A compilation of important news from the startup world:
Chengdu Hi-tech Zone hosts first Sino-Korean Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship contest
The first Sino-Korean Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship contest over the weekend (24 and 25 June 2016) saw the participation of 16 Chinese and South Korean startups teams.Held in Chengdu Hi-tech Zone of China, the contest is co-hosted by China’s MOST, Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, Sichuan Provincial Government, and South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP).It aims to deepen the understanding of each country’s advantageous industries and market situation for young Chinese and South Korean entrepreneurs, and encourage exchanges and collaborations between entrepreneurs of the two countries.More than 500 venture capital firms, incubators, maker spaces and corporate representatives, attended the event to learn about the participating startups, which operated in the areas of electronic information, biomedicine, intelligent hardware and artificial intelligence.Two teams from both countries emerged as the first prize winners.
Impact investing gains ground among tech startups
As valuations flounder for Silicon Valley startups once worth billions of dollars, investor interest is on the rise in startups with both financial and social benefits, such as healthcare software for poor communities or low cost solar panels for homes.So-called “impact investing” rose to $15.2 billion globally last year from $10.6 billion in 2014, according to a recent report by the Global Impact Investing Network. The figure includes several types of investment, from funds to foundations, which intend to generate social and financial returns.The group expects a 16 percent rise in 2016. The change reflects investor concern with current valuations of more mainstream technology startups, a desire to help by some investors and a broadening definition of social-good startups. There is also growing sentiment that the rise of mobile technology will allow for profitable upstarts in parts of the world relatively untouched by Silicon Valley. Earlier this year Union Square Ventures Partner Fred Wilson called the developing world “the next whitespace” for venture capital, pointing to 2.5 billion people poised to adopt smartphones. Big financial institutions such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are investing, seeing rural communities and emerging markets as potential customers for financial services.
4 Tech Solutions For Your Startup Problems
As a startup, what you will need on your side are some great ideas and a lot of motivation to overcome the many obstacles. Even though these two things are vital for success, they are pretty abstract and elusive.On the other hand, what you might be lacking are things like resources, manpower and business experience.Personal communication is the cornerstone of any business. Traditionally, this meant that you needed to keep all of your team close or cross half the world when you wanted to make an international business deal. Today, however, things are much less complicated and sometimes, people working on the same project don’t ever meet in person. While live retail is still alive and kicking, most startups rather go with eCommerce instead. The reason behind this is quite simple and more than straightforward.First of all, you don’t need to rent a place for the store and second, you don’t have to hire salesman and retailers. Although it may be true that nothing beats a personal touch and that the human factor is invaluable, sometimes your budget won’t let you choose.
The Brexit (non) effect on tech
“Keep calm and code on.” That was the message being shared on social media by members of London’s tech community last week in the aftermath of Britain’s shock decision to vote in favour of leaving the European Union. A blog post by Atomico, a London based venture capital firm established by Niklas Zennström, a co-founder of Skype, seems to have got the meme rolling.”For UK tech, now is not the time to make rash decisions or pack our bags,” it reads. “We have companies to build and customers to serve, regardless of the situation.”The aftershocks from the Brexit political earthquake will probably be felt for months, if not years. And the tech sector won’t be fully shielded from it. Listed tech stocks, which tend to trade on higher multiples than shares in other sectors because they also tend to grow faster, could get hit hard. The IPO market, which looked like it was finally beginning to thaw last week after the successful debut of Twillo on the New York Stock Exchange, could freeze over again. Yet there are still reasons for entrepreneurs to ignore it all.Anshu Sharma, a partner at Silicon Valley based Storm Ventures, was swift to dismisses the impact of Brexit on startups. “Focus on hiring great people, closing more deals and making your customers happy. The rest is noise,” he wrote in a blog post. “When you get to the size of Oracle or IBM and are growing at global GDP growth rates (or worse), you can worry about the GDP then.”
Port authority unveils $100m fund for startups, tech firms
PSA Corporation and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has inaugurated a living laboratory at Pasir Panjang Terminal which will allow start-ups and technology solution providers to develop ideas and test-bed integrated systems in a live port environment.Close to $100 million committed to the initiative, known as the PSA Living Lab, over the next three years.PSA Living Lab will be made up of two operational berths at Pasir Panjang Terminal. It is part of PSA’s on-going program to develop technology solutions for its existing terminal operations in Singapore, as well as the future Tuas Terminal.One key project is the Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) system, which will ramp up operations to a fleet of 30 vehicles in 2017. Operationally-ready solutions have the potential to be deployed at terminals of the PSA Group worldwide.
Tech after Brexit: Where do we go from here?
Only last week the UK bosses of some of the world’s biggest technology companies warned that exiting — aka Brexiting — the European Union would undermine the country’s tech sector and would mean firms and their customers face “significant and prolonged uncertainty and leave the UK side-lined”. Now it looks like we will soon be able to find out if their warning was right. Certainly, few executives in the tech industry were in favour of leaving: a March poll of British tech bosses found that 70 percent support remaining in the EU, while only 15 percent thought leaving the EU was the right idea. Three quarters of those who wanted to remain in the EU said membership made the UK more attractive to international investment and gave their company a better deal on trading relationships.The UK tech industry is made of different elements: the multinationals that have their European headquarters here, the hundreds of thousands of tech workers, and the startups. Each have their own priorities. It is possible to come up with a few ways in which leaving the EU might have a positive impact for some in the tech industry: rather than relying on staff from the EU, UK companies will have to get more serious about training and retaining their best tech workers — and maybe even paying them more.
Europe’s Startups Reassess Britain After ‘Brexit’
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is already forcing Europe’s nimble, tech startup community to reassess operations there—a potential early warning for the kind of dramatic action bigger companies may have to take.Dozens of global corporations and executives from multinationals reacted with alarm after the vote, calling for a quick road map for a split, to minimize the sort of uncertainty that can delay or curb investment and hiring. But it could be smaller companies—including Europe’s more flexible vibrant startups—that make the first concrete steps to insulate themselves from the ramifications of a so-called Brexit.Across Europe, many executives had last week dismissed the idea that the U.K. would actually vote to leave. Now that it has happened, they are already taking or weighing steps to maintain their access to talent, capital and the rest of the EU market.Patrik Arnesson, chief executive of Sweden-based Football Addicts, said Sunday that he has scrapped plans to open a second office in London where he had planned to hire as many as 30 people over the next two years. The problem: not being guaranteed to be able freely move staff from Sweden, or hire more from anywhere in the EU.
Fundnel Forms Partnership with Business Angel Network Southeast Asia
Fundnel, a collaborative crowdfunding investment platform based in Singapore, has formed a partnership with the Business Angel Network Southeast Asia (BANSEA), to pool resources and boost deal flow. BANSEA ONE, backed by BANSEA and Fundnel, will become a key investor in early stage companies in the Singapore startup ecosystem.Under the partnership, BANSEA ONE will make seed-stage investments of S$50,000 in curated startups on the Fundnel platform. All start-ups funded through BANSEA ONE will be given free access to Fundnel’s network and services. All relevant legal services will be provided as well by start-up specialist firm Silver Cord Advisory. Kelvin Lee, co-founder of Fundnel called the partnership a privileged opportunity to work with BANSEA. He said it was also an endorsement of the Fundnel platform;“By combining BANSEA’s stringent due diligence processes alongside our curation, we are confident of assisting start-ups in achieving their growth trajectory and potential,” stated Lee. “Angel investment plays an integral role in the development of a sustainable startup ecosystem as it not only provides funding at the critical stage, but also offers mentorship and advisory to guide startups to reach their growth phase.
Sea Turtles’ Give China’s Drug Startups a Shot in the Arm
In 2001, a dozen Chinese expats met one Saturday in San Jose to trade tips on pharmaceutical proteins and share career advice over craft beers and garlic fries. The gathering was a networking session organized by two friends originally from Wuhan who met in the Bay Area as graduate students in the 1990s. Fifteen years later, many members of the group have returned to China to start their own businesses. And what had been an informal networking circle is now an exclusive industry group called BayHelix that counts among its members more than 300 senior executives active in the Chinese biopharma market.Called hai gui, or “sea turtles,” in their home country, these returnees are trading on relationships forged in the U.S. and tapping the hundreds of millions in venture capital flowing through China. They’re building or backing health-care startups and brokering deals, all in the hope of giving China an original blockbuster drug. “Everything’s falling into place,” says Nisa Leung, a managing partner at Qiming Venture Partners, a China-focused venture fund. Leung, who studied at Stanford and Cornell, has led investments in more than 50 Chinese health-care companies in the past decade.
Startups and SMEs in Vietnam less than impressed with govt’s stock exchange proposal
THE Vietnamese government proposed to set up a separate stock exchange for the country’s startups and small businesses earlier this month, but many are saying the program will not be feasible as they are far from ready.The National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC) and the State Securities Commission had been planning to establish an exclusive stock exchange for startups within the next few years.But an anonymous startup founder and angel investor rubbished the proposal, saying that Vietnamese startups are too small to meet the requirements of listing at this stage, as their average valuation has stayed below US$10 million, reports Deal Street Asia.Other industry players have also weighed in on the proposal with the same view. Do Hoai Nam, founder of Up Co-working Space in Hanoi, told the VN Express: “Every company needs to meet a lot of requirements to be listed on the stock exchange, and most startup companies would be unable to do so. If they could, they would list on existing trading floors rather than exclusive one.”