News from around the world – June 27


A compilation of important news from the startup world: 

Let our start-ups collaborate: US official
US Deputy Assistant Secretary-Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Angela P. Aggeler, who on Saturday visited T-Hub here, underscored the significance of collaboration between start-ups in the US and India for evolving solutions to challenges posed by climate change.While governments had a major role, it was critical to involve entrepreneurs as well. Smart entrepreneurs in both the countries could work together to approach challenges of climate change in thoughtful and innovative ways, she said.Collaboration among the start-ups could also contribute to broadening and deepening of the Indo-US relationship. In an interaction with presspersons, after a meeting with senior executives of the incubator for tech start-ups, Ms. Aggeler recalled the agreement signed recently in California between T-Hub and I-Hubs.

What impact will Brexit have on UK startups and innovation?
Anyone who’s spent any time getting to know startups and accelerators or who has spent time in some of the many shared workspaces in London (like WeWork and RunwayEast) will tell you that a good proportion of the founders come from different parts of the EU. London is a beacon to Europe’s entrepreneurs because of its position as both a financial and business hub for the EU. Our government invests in initiatives to encourage European founders to come to the UK and start their businesses here.If you’re a startup founder, you will naturally want to setup your business in a market that gives you access to the most customers and where the legislation encourages trade between different nations. The countries in Europe with the highest ‘birth rates’ of new enterprises are Romania, Latvia and Slovakia. Many of the larger accelerator networks (MassChallenge, Microsoft Ventures and TechStars to name three) have a large European footprint. I don’t for one minute think that these networks will pull out of the UK, but again if you’re a European startup, why would you come to the UK when there’s a big network already in place in Europe.

Jehan Ara picks a ‘dog and tiger hybrid’ to describe Pakistan’s startup ecosystem
The 7th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit was held from June 23 – 24 at Stanford University, California. Hosted by President Barack Obama, the event was a gathering of industry influentials from all over the world. People from developing entrepreneurial ecosystems like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh also took part. Jehan Ara and Dr. Umar Saif were also invited to speak at the event and take part in discussions regarding the future of our developing startup culture. The panel discussion started off with a rather interesting question thrown at the speakers. The moderater Neena Nundy asked them to describe their entrepreneurial ecosystem they hail from in terms of an animal. Jehan Ara’s answer was rather interesting. She chose a hybrid of a dog and a tiger. The reason I say that is because most of the entrepreneurs I have come across in Pakistan are fiercely aggressive about where they want to go. So the speed of a tiger is what I was thinking. And dogs are very supportive of each other. They’re very loyal. And so a cross between the two animals made sense to me.” All the speakers were united on the fact that the South Asia region is a tough place to run a startup. If you’re not planning long-term then you may be in trouble. Furthermore, raising capital is difficult because there isn’t enough capital and the concept of Venture Capitalists is also fairly new.

Vietnamese startups not enthused by stock exchange proposal
Local startups are not ready for such a big change, Chu Duc Hoang, founder-cum-CEO of healthcare app Zinmed, told Vietnamese language newswires VnExpress. “The valuation of startups is very difficult to execute, especially in a young market like Vietnam. It is hard to have a transparent stock exchange if the valuation is not clear,” he reportedly said. In some series A investment rounds in Vietnamese startups, venture capital investors often pay $1 million to $2 million for a 20 per cent stake. The valuation of the companies at the seed stage is much lower. For example, the Vietnam Silicon Valley Accelerator invests $10,000-20,000 in exchange for 5 to 10 per cent in a startup. Apart from low startup valuations, what is also lacking in Vietnam is adequate number of accredited investors and enough interested buyers participating in the stock market. Local angel investors are also urging the regulators to come out with norms for accredited investors as they prepare to launch a homegrown angel network.

Young Talent Feeding Silicon Dragon Startups Takes The Stage And Wows
One thing that really impresses about the global startup revolution that is going on is the young talent that is coming up to develop the next generation of innovations and emerging companies.That point was made very clear by the entrepreneurs who applied to pitch at Silicon Dragon’s contest this past week in New York. They impressed me with their earnestness, ambition and eagerness to learn. There was not a lot of ego on display, just a willingness to work hard and win.All in all, we heard 19 well-rehearsed pitches by entrepreneurs. While the startups covered a broad range of technologies – wearables, solar energy, biotech, mobile apps, B2B analytics and fast food, to name a few – each one shared in common a desire to expand to China, and specifically to Beijing to scale and realize the full potential of their startups. The startups also had in common a goal of raising capital. None of them had raised initial financing beyond friends and family or seed capital.These 19 founders pitched in front of the two toughest judges around, top VCs Jim Robinson of RRE Ventures and Brian Cohen of NY Angels. The crowd gathered at Silicon Dragon’s NY event at Nasdaq also weighed in with applause (or not). Each one had three minutes to pitch, then get grilled by the judges.

Who owns downtown: Incubator curates, hatches tech firms
Jason Friedberg opens an app on his smartphone and up pops live video and GPS coordinates sent from the handheld device to the computer at his desk inside the DeWitt Building on Market Street.He palms a black ball the size of a grapefruit, dotted with cameras, and tosses the hard sphere out of his cubicle and into an adjacent space to demonstrate how the tactical equipment would be used by police or military looking to get a clear view around corners and behind walls.Friedberg is the newest among the tech entrepreneurs who set up shop inside StartupLewisburg, a business incubator initiative through Bucknell University and the Small Business Development Center.Eight startups operated at the incubator before they were joined a few weeks back by Friedberg, involved in a trio of ventures in security technology or consulting, including Visium Global.They include Mangata, the company behind RunLites athletic gloves that netted Winfield’s Mary Tiffin a regional award from the Small Business Administration. Medtrics creates software for health care systems to train resident doctors. Novipod offers secure digital tracking for anything and everything that needs to be shipped, and is currently in use by organ transplant groups.

This Norwegian startup without a website just won one million NOK in a pitching event  
Norwegian startups seem to have chosen a different path than its Nordic neighbors. Sure, Norway does have the edtech company Kahoot! which is now used by over 50 million people globally, but so far the country has not produced any unicorns, and many startups are centered around oil, fishing and shipping, rather than consumer-oriented tech.In a recent post on Techcrunch correspondent Haje Jan Kamps is baffled by state of the startup scene, after having visited the final round of the Angel Challenge Pitch competition in Bergen.The pitch that won the event would have been a joke in any other country, resembling a parody of a company that walked into the wrong room, writes Haje Jan Kamps.The winning company MiniPro is not even a tech-company, it makes food for baby fish. In fact, MiniPro is more offline than most companies in this day and age. It doesn’t seem to have any internet presence at all, not even a website.This doesn’t mean that MiniPro is not an impressive company.

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