg and Ms Whitman are betting that none is focusing on “snackable” content for watching on the go. 

“One has to envision this short-form content as a completely new format,” she said. “You can’t take existing content and chop it up, you have to create for this format. That is going to inspire a lot of creativity and a chance to tell stories in a different way.” 

NewTV will develop its content and its technology in concert, to ensure fast loading times and personalised recommendations. “In some ways this will be a data company,”
Meg_Whitman  CEOs  HP  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  NewTV  content  short-form  start_ups  entertainment_industry  digital_media  storytelling  platforms  SaaS  video  bite-sized  snackable  Quibi 
january 2018 by jerryking
Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead
January 17, 2018 | FT | Michael Moritz.

*The work ethic in Chinese tech companies far outpaces their US rivals
*it is quite usual for managers to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings
*Fewer complaints about the scheduling of tasks for the weekend, missing a child's game or skipping a basketball outing with friends.
*There is a deep-rooted sense of frugality.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In a recent Financial Times op-ed, Mr. Moritz argued that Silicon Valley had become slow and spoiled by its success, and that “soul-sapping discussions” about politics and social injustice had distracted tech companies from the work of innovation.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
As an investor and now the CRO in a recently failed startup, I think this article has many merits so long as these tireless first employees are rewarded with equity and a great compensation plan once the enterprise is profitable.  I, along with my other investors are working tirelessly to put this project back on track. Unfortunately for many small businesses to survive this type of effort is essential at least until the enterprise is profitable.
workplaces  work_life_balance  vc  Michael_Moritz  China  soul-sapping  Chinese  start_ups  hard_work  Silicon_Valley  frugality  organizational_culture  work_ethic 
january 2018 by jerryking
As Silicon Valley Gets ‘Crazy,’ Midwest Beckons Tech Investors
NOV. 19, 2017 | The New York Times | By STEVE LOHR.

The rationale for investing in the Midwest combines cost and opportunity. A top-flight software engineer who is paid $100,000 a year in the Midwest might well command $200,000 or more in the Bay Area. The Midwest, the optimists say, also has ample tech talent, with excellent engineers coming out of major state and private universities in the region.

But they also point to technology shifts. As technology transforms nontech industries like health care, agriculture, transportation, finance and manufacturing, the Midwest investors argue that being close to customers will be more important than being close to the wellspring of technology.

“The value will come from marrying industry knowledge with technology,” said Mr. Olsen of Drive Capital. “There’s an arrogance in Silicon Valley that we don’t need industry expertise. That’s going to be less and less true in the future.”.....Referring to the troubles chronicled in his book, Mr. Vance said that “at least a partial solution is to get more investment capital into this part of the country.”....Mr. Case and Mr. Vance talk of the need to create “network density” by bringing together more entrepreneurs, customers, partners and investment capital. The trips can and do yield investment candidates for Revolution, but start-up evangelism is the main theme.
investors  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Hillbilly_Elegy  network_density  venture_capital  vc  Midwest  Steve_Lohr  J.D._Vance  industrial_Midwest  Rust-Belt  Steve_Case  industry_expertise 
november 2017 by jerryking
A Website for Pop-Up Stores Attracts Funding - WSJ
By Peter Grant
Oct. 10, 2017

(For John Corless)

A venture-capital firm that focuses on real-estate technology is investing in a London startup that has created an online marketplace for pop-up stores.

Fifth Wall Ventures, which is backed by big names in the real-estate world like Hines, CBRE Group Inc. and Macerich Co. , has made a “significant” investment in Appear Here, according to Brendan Wallace, Fifth Wall’s managing partner. He declined to specify an amount or how much of an ownership stake Fifth Wall is taking.

Founded in 2013, Appear Here has hooked up thousands of retailers with landlords in London and other U.K. cities, and its website currently includes more than 100,000 brands looking for space. The company, which enables retailers to sign leases for days or months, also has expanded to Paris and, earlier this year, New York.....London retailers leasing space through Appear Here and its competitors, like Hire Space and We Are Pop Up, also have turned marginal neighborhoods into hubs for new and edgy retail concepts. That hip vibe sometimes has lured big name retailers to those areas as well.

“The idea that online retail is going to kill physical retail is a complete fabrication,” Mr. Bailey said. “Every online retailer I know is wanting to open up physical stores the same way that every traditional retailer is moving online.”
e-commerce  venture_capital  start_ups  Appear_Here  pop-ups  websites  funding  retailers  landlords  London  CBRE 
october 2017 by jerryking
Katzenberg’s Big Ask: $2 Billion for Short-Form Video Project
OCT. 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN.

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s idea of fund-raising is on a very different scale.

Mr. Katzenberg....is trying to raise $2 billion for his new television start-up. That is likely to be the largest first round of financing in history for a digital media company that, at least at the moment, is only a concept swirling around in his head......Mr. Katzenberg, 66, is convinced that his new product, called New TV, can upend the format of television for mobile devices. He wants to create the next-generation version of HBO or Netflix, purpose-built for viewing on phones and tablets with short-form content of premium quality — think of “Game of Thrones” as if each episode had a narrative arc of 10 minutes.

He wants to create big, expensive productions at a cost of $100,000 a minute. (For the sake of comparison, a highly produced minute of programming on YouTube might cost $10,000.)......Mr. Katzenberg’s hunch about the way a huge swath of consumers will watch television in the future is, in all likelihood, right. The number of teenagers and young adults who have their nose pressed to their mobile devices watching video content is startling. Globally, 72 % of all video is viewed on a mobile device, according to Ooyala, a video platform provider.

The question is whether his idea is ahead of its time. And whether he can find the right business model to support such expensive programing.

Mr. Katzenberg is a realist. “We need $2 billion. That’s a high bar,” he said. And he acknowledges that the financial details still need to be worked out. It’s daunting. He needs to build an instant library of content — and a big one.....Mr. Katzenberg’s gamble is being taken seriously because of his long history of success and his provocative thesis about the current television model. “The design and the architecture of the storytelling fit the business paradigm, not the other way around,” he explained, suggesting that shows were made in the format of a half-hour or an hour for business reasons and do not make sense in the world of mobile devices and streaming.....Mr. Katzenberg does not merely want to simply create a studio that specializes in short-form storytelling; he wants to create a platform for it. He is hoping that many of the big television networks both invest and produce content for the service.
start_ups  funding  investors  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  entertainment_industry  content  digital_media  storytelling  platforms  SaaS  video  Andrew_Sorkin  DreamWorks  short-form  mobile  streaming  bite-sized 
october 2017 by jerryking
IKEA Jumps Into ‘Gig Economy’ With Deal for TaskRabbit
Sept. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Saabira Chaudhuri and Eliot Brown.

IKEA agreed to acquire Silicon Valley startup TaskRabbit—the online marketplace that connects people with freelancers willing to run errands and do odd jobs—combining the pioneer of the flat pack with a trailblazer of the so-called gig economy.
....Documents related to a financing round from 2015 suggest TaskRabbit then had a valuation of about $50 million....the deal represents a bigger strategic tack at the furniture company. It also underscores a broader shift at many large companies grappling with big changes brought on by digitization. Many established corporations are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their business grow, or slow their declines—sometimes spending heavily on small venture capital-backed startups that have strong traction with young consumers.

Especially where older industries are shifting rapidly, deals have piled up. Auto makers have become prolific investors and buyers of self-driving startups. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos.

Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. Often, though, they say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.

The TaskRabbit deal is IKEA’s first foray anywhere near Silicon Valley. The privately held company—when it has bought anything at all—has tended to focus on forestry and manufacturing firm purchases..... IKEA intends to also learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise. Retailers and brands globally have been racing to capture shopper data in a bid to personalize their offerings and build customer loyalty.......The bulk of IKEA’s sales are still made in its sprawling out-of-town superstores that house everything from plants to beds. It has 357 stores across 29 countries. But it has worked to adapt to a rise in online shopping, rolling out home delivery and click-and-collect options. IKEA has also been opening small, centrally located stores situated near public transport that stock a limited range of offerings and are also used as collection points.

The company’s website had 2.1 billion visits in fiscal 2016, up 9% from the prior year. Earlier in September, it launched an augmented reality app that lets people place IKEA furniture in their homes. It has also souped up its product range, offering tables and lamps that double up as wireless phone chargers and bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly.

“As urbanization and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way,” Mr. Brodin said. “An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
IKEA  TaskRabbit  gig_economy  home-assembly  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Silicon_Valley  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  start_ups  e-commerce  home-delivery  BOPIS  augmented_reality  urbanization  digital_strategies  retailers  product_launches 
september 2017 by jerryking
Should the Middle Class Invest in Risky Tech Start-Ups? - The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART SEPT. 27, 2017

Jason Calacanis, a start-up investor who has bet on Uber and others, cuts an unusual figure in Silicon Valley..... Calacanis’s frankness regarding his tech-fueled riches. He states plainly what many in Silicon Valley believe but are too politic to say — and which has lately been dawning on the rest of the world: that the tech industry is decimating the rest of the planet’s wealth and stability.

Its companies — especially the Frightful Five of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which employ a select and privileged few — look poised to systematically gut much of the rest of the economy. And while Silicon Valley’s technologies could vastly improve our lives, we are now learning that they may also destabilize great portions of the social fabric — letting outsiders wreak havoc on our elections, fostering distrust and conspiracy theories in the media, sowing ever-greater levels of inequality, and cementing a level of corporate control over culture and society unseen since the days of the Robber Barons.......Calacanis is offering a much more dismal view of the disruptions caused by tech — and a more radical, if also self-serving, plan for dealing with it. To survive the coming earthquake, he advises, you need to radically re-examine your plan for the future — and you need to learn Silicon Valley’s ways rather than expect to defeat it......“Most of you are screwed,” he writes in “Angel,” arguing that a coming revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence will eliminate millions of jobs and destroy the old ways of getting ahead in America. “The world is becoming controlled by the few, powerful, and clever people who know how to create those robots, or how to design the software and the tablet on which you’re reading this.”....His book is intended as a guide for getting into the business of investing in very young tech companies at their earliest stages, known as “angel investing.” Mr. Calacanis is peddling a kind of populist movement for investing — he wants doctors, lawyers and other wealthy people, and even some in the middle class, to bet on start-ups, which he says is the best way to prepare financially for tech change.
Farhad_Manjoo  middle_class  angels  books  Jason_Calacanis  social_fabric  Apple  Amazon  Google  Facebook  Microsoft  Silicon_Valley  financial_advisors  start_ups  risks 
september 2017 by jerryking
Benevolent Bacon? Nestle And Unilever Gobble Up Niche Brands - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Sept. 7, 2017

The global packaged-food industry is facing fierce competition from a burgeoning number of small, but high-growth food and beverage brands. These brands have struck a chord with consumers looking for locally produced or more healthy, natural choices.

Amid this shift, sales from traditional players have flagged, spurring consolidation, cost cutting and restructuring.

Unilever fended off an unsolicited takeover by Kraft Heinz Co. earlier this year. Activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund in June disclosed a major stake in Nestlé, calling for changes in strategy to improve shareholder returns. In response, the two consumer-goods firms have focused on cost cutting and promises to boost dividends, while going on the hunt for nimbler food and beverage brands with the potential to accelerate growth.

‘We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins.’
—Nestlé USA Chief Executive Paul Grimwood
Nestlé’s deal to buy Sweet Earth comes less than three months after it bought a stake in subscription-meals company Freshly, which sells healthy, prepared meals to consumers across the U.S.

Moss Landing, Calif.-based Sweet Earth bills itself as a natural, ethical, environmentally conscious company that substitutes plant proteins for animal ones in meals like curries, stir fries, breakfast wraps, burgers and pasta. Founded in 2011, Sweet Earth is available in more than 10,000 stores in the U.S. It is stocked at independent natural grocers, as well as bigger chains like Amazon.com Inc.’s Whole Foods, Target Corp. , Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins,” said Paul Grimwood, chief executive of Nestlé’s U.S. arm. Plant-based food, as a sector, is growing at double-digit percentages rates, Nestlé said.
Big_Food  brands  CPG  emotional_connections  Unilever  niches  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Nestlé  shifting_tastes  start_ups  large_companies  Fortune_500  plant-based  healthy_lifestyles 
september 2017 by jerryking
Shanghai surprise
19 August/ 20 August 2017 | Financial Times | Helen Roxburgh.

It was this frustration that pushed Sy, who graduated with a masters in international business in France, to start making her own skincare products in 2015. Like many entrepreneurs in China, she chose to forego prolonged levels of planning and instead bounced straight on to social media platform WeChat to launch the business.

In Europe, you’d prepare everything first. In Shanghai you just try it and see what happens

WeChat has more than 900m monthly users, and is used not only for messaging but everything from paying bills, buying coffee, giving to charity and taxis. According to a report in 2016, 200m users have linked payment cards with their accounts, and a third spend more than Rmb500 a month via the platform. WeChat has been pushing its in-app payments and mobile-optimised digital stores to draw in businesses.

“It’s fantastic for entrepreneurs,” says Sy. “I had this idea, posted on WeChat, that I was going to be selling my own scrubs and body creams for Christmas, and was surprised at how quickly I started to get orders. Then of course I panicked because I didn’t actually have anything yet — but within a week a friend made me some simple packaging and I was off. I ended up selling out.” After six months, she started to run Lalu full time, selling mostly through online platforms. As well as expanding Lalu, Sy also launched a clothing brand, Nubien, inspired by bright African fabrics and clothing.
women  Africa  entrepreneur  China  Shanghai  personal_care_products  product_launches  beauty  WeChat  Lalu  start_ups  MBAs 
august 2017 by jerryking
Hearst ‘Incubator’ Focusing on Women-Led Startups - WSJ
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
Aug. 17, 2017

HearstLab has looked at more than 700 companies, Ms. Burton said.

For HearstLab to invest, a business must be led by a woman, have a product generating at least some revenue, and be willing to move to Hearst Tower. “It’s a seed that has been created and we put it in the greenhouse,” she said.

HearstLab usually invests $250,000 to $500,000 through the form of a convertible note that typically converts to a 5% to 7% equity stake after a startup lands outside capital.

A separate women-focused, early-stage investment fund, Female Founders Fund, invests primarily in e-commerce, technology services, web services, and new platforms. It has invested in 30 companies through two separate funds since launching in 2014, including Zola, a wedding registry, and Maven, a digital clinic for women’s health.

“It’s typically been quite difficult for women to raise startup financing,” said Anu Duggal, the fund’s founding partner. “We’re proving you can get great returns by choosing this investment thesis.” Ms. Duggal declined to say how much Female Founders Fund has invested altogether.

Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, Wellthy’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview that she moved into Hearst Tower in June 2016. Wellthy has since struck a corporate sponsorship deal with Hearst that enables Hearst to offer its services as an employee benefit.

That deal, she noted, has helped Wellthy land other contracts with major employers. “It’s been a validator,”
Hearst  incubators  brands  start_ups  venture_capital  vc  women 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Race to Solar-Power Africa | The New Yorker
June 26, 2017 Issue
The Race to Solar-Power Africa
American startups are competing to bring electricity to communities that remain off the grid.

By Bill McKibben
Africa  energy  solar  green  start_ups  renewable  alternative_energy  power_grid 
july 2017 by jerryking
The End of Car Ownership - WSJ
By Tim Higgins
June 20, 2017

Thanks to ride sharing and the looming introduction of self-driving vehicles, the entire model of car ownership is being upended—and very soon may not look anything like it has for the past century.

Drivers, for instance, may no longer be drivers, relying instead on hailing a driverless car on demand, and if they do decide to buy, they will likely share the vehicle—by renting it out to other people when it isn’t in use.

Auto makers, meanwhile, already are looking for ways to sustain their business as fewer people make a long-term commitment to a car.

And startups will spring up to develop services that this new ownership model demands—perhaps even create whole new industries around self-driving cars and ride sharing.

**Drivers: No more permanent arrangements**
The business of ride sharing may take on some new forms. Startups such as Los Angeles-based Faraday Future envision selling subscriptions to a vehicle (e.g. a certain number of hours a day, on a regular schedule for a fixed price).....Other companies are experimenting with the idea of allowing drivers to access more than just one kind of vehicle through a subscription.....Elon Musk has hinted that he’s preparing to create a network of Tesla owners that could rent out their self-driving cars to make money....Companies are already looking at how to market vehicles to overcome some of the possible psychological resistance to nonownership. Waymo, the self-driving tech unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., has begun public trials of self-driving minivans in Phoenix for select users, with the eventual goal of testing them with hundreds of families.

**Big auto makers: Making peace with on-demand services**
As a result of both driverless cars and fleets of robot taxis, sales of conventionally purchased automobiles may likely drop. What’s more, because autonomous cars will likely be designed to be on the road longer with easily upgradable or replaceable parts, the results could be devastating to auto makers that have built businesses around two-car households buying new vehicles regularly. Currently, cars get replaced every 60 months on average...to get drivers to buy a vehicle of their own is to help owners rent out their vehicles,....GM is hedging all bets, investing in autonomous vehicles, Lyft, a car sharing service (Maven) and allowing Cadillac customers the ability to subscribe to ownership.

**New businesses: Helping to power a new industry**
....Autonomous vehicles could ultimately free up more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time a year, unlocking a new so-called passenger economy, .....turn away from using the exterior of the vehicle as a selling point and focusing on making the interior as comfortable and loaded with features as possible.... turning cars into living rooms on wheels:.....Design firms will also cook up features designed to ease people into the practice of sharing rides regularly (with strangers).....allowing cars recognize to passengers’ digital profiles and become more responsive to their needs (caledaring, eating habits, etc.)....Existing industries may change to support an autonomous, shared future. For instance, the alcohol industry might see a rise in drinks consumed weekly with customers not having to worry about driving home,....Managing autonomous car fleets may be a new line of business for dealerships
automotive_industry  automobile  on-demand  autonomous_vehicles  end_of_ownership  Waymo  Tesla  sharing_economy  ride_sharing  start_ups  transportation  ownership  accessibility  Zoox  dealerships  Lyft  Maven  Reachnow  Getaround  subscriptions  Faraday  passenger_economy  connected_cars 
june 2017 by jerryking
The Economy Needs Amazons, but It Mostly Has GEs
the country as a whole badly needs some rules-defying risk-taking. For business, that means a bit more Amazon in the boardroom and a bit less GE....The purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon introduced a level of volatility and turmoil (at least singularly to the retail sector) which had been absent from the market for a long time....The rest of the market remained placid. And months of historically low volatility has begun to look like dangerous complacency....... another, potentially more troubling explanation: stagnation. Muted markets may be an inevitable product of steady, sluggish growth, low and predictable interest rates, declining business startups and failures, and decreased competition. In other words, the problem is, there aren’t enough Amazons disrupting the stock market and the economy.....Jeffrey Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, he has prioritized expansion and innovation ahead of profit. In its early years, free cash flow—cash from operations minus CAPEX—hovered around zero. Mr. Bezos approaches new products like a VC. Many will flop (like the Fire smartphone), but some will be home runs (e.g. AWS). Amazon launched Prime, which offers free delivery in exchange for an annual fee, in 2005. John Blackledge, notes Amazon has repeatedly innovated in ways that make Prime even more valuable to subscribers.......Amazon is now profitable, yet cash retention remains secondary to building great products and delighting and retaining customers.

....If Amazon is one extreme in how companies invest, General ElectricCo. is the other. It has long been fastidious about capital and cash deployment......CEO Jack Welch perfected this approach in the 1990s.. it continued under Jeffrey Immelt. Last week, Mr. Immelt said he would retire, after 16 years struggling to restore growth. In part, that reflected how financial engineering had inflated profits under Mr. Welch. Yet Mr. Immelt ’s investment decisions too often chased the conventional wisdom on Wall Street and in Washington. ...........growth is hard for any company that dominates its markets as much as GE does. GE’s size also attracts debilitating political scrutiny. ....In response to new regulations and pressure from Wall Street, Mr. Immelt largely dismantled the business...........Investors still want GE to return cash to shareholders, and it has obliged,.....while good for shareholders in the short run, this is no recipe for growth in the long run. GE’s cash flow is shrinking despite the company’s focus on preserving it, while Amazon’s is growing despite that company’s readiness to spend it.......North American boardrooms desparately needs some rules-defying risk-taking. For business, that means a bit more Amazon in the boardroom and a bit less GE

[ See John Authers article which references Vix]

The "Minsky Moment" occurs when investors realize that they have paid far too much for the credits that have bought, no buyers can be found, and the system collapses. Aka Wile E. Coyote running-off-a-cliff....The greatest dangers to us are not from things we perceive to be high-risk, because we generally treat them carefully. Trouble arises from that which we perceive to be low-risk.
digital_economy  Amazon  financial_engineering  GE  Amazon_Prime  risk-taking  volatility  Greg_Ip  stagnation  cash_flows  long-term  growth  start_ups  complacency  instability  conventional_wisdom  Jeffrey_Immelt  Jack_Welch  conglomerates  delighting_customers  capital_allocation  Jeff_Bezos 
june 2017 by jerryking
Google vs. Uber: How One Engineer Sparked a War - WSJ
By Jack Nicas and Tim Higgins
Updated May 23, 2017

Anthony Levandowski started outside tech companies while working for Google, which alleges he took driverless-car secrets to a competitor.....Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Uber are embroiled in a legal fight over driverless-car technology, with Mr. Levandowski playing a starring role. The two firms, along with several other companies, are locked in a race to automate cars, a contest that could affect the future of transportation......Google’s approach [i.e. encouraging entrepreneurship amongst employees] helps it create new businesses, it also can spark disagreements between the company and its employees over who owns certain technology......Alphabet accuses Mr. Levandowski of stealing its trade secrets around driverless-car technology and bringing it to Uber, which he joined as its head of its driverless-car project last year after earning more than $120 million at Google. Alphabet has filed two arbitration claims against Mr. Levandowski and is suing Uber for allegedly conspiring with him.....
Google  Uber  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  litigation  conflicts_of_interest  side_hustles  employment_contracts  intellectual_property  noncompete_agreements  start_ups  talent  Alphabet  trade_secrets  entrepreneurship  engineering 
may 2017 by jerryking
New partnership aims to create ‘a Bloomberg for private companies’ - The Globe and Mail
JACOB SEREBRIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017

The lack of data on Canada’s startup ecosystem is a major problem, says Dan Breznitz, the co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab and the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. “On anything that has to do with innovation policy, and I would actually say a lot of other growth policies, we have horrible data in Canada,” Mr. Breznitz says.

Gathering more data on accelerators and incubators is a good step, he says......Hockeystick’s platform acts as a tool for private companies to store data and share it with investors and potential investors. That data ranges from investments and sales numbers, to the number of employees and the names of the company’s founders.

Over 10,000 companies are currently using the platform. The new partnership will help the company reach its goal of having data on the majority of private companies in Canada instead of just a fraction, according to Raymond Luk, Hockeystick’s founder and CEO.
partnerships  WLU  start_ups  Kitchener-Waterloo  financial_data  privately_held_companies 
april 2017 by jerryking
Fintech Fictions, Fallacies, and Fantasies
July 20, 2015 | Subscribe to The Financial Brand for Free

A Snarketing post by Ron Shevlin

There’s No Debate

Towards the end of the Great Debate (referenced at the beginning of this post), I suggested that the question at hand–Who would rule banking: fintech or banks?–was the wrong question to ask. There is no one or the other. Banks need fintech, fintech needs banks. And banks become fintech, as fintech become banks.

In many ways, fintech is a–or the–path to reinvention for many banks. This is why a Capital One acquires design firms, or a BBVA acquires a Simple. It’s not simply to acquire the technology, and certainly not to “usurp the threat of FinTech by co-opting it.” It’s to inject new thinking and new capabilities into the company.
fin-tech  myths  fantasies  financial_services  banks  symbiosis  large_companies  new_thinking  start_ups  capabilities  Fortune_500  brands  Capital_One  design  Simple  BBVA 
march 2017 by jerryking
Wealth Management Simplified | Ivey Alumni | Ivey Business School
It was the proceeds Katchen earned from that sale, and a love for investing dating back to his childhood, that led him to launch online investment manager Wealthsimple in September 2014.

“Investing has always been a hobby of mine,” says Katchen, the youngest of three siblings, all of whom attended Ivey. (One sister specialized in marketing, the other sister in finance, while Katchen chose the entrepreneurship stream).

Wealthsimple, now the largest online investment manager in Canada, has 60 employees, about 25,000 customers, and close to $1 billion in assets. The financial technology company offers an alternative to traditional ways of managing investments, catering to consumers – in particular Millennials – who are comfortable with online banking and investing.

Katchen has a vision to build Wealthsimple into “one of the largest and most innovative financial services firms in the world,” including plans to expand outside of Canada to places such as the U.S. and Europe.
Ivey  alumni  WealthSimple  CEOs  start_ups  personal_finance  investment_management 
march 2017 by jerryking
Big Companies Should Collaborate with Startups
Eddie YoonSteve Hughes
FEBRUARY 25, 2016

Growth is increasingly hard to come by, so large companies are increasingly looking to entrepreneurs to help them find it. In the food and beverage category, growth came from 20,000 small companies outside of the top 100, which together saw revenue grow by $17 billion dollars.
Despite that aggregate revenue growth, not every startup is successful — in fact, the vast majority will fail.

Ironically, startups and established companies would both improve their success rates if they collaborated instead of competed. Startups and established companies bring two distinct and equally integral skills to the table. Startups excel at giving birth to successful proof of concepts; larger companies are much better at successfully scaling proof of concepts.

Startups are better at detecting and unlocking emerging and latent demand. But they often stumble at scaling their proof of concept, not only because they’re often doing it for the first time, but also because the skills necessary for creating are not the same as scaling. Startups must be agile and adapt their value proposition several times until they get it right. According to Forbes, 58% of startups successfully figure out a clear market need for what they have.

In contrast, big companies often end up launching things they can make, not what people want.

Successful collaboration between startups and established companies must go beyond financial deals: it must be personal and mission-oriented.....areas of emerging and latent demand are often highly concentrated.... spend time physically in hotbeds specific to your sector. ....met people...walk the aisles ...... explore up and coming datasets. SPINs is a retail measurement company that covers the natural and organic grocers. Yet too many companies don’t even bother to acquire this data because they dismiss it as too small to matter.....Just as important as personal knowledge are personal relationships. ...spend time with customers....skew more toward emerging customers......connect with key people who have tight connections with both startups and established companies in your industry.....collaboration needs to be mission-oriented, meaning it has to be focused on something larger than financial success. ......Executives who wish to tap into the growth of these smaller companies will find that having a big checkbook is not going to be enough, and that waiting for an investment banker to bring them deals is the wrong approach. A mercenary mindset will only go so far. When big companies try to engage with startups, a missionary mindset will create better odds of success.
large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  start_ups  collaboration  Mondolez  face2face  personal_meetings  personal_touch  information_sources  personal_relationships  personal_knowledge  HBR  growth  funding  M&A  success_rates  latent  hidden  proof-of-concepts  mindsets  missionaries  mission-driven 
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