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As the Start-Up Boom Deflates, Tech Is Humbled
Feb. 24, 2020 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

Layoffs. Shutdowns. Uncertainty. After a decade of prosperity, many hot young companies are facing a reckoning.
cannabis  cost-cutting  investors  layoffs  pullbacks  scale_downs  skepticism  shutting_down  SoftBank  start_ups  unicorns  vc  venture_capital 
4 days ago by jerryking
Georgian Partners closes largest independent VC fund in Canadian history - The Globe and Mail
SEAN SILCOFFTECHNOLOGY REPORTER
PUBLISHED AUGUST 2, 2018

Georgian focused on being a North America-wide player from the outset, closing its first $70-million fund in 2010. It started out backing firms that developed data-driven analytical software tools for large corporate and government customers, putting it at the vanguard of broader trends in technology.

Georgian specializes in large “growth capital” financing deals amounting to tens of millions of dollars for fast-growing startups that have achieved initial market success and generate millions of dollars in annual revenue. Thanks to the partners' connections (Mr. Berton is a veteran financier), Georgian was able to get in on competitive financing deals led by U.S. funds from the start, including a 2011 US$15-million deal for Shopify led by Boston’s Bessemer Venture Partners that produced bonanza returns for Georgian.

Georgian further set itself apart by establishing an “impact team” of seasoned executives the firm parachuted in to help its portfolio companies. More recently, Georgian has taken a lead among VC firms by creating software tools to assist its investee companies in the artificial intelligence space by bolstering their ability to anonymize client data and explain how their algorithms make decisions.
artificial_intelligence  Canadian  Georgian_Partners  high-impact  Sean_Silcoff  Shopify  Toronto  vc  venture_capital 
14 days ago by jerryking
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 
23 days ago by jerryking
Venture capital investors should harpoon more whales
February 3, 2020 | Financial Times | by John Thornhill.

*VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas.
* The worry for Silicon Valley is that the impulse for creative destruction is now fading
* It is easy to be rude about the venture capital industry. So here goes. The criticism runs that the VC sector is full of too many over-funded, ill-disciplined chancers who pass off hype for reality, groupthink for insight and luck for good judgment.....What’s more, a staggering 95 per cent of VC firms fail to make a decent enough return to justify the risks their investors run......the current mindset of the VC industry is responsible for the slowdown in new business formation and lack of economic dynamism in the US. All too often, addicted to capital-light, metric-heavy software businesses, VCs are failing to bet big enough on the breakthrough technologies that tackle our biggest challenges, such as climate change or cancer.........Katie Rae, chief executive and managing partner of The Engine, a Boston-based “tough tech” venture fund, says that many VCs have lost sight of their original purpose......VCs were all about funding tech breakthroughs but that has got lost,” ...... “A lot of VCs look more like private equity companies that do not want to lose any money so they end up backing dog-walking apps rather than quantum computing.”......Historically, the best venture capitalists have performed a vital capitalistic function: turning seemingly outlandish ideas and transformative technologies into everyday realities. Semiconductors, recombinant insulin and internet search engines have all come to market largely thanks to VC backing........“The VC industry is cut-throat. .....It provides the capital and expertise for start-ups to succeed.”.......In VC: An American History, Tom Nicholas traces VC’s high-risk, high-reward mentality back to the 19th-century whaling industry, which developed a novel form of venture financing. The idea was to back an expert captain who could fit out a robust ship, hire the best crew and endure an average of 3.6 years at sea. On landing a whale, the captain would return investors’ money several times over. But many ships returned empty-handed or sunk.........the pattern of financial returns made by Gideon Allen & Sons, the smartest backers of whaling ventures, were almost identical to those achieved by Sequoia Capital, one of the best VC firms operating today..........one of the striking features of the subsequent evolution of the VC industry.......was how contingent it was on time, circumstance and people. The west coast model of VC investing, owed an enormous amount to massive government investments in technology during the cold war, the expansion of world-beating universities in California and the emergence of some remarkable entrepreneurs and visionary investors, such as Arthur Rock, Tom Perkins and Don Valentine.......The worry for Silicon Valley is that some of that Schumpeterian impulse for creative destruction is now fading. One argument has it that Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly “corporatised” with Big Tech firms, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, championing the mantra that “big is beautiful” in the face of emerging competition from China.

The benign view is that Big Tech may be internalising much of the innovation once carried out by start-ups; the malign interpretation is that Cupertino, California [JCK: that is, "Big Tech"] is snuffing out smaller rivals.......

“Silicon Valley is overdue a disruption. It is not a hotbed of start-ups any more,” ..........Metaphorically, at least, the VC industry needs to get back in the business of funding wildly ambitious entrepreneurs intent on harpooning some more whales.
19th_century  Arthur_Rock  big_bets  Big_Tech  books  breakthroughs  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  cancers  climate_change  creative_destruction  disruption  Don_Valentine  entrepreneur  finance  financing  fundamental_discoveries  funding  HBS  high-risk  high-reward  innovation  investors  Joseph_Schumpeter  moonshots  public_investments  semiconductors  Sequoia  Silicon_Valley  thinking_big  Tom_Perkins  tough_tech  unimaginative  vc  venture_capital  visionaries  whaling 
24 days ago by jerryking
What Will a Recession Do to Venture Capital? | Real Vision
The Interview · Featuring Josh Wolfe and Raoul Pal
Published on: July 24th, 2019 • Duration: 35 minutes

Josh Wolfe, co-founder of Lux Capital, sits down with Raoul Pal to examine the indicators that are warning that the economic cycle is reaching an inflection point. Wolfe and Pal discuss the idea that inflated valuations in venture capital are being caused by the incremental buyer's desperate search for growth. Wolfe warns that if the cycle indeed turns, a liquidity crisis could emerge. Filmed on July 9, 2019 in New York.
recessions  Softbank  vc  venture_capital 
11 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 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
What You Do Is Who You Are — anecdote and advice from the front lines of tech | Financial Times
Ben Horowitz’s book dishes up management tips gleaned from some unlikely historical figures

Richard Waters 6 HOURS AGO

What You Do Is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture, by Ben Horowitz, Harper Business RRP$29.99, 288 pages
Andreessen_Horowitz  Ben_Horowitz  books  book_reviews  checklists  founders  Genghis_Khan  Great_Man_Theory_of_History  Haiti  lessons_learned  organizational_culture  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Toussaint_Louverture  vc  venture_capital 
november 2019 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 
november 2019 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
The Failure of Venture Capital
APRIL 2, 2018 | Dartmouth Business Journal | BY AYAN AGARWAL '21.
failure  vc  venture_capital 
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
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
Weston family hires OMERS managing partner Jim Orlando to invest $100-million in tech ventures
June 19, 2019 | Globe & Mail | by SEAN SILCOFF

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

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

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

“No question, [the Westons'] various companies are confronting a good number of significant opportunities and challenges, so there is no shortage of things to focus on,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures. “My caution would be, it’s easy to source and structure deals. The hard part is really unlocking the strategic value. That takes a lot more work and time to build that muscle. It will be a learning exercise for them for some time.”
angels  corporate_investors  early-stage  family_office  George_Weston  investors  moguls  OMERS_Ventures  seed-stage  Seymour_Schulich  vc  venture_capital 
june 2019 by jerryking
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
Online start-ups target $120bn travel activities market
April 21, 2019 | Financial Times Mercedes Ruehl and Alice Woodhouse in Hong Kong.

A group of start-ups led by a Hong Kong-based company Klook and backed by investors such as Japan’s SoftBank are expanding internationally in the $120bn travel activities industry, the fastest growing segment in the tourism sector.

The companies, which offer services ranging from amusement park tickets to cooking classes and walking tours, are targeting millennials, particularly in the rapidly expanding Asian travel market, forcing traditional travel agencies to invest more heavily in the sector......“These young companies have become full-service platforms, from recommending the best attractions in a city to processing the booking and generating an electronic ticket instantly. They have figured out that if you can engage on a much more regular basis with customers it increases the engagement and ultimately allows these companies to cater to and transact more frequently with that customer.”

Similarly, Berlin-based GetYourGuide, backed by investment firm Battery Ventures and private equity group KKR, has raised $170m and is focused on growing further in the US after cementing its position in Europe. 

“GetYourGuide was the first digital company to start bringing a fragmented, decentralised, analogue global market online,” said chief executive Johannes Reck.
online_travel  travel  travel_activities  tourism  venture_capital 
april 2019 by jerryking
How to funnel capital to the American heartland
April 15, 2019 | Financial Times | by Bruce Katz.
* The Innovation Blind Spot, by Ross Baird.
* Ways must be found to rewire money flows in order to reverse the export of wealth
* A federal tax incentive intended to entice coastal capital into the heartland may end up helping to keep local capital local.

Over the past year, economically distressed communities across the US have been engaged in an intense discussion about mobilising private capital. Why? As mayors, governors, real estate developers, entrepreneurs and investors have learnt, buried in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a provision that created a significant tax incentive to invest in low-income “opportunity zones” across the country......the law’s greatest effect, ironically, has been to unveil a treasure trove of wealth in communities throughout the nation. Some of the country’s largest investors are high-net-worth families in Kansas City, Missouri, and Philadelphia; insurance companies in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee; universities in Birmingham, Alabama, and South Bend, Indiana; philanthropists in Cleveland and Detroit; and community foundations and pension funds in every state.

These pillars of wealth mostly invest their market-oriented equity capital outside their own communities, even though their own locales often possess globally significant research institutions, advanced industry companies, grand historic city centres and distinctive ecosystems of entrepreneurs. The wealth-export industry is not a natural phenomenon; it has been led and facilitated by a sophisticated network of wealth management companies, private equity firms, family offices and financial institutions that have narrow definitions of where and in what to invest.

The US, in other words, doesn’t have a capital problem; it has an organisational problem. So how can capital flows be rewired to reverse the export of wealth?

Three things stand out:

(1) Information matters. The opportunity zones incentive has encouraged US cities to create investment prospectuses to promote the competitive assets of their low-income communities and highlight projects that are investor-ready and promise competitive returns.

(2) norms and networks matter. The opportunity zone market will be enhanced by the creation of “capital stacks” that enable the financing of community products such as workforce housing, commercial real estate, small businesses (and minority-owned businesses in particular) and clean energy, to name just a few. Initial opportunity zone projects are already showing creative blends of public, private and civic capital that mix debt, subsidy and equity.

(3) institutions matter. Opportunity zones require cities to create and capitalise new institutions that can deploy capital at scale in sustained ways. Some models already exist. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, backed by patient capital from Procter & Gamble, has driven the regeneration of the Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood during the past 15 years.

More institutional innovation, however, is needed. As Ross Baird, author of The Innovation Blind Spot, has argued, the US must create a new generation of community quarterbacks to provide budding entrepreneurs with business planning and mentoring, matching them with risk-tolerant equity. These efforts will succeed if they unleash the synergies that flow naturally from urban density. New institutions will not have to work alone, but hand-in-glove with the trusted financial firms that manage this locally-generated wealth.
books  capital_flows  cities  coastal_elites  community  economic_development  economically_disadvantaged  economies_of_scale  high_net_worth  howto  industrial_policies  industrial_midwest  industrial_zones  institutions  investors  match-making  midwest  municipalities  networks  network_density  P&G  PPP  packaging  place-based  private_equity  property_development  prospectuses  Red_States  rescue_investing  rust_belt  tax_codes  venture_capital 
april 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
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
march 2019 by jerryking
Tech companies targeted in mission to develop new spy tools
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 | Financial Times | David Bond, Security Editor.

an £85m venture capital fund backed by intelligence chiefs. The National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) was announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in last year’s budget to boost investment in the UK’s security technology sector.

This week, the government-owned British Business Bank, which is running the fund, will begin to encourage private fund managers to promote the programme with a view to raising additional money from fund managers and private investors.

It is thought to be the first time the UK’s main intelligence and security agencies, led by the foreign intelligence service MI6, have actively looked to invest in the private sector....To guide companies considering applying for funding, the government has set out 11 “technology areas” that are of greatest interest to the UK national security community, which also includes the domestic security service MI5, digital and signals intelligence agency GCHQ and the National Crime Agency.

These include data analytics and artificial intelligence, technologies to track financial information and new computing tools that highlight or obscure identifying information about individuals and groups.....Warner said last week there was nevertheless “an aversion among civil servants to working with start-ups for fear they will fail”.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Warner added: “Singapore and Norway have shown it is possible for governments to act more like venture capitalists, using sovereign wealth funds to back innovative new players.”
GCHQ  In-Q-Tel  MI5  MI6  security_&_intelligence  start_ups  technology  tools  United_Kingdom  venture_capital 
september 2018 by jerryking
3 Investments That May Have Hit Their Peak - The New York Times
By Paul Sullivan
Sept. 14, 2018

Dan Rasmussen, a contrarian investor and the founding partner of Verdad Capital in Boston, has written an article and two reports that make a case against investments in three of the most popular asset classes for high-net-worth investors: private equity, venture capital and private real estate. He has piles of data to back up his argument.
asset_classes  high_net_worth  investors  Michael_Sonnenfeldt  private_equity  real_estate  Tiger21  venture_capital  wealth_management 
september 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  founders 
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
SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world | Financial Times
Arash Massoudi in London and Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in Tokyo YESTERDAY Print this page67
In the summer of 2014, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son
Masayoshi_Son  moguls  Softbank  venture_capital  vc 
june 2018 by jerryking
Former Google CFO Patrick Pichette sets his sights on keeping Canadian tech talent at home - The Globe and Mail
TAMSIN MCMAHON U.S. CORRESPONDENT
PALO ALTO, CALIF.
PUBLISHED MAY 13, 2018

As the chief financial officer of Google, Montreal native Patrick Pichette would often make the trip home from Silicon Valley with the message that Canadian companies were too slow in fully embracing the digital economy. These days, he’s offering a different message for Canadian startups: Stay home.

Nearly three years ago, Mr. Pichette quit his US$20-million-a-year job as a senior executive at one of the world’s most powerful internet companies with plans to explore the world.

Now, after almost two years of steady travel, Mr. Pichette, 55, is focusing on the next chapter of his post-Google career. For that, he has set his sights on Canada, where he hopes to invest in building the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.

Earlier this year, he joined Canadian venture firm iNovia as a general partner, attracted by both its strategy to fund Canadian startups in order to keep them at home, but also by the firm’s global ambitions. Mr. Pichette is in the process of moving to Britain for the next several years, where he will establish a London office for iNovia and help steer the firm’s European expansion.

Persistent fears over a brain drain to the United States flared up again this month when researchers at the University of Toronto and Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., published a study showing that as many as two-thirds of software-engineering graduates from the top Canadian schools were heading abroad to work, often to established firms in Silicon Valley, where they can earn significantly higher salaries.

Mr. Pichette argues that Canada has other advantages for its homegrown tech talent: an expanding tech ecosystem to support entrepreneurs, a more affordable work force for growing startups to tap into and a drastically lower cost of living than the San Francisco Bay Area.
Patrick_Pichette  Google  alumni  iNovia  venture_capital  vc  talent  heritage_migration  software_developers  brain_drain  Silicon_Valley  CFOs  crossborder 
may 2018 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Is Over, Says Silicon Valley - The New York Times
Kevin Roose

THE SHIFT MARCH 4, 2018

By the end of the tour, the coastal elites had caught the heartland bug. Several used Zillow, the real estate app, to gawk at the availability of cheap homes in cities like Detroit and South Bend and fantasize about relocating there. They marveled at how even old-line manufacturing cities now offer a convincing simulacrum of coastal life, complete with artisanal soap stores and farm-to-table restaurants.....For both investors and rank-and-file workers, one appeal of non-coastal cities is the obvious cost savings. It’s increasingly difficult to justify doling out steep salaries and lavish perks demanded by engineers in the Bay Area, when programmers in other cities can be had for as little as $50,000 a year. (An entry-level engineer at Facebook or Google might command triple or quadruple that amount.)......And the hot demand for engineers in areas like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles has led companies to expand their presence near research universities, in cities like Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor. ......Venture capitalists, who recognize a bargain when they see one, have already begun scouring the Midwest. Mr. Case and Mr. Vance recently amassed a $150 million fund called “Rise of the Rest.” The fund, which was backed by tech luminaries including Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Alphabet, will invest in start-ups throughout the region.
coastal_elites  Silicon_Valley  venture_capital  vc  Rust_Belt  midwest  Red_states  industrial_Midwest  J.D._Vance  Pittsburgh  Ann_Arbor 
march 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  venture_capital  vc  Midwest  Steve_Lohr  J.D._Vance  industrial_Midwest  rust_belt  Steve_Case  industry_expertise  network_density 
november 2017 by jerryking
Unintended Consequences of Sexual Harassment Scandals
OCT. 9, 2017 | The New York Times | Claire Cain Miller @clairecm.

In Silicon Valley, some male investors have declined one-on-one meetings with women, or rescheduled them from restaurants to conference rooms. On Wall Street, certain senior men have tried to avoid closed-door meetings with junior women. And in TV news, some male executives have scrupulously minded their words in conversations with female talent.

An unintended consequence of a season of sex scandals, men describe a heightened caution because of recent sexual harassment cases, and they worry that one accusation, or misunderstood comment, could end their careers. But their actions affect women’s careers, too — potentially depriving them of the kind of relationships that lead to promotions or investments. This is because building genuine relationships with senior people is perhaps the most important contributor to career advancement. In some offices it’s known as having a rabbi; researchers call it sponsorship. Unlike mentors, who give advice and are often formally assigned, sponsors know and respect people enough that they are willing to find opportunities for them, and advocate and fight for them.....sponsors “have to spend some capital and take a risk on the up-and-coming person, and you simply don’t do that unless you know them and trust them.” But these relationships are crucial, she said, for “getting from the middle to the top.”
#MeToo  sponsorships  Claire_Cain_Miller  entertainment_industry  venture_capital  Silicon_Valley  Fox_News  mentoring  sexual_harassment  reputational_risk  workplaces  unintended_consequences  political_capital  gender_gap  personal_risk  relationships  women  deprivations 
october 2017 by jerryking
Bryan Roberts of Venrock on Seeing Problems as Opportunities - The New York Times
by ADAM BRYANT OCT. 13, 2017

Bryan Roberts always tries to interact with people who put other people front and center, rather than themselves. His reasoning....People who are self-directed generally gather accomplishments and accolades and are very happy to tell you about them. When people are company- or mission-directed, it manifests as humility, and they generally push credit off onto other people.....You’ve been at Venrock for 20 years. How many pitches have you heard from entrepreneurs over the years?

Probably about 25,000. I hate getting pitched, by the way. The part of the job I love is when you and I have decided to work together to go solve a problem that the world thinks can’t be solved.

I don’t like sitting on one side of the table trying to discern the problems you’re leaving out while you give me the world-is-a-bed-of-roses version of what you’re trying to do.

The pitches are just a means to a small number of relationships where we can go do something extraordinary.

I imagine you interview executives for your portfolio companies. How do you hire?

I start off most interviews with, “What can I answer for you?” It tells me a lot, including how knowledgeable they are about the company, how much they’ve thought about the interview and what they care about. I leave it very open-ended and listen to where they go. I can tell an enormous amount from that.

Then I say to them, “If we take the next step, I’m going to do a bunch of reference checks. I’ll find 10 people who know you, including names you won’t give me. How will they describe you?”
vc  venture_capital  Venrock  problems  problem_solving  opportunities  serving_others  hiring  open-ended 
october 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
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  women  venture_capital  vc  founders  funding 
august 2017 by jerryking
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