A compilation of important international news from the startup world:
Monsanto and Microsoft Partnering to Invest in Brazil Agriculture Tech Startups
U.S. biotech company Monsanto and Microsoft announced on Monday a partnership to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil. Monsanto MON 1.26% will join a Brazilian investment fund with up to 300 million reais ($92 million), managed by Microsoft MSFT 0.14% , evaluating ideas for new digital tools to be applied to agricultural production in the country, executives said.Selected ideas will receive initial funding of up to 1.5 million reais ($459,000) for early development. Project owners will have the option to pay back the investment after three years or convert the money into equity.“We want to foster new startups in the agricultural sector. There is a vast area for research and development,” Rodrigo Santos, head of Monsanto in Latin America, told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Agribusiness Forum (GAF 2016).Technology company Qualcomm QCOM 0.64% is also investing in the fund.
Startups need to respect the laws of retail physics
Startups like Warby Parker, Bonobos and Casper have proven that it’s possible to build a modern brand predominately using digital tools. As a result, a flood of early-stage tech VCs have barged into the market like Walmart shoppers on Black Friday.Andy Dunn of Bonobos recently christened this class of company as Digitally Native Vertical Brands, or “DNVBs.” His basic definition of a DNVB is “a brand born on and primarily experienced via the internet that features a vertically-oriented business model which combines the margin of the retailer and brand.” It’s a great definition of the “Warby for X” phenomena. Many of these companies have far surpassed typical growth expectations for a CPG company. We’ve seen DNVBs reach $100 million in sales in a couple of years in a variety of categories — eyeglasses, razors, mattresses and food, just to name a few. However, these brands need to respect certain set irrefutable laws of retail physics: exit caps, modest multiples and price erosion in the face of slowing growth and increasing competition.
Forbes’ 2016 Next Billion Dollar Startups List Is Open For Entries
These days, there are few words more controversial in the tech and venture capital worlds than “unicorn.” Over the past few months, unicorns (i.e., private companies with at least $1 billion in valuation) have taken a merciless beating, as many young, highly valued tech companies have battled markdowns, down rounds, and challenges in the public markets. But today, as Forbes and TrueBridge Capital Partners open nominations for the second-annual Next Billion Dollar Startups List, we launch the search not necessarily for the next unicorns, but instead, for the lesser-known, truly outstanding startups rising quickly to the top of their categories—and growing stronger in their business fundamentals along the way.Less than six months after the 2015 publication of Forbes’ inaugural Next Billion Dollar Startups list, we looked back on our selection of fast-growing companies and found that nearly half had already surpassed a $1 billion valuation. But beyond that, we saw a list of companies across a variety of industries (from fintech to data security and enterprise) with their valuations based on far sturdier ground than glimmering unicorn hype, including startups like Avant, Blue Apron, Cyanogen, Orchard Platform, and Tanium, to name a few from the inaugural list.
Six Startups Join AREA Real Estate Technology Accelerator
Manhattan-based real estate technology accelerator AREA has selected six startups to participate in its incubator program. Formally launched in May, the company is chaired by Daniel Rose, a well-known developer responsible for 280 Park Avenue, One Financial Center in Boston, Pentagon City in Virginia and other iconic properties. The managing partners of the accelerator are David Rose, founder of Gust and New York Angels, and Lauren Rose. John Henry, who previously gained recognition launching Cofound Harlem, is the program director.AREA will offer the startups an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program with each company receiving $50,000 in funding, shared office space at 55 Broad Street across from the New York Stock Exchange, and mentorship from industry leaders. In addition to the Roses, program mentors include several real estate technology founders including Michael Mandel of Compstak, Nick Romito of VTS, Richard Sarkis of Reonomy, and Brandon Weber of Hightower, among others.
Berlin aims to lure British startups fearful over Brexit
When Cornelia Yzer woke to the news that Britain had voted to leave the European Union her initial reaction was disappointed. As an anglophile she was saddened by the thought of Britain leaving the club.Then Berlin’s economy minister reached for the phone and got busy luring companies from Britain to the Germany capital.”The decision (to leave the EU), which I regret, was taken by Britain,” Yzer told The Associated Press. “So there can’t be any surprise that those who see themselves firmly anchored inside the European Union — and that’s the case for Germany and its capital Berlin — now want to make sure that they’re a home for businesses that say ‘we need to be in.'”Yzer (pronounced EE-ser) isn’t the only official on the continent hoping for a bonanza from Britain’s exit, informally known as Brexit. Cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam have already been jostling to tempt banks away from London, Europe’s biggest financial hub, with the promise of protecting their much-cherished access to the other 27 EU markets.
EDII’s tech biz incubator to groom start-ups that can create 100 plus jobs
Ahmedabad’s new technology business incubators(TBI) is looking to churn out close to 50 odd start-ups that can create 5000 jobs annually for the next 3 years. EDII’s new DST supported Centre for Advancing & Launching Enterprises (CradLE) will incubate and promote innovative start-ups by EDII alumni and from entrepreneurs in the state for 3 years and also plan to put them through various ‘review parameters’ at different stages of growth.Director of EDII Sunil Shukla announced the launch of the TBI with Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan who is the chairman of the advisory committee of EDII promoted incubation centre – CradLE, on Tuesday.
Shukla said, “We have identified 10,000 plus sq ft space with infrastructure for setting up the TBI on the campus and it should be ready in few weeks. We will soon finalise names of more advisory committee members who will be eminent scientists, private investors, professionals, venture capitalists and others. HK Mittal, Adviser & Head, National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) is one of them. The incubator will cater to 4 areas including renewable energy, manufacturing, food processing and healthcare. After 5 years of the TBI, we would like that 40-50 successful ventures come out of this centre. One of the criteria we have set is that each of the start-ups should be able to create employment generation of 100 plus each, which is an ambitious target. If you go by the average of 100 jobs per venture then it is about 5000 jobs. All incubatees will be given access to funding sources apart from the Rs 10 crores fund given to the incubator by the DST for a period of 5 years.”